FARMINGTON — For Stan Burgett, the director of Passion Play Ministries International, his job is so much more than a work of theater. It's a volunteer ministry that is a deep part of his faith as a Christian.

"We don't have any professional actors," Burgett said. "We're all just folks from the community who love the message of the Gospels and the cross and the empty tomb."

The Four Corners Passion play "He's Alive" recreates the last days of Jesus Christ as recorded by the Gospels of the Christian Bible before his death and resurrection.

The production of "He's Alive" runs through the week before Easter, coinciding with many of the holy days whose events are contained within the Passion play. Scenes from the Gospels are re-enacted, such as Jesus's entrance into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the crucifixion and ending with the resurrection.

Rena Peña, a member of PPMI's board, sees "He's Alive" as a way to communicate the Bible in a more visual format.

"It's just a perfect tool to use because people are visual and a lot of times seeing what you've read about in the Bible makes a huge impact spiritually," Peña said.

This year marks a major milestone for the Four Corners Passion Play in Farmington. For the first time, a Spanish version of the play will be performed at the Civic Center.

Peña and her husband Michael are part of the team that helped develop the Spanish language production.


She has been a fan of the Passion play since it first began thirteen years ago, but always wanted to see a version in Spanish.

"It was never really our intention to be involved, we just hoped it would be in Spanish," Peña said. "One day, we ran into Stan and he asked us if we spoke Spanish and if we could interpret and translate."

The Peñas traveled with Burgett to Honduras to develop the Spanish production. The first performances of the play last November brought out large crowds of Hondurans to see "He's Alive," according to Burgett.

"They had 6,000 people come out in two days to see the same production we do here," Burgett said.

The trip to Honduras inspired Peña to take action on a more local level.

"When we came home, I really felt that maybe it was time now that it was translated to Spanish to get it going," she said.

Working with Hispanic churches in the area, such as Temple Sinai, Peña and Burgett assembled a second team of actors and volunteers to start rehearsing the Spanish version alongside the English one. With the two casts combined, more than 240 people have been rehearsing to prepare the Passion play, according to Burgett.

"It's the most incredible thing I've ever been a part of, not only to be involved with this many people, but with this diverse a group of people," Burgett said.

"He's Alive" will be performed next week at 7 p.m. in the Farmington Civic Center with the Spanish performances on Sunday and Monday and the English performances Wednesday through Saturday.

Patrick Hogan: