In December 1977, Carolyn entered the church on the hill with her friends from California Baptist College (now University), and joined the church in singing happy birthday to Pastor Greg. It was her first Sunday night at Harvest. The teaching was so unlike what she grew up with; she found herself immediately calling her mom when she got home to share about this amazing church she had found. In looking back on her 41 years at Harvest, she recognizes that with Pastor Greg as their pastor, her family has had a spiritual stability she didn’t have when she was younger. Growing up, the pastors at her church stayed for only two years; and yet, the faithfulness of a pastor in one location establishes consistency in the congregation’s walk with the Lord.
In March 1979, Paul walked into a Sunday night service and “saw a young dude with a head full of hair and face full of hair and he was the pastor.” Paul sat listening to the message, and at the end of the service he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. To this date, Harvest has been the only church home he has ever known.
There came a point in time when Paul realized he needed to start serving the church, so he became one of the new-convert counselors, and that is where he met Carolyn. Sunday nights were huge, with many people coming forward, and after the service they would have afterglows with an extended time of worship. It was an exciting time in their lives; they were a close-knit community, growing in their faith. One evening, as the group stood in a circle holding hands, Paul realized Carolyn was standing next to him. “God brought us together,” they shared, “The closer you get to God–it’s like a pyramid–the closer you will get to your future spouse.” Paul asked Carolyn out to eat, and she saw him every day of her life after that. They got married in the sanctuary by Pastor Steve Alley and have been married now for 34 years.
Today, Carolyn shares, “If I could pinpoint anything, I am grateful for Harvest because I still want to know more. They foster something in me that continues to want to grow and learn. I am exposed to many things that keep me hungry.”
There is “value in having roots. . . . Paul made sure we were planted here every Sunday. A discipline that we have always lived by as a family. Going to church we give God the glory and we glorify Him as a group. . . . Harvest is our faith home.” It is important to plant yourselves in the church, serving (Psalm 92:13). Harvest can’t do anything without the behind-the-scenes work. It is a joy to serve.
“We have made attending and serving at the Harvest Crusade in Anaheim a family tradition. From a young age, we’ve tried to foster a love for the crusades in our children (Robbie, Elyse, and Danielle). It’s been a huge blessing to watch them branch out and serve at the crusades in many different ways. They all served as junior-high students passing out flyers at the gate, leaders for the SWAT team groups, and now Robbie works full time in the Marketing department and helps run the merchandise tables at all the crusades.”
It is a “rewarding thing to see your kids grow up and have their own faith. . . . We are forever grateful to Pastor Jon Lee and Pastor Brad Jr. They laid such a good foundation for our kids. Junior high is a pivotal age. They taught our kids how to have a relationship with God and all three of our kids said that was a pivotal time in their life. Those pastors made a huge impact on their life.”
“Today, we believe this is all fruit from those early years of being faithful to lay those God-honoring traditions and staying planted in God’s House.”