Special Forces – Canoga Park, CA

Jim Van GelderenSpecial Forces Updates

In the summer of 2010, I was visiting and explaining our ministry to some pastors in southern California who had Christian schools. My last meeting was with Pastor Tim Rasmussen. Since that time we have come to Faith Baptist Church in Canoga Park three times. This week was a busy week, and at times, I was not sure what the Lord was doing, but it ended with a bang on Friday night! We love working with the youth pastor and his wife, Matt and Irene Connors, as well as the rest of the staff!

Jeremy, the Mighty Marine team captain, was recruiting teenagers by a gas station near Canoga Park High School. He met a respectful young man who was with a group of friends. After Jeremy invited him to the War of Special Forces, he went into the gas station. When he came out of the station, Jeremy felt led of the Lord to talk to him some more. At the end of conversation, he promised, “I’ll be coming!” At the first night’s invitation, he responded and was very serious about his need of salvation. Before he was led to the Lord, he told the personal worker that he did not know how to pray. Afterwards, Jeremy talked to him and Jeremy noticed that he was at peace about his salvation.

There was a young lady who was impacted by Gabe’s testimony about hiding things behind parents’ back. She gave this testimony on Friday night.

“For the past few days it was a gigantic rollercoaster for me. Last summer I got into some sin that all started with some disobedience toward my parents. And I thought that if I were to only confess it to God, I would be done with it, I would be forgiven – which is true. He forgave me. However, I still felt burdened that I didn’t confess it to my parents. Yesterday when Gabe told me his testimony, it REALLY hit home for me because I knew that I had to tell somebody that that happened…what happened. And last night I wrote a letter to my mom because it was SO difficult to tell it to her face. But she came and I gave her the…rather, one of the women counselors gave her the letter and she read it. And with God’s undeserving grace she accepted me. And I thought my consequences were going to be so terrible, but it wasn’t. I mean, the devil lies and it was nothing. And I have the most sweetest feeling in my heart. And the night…last night, God says that He gives sweet sleep to all the believers and that was the most sweetest sleep I’ve felt in the past 3 years! And I have been blessed!”

A young man heard that testimony and thought, “I can do that.” He wrote a letter to his parents to be honest about what he was doing behind their back. It is always a blessing to see a young person’s testimony challenge another to do the right thing.

There were many good testimonies. Many were on the fact that when we live the Christian life, it needs to be total dependence on the Lord. This testimony articulates what several said.

“I’ve been saved for about six years. And when I first got saved, I was like, ‘Man, this is awesome!’ I would wake up in the morning, read my Bible and stuff. And since then it’s kind of become almost stale. It’s like, wake up 6:00, read your Bible, check it off. Before I go to sleep at night, read my Bible, pray, check it off. But you don’t really get anything out of it. I’d be sitting there and I’d be like, ‘Man, this is kind of pointless almost.’ Then you kind of think to yourself, ‘Well, am I really saved?’ And this past week this morning when Dr. Jim spoke on it, it’s not 50/50, it’s not 60/40, it’s 0/100 and it really clicked. People always speak about it a lot, total surrender to God and it just flies over my head. I don’t know, but today for the first time, it really made sense.”

There also were many other great testimonies. A few are below! The first is by a young man the Ranger captain, Wyatt, dealt with and challenged him to get right with his parents about things he was doing behind their back.

“I’ve been living in sin and hiding stuff behind my parents’ back that I shouldn’t have. And also . . . haven’t had the right relationship with my parents past year and I was just convicted by Brother Van Gelderen’s message on Wednesday about getting right . . . I went home. I talked to my parents about it. Got right with them. And ever since I’ve felt so free. And . . . believe me, it’s been a great joy. And I encourage you guys to do the same if you’re having the same problems as me.”

“I had always been one of those people who was like, you know, ‘If somebody else goes back, then I’ll go back.’ But God really touched my heart about that tonight, about . . . about that this week and just that, you know, ‘Who cares what anybody else thinks? If God’s working in your heart, than just go.’ And I would really just encourage all you guys, don’t worry about what other people think. If God’s working in your heart, you know, that’s all that matters really is your relationship with God.”

“For many years I’ve struggled with certain sins, and I’ve been trying to deal with them alone. And this week God dealt with me that . . . I’m not alone, and I can depend on certain people, and I can depend on Him.”

The week really ended on an unbelievable high note. The testimonies were plentiful and powerful!

About the Author
Jim Van Gelderen

Jim Van Gelderen

Dr. Jim Van Gelderen is president of Minutemen Ministries, vice-president of Baptist College of Ministry, and evangelist out of Falls Baptist Church. He and his wife, Rhonda, travel the country in evangelism. They have three daughters.