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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Judgment time: Production benefits those behind the scenes as much as attendees

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Tim Grigery measures to place lights on the ambulance he constructed at Miner Baptist Church.
MINER -- Miner Baptist Church's "Judgement House" is designed to make its attendees consider life's alternatives, but those working behind the scenes also benefit from the annual production.

"In our department, it's really cool because we (sometimes) see a changed person at the end (of the tour)," said Wendy Self, prayer team director for "Judgement House." "Sometimes the actors don't get to see that, and they don't get to see the end of the tours or the entire scene."

Miner Baptist Church will be hosting "Judgement House," an eight-scene walk-through drama that makes people aware of the reality of heaven and hell during various dates throughout the month. This year's scenario is a plane crash in Jamaica.

Over the past few years, Self's participation in the production has either been as a prayer team member or director, she said.

"We don't participate; we just pray," Self explained about her duty. "We pray for the different groups that walk through."

Members of the prayer team are positioned at various spots during the production, Self said. Each night of the eight-day performances, 25 different individuals are assigned to a time slot in which they participate, she said. And sometimes the opportunity provides prayer team members with the chance to witness a change in the attendees.

"Some people you would never know they are absorbing what they're seeing," Self said. "It's just like going to the movie theater, some people are very emotional; some aren't.

She continued: "It's not to say that people who cry understood it the greatest. That's not what it's about. It all boils down to the condition of your heart and how you receive what is presented in front of you."

As room coordinator, one of Mike Wilson's responsibilities is to act in a scene.

"Last year was as hard as any of them, because I was portraying an abusive, alcoholic husband who was out-of-work and lost child in a car wreck. My wife was blaming me and I was mad at God and at the world and didn't have redemption," Wilson recalled about his role.

In a given night during the week, Wilson will have performed his part 18 times a night; on the weekends he may have to do his scene 25 times. "Over eight days, there's a lot of tears, emotions, ups and downs and rebooting," Wilson said.

When the position to build accident scenes became vacant last year, electrician Tim Grigery of Sikeston couldn't pass up the opportunity.

"Last year we had a car crash scene, and I put that together with a lot of people," the scene director said. "I tried to try to make it as authentic as possible. "We came up with a plane and able to assimilate the tail section of a larger plane to it."

In addition to building scenes, Grigery's responsibilities include working and rehearsing with the cast and supervising.

Grigery said the production's message is a big part of why he likes to participate in "Judgement House."

"As a Christian, we try our very best to let people know today could be last day and where are you going to spend eternity?" Grigery said.

There's not a lot of time to put the "Judgement House" together, Grigery said, adding work on building the scenes began last week.

"It's kind of stressful, to be honest with you, but it's a good kind of stress. And when it all comes to together, it's a wonderful message," Grigery said. Participating in "Judgement House" is tiring, but it's also well worth it, Wilson said.

"It's a lot of hours but, you know, almost every time, a new group comes in that God laid on our hearts. Somebody in that group needs to hear what we have to say," Wilson said.

Wilson said a lot of work goes on behind the scenes of "Judgement House." About 450 people are involved, doing various jobs from parking cars, working in security, being the door knockers, etc.

"Nobody out here takes a bow for anything," Wilson said. "You'll ask 450 people out here, who has most important job, and they won't tell you one person. It takes a ton of people."

Both Grigery and Self agreed.

Self also said the community comments to those involved with "Judgement House" long after it's over.

"(They say) they are glad they saw the 'Judgement House' and it has changed them, that one simple event has made a life-changing decision that has resulted in a closer walk with the Lord," Self said.

Wilson said he also gets recognized following "Judgement House," too. It's a great feeling knowing he's made a difference in others' lives, he said.

"The change lasts them to eternity. It's not a temporary fix; it's a forever fix," Wilson said.

For Grigery, he hopes he's helping create a better, moral society. He said: "If I can put my personal signature on something that makes somebody stop and think about their life and the direction they're headed ... that's the reward for me."