Tuesday, July 05, 2005


My Summer with Soul Survivor - 2005

Some of you already know that I work part-time at Soul Survivor doing marketing and promotions. Soul Survivor started about ten years ago under the leadership of Mike Pilavachi and worship leader Matt Redman in England as a youth movement which incorporates worship and justice. (You can find out more about Soul Survivor at: http://www.soulsurvivorusa.com )

Last week I was overseeing one of two massive “Noise” projects for Soul Survivor’s annual Summer Camp for teens. The “Noise” projects are where we let our actions speak louder and take teens to the streets to preach the Gospel with tangible acts of service to others.

The camp took 1,500 teens into the streets of Westside Costa Mesa to host 2 massive “Block Parties” for area residents. I was in charge of the Wilson Street project and my co-workers were in charge of the Shalimar project. Both involved free hot dogs, games for kids, 18 carnival booths, 2 bounce houses, and door-to-door prayer and service teams.

The Wilson Street project also had a puppet show and live music, as well as an impromptu food distribution into neighboring apartment complexes.

It was on one of these unscheduled food distribution runs that God did the most amazing thing.

It all began when the 150 teens I had sent out into the neighborhood as door-to-door service teams returned in the first hour of our project and needed something to do. Rather than panic, I took the advice of my co-worker and improvised. The result was a food distribution team into a nearby apartment building.

Our friends from “More Of Jesus” ministries, James and Randy, had dropped by with bags of bread, pastries and toiletries to give away. So, I grabbed a few of our teens and their leaders who were standing around and had them carry all of it over to the apartment building right next to the church lot where we were hosting the Block Party.

I ran ahead of the team and found the manager first, explaining breathlessly what was going on and asking if we had her permission to give away the free bread, pastries and toiletries to her residents. Her teary-eyed response was, “Yes, of course”!

As our team poured into the apartment complex, I quickly realized we had too many volunteers and too much bread for the size of the building, so I re-routed several teams across the street to another apartment building, and then a third group to the apartments across the street in the other direction.

Afterwards, I began hearing the testimonies from youth leaders and volunteers about what God did during these impromptu food runs. Several youth leaders came up to me and thanked me for allowing their kids to take part in this, and one leader told me that her kids were asking if they could go back home and do this in their own community, which is exactly what we hope will happen to kids to participate in these “Noise” projects.

At the end of the day, as we were loading the buses with kids to head back to the campsite, I noticed that the first bus in the line seemed to be stalled and was holding up the other buses. As I jumped on to the bus to find out what the hold up was, I saw a Mom from the community standing at the front of the bus with her two children as she thanked our kids for their service and blessed them for the difference they made in her community. None of us had a dry eye when she was done.

There were great moments of laughter, of fellowship, of joy and of service, and best of all, God showed up in a big way.

Later that night, in our final evening session, we watched a video of all that had been done that day as part of our "Noise" day. It was inspiring and exciting to see so many kids get their hands and feet connected with expressing the Gospel of the Kingdom.

The Mayor of Costa Mesa and the Captain of the Costa Mesa P.D. each stood up to thank the kids for their servant hearts, and the Mayor privately vowed to assist in next year's "Noise" in ways we wouldn't even believe.

For me, the most enduring memory of the day was back at Wilson Street, when everyone had gone and all the materials had been cleaned up and put away, and I stood in the parking lot beside my car and got down on my knees to thank God for all that He had done that day.

I think, maybe, out of all that went on that day, and all the great things that happened, I was one of the ones who was the most blessed.

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