2018 Outreach: The Extreme Tour – Prescott, AZ 10.17.18
Prescott is 5,368 feet above sea level which means that the air is a little thinner; but also, it’s a little cooler as well. Although we were in the dessert mountains, the temperature hovered somewhere around the 40 degree mark for the first two days that we were there . . . Not what I was expecting for Arizona. On top of the cool temperatures, our outreach mission on day two was met with a steady drizzle (I was told by a local that this was a pretty significant event).
The cold and the moisture didn’t stop us from going out in the community; but, it seemed as if everyone else took note of it and stayed inside. I tagged along with the hardcore Christian punk band “Desiring Dead Flesh” and Christian funk band “Ignation” to downtown Prescott and an area known by locals as ‘Whiskey Row’.
As I noted previously, there really wasn’t much action due to the weather. We wandered the shops looking for anyone to interact with (I did pick up a bar of apple spice milk soap in one shop – it smelled absolutely amazing). We strolled past the bars on Whiskey Row; but, there wasn’t a lot of action there either. Finally, Adam, the drummer from Desiring Dead Flesh, suggested that we hunt for a geocache that his geocaching app indicated was within our vicinity. So for the next several minutes, that’s what we did . . .
With Adam in the lead, we followed the directions from the geocaching app trying to find the location of the cache. I use the term follow loosely because at one point, Adam got distracted by a random trail that lead underneath a sketchy bridge and off into a wooded area. Yes, we followed the trail even though I made my trepidations abundantly clear.
Several minutes later and nearly a half mile off course, we emerged from the trail and back into civilization. Now remember – it’s cold and wet outside; and, because I was not anticipating such a low temperature when I was preparing for this trip, all I had was a hoody that was doing nothing to keep me warm. Needless to say, I was a little over the whole geocaching thing; but, I played a long like a trooper because I like Adam – he’s a good kid (and it was pretty cool when we actually did find the cache).
After our adventure downtown, we decided to head over to the park where the event was to be held so that we could check it out. When we arrived, we met up with our tour lead, Sam. At the park, we saw a small group of people with their dogs sitting under the pavilion. As we got closer, we could tell that they were transient; so, Sam and I went over to them and began a conversation.
It turned out that they were sleeping in the park and had been doing so for some time. They also seemed pleasantly surprised that we were engaging with them (we found out later that people usually go out of the way to avoid them). We met their dogs (two beautiful pit bulls, a german sheppard and a terrier); and, we shared with them why we were in town; and in particular, why we were at their park. I’m not sure if it was because they really didn’t have anywhere else to go; but, they seemed genuinely interested in our event and said they would be there for it the next day. Consequently, we shared our experience with the pastor that was hosting us in Prescott; and, he ended up going back to the park that night to take them some hand warmers to help them to endure the cold.
The next day (event day), the sky was clear and the temperature was on the rise. We were expecting the high to get around 61 degrees by show time. We made our way to the park so that we could begin set up; and, our new friends were there and greeted us the way that you would expect old friends to greet each other . . . they were genuinely happy to see us. To our surprise, one of the lady’s we met the night before, Diana, had invited a special guest to come and hang out with her for the event – her young son Stanley. Diana had arranged a visitation with Stanley through DCF so that he could be a part of our event. We all immediately fell in love with Stanley.
Before we got started with set up, our host pastor brought us lunch to the park. I asked our tour lead and logistics manager if it would be okay to share some of our food with our friends. We didn’t have much, so I was willing to forego my portion so that Stanley, his mom and the others could eat. They both agreed; and, as we were having lunch, I made plates for our homeless friends as well. Amazingly, like with the five loaf’s and two fish, we had enough food to feed the entire tour, our friends at the park and enough for seconds if anyone wanted it. God is amazing!!
As the event was getting started, we had an issue with our power in the middle of the first band’s set. We were all a little on edge fearing that this would be a sign of how the day would progress; but, God had a greater plan. The first band quickly adjusted to an acoustic set and really drew the attention of the crowd. The power did come back on; but, had it not, God had already shown us that He was about to move mightily!
Throughout the event, more and more people showed up to the park. Some played volleyball next to our stage while others took tons of pictures in front of the different bands as they performed. There were also a lot of dogs outside of the four that we had already met. Prescott was probably one of the most fun events we have had on the entire tour!
I performed in the ‘relate’ slot for this event, going on after Park 7 – a Finnish Christian pop-punk band. The high altitude and thin air challenged me during my set; but, by the grace of God, I pulled it off. When I was done with my set, I was greeted by a man who was a member of our host pastor’s church (our host pastor’s church is a biker church). He wrapped his arms around me and lifted me off the ground in a massive bear hug. As he embraced me, he asked me to promise him that I would come back again because he was moved by my story . . . It is amazing what God will reveal when we focus on Him!!