Wednesday, January 21, 2004

hmmm...i had to write this quick essay for my youth ministry major on the last year or so of ministry..
i ended up writing about universoul the outreach rave festival we did in may 2003. its amazing to
look back and see God's faithfulness...mmhmm...i wanted to quit so many times, but i guess it was
likes God's training ground for me to kill some lions and bears...so maybe one day i can kill a goliath eh?

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The last year of ministry was full of surprises. In November 2002 I joined a new postmodern church called “The River Church Community.” Before I joined I was serving as a Youth for Christ missionary to the high school campuses. A friend invited me to visit this church in Sunnyvale Ca. Upon my first visit the senior pastor and four other pastors greeted me by name. I was surprised they all knew my name before I even knew theirs. They knew me because an intercessor had been reporting to them the ministry work I had been doing on the campuses specifically at San Jose State University. I had no clue the day I visited was their last service in Sunnyvale and the following week they would move their entire congregation to the San Jose State campus. It was a divine connection. For months God had been burdening my heart for the university students of San Jose State, yet I couldn’t find a church that had the same burden. Suddenly, God connected me with the right church at the right time for a specific purpose. What unfolded in the following six months was a truly a miracle.

The River Church had heard about a few outreach events I produced to SJSU students earlier in the year and asked me for advice on how to reach the students. As we talked, it became clear God was calling us forth to join forces to reach the campus. They were encouraged to hear about two outreach events I did where a few dozen students stood up and gave their life to Christ during the middle of the day outside in the campus amphitheater. I told them how the associated student body government actually invited me to motivate their political party with faith during their campaign and personally sponsored the outreach event. This was unheard of because the associated student government officers were all non-Christians and knew perfectly well it was going to be an evangelistic event. The most interesting miracle was after the second evangelistic event the student body president told me, “This is the best event we have ever had at SJSU you must do it again but on a larger scale!” Even though they were not Christ followers, they were touched by God’s Holy Spirit and I knew this was an open door from God for us to do something major for Him on the campus.

After the River pastors heard the details of this story they hired me on full time to produce a large-scale outreach event at San Jose State. This was an answer to my prayers because I was praying to God somehow someway for Him to provide me the income and start up capital to pull off a massive outreach festival on the campus. I was not only paid a part time salary, but The River gave me $5000 seed money to get the outreach started.

The vision God had put in my heart was to produce a positive hip-hop rave festival with a mission to show young people they can have a good time and dance without the drugs and violence. This vision had been burning in my heart for over two years because I almost lost my closest friend to drug poisoning at a rave in San Francisco. She was a student in a sorority at San Jose State, was drugged at a rave party, went into a coma for two days and nearly lost her life. After this incident I told God I would not let this happen again to one of my friends. I prayed to God to give me a platform to show this rave hip-hop subculture that the drug “e” or ecstasy was not their answer to happiness, but the true “E” eternal life in Jesus Christ was the solution to their emptiness. Once I was hired on at The River, the provision for the vision began to come in.

In December 2002 many miracles began to happen. As I began to cast the vision to different leaders, people everywhere began to respond. Within a few weeks I formed a committee of young adults and students who were passionate about making a change in the rave culture for Christ. We agreed to name the event “UNIVERSOUL” a catchy cool name to bring unity among students with the ultimate goal to save souls. The estimated cost to produce the event was going to be $40,000. For myself as a young college student this was a huge mountain of money to raise with no experience, but I took the step of faith and trusted God.

There were three main hurdles our team needed to overcome. The first was to secure a major hip-hop celebrity to headline the event who was positive. The second was to get permission from the president and faculty of San Jose State University for us to do an evangelistic outdoor event on campus. The third was to raise the insurmountable $40,000 dollars to produce the event. It all happened by God’s grace and a whole lot of faith and prayer.

The first miracle happened when God put it on my heart to invite KRSONE to headline the event. KRS is a legendary rap artist who promotes true hip-hop culture to be positive, safe and transforming. He is the antithesis to the hip-hop rappers you hear on the radio who talk about drugs, sex and violence. Word on the street was he recently became a Christian and produced a Christ centered rap album. I knew he was the right one, but how would we afford a rap legend of his caliber? I started the process by contacting his management agency by email. They responded to me saying he would not be able to make the event because he would be touring on the east coast & also because we could not offer him his normal performance fee. I was bummed. With this news I told my pastor I didn’t think the event would be possible because I felt so strongly he had to be the headline performer. One day after I got this news my friend called me and said, “Jason you know KRSONE is performing in downtown San Jose tonight right?” I couldn’t believe my ears, I knew if I could only talk to him personally and tell him the purpose of this event he would agree to do it. By God’s grace I got into the club, snuck past the security guards and got into the V.I.P. guest room. When I got into the room KRSONE was not there but his personal bodyguard met me and told me to get lost! Right before he threw me out the room, KRSONE manager who was with the body guard said, “Wait did you say your name is Jason Ma, the guy I’ve been emailing?” The rest is history. I met with KRSONE, told him the purpose of the event was to combat against drugs, violence and to glorify Christ and he was in! He even cut down his performance fee in half and changed his entire tour schedule in order to do our event, because he said in his own words, “This is what I call a good event, something with a purpose.”

