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We have met such special young leaders ages 16 - 22 at our overnight Walking On Water surf camps, and as a result about a year ago we decided to launch the Walking On Water Young Leaders Camps. During the weekend of March 11th - 14th we hosted the Aspen Young Leaders camp. The weekend was absolutely blessed in every way! The Leede family hosted us in their beautiful home, we had great times of teaching, tons of laughter, and meaningful conversations. We had a powerful time of praying for each other, a packed Beyond Sight movie showing hosted by Crossroads Church in Aspen, and of course some great snowboarding and skiing. Our teachings were focused on the topics of how to be mature in our faith, how God wants to train us up for his perfect plans in our lives, and what areas of our lives God might be leading us to surrender. There were tears, laughter, some powerful breakthroughs, and some great friendships built and strengthened. We hope you or a young leader you know can join us at the next Young Leaders Camp that will most likely be in Kauai in August. For more info, email [email protected]
The Beyond Sight Showing in Vail turned out to be a great night of ministry. Pastors from 6 churches were at the movie, and many, many friends of believers came! There were over 450 people in attendance, (every seat was full-and kids were on the floor!) People were invited to churches all around the valley, and we are believing God to use the showing for His good purposes and plans!
Buck and Tara Chavarria, the founders of SK8 Church ministry (christforlifeskatechurch.com) did an amazing job hosting and promoting the Beyond Sight movie at the Chief theater in their hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The theater was packed out and the audience loved the movie. We hope to bring Derek Rabelo to Colorado in the winter of 2016 so he can learn to snowboard and inspire everyone there through more Beyond Sight movie showings. To host a showing, email [email protected]
Elizabeth Ridenour has been a fan of the WOW ministry from its very beginnings. Elizabeth’s incredible story of family, faith, losing her husband to a tragic accident, and finding the strength to carry on is a huge inspiration. We asked Elizabeth to answer a few questions and we are sharing her words here.
How and when did you first get acquainted with the Walking on Water ministry?
I saw my first Walking on Water movie, Changes, in 1999 at Virginia Beach during a premiere that I think was hosted by Christian Surfers VA Beach. The combination of the mesmerizing surfing footage and the solid testimonies created such an excitement for me! My husband, Amos, and I met in the lineup (surfing, not jail!) in 1999. We watched WOW movies constantly, eagerly awaiting new releases. We loved everything about them - the stories, the epic surf trips, the music, and the humor. Most of all, however, we appreciated how it confirmed our faith. It was encouraging to see pro surfers at the top of their game sharing Jesus regardless of what the world might think. In 2002, Amos and I got married and moved to Montana for the fly fishing and mountains. Despite being hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean, we watched WOW movies more than ever! It was a great way to stay stoked on surfing and dream of being warm again during those long, snowy winters. When we had our son, Ethan, in 2007 and our daughter, Grace, in 2012, they knew Friday movie nights meant watching WOW. From the earliest ages, both kids could sing the words to Braddigan Watchfires and the WOW soundtrack. I can describe it no better than to say that WOW simply permeated our lives, still does. I doubt a sin vgle week goes by without us watching one of the movies, listening to the music, repeating one of Matt Beacham’s funny lines to each other and laughing (Ethan’s favorite!), and definitely praying for the ministry, team, and impact.
Can you share a bit about your husband’s life, work and passing?
My husband, Amos, was a Deputy Sheriff and SWAT Team Leader. He tragically passed away September 2, 2013 in a rock climbing accident. We were married 11 years. Ethan was 6 years old and Grace was 16 months old at the time. My loss is unspeakable. I literally could not have dreamed of a better husband - his license plate was LVMYWFE, so that pretty much says it. I am not exaggerating when I say that we were blissfully happy, never wanting to be apart even for a minute. I have also never seen a more loving, attentive father on this earth. His children truly were his delight and they were constantly together. Most importantly, though, his legacy to us is his faith. He loved Jesus with all his heart. We were high school youth leaders together and he started a youth worship band. He had a passion writing worship music and leading people to the Throne in worship. He also had a heart for evangelism. We raised our children in an atmosphere where God was truly in and through all things.
