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  • Writer's pictureJonny Nelson

Cali Dream Trip Report

Cali Dream Trip Report

We were watching a high speed chase on the TV as we ate breakfast in our hotel. Then the sound of chopper blades and sirens became real as the vehicle on TV smashed into a box truck outside our window. Cops jumped out guns drawn and the vehicle took off again down the road… welcome to Los Angeles! JSAW’s staff took a crew of 5 young guys on a dream skateboard trip for three days in LA to visit the most famous skatepark in the world; The Berrics.

Thursday we visited Homeboy Industries and met a former gang member who was shot 34 times, stabbed twice and run over by a car 4 times. Six months ago he was living in a dumpster fresh out of prison. Now God is at work transforming his life! We skated all day at a few different skateparks around LA and had a good time. We hit Ephesians 4:17-32 and talked about speaking only that which is helpful for building others up, eliminating unwholesomeness, which seemed to be quite difficult for our crew. A few of the guys shared why they are not Christians. Others shared how, even though they believe in God, they just don’t really care to act how the Bible instructs us. It was good to get real and understand where each of the guys are at in their faith journey.

Friday we visited the Berrics. It’s a private facility for the pro’s and we had it all to ourselves for awhile. And then the pro’s started coming. It was surreal to skate there and then to watch the best of the best… It is something the guys will never forget. They knew this is something they would probably never get the chance to do again so we stayed all day. Then we visited Skid Row, the home of the largest homeless population in the United States. We went with our friend Buck from Christian Skaters and the Dream Center a local non-profit that provides relief work there on a regular basis. It is smelly, dirty and sad. People screaming at each other, needles laying around, homes made of trash lined the sidewalks. Our crew bravely handed out water, cracker jacks, cookies and Cheetos. We prayed for several people as we walked. The guys were shocked and moved to see people living like this, even more to see people singing and sharing their joy with us. It was another transformational moment.

Saturday we drove to Venice beach skatepark and after skating for a bit at the iconic park on the beach, we rented some surfboards and played in the ocean. We talked about James 4:6, how “God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.” The discussion quickly went to the night before at Skid Row and how no one wants to live in humble circumstances like that. We talked about the difference between living in humble circumstances and having a humble heart and attitude. Again something our crew was heavily struggling with! Then we jumped a plane ride home.

Trips like this are not easy. We get pushed to the max physically, mentally and emotionally. Everyone was exhausted everyday. I think the biggest takeaway will be the organic moments: helping a stranger jump his car, turning down the guys offering us acid at the skatepark, or just being kind to the drunk dude who wanted to borrow a skateboard. All of these are teachable moments, where the guys get to see how our faith works in the real world. Everyday we dug into God’s word, we prayed throughout the day, served the poor, and experienced memories that will last a lifetime. Moments of transformation as we make riders into disciples!

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