According to the Centers for Disease Control 99 young people, ages 12-24, die in the US every day of what the government calls “preventable causes”. These causes include distracted driving, drug use, fighting, suicide and more. From this statistic God birthed in the hearts of the Hensahws a reality theater production that has traveled the country for the past 4 years depicting the outcomes of these poor choices and showing young people that by accepting Jesus as their Savior and using God’s Word as their moral compass and taking responsibility for their actions, most of these 99 deaths each day could be avoided.
The 99 is a reality walk-through theater that takes about 45 minutes to experience. The experience takes place in a huge 20,000 square foot air structure (tent) which is erected in a parking lot. This is not a “hell house” or “scare house”. No one will touch you or jump out at you as your group travels through the experience. You will be presented with a brief Gospel message at the end of the presentation, and you are informed of that before you enter so if that isn’t what you want to hear, you don’t have to go through the experience.
In the last 4 years 410,139 people have walked through The 99. Of those people 122,679 have prayed with a counselor to accept Jesus as their Savior! An amazing 80% of the people who attend The 99 say they do not have a church home. On average 15-20,000 go through The 99 during the 4 weekends it is open in a city. The 99 is in the city for about 7 weeks. Two weeks to set up, four weekends (Fri-Sun 7pm-midnight) of performances and one week to tear down. It takes 250 volunteers each night to put on The 99. This means many local churches, of varying denominations working side by side for the Kingdom of God.
The 99 tent site is a half mile from my house and my family and church are heavily involved. My 17yo son and husband have been at the site every evening from 4-10pm helping set up the tent. We are all volunteering during the productions in various jobs and we are praying for the souls that will be touched and lives that will be changed in our community from February 15-March 10, 2013.
If you are in the Manatee-Sarasota area of Florida, The 99 is located in the parking lot of the old Winn-Dixie at SR 70 and Lockwood Ridge in Bradenton. Discount ticket vouchers are available at local churches and at whatisthe99.com. When The 99 leaves Manasota it will travel to Tampa and then Orlando before leaving Florida so follow them on Facebook for updates.
Over the next 4 weeks I will be Tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming using the hashtag #the99 so please follow along.