In 1732, two young Moravians left their comfortable community of Hernhut, Germany, convinced that they were called of God to bring the Gospel to slaves in the West Indies. They went, willing to become slaves if necessary, to minister to these oppressed people. The Moravians pioneered a mission movement characterized by extraordinary commitment. Under the dynamic leadership of Count Nikolas von Zinzendorf, the Moravians sent out more missionaries in 20 years than all the other Protestant groups had in 200 years.
When visiting a Christian church today, you will likely notice flyers, pictures, and prayer boards highlighting mission work throughout the world. It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time when leaving one’s home and its comforts to travel to a foreign land and share the Gospel was unheard of. “First Fruits” takes the viewer back to this time in the 1730s when the early Protestant church sent out its first missionaries to distant places to reach people who had not yet heard about Jesus.One of the first missionaries, Leonard Dober, learned of slaves on the island of St. Thomas in the West Indies. These slaves, he was told, were overworked, abused, and prevented from learning about salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Dober became overwhelmed with desire to go to these people, serve them, and share the Gospel with them even at the risk of becoming a slave himself. Although the church hesitated to support him in his trip, after much prayer and consideration they gave their blessing so Dober, along with a friend, set out for St. Thomas. Dober’s mission work inspired many in his church to become missionaries themselves. He paved the way for future generations, centuries later, to share their faith throughout the world by simply cultivating the first fruits of Christian missions. What this film lacks in cinematic quality it makes up for in content. The historic story is interesting and compelling. The Dove Foundation awards “First Fruits” its “Faith-Based” Seal of approval. Due to some historically accurate violence against slaves shown in this movie, it is recommended for ages 12 and up.