A man with courage as tall as a tree
When you think of California, presumably the one thing that comes to mind is a day at the beach or a stroll down the streets of LA. However, that's not all California has to offer. The Axis team got to experience another, more hidden aspect of the state on our recent visit to Reedley, speaking at Immanuel Christian High School. In a small community in the midst of fruit orchards near Fresno, we were greeted by the energetic group of students there who were ready to engage us and to provide us with a captive audience. This made the presentations in both the chapel and during class times a blast to share, and we discussed topics ranging from music, to Acts 17, to our role as christians in leadership to the proper response to opposition. The students' favorite exercise was one called “Professor Socrates,” where David plays devil's advocate and ask students to provide evidence for God's existance. Several of the students became pretty passionate during the “discussions” or “debates,” but ultimately many of the students walked away wanting to find answers to the question in order to better defend what they have been persuaded of.
One of the best experiences involved spending time one afternoon with a student at a local Starbucks. In our conversation with him, we asked about his life story and, in particular, asked why he felt the need to be a spiritual leader in His school? With a grin, he began to share his story and explain that several young men and older mentors had had a profound impact on his life and caused him to see the deeper things in life besides just basketball. He shared that one of the previous seniors at the school had poured into his life and discipled him, challenging him to really step it up, invest in the lives of underclassmen, serve the community, and live with the purpose of serving the Lord. It is so refreshing to hear that there areyoung men of God in a crooked and perverse generation are willing to stand up and set the example in their school. We really enjoyed this, as well as many other conversations with the members of the student body.
On a side note, the team also got to enjoy a little bit of time off and we got the chance to explore the area. We decided to take a short road trip to Kings Canyon National park. This really helped us all to understand that there is more to California than just the beaches, hollywood, and farmland. They also have trees. Really BIG trees! The largest tree we saw was named “General Grant”. This sequoia measures about 29 feet in diameter at it’s base and is over 260 feet tall. Sequoias are known to be some of the largest trees in the world. As we stood at the base of these massive creations, it was hard not to feel small. The scenic route back down the mountain was breath-taking, as we watched the sun set over the mountains and paint the sky pink, yellow, and blue.
Reedley isn’t San Diego, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, but it is a gorgeous city, and it boasts the Immanuel School. As Immanuel means “God with us,” our prayer is that God will continue to be with the school as they seek Him, and study to show themselves approved as workmen that need not to be ashamed.