The second miracle happened when we finally got the okay from the president and faculty of San Jose State University to do the event. There was a battle in the heavenly places from December to the end of March between our prayers and the spirit of anti-Christ. The ASB fought to convince the governing faculty of the university to let us put on this evangelistic festival, but the faculty raised objections because we were a Christian organization. We almost gave up on the event because without having the location secured we had to delay everything. From promotions, performers, fundraising, vendors, everything was put on hold because we didn’t even know if we could do the event without the permission of San Jose State’s faculty board. After four months of persistence and waiting the student body vice president who was helping us throw UNIVERSOUL stood up and told the governing board of SJSU, “Look we can’t keep letting the decision to okay this event drag on, I don’t care if the ones throwing this event are Christian, KKK or Muslim, they have a right to believe in what they believe in and we should let them throw this positive event, our school needs it!” With this statement, the whole boardroom became quite and the event was unanimously approved. From the time the event was approved to the actual event was forty-five days. We had a little more than a month in a half to raise the remaining $25,000, promote the event, secure the performers, and organize over one hundred volunteers.

The third miracle we witnessed came after San Jose State’s associated student government told us, “Were sorry but if you guys don’t raise $15,000 by this coming Monday at 10am were are going to have to cancel the event to protect our liabilities.” The day they told us this was Friday. We had 72 hours to raise $15,000. As I left the room I told God, “Look if this is your vision then your going to provide the $15,000 from somewhere.” On Saturday I had no idea where the money would come from so I just prayed in my living room and remembered Jesus telling his disciples, “If you ask anything in my name and do not doubt but believe you have received what you have asked for it will be given to you.” I prayed for the $15,000 and knew in my spirit it would come someway somehow. Moments later I get a call from a lady I was introduced to at a youth conference. She told me it was her 50th birthday that night and she wanted me to share my testimony to all her lost friends at her birthday party in Los Altos Hills. I thought it was odd, but I went anyways. After I shared my dramatic street testimony to the room full of affluent adults the lady pulled me aside and asked me if she could bless me in some way. I told her about the financial need for our event and she said, “I’ll see what I can do, let me pray about it.” The next morning I received a phone call after church from a random man. He told me this lady had left me a check for our outreach event at his house in Los Gatos hills for me to pick up. I drove up into the hills with no idea what to expect. As I drove up to this gated community and walked up to this huge mansion a Chinese man opens the door and hands me a check for $10,000 dollars! It was a miracle! Not only this, but fifteen minutes later I get a call from a pastor at The River telling me they can help my financial need with a $5,000 dollar credit from their missionary account. It was too perfect! God provided exactly $15,000 within 72 hours. I walked into the ASB office on Monday morning and told the staff, “Before you say anything, here are two checks for $15,000 tell me My God provides!” They couldn’t say a word as they stood their astonished. In the next weeks God poured in the rest of the $10,000 and the event was well on its way.

To make a long story short, on the day of the event May 11, 2003 it was estimated a few thousand students attended the outdoor hip-hop rave festival. A good 80% were non-Christians. They not only experienced an incredible event with four stages, a break dance competition, DJ competition, two outdoor dance arenas, urban art exhibit and 50+ performers, but they heard testimonies from over twenty students who had their lives changed by Christ. Near the end of the event KRSONE almost didn’t make it because he got lost on the freeway. It was all God’s plan, because in order to stall time, unplanned, I gave my full-blown testimony and preached the Gospel. I gave a challenge to commit to Christ and hands all across the field shot up and shouted the sinner’s prayer! It was a beautiful sight. KRSONE did make the show and rocked it hard! God was glorified, lives were changed and a movement started. After the event we started a Bible study for the new believers in May 2003 and currently I am still leading this group of disciples at San Jose State University. In a nutshell, this event was the ministry God had me be faithful to in 2003. Although I wanted to give up time and again during the process, I look back with appreciation for God’s faithfulness to help me each step of the way to pass the test. I learned a great lesson, never give up, for you can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you.

PRAISE THE LORD! :D

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