Our search for Shepherds in Action often allows us to interview interesting people and hear amazing stories. This week, though, it was being pulled into a well-told encounter with a young lady named Angel that captured our attention and demonstrated remarkable Shepherds in Action. As you read on, please understand that a “rave” is an all-night dance party with EDM (Electronic Dance Music) amazing visual/lighting effects, with 90% (on average) of the attendees using drugs. Raves are held at a variety of venues including clubs, parks, and stadiums. In the story below, the rave was held at local fairgrounds in a pretty rough part of town. Here, a “Rave Mom” or “Rave Dad” is an adult Christian older parent or grandparent who deliberately places themselves at or near a rave event – not to endorse or host the event, but to provide protection and a safe sanctuary for these young people, hoping to show them the love of Jesus they may never have before experienced. We think you should hear about these “shepherds in action,” and if you would like more information about the organization that reaches these kids, please contact us at info@PresencePoint.com
We usually change the names when we share the stories of young people we have met and helped at raves. This time, we are going to use her real name, because
it's at the heart of this story. And, because of that, we are not going to include any photos of her... even from a distance. Just picture this in
your mind's eye...
Here's her story.
Our team met up to worship and pray in preparation for the outreaches over New Year's weekend. Rave dad Wayne shared with the team that during prayer, he believed that God showed him that there would be a girl at the rave that would need us... and that her name was Angel...
The girl had been walking around the outside of the rave venue for 5 hours, stopping for a little while at a restaurant to get warm, until they kicked her out. They were closing and she hadn't ordered anything. She couldn't. Her debit card, along with her ID, her phone, and her entrance ticket had been stolen while she was walking through the huge crowd headed towards the venue. She felt it being lifted out of her back pocket, but when she turned, the thief was nowhere to be seen. Her name was Angel, and she was becoming desperate as the weather turned colder and colder in the night.
This wasn't how she'd planned to spend her New Year's Eve. This was to be her first rave experience. She'd come with her 18-year-old sister and a friend. When the two discovered that Angel's ticket was stolen and she couldn't go in, they apologized, and hurried through the entrance without her, explaining that they'd spent way too much money on their own tickets to miss the rave. They were in such a hurry that they didn't think to leave the car key with Angel so she could at least stay inside it to keep warm and safe until the rave let out at 2 a.m.! Without a phone, Angel couldn't call them to bring the key back. They disappeared into the rave.
Just two weeks earlier, Rob had come up with an idea to create a sign to hang in the front window of the RV. He didn't want it to be too flashy or professional looking...just enough to let kids passing by know that we were there for them and listing the ways we were ready to help. We'd never done this before, so we were trying it out. Another new thing on this night... Rave Dad Ron had brought a little propane heater that we could use for kids to keep warm as they sat in chairs outside our RV for various reasons.
Does it sound to you like God was preparing all of this for Angel??!!
If it hadn't been for that sign, Angel would have kept walking...she told us that later! I was inside the RV when she walked by. She hesitated and took a step back to read the sign. When I saw her, I walked out to offer help. She just couldn't believe it! The next thing she knows, she's in a comfy chair, toasty warm with 3 blankets around her and a propane heater at her feet, while Rave mom Teri is loving on her, listening to her story, and sharing the Gospel. She kept saying how afraid she had been as the night wore on and how grateful she was to have found us. In a little while, one of the dads brought out a piping hot plate of eggplant Parmesan for her... one of her favorite dishes!
Oh God, You are sooo big!
At midnight, the team had planned to have communion together in the RV. We wondered how that would go over with our Angel. But she understood what we were doing and said that it didn't seem weird to her. So, we invited her to sit inside the RV when we all went in. Now Rave Dad Wayne had prepared a devotion to share before communion. I wish you could have all been there. It was the PERFECT message for an unsaved raver! And Wayne had no idea that Angel would be with us as he was planning that devotion beforehand, but God did!
It was a Happy New Year after all for Angel! When her sister and her sister's friend came out of the rave, we were able to reunite them. Angel had been with us for over 4 hours. Before she left, Rave Dad Wayne was able to share with her how God had told us that He wanted us to help her. She was the Angel we were looking for.
We talked about how instead of going to a rave, God had other plans for her that night. We laughed about the miracle of the new sign in the RV window, the propane heater, and the eggplant Parmesan (which, by the way, we'd never had at a rave outreach before!). Angel said, "This was my kinda rave!"
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
Two days later, Angel contacted us through the website on the bracelet we had given her. She had gone to the website and watched the video there that shares the Gospel. Her message to us read,
"I think it's time I look more into this."
Just think about all this for a minute...
God told us her name and we prayed for her even before we met her. We had a brand-new sign to guide her to us and a brand-new propane heater to warm her when she arrived. The prayer team prayed for her for the hours she was with us. Wayne had prepared a devotion just for her. And I can't help but wonder who made the bracelet that ended up on her wrist.