Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Spirit West Coast

So, I was in California for the past 3 weeks, and now I'm back in Phoenix. There were a lot of things going on in the past weeks, and if anyone reading this is like me, they won't read a long post, so I'm gonna break it up.

Anyway, the first week in California was spent at the San Diego Fairgrounds in Del Mar for the Christian music festival called Spirit West Coast. The concerts were Friday through Saturday, and I (and a ton of other people) set up a bunch of stuff the week before they started. Once the concerts started, we had a looser schedule and got to see them, unless we were working the altar calls.

So, basically, the weekend schedule was "These are the altar calls you're working, these are the altar call training times, and these are the meal times." So I got to see a few concerts, like Skillet (which was, by far, my favorite), Third Day (second favorite), and Newsboys. Tobymac was at the same time as Skillet, and it wasn't a hard choice to decide which I was going to see. Thousand Foot Krutch was the same time as Third Day. That was a tougher choice, but after the Seventh Day Slumber altar call, I needed Third Day more than TFK; they're happier music, and I love Mac Powel's voice. Pillar and Newsboys was the same time, and I don't know many Pillar songs, so that was, again, easier to choose.

Anyway, for altar calls, the speaker would ask who in the audience wanted to give their life to Jesus or recommit their lives to Him, and my job was to find the people who raise their hands, give them literature, get there information, and, most importantly, talk to them about Jesus and how to come to Him. I did this for Disciple (who were really good, but I definitely needed earplugs), Dizmas (who I didn't pay as much attention to, but everyone else seemed to really enjoy), Strongman Jon Pritikin (who broke bricks with his forearms and bent bars with his mouth for kids), and Seventh Day Slumber.

Seventh Day Slumber has a unique altar call. It's well known as a very difficult one. It's often given the name "The Suicide Altar Call." The lead singer of Seventh Day Slumber, Joseph Rojas, tells of a time when he was low, and almost took his own life with cocaine. On the way to the hospital, Joseph came to Jesus, after his mother constantly telling him that he needed Him. He was 22 when this happened. Joseph shares this story to the crowd at their concert, and asks the whole crowd to back up. For this concert, the people seeking Jesus come to the front and find us. It was amazing and sad. He asked who had considered suicide within the past week. Loads of hands shot up. He asked who intended to commit suicide as soon as they got back from Spirit West Coast. Still, many hands shot up. He asked who wanted to give their pain to Jesus instead of trying to end it alone. It really got me when I saw a couple in the front raise their hands for people who wanted to end their lives, but not for people who wanted Jesus. I don't know what happened to them, but we did have people go and talk to them. There were tons of other people, though, who did want to give their lives to Christ, and it was overwhelming. One rule for altar calls was that we should avoid talking to people of the opposite sex as much as possible. This was extremely difficult, because most of those who wanted to commit suicide were female. It was so difficult finding people who weren't already being helped and prayed with and prayed for. I didn't get to actually talk to anybody, because it was such a mess. But it was still amazing seeing God working through the testimony of Joseph, convicting people of their sin and drawing them closer to Him. People would come in groups of three, one to give his life to Jesus, two to pray with him and encourage him. It was so sweet seeing the love and companionship. I would go back again, just to experience the power of God once more.

The most frustrating thing about it was that TFK was on after them, so we couldn't sit and talk with the people, like what happened in previous years when Seventh Day Slumber was the last band. There were people coming up who wanted to get saved, but were intermingled with people coming up to listen to Thousand Foot Krutch and get free merch. Nevertheless, I know God was glorified in this and will continue to be glorified.


Michelle Renae :) said...

wow, j-ra i'm so glad you went to swc. hearing you speak after the stp was awesome. i'm sad i didn't get to hear all of your stories, but i know God did great things in and through you. anyway, i'll probably keep checking your blog to see how things went and see what else you are still learning from your experience there. anyway, miss you tons and i hope you're doing well in tempe.

you rock!