Members of the Lawrenceburg, Tenn., Church ordered 900 copies of the book, Hero of Hacksaw Ridge, by Boonton Herndon, to give away. For three weeks before the movie was released in theaters nationwide, Norman Henderson, M.D., and Lloyd Schomburg, pastor, aired a special 15-minute radio program once each week on local radio stations, talking about the life, faith, and convictions of Desmond Doss, and the newly released movie. Alan Salhany, another member, also advertised the movie on his weekly radio program. Neighbors and friends who read the Tennessean article about Doss, written by Nashville pastor Melvin Santos, eagerly accepted a book.
When the owner of the local theater was asked if the movie would be shown in Lawrenceburg, the response was that it would depend on how well it was received in other places. Eventually, the theater owner decided to show the movie, and allowed the church members to stand outside the theater to hand out books. After the first showing, people exited the theater with tears in their eyes, eager to receive a book. In fact, the theater staff members came running out of the theater asking for a book. The first week more than 400 books were given away.
Due to the popularity of the movie, the theater owner extended its viewing time to two full weeks. The owner and staff became so excited about the response of the public that they eagerly chose to personally hand each viewer a book at the time they purchased a ticket, eliminating the need of a member to be at each viewing. What joy to know that each viewer would receive a book.
With heartfelt prayers of thanksgiving, the 900 books will never have an opportunity to collect dust in the church’s personal ministries closet.
Kentucky-Tennessee | January 2017