After months of preparation, Carry The Love (CTL) hit the road. We left on February 28th from Huntington Beach and drove up to Salt Lake City where we were warmly welcomed by David and Shaina Sunwall and their new baby, Samuel. They are good friends of mine who opened up their home for us with hospitality that was unprecedented. After leaving their house, we drove through a wild snowstorm and eventually made it up to Missoula, Montana, for our first tour stop.
To give you an idea of how the CTL tour stops come about, we started planning for each location by reaching out to contacts at different universities. Since I graduated from the University of Montana, I was acquainted with Scott Barnett and his Chi Alpha crew on campus. Scott delegated three of his student leaders to rally for the event and we all started working. The student leaders booked a room on campus, blitzed Facebook with invites to the event, and we handed out and posted flyers on campus. By the night of the event, we had people show up from Chi Alpha, Intervarsity, a local church called Zootown, and other groups. One of the main goals of our CTL nights is to unite different campus groups unto seeing their campus reached through collaborative love.
In the midst of our second snowstorm in as many days, we opened the Carry The Love tour in an underground auditorium at U of M. We had probably 50 people attend that first night, but it was a great group! The night started with 30-40 minutes of worship, then I preached for about 5 minutes on hope, and three others wrapped up with short messages on faith and love. The event concludes with dancing, joyful worship and a call to pledge our lives to be love activists like Jesus was. By the end of the night, students were jumping up and down, smiling, and feeling free to dream again in the Lord. The best part was that a self-professed homosexual strongly encountered the presence of the Lord and gave his life to Christ! He had experienced some tough rejection in the past and our bass player, Gem, loved on him like crazy. Seeing a former homosexual give his life to the Lord as the first fruits of salvation on the tour was so exciting! Once all of the excitement died down and we packed up, we left that night for Spokane in the midst of (you guessed it!) another snowstorm.
In order, the rest of our Northwest stops included Whitworth University (Spokane), Seattle Pacific University, University of Washington (Seattle), University of Oregon (Eugene), Oregon Stage (Corvallis), and UNLV (Vegas). Now that you know the general layout of the nights, I will hit on a few highlights from the other nights.
At the University of Oregon we had some pushback for gathering corporately on campus, so instead we met with a few student leaders for evangelism on campus and a night of worship. We were only on campus for less than an hour, but one of the guys in our group lead a kid to the Lord and a group of our girls prayed for a girl who had experienced pain in her leg for the past two years but was completely healed! That night, we were joined by a group of worshippers from Bethel School of Worship and went up on a mountaintop to worship.
My favorite night of the tour was at Oregon State. Our worship team was joined by two ladies singing from the Bethel team and a guy drumming. I actually had the privilege of playing lead guitar for each stop of the tour, so playing with some Bethel worshippers was a blast. Anyway, Oregon State pulled in over 100 students for the night that were ready to worship and become love activists. Sammy Rodriguez presented a powerful message on how Jesus loved, stemming mostly from the woman at the well in John 4 and the woman caught in adultery in John 8. Eight college kids responded by giving their lives to the Lord!
Although the tour stops themselves have to be the highlights of the trip, some of the moments spent with our group of 15 Circuit Riders who went on the trip, really made it enjoyable. From Gem claiming that his new rap single was coming out soon (every single time the camera was on him), to Chip’s stories of his southern family, to Chase’s alter ego known as Frank Templeton (who has never lost at anything), to seeing my best friends Justin and Paige Hartford, we had so much fun. We even had the wild experience of driving through town and meeting with a college pastor and a college football player from Western Oregon. Sitting down to lunch, we learned all about their amazing ministry at Western Oregon and then encouraged them and prayed for them. The football player, a big Samoan named Spill, was in tears by the end of the meeting because the Lord showed up so strongly.
These are just a few of the amazing testimonies of what the Lord did on the Northwest tour. Shortly after returning, I felt the Lord leading me to go on the Northeast part of the tour as well. Right now, we are blazing through U Penn, Kutztown, Penn State, and other schools. Please pray for us as we pour ourselves out daily to see students changed by the Gospel of Jesus. He is alive and he is saving!