“We speak what we know and testify what we have seen” (John 3:11).
One of the exciting features of travelling for brothers Paul and Mathew Backholer is the ability to document their world adventures in film and photos for TV series, documentaries and books.
When they returned from their first missionary tour of eleven nations in Europe, North Africa and South-East Asia, the brothers possessed an abundance of video footage, experiences and a diary of the missionary endeavour. “There was enough film for a TV series,” said Paul, “but it would be a monumental leap of faith to turn raw footage into episodes and find broadcast partners.”
Hard work, prayer and faith combined produced a twelve-episode series called ByFaith TV which played all over the world, as ByFaith Media partnered with more than fifteen Christian channels. The experience gave the ministry the ability to produce Christian documentaries and it launched the ByFaith DVD ministry.
ByFaith Media was helping to develop a new style for Christian TV. “It was real,” said Paul Backholer, “filmed in Nepal, India or North Africa, we showed the reality of travelling and living. It’s not all miracles and gospel meetings, often you have to journey hundreds of miles and the $10 bus journey takes days.”
The brothers found journeying with locals creates a bond. “They knew we chose to suffer and experience life with them,” said Mathew. “We spent one night in the back of an open grain truck crossing from Ethiopia to Kenya with locals. It covered us from head to toe with dust. In those moments of shared experience you testify of Christ and people listen.”
One night on a mission the brothers slept under animal skins propped up by sticks with villagers. “It was very cold at night and there was a thorn barrier outside to keep the lions away,” said Paul. “We slept well and earned the respect of the people.”
Once in Africa, the brothers rented a room in a hut with a TV, beside a desert that pioneer missionary David Livingstone once crossed. Whilst flicking through Christian channels they found ByFaith TV playing with their last mission being covered. “It was such an encouragement,” said Paul, “something which happened years ago was still making an impact, and in response, we received an email from Saudi Arabia thanking us for sharing the testimony of people receiving Christ.”
The brothers filmed ByFaith TV seasons two, three, four and five, whilst producing documentaries and books from their experiences. The ministry produced several DVD documentaries and is blessed to receive orders from across the world, and streaming services continue to show their productions.