By Ray Balogh
MILFORD — The Milford churches had a plan to deliver a DVD of the “Jesus” film, an evangelistic movie depicting the life of Christ, to every home in Milford just before Easter, but the COVID-19 shutdown scuttled that schedule.
Now that restrictions are easing, the churches have resurrected the goal and are inviting all interested persons to participate in the distribution at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, June 20, in the gymnasium of the Milford First Brethren Church, 110 W. Catherine St.
“This will be the launching point to blanket all of Milford,” said Lee Compson, the pastor at First Brethren. The ‘Jesus’ packets include a DVD of the film; a Gospel tract; and a brochure listing the Milford churches’ worship times, a description of their ministries and their contact information.
The local effort is the brainchild of Helen Ann Strycker, who with her husband, Doug, administrates a home church in Milford.
“We were at a Kiwanis meeting where the speaker talked about drug issues in our small town,” she said. “I just thought, ‘These people need the Lord.’ The gist of most of our problems is that we need Jesus.”
A teacher of English as a subsequent language in Warsaw, Strycker had about 50 copies of the “Jesus” film in English and Spanish. She wanted to distribute them to the areas hardest hit by drugs, crime and poverty.
“When I got home from the Kiwanis meeting, I found in the mail a newsletter from Christ for All Peoples, a ministry in which we were already involved. They had just started a new project called ‘Saturate USA’ to get the ‘Jesus’ film into 60 million households by the end of this year. I knew God was trying to get my attention,” she said.
Strycker logged onto www.jesusfilm.org and signed up by Milford’s 46542 ZIP code. In October she received 1,700 DVDs of the film and a map of most of the ZIP code.
The Stryckers hosted Milford pastors for brunch and discussed distribution of the packets. “I’m excited all the churches are working together,” said Strycker. The pastors are currently meeting monthly to pursue cooperative ministries sponsored by the churches in Milford.
“Jesus” premiered in 1979 in 250 U.S. theaters. The first international showing in 1980 was in Hindi and reached 21 million Indian viewers.
Since then the film, dubbed the “most translated film in history” by the Guinness Book of World Records, has been produced in more than 1,700 languages with a goal of reaching 5 billion people by 2025. Screenings have resulted in more than 500 million personal decisions for Christ throughout the globe.
According to the project’s website, “When people come face to face with Jesus — when they see him smile, when they hear him speak in their own language, with their own accent — they are forever changed. We believe movies offer the most dynamic way to hear and see the greatest story ever lived.
“Film brings the story to life in ways that transcend written communication. This is true especially in oral cultures — places where written communication is scarce. When people see the life of Jesus portrayed on screen, it is life-changing.
“Even in societies where the written word is prevalent, films are the cultural flashpoints. In minutes, movies can cross the world and ignite conversations.”
For more information, contact the Stryckers at (574) 529-3589 or [email protected] or visit www.jesusfilm.org, www.saturateusa.org or www.christforallpeoples.org.