The change was sudden, unexpected, and completely God. Last summer at a Circuit Riders school called 21 Project, God told me it was time to leave Montana. On September 20th, I emotionally said my final goodbyes in Butte, MT, and hit I-15 for over a thousand miles all the way to Huntington Beach, CA, to join a group I really didn’t know much about. In fact, I was just following God and this was the open door he gave me. I expected that within a couple of weeks I would be applying for jobs and then working for corporate America in a blockbuster location. This blog is a recap of what actually happened in the last three months as God completely changed my paradigm and, like he says he does, directed my paths.
That Sunday, around Noon, I pulled up to 518 Geneva Ave. This four and a half bedroom house was going to be my home for the next three months. The funny thing is that it was also going to be home for 23 other people who moved from across America to work with Circuit Riders for the fall. Yes, we spent the next two days setting up bunk beds! Once settled, I began to ask God where he wanted me to start looking for jobs. To my surprise, I felt God saying that he wanted me to focus fully on what the Circuit Riders were doing. He wanted me to fully live life with them and get to know them well.
The Circuit Rider Life
To see an overview of where Circuit Riders come from and what they have done in the past, check out my post called I Am a Circuit Rider. Life in the fall, amongst other things, was a giant acclimation process and family creating time. As I lived with 23 others and the overall Circuit Riders community grew from about 30 people to 60, it took us some time to figure out what life would look like. To summarize, the three overarching activities of the fall were college campuses, a tent revival, and creating social media and web platform tools.
To start with, we broke into groups anywhere from 3 to 10 people in size to start going to weekly meetings on college campuses around the Los Angeles area. The reason we did this is because we strongly believe that God wants to move on college and high school campuses to reach young people with his love. The best way to reach them is to be on campuses right alongside them. The campuses I was most involved with were California State University Northridge (CSUN) and Azusa Pacific University (APU).
CSUN is a commuter school with just over 40,000 students enrolled. Unfortunately, most Christian college groups like Campus Crusade or Intervarsity have encountered difficulty in gathering students on this campus. Since Circuit Riders had not worked on this campus before, a couple of my friends and I began developing relationships on this campus by meeting with Intervarsity students as well as college leaders from a church in the area. This spring, we have an opportunity to go speak at Intervarsity and we are hoping to start a prayer movement on this campus. In the time we spent praying for this campus, we felt God was longing to pour out his Spirit as a river over this campus that is so in need of him.
APU has a special place in my heart because it is the school where my sister Victoria attended college. Every Sunday night, there is a church called The Gathering that meets just off campus and is attended almost exclusively by APU students. We brought a group of nearly ten people there for most of the fall to build relationships and stir up the spiritual waters of Azusa. APU is an interesting school to reach because they are a Christian school that actually does not allow Christian clubs on campus except for Younglife. I’m not entirely sure of the history, but some things happened in the past that made the campus leadership leery of outside groups. They rely solely on their daily chapels to give students their fill of fellowship and worship.
Pray for us to have open doors to reach students at APU with the power of Holy Spirit and his desire for intimate relationship with them. Although most students at APU believe in Jesus, many of them fall back on their upbringing in Christ and have not yet experienced a powerful encounter with Holy Spirit. As we transition from the fall into the spring, God has quickened in me a desire for APU’s students and I hope to start a men’s Bible study or prayer group that meets on a weekly basis to encourage one another and go after God!
The Tent LA
We hosted a tent revival! Yes, we really did. Ten years ago, a prophetess named Jill Austin spoke a word about a group of people called Circuit Riders who were not in existence at the time. Among other things, she prophesied that Circuit Riders would set up tents of prayer and worship and would reach people through tent evangelism. On a separate note, God had been speaking to the leaders of our community about setting up tents. When we discovered the Jill Austin word, it was only waiting for God’s perfect timing before we setup our first tent.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, and each word counts as person, then a picture of the tent would show you exactly how many people it holds. We have access to a tent that holds 1,000 people and we set it up at a park called Hoover Recreation Center which is just a couple blocks north of University of Southern California’s campus. After weeks of going door-to-door in the nearby neighborhoods, inviting people to the tent, we began the event. On November 13th and 14th, we did evenings of worship at the tent and members of the community began to trickle in. Through one-on-one interactions, we had about five people each of the first two nights give their lives to the Lord.
The culmination of the tent was on Saturday the 15th. We hosted a family day for the community where we blew up four bouncy houses, handed out hot dogs, ran a basketball tournament, and had a bunch of fun and free activities for kids. Towards the evening we raffled off free soccer balls, bikes, and gift cards, and then drew everyone into the tent itself. For the next couple of hours, we worshiped the Lord and gave short messages on the goodness of the Lord and how much He loves Los Angeles. In response to an alter call, we believe about 30 people gave their lives to the Lord as they experienced his love for them. Praise God!
The first tent did not draw quite as many people as we hoped, but it was a success. Dozens were ushered into the kingdom of God and our simple obedience opened up doors to host additional tent events in the future. In 2015, we are going to try to put the tent back up 10-12 times in parks around Los Angeles. Although it seems 200 years outdated, we feel God wants us to put tents up. We are simply going to obey him and see what happens!
Web Platforms and Social Media
One of the ways Circuit Riders believes God wants to influence America is through social media and web platform tools. Lead by Nic Brennt and Jeremy Bardwell, the Circuit Riders media team worked hard this fall to put together websites, promotional videos, and social media campaigns. Although a lot of the websites that were built are not quite up, they will be released soon and are intended to launch people from America into the mission’s field. Nationally, we are in the process of planning and implementing a tour called Carry the Love which will go to 70-80 cities in the U.S. this spring! More on this to come soon, but for now you can search Facebook for our Carry the Love page to see what we have posted so far. For all of my Missoula friends, it looks like Carry the Love may be coming to Missoula at the beginning of March. I’ll write a new blog post on just that once more information comes together.
I wish I had more to show you, but in short, God is opening doors in many sectors of society to see his name glorified and lifted up. I am so excited to be a part of what He’s doing and continue to work to influence this nation for Jesus.
I mentioned earlier that I was planning on finding a job right away but then God told me to start working with Circuit Riders exclusively. As the fall continued, I kept asking God what he wanted me to do. Eventually, right before Thanksgiving, I got my answer. The Lord released me to continue working with Circuit Riders full-time and to start raising support to become a “missionary” to America.
When I graduated back in May, I couldn’t have seen this coming. However, through the past six months, God creatively formed a masterly working of events to show me how trustworthy He is and to take my heart on a journey that allowed it to say “yes!” to his calling. I don’t know how long this season will last, but I know that I trust my God and that He is fully capable of satisfying my needs and guiding my steps in life. He is guiding your steps right now as well and I would love to hear stories of God’s faithfulness in your life. If you ever want to hear more of what God’s doing here in So Cal, call me, Facebook me, or continue reading my blog. I love you guys and hope God richly blesses you today with His presence.