The seed for this idea was planted nearly 20 years ago when Shawn Tyler, a missionary working in Kenya and Uganda, approached GNPI about producing a children’s book series.
Shawn wanted to present Bible stories told from a “new angle,” from the perspective of those who were present when they took place. For example, Shawn wanted to tell the story of Jesus raising Jairus’s daughter from the dead. However, he wanted to tell it from the perspective of Jairus’s daughter. In the script, she relates the story as an adult to her own children, encouraging listeners to imagine how this miracle affected Jairus’ whole family and their future.
Shawn’s idea sounded like the perfect tool to help Muslim audiences connect with familiar prophets and stories from the Bible before introducing them to stories about Isa (Jesus). Next, we needed a strategy for making these stories accessible to Muslim families. That’s where another worker comes in.
This worker has served for 25 years in a country with one of the world’s largest Muslim populations. (For the protection of our partners there, we won’t mention his precise location.) His research involved understanding how the jihadi movement was so successful in recruiting people to their cause. With his education and experience, this worker figured out how to build relationships among the Muslim population and was willing to help us think through our project to reach these same people.
As a core team came together, our next step was to build an integrated media strategy. Although Shawn’s original idea involved a series of printed books, we saw massive potential in using digital technology to tell these stories. Because we had a particular Muslim nation in mind as the focus group for this project, we hired a production company in that nation to help us produce the media materials. Interestingly, the founder of this company studied in the U.S. and even came to Joplin to meet GNPI’s founder, Ziden Nutt. Their interactions inspired him to establish his own company, and he was thrilled to see this connection come full circle.