His death had a huge impact on our community of Bozeman, MT. Hundreds came to his service and the streets were lined with Sheriff’s Office, Police, and Fire Department vehicles and members as the children and I drove to Amos’ service. He was such a charismatic man and was extremely bold with sharing his faith. One police officer who is a close friend of our family, Roland Moore, told me that only Amos’ death could have had such an impact because he was so fierce and dedicated as a SWAT Team Leader, yet he had such passionate faith. He was incredibly respected due to his excellence in service and that caused many to then pay attention to his faith. Searching for purpose: God very clearly wanted me to speak at Amos’ service. I shared about who Amos was and gave the Gospel message in no uncertain terms, as I knew he would have wanted. After sharing about Jesus, I included this: “Amos loved to rescue people. If he knew that through his death, even one life might be changed for eternity, then I know he would not change it. And so, we will walk this path.” I later found out that at least two people were saved as a result of his service!!!!! I pray there are others as well. PURPOSE
Though I had walked with God very closely since I was a child, I found myself asking, “Who are You?” and “Why?” It is, honestly, still a shock. I went into survival mode and my chief concern, which remains to this day, was Ethan and Grace. But in a rare moment when I was able to be alone in the month after Amos died, I hiked to the top of a mountain and sat down, looking out over the lanscape. God whispered to my heart, “This does not change Who I Am; it magnifies it.” He is Father, He is in control, He is faithful, He is Love and as much as it doesn’t seem like it, He cannot act outside of His character. We have to trust that He is in control, He has purpose in Amos’ life and purpose in Amos’ death. He loves Amos, Ethan, Grace, and me, and cannot act apart from that love, even though it certainly doesn’t seem that way. We simply have to trust. This has given my children and me an eternal perspective that will carry us through until we are a whole family again and see Jesus face to face! I have found the key to life: It’s not about this life! This world and its suffering is so temporary and God begs us throughout His Word to keep that in mind and to run the race before us to receive the prize of heaven. That is why He died - to bring us unto Himself for all eternity, not to give us the American dream here in our short existence on earth. We are clinging to Him daily, sometimes for every breath.
Suffering: God has a purpose in suffering. Look at Jesus’ life: we know the purpose of Christ’s suferrings and death - to take away our sin and give us eternal life with Him. Outside of knowing that purpose, God would seem awfully cruel to subject His own Son to such pain. So though we don’t now understand the purpose for the pain our family is suferring, we trust that our good and perfect God has purpose for it.
Not long after your husband’s death, you and your kids were a part of the WOW Surf camps! Please tell us about that!
Because we had been through so much, the summer after Amos passed away, I wanted the children to be able to have sheer fun. I always knew of the WOW surf camps and looked up the age range and sure enough, Ethan just squeaked by! He was so adventurous and athletic, plus he had it in his veins from Amos and I, so I had no doubt he would have a blast. Even at her young age, Grace was always up for anything, so I knew she would enjoy a trip as well. Some of our closest friends, the Galyen family, heard about our plans and wanted to get in on the fun. So we rented a house together in Del Mar and had an incredible trip. What amazed me was that this ministry I had followed for so long was exactly what I thought it was. When you finally get to see something up close that you’ve admired, you’re often disappointed. The opposite was true with WOW! These people were even better than I thought, truly walking the walk and living out the message they share. I was impressed that they held nothing back during devotional times on the beach - not just lightly glossing over God, but emphasizing our very real and desperate need for a Savior. We got to meet Damian Hobgood when he spoke one day. We had seen him in the movies dozens of times, so to actually shake his hand and see my kids recognize him as a Christian to look up to was priceless. Bryan even asked me to share our story with the campers. What a priviliege. It is my constant hope that God will use our pain to glorify Himself and draw others to Him, so I truly appreciated the opportunity to find purpose in my own life by encouraging the kids to build their house upon the Rock to survive any storm. The camp leaders were incredibly dedicated to the kids in the water. It was thrilling to see my precious son riding waves, triumphing a having fun despite his broken heart. My daughter also had such a good time playing on the beach during the camp. One of the greatest parts of the surf camp was seeing my son baptized in the ocean by Bryan. What a memorable experience for my family. Despite my years of faith, I had never been baptized, so I was so blessed to be baptized by Bryan that day, too! Meeting Bryan, honestly, was one of the highlights of my life. To follow a ministry for so long and to be blessed by Bryan’s efforts as a servant of Christ, and then to finally meet him and find a shining example of Jesus was life-giving. God is truly in this ministry and working powerfully to accomplish His will through the servant leaders of WOW!
Where are you living now?
About a year ago, we moved to Florida to be closer to family, so the surfing life and tradition in my little family has been reborn! Important, I think, given how it all started...
Do you have any Bible verses that represents your journey?
Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your story! We are so thankful to be a part of your story of faith, and look forward to growing with your beautiful family in the years to come!
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” - Isaiah 43:2
Elizabeth Ridenour’s story reminds us of two important things: 1. We do not know what tomorrow holds. 2. Even if we face our greatest fears, God will still be with us.
