Inner-city outreach sets record

The largest outreach to date in the U.S. of the “Jesus” video was done last month with a massive bulk mailing to 44,000 homes in three of the five ZIP codes in the San Diego inner city.

And that’s just the beginning!

Distribution to the homes in the two remaining contiguous ZIP codes in the inner city area will be completed when the funds are available, according to Bruce Fox, county coordinator.

The March mailings went to 14,618 homes in the Southeast San Diego ZIP code of 92102; 17,656 homes in the Encanto ZIP code of 92114; and 12,309 homes in the Logan Heights ZIP code of 92113.

There remains 21,463 homes in the North Park ZIP code of 92104 and 21,808 homes in the East San Diego ZIP code of 92105.

A new missions/evangelism ministry spawned by Operation Mobilization and AD2000 – Mission San Diego and Beyond – will soon establish an evangelism training center in the City Heights area in the 92105 ZIP code. They expect to take the “Jesus” video door-to-door to San Diego’s most culturally diverse area where over 100 ethnic groups have been identified. (The video is available in over 400 languages.)

It cost over $160,000 to mail the 83-minute video to the three ZIP codes. How was San Diego able to afford it? Fox explained that a large donation came into the San Diego office with the request that the videos be mailed to homes in the Inner City. Then, a group of county Realtors led by Tom Stephenson offered their help. A hundred other Christians then responded to an appeal for funds. The result: the first large scale mailing of videos in America.

The outreach is being used as a trial run for mailing the video to every home in Alabama this Easter – 4.1 million population with 1.7 million residences.

Fox said that the San Diego County Jesus Video Project expects to eventually reach a population of 3 million people in about 1 million homes. To date, about 100,000 “Jesus” videos have been distributed here.

Bishop George McKinney of St. Stephen’s Church of God in Christ and Dr. Timothy Winters of Bayview Baptist Church, members of the county advisory council for the Jesus Video Project, assisted with planning, advertising and stimulating involvement by Inner City churches. Volunteers Lewis Burger and Lars Matre have personally contacted over 100 churches in the distribution area to let them know of the outreach and to expect an increase of people eager to know more about Jesus.

“One pastor we’ve heard from said his neighbor received the video and came to him to find out where his church was located,” said Fox.

Inserted in the video box was a yellow card offering locations of local participating churches the family might want to attend.

“We’ve received numerous calls,” said Fox, “from people just wanting to say ‘Thanks’ to others who were curious beyond belief and others who were overjoyed and wanted to watch it immediately – even inviting friends.

“Through this runs a common thread: that when the churches of a city team up, they can accomplish much more than each could individually.”

The next step of the outreach is for the local churches to visit their neighbors and invite them to Easter services, doing the follow-up survey and helping those who have been touched to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord – which the video challenges people to do.

More than a billion people around the world have seen the “Jesus” film/video.

For more information about the outreach or to contribute, call (619) 565-1222.

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