Hacksaw Ridge Dec05

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Hacksaw Ridge

Evangelism everyone, everywhere – even in the cinema!  [Victor Hulbert. Communication Director, TED and Newbold church member.]

What did you give your neighbour this Christmas?  We always give our neighbours Christmas cards.  It helps build bridges within our friendly community.  This year we gave them something more: A copy of FOCUS on peace, hope and pacifism.

Why?  Because in a few weeks’ time Mel Gibson’s WWII epic will hit cinema screens across the UK.  My neighbours will be talking about it!

Telling the story of the Seventh-day Adventist Conscientious Objector, Desmond Doss, the movie industry is giving a window of opportunity to talk openly about our faith for a few weeks.  My neighbours will be talking about it.  I want to be able to talk with them intelligently!

Let’s be wise!  We don’t actually have to go and see the film.  It is 15 certificate and contains strong bloody violence and gory injury detail.  Mel Gibson has a reputation for portraying violence in all its detail.

But think of the story.  Desmond Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist para-medic was in the midst of that gore and violence saving lives – even the lives of the enemy!  This film is a Christian witness that will reach an audience who will actually pay money to hear an Adventist story.

It had a profound effect on lead actor, Andrew Garfield in what Time magazine called a ‘sensitive, humane performance’.  This British actor now knows a lot about Seventh-day Adventists – and likes what he has discovered.  He told Time, “It was vital to me that we communicated that Desmond’s faith was deeper than any dogma, deeper than any set of man-made rules, but that he was in touch with a deep knowing in his bones.”

That does not make the film evangelistic.  However, it does make people think – and thinking audiences are open to change.  With the late release of the movie in the UK (the main release was in November), British Adventists have the opportunity to learn from others:

American Adventists stood outside movie theatres handing out copies of a specially prepared ‘It is Written Magazine’.

Polish Youth wore special ‘Desmond Doss’ T-shirts, handing out a magazine based very much on the British FOCUS magazine.  Many of them also changed their FACEBOOK cover photo to ‘I’m an Adventist like Desmond Doss’ providing memes and links to material.  Over 100 people are now having Bible studies with local pastors or have walked into churches as a result of their witness.

Poland, with just over 5,000 members, has printed and sold more than 30,000 copies of their magazine.  Their usual print run is 3,500 magazines.   Other countries are the same.

Portugal has just ordered a second print run for their ‘Sinais dos Tempos’, again based on the UK magazine.  “We will print even more magazines in order to reach even more people. That’s fantastic,” magazine editor, Lara Figueiredo says. “I really liked the Magazine and all the articles that were published.  You did a really great job!  You have my appreciation!”

Imagine – if 5,000 members in Poland can make that difference, what can 36,000 members in the British Isles do.  More importantly, what can I do?

Newbold students and church members will be at two local cinemas on opening night.  I will be talking to my friends.  Even for my Polish neighbours – I’ve given them a Polish Version of FOCUS.  That really is Evangelism to everyone, everywhere.

[END 553 words]

Photos here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/p1mrgv91vow468c/AADPeM8auDPazAy3ZKIxutsha?dl=0

More on Poland witness here: http://ted.adventist.org/news/1015-hacksaw-ridge-opens-unprecedented-witnessing-opportunities-in-central-europe

 

Hacksaw Ridge photos:  http://www.hacksawridgeresources.com/