The uncertainty of tomorrow ought to spur us on to embrace today. How are we using our time? Perhaps we need to make some adjustments. We might want to mend some broken relationships, show more love, offer more grace to people in our lives. Every day counts and if you talk to anyone who has lost a loved one they will tell you not to waste a single day! Knowing God is always with us brings amazing assurance. Elizabeth, who described her own marriage as “blissfully happy”, tragically lost her husband two years ago. As devastating as this was, Elizabeth found assurance as she clung to the Lord through it all. She chose Isaiah 43:2 to represent her journey. God has been with her. She is walking through her loss with a bold confidence that God will use all things for her good and His glory. Every day counts, and God is always with us. There may be no more important message than this! Embrace the life God has given you and trust Him deeply to take care of you no matter what. Be bold in faith and love, and your testimony will be great!
The Beyond Sight movie showings (Sponsored by Scosche!) at the Century 10 Cinemark movie theater in downtown Ventura were such a reminder of what a great inspirational movie Beyond Sight is! Our team was very encouraged by the SOLD OUT showings and the audience reactions! We even had 3X World Surf Champion Tom Curren play a few songs for us. Bryan Jennings’ long time friends Roger & Melissa Thompson along with Jason Walters were the “City/Theater Hosts” who worked hard to bring together many of the local churches and schools to pack out the theaters! We plan to go back to Ventura in April and also will be planning many more Beyond Sight movie showings in every city where we have a “THEATER HOST”. To be a “THEATER HOST” you simply need to be willing to step out in faith to work together with our planning team to show the Beyond Sight movie in your local movie theater, working together with your local churches, schools, and ministries. Also Derek Rabelo is planning a few Beyond Sight movie showings in his hometown and other cities in Brazil in April and May.
We are excited to announce that the Cinemark movie theater chain has expressed interest in our self distribution model and wants us to put the Beyond Sight movie in their movie theater locations around the nation. We will need your help to bring friends to the theaters or to become one of our theater hosts! OUR FIRST MISSION IS TO FILL UP THE THEATER LOCATIONS LISTED BELOW DURING THE DATES OF APRIL 22ND - APRIL 27TH!
FYI: Any City Can Be Added To This List
We are especially looking to partner with church, ministry, school, and business leaders in these listed cities or in your city. They can contact [email protected] or call 760-438-1111. The movie will play like a normal film at least three times per day in these locations starting Friday, April 22nd and ending Thursday, April 28th. If the movie does well in the first week then it will stay another week in that location. You can find a list of all Cinemark, Century 10, CineArts, Tinseltown, and Rave Cinema theaters at www.cinemark.com
First memories of WOW films: Vince Alves remembers watching Walking on Water videos while attending Westmont college in Santa Barbara in the late 90’s. Soon after he graduated, Vince worked with a mission organization in Portugal to begin Christian Surfers Portugal. They used some of the early WOW videos to share Jesus with the local community.
Getting reconnected: Vince works with his family at Scosche, the company his parents started out of their garage 36 years ago. Scosche Industries is now internationally recognized as an award-winning innovator of consumer technology and car audio products. They maintain offices in three U.S. States plus Hong Kong. When Jason Walters recently joined the company and told him about his involvement with Beyond Sight, the Alves family was on-board to get involved as well. To Vince it was like reconnecting with an old friend.
The importance of the WOW films: Vince believes that inspirational stories need to be told, and for that reason he appreciates the WOW films. “As humans we have short memory issues when it comes to God’s power, Grace, and ability to overcome life’s challenges; God showed his wonders to the world in the Old Testament, He gave us Jesus as a human example of a sinless life and ultimate sacrifice for our sins, and knowing our short memory issues, God continues to give us modern day examples of what is possible through Him. I, for one, need daily reminders and “Beyond Sight” can Inspire those who need inspiration, give perspective for those who need perspective, and encourage faith for those that need it.”
Vince’s thoughts about being a business owner, partnering with ministries like Walking on Water:
Vince believes that from a business ROI (return on investment) perspective, it’s nice to partner with ministries like WOW to expose your brand or company to a youthful market in a positive way. But more importantly, Vince says, “I believe we are all called to contribute our time, talent and/or treasure in whatever way we can. Before joining Scosche full time, and starting a family, I had nothing but time, so I dedicated my time to the Lord and went on Mission for a little over a year. Now I have no time, so as my life situation changes I give of my treasure to promote someone else’s talent.
We are grateful to be reconnected to Vince and the Alves family, and appreciate partnering with them for some of our Beyond Sight Showings.
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