By Becky St. Clair
Klenth Sasil moved to Moreno Hills Church last fall and became the youngest Filipino pastor in the conference.
“I wasn’t sure where to start,” the youth pastor admits. “When you get done at the seminary, there’s a lot to process, and I just felt lost.”
He started by asking his senior pastor for a work space that could double as a youth hangout. His request was granted, and he set up CAFE Life: Community, Authenticity, Friendship, and Experience.
“I wanted to create a space where we could all just be real with each other and do life together,” he explains.
As their first contribution to 2022’s year of evangelism, Moreno Hills youth created an evangelistic series for young people called “The Pursuit: Finding meaning and purpose in Christ,” which took place over five Sabbaths in January and February. As a result of their partnership with the Holy Spirit, 12 people were baptized.
“Our focus was really the heart of God,” Sasil says. “We wanted to provide a chance for people to encounter God’s presence in an intimate way.”
And, according to Sasil, the series was a success.
“It’s not about having a fancy program or the number of baptisms,” he says; “It’s about seeing people transformed by finding a new pursuit in their lives. That’s God at work.”
Sasil is enjoying seeing the youth become more at home in their church. CAFE Life provides a comfortable space where they can ask tough questions and have real conversations, and they’ve started inviting friends to come too.
“They are very curious,” Sasil says. “They want to know what it means to be a Christian and they’re looking for someone to share their struggles.”
The church has been very supportive of CAFE Life. They offer financial support, furnish spaces, provide branded shirts for the youth, and even cook for them. The group gets together outside church at the lake, at restaurants, and for vespers at members’ homes.
Sasil says there are conversations taking place between several area churches to make CAFE Life regularly available to all their youth and young adults, and to coordinate regular joint vespers programs. Their goal is to create a strong program that also includes youth who aren’t yet part of the church.
“We’re just doing what we’re doing,” Sasil explains, “going where the young people are and focusing on relationship-building. Evangelism isn’t always sermons and Revelation–sometimes it’s just creating a safe space where we can show authenticity and experience Jesus.”
By Dolly Moen
Living back east with college degrees, Ash and Satiya never dreamed that they would ever be homeless in Desert Hot Springs. After an 8 mile walk from Morongo Valley, they were exhausted and dehydrated. With no place to go, they sat in front of a business complex.
With his wife in the hospital, Russ Crumpacker decided to grab a bite to eat. When he got out of the car, he saw the two homeless people, and invited Ash and Satiya to eat with him. They could not believe that Crumpacker would want to be seen with them, especially after the way they looked. Expecting rain that night, he also took them to the store and bought them more blankets and a tarp to keep them dry. When he dropped them off in the Morongo Springs Nature Preserve, he gave Ash and Satiya his phone number.
The next day, they made the decision to reach out to Crumpacker. He brought them home while praying all the way. With cracked ribs and a wife with a recent hip replacement, both caused by recent falls, he needed work done around his place. He invited them to stay and help, paying them for the projects that he would have paid other people.
He brought them to church in Desert Hot Springs the next Sabbath. Ash and Satiya felt like they had found home. In the first study with Cecelia St. Clair, the church’s bible worker, Ash and Satiya accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Sabbath morning, April 16, was a very meaningful Communion and Easter Service. The morning was brought full circle when Crumpacker and Glenn Munson, Desert Hot Springs pastor, baptized Ash and Satiya together, with strong support from their new church family.
What they did not know was that the Desert Hot Springs “Church on Fire” prayer group was meeting every Friday evening in the sanctuary to pray for their church family, community and their leadership. Hands had been laid on the very pew where they sat, and prayed for while they were meeting Russ. Led by Dee Lee, prayer ministry leader, “Church on Fire” is a group that comes together every Friday evening to pray. They close the evening by physically placing their hands on the pews and praying for the person who will be sitting in that seat. As a result, God continues to send new people from the community to fill those seats. It is clear the Holy Spirit is at work in Desert Hot Springs church.