Feats of strength on display

Published 6:00 am Thursday, February 22, 2007

A capacity crowd of more than 500 people gathered at MonticelloFirst Baptist Church’s Family Life Center Wednesday to watch featsof strength by the Team Impact ministry.

An overflow crowd watched the action from video screens erectedfor the occasion in the church’s sanctuary.

The audience witnessed three members of the ministry team breakbricks with their hands, break a Louisville Slugger bat over theknee, bend an 1/2-inch steel bar using teeth and hands, crush fullsoda cans and rip a Jackson telephone book in half. Each showvaries slightly in content.

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The team will perform for free at the church each night at 7o’clock. until Sunday. Today, team members are also performingduring an assembly of junior high students in the afternoon andwill perform at Lawrence County High School Friday.

Cesar “C.J.” Arocha Jr., a 6’1″, 240 lb. strongman fromVenezuela, teased those in the front row before crushing full cansof Sprite Zero.

“You have some really good seats up here, but you might beleaving smelling like lemon lime,” he said.

After crushing one can, he ventured into the crowd to crush twoothers, showering the audience in the sticky drink.

Hunter Grimes, a 6’1″, 275 lb. former deputy with the LivingstonParish, La., sheriff’s department and present chief of police forWalker, La., extolled the crowd to cheer on the athletes as theyperformed their stunts and warned the children not to try them athome.

Team Impact uses the feats of strength to reach and to inspireyouth to make good decisions in life. Wednesday’s message centeredon God, underage drinking and safe sex.

“It’s entertaining. We have a great time. But it’s not going tochange your life. That’s what the message is for,” said RonWaterman, a 6’3″, 280 lb. former World Wrestling Entertainmentathlete who performed under the sobriquet “H20 Man.” He alsocompeted in the Universal Fighting Championship.

Waterman said public messages stating “Friends don’t let friendsdrive drunk” are simply wrong.

“We tell them friends don’t let friends drink at all,” hesaid.

Waterman said he could remember being offended when attending ahigh school assembly about safe sex in the past. Following theassembly, educators passed out condoms to the students.

“Our interpretation of safe sex is not passing out condoms, it’sputting on that wedding ring and being faithful to your wife,yourself and to God,” he said.

The Team Impact ministry is presented free to both the sponsorand the crowd, although donations are requested.