Re|engage 2017

At the end of 2015, after 7 ½ years, I took a yearlong personal sabbatical from SKAD. During my time away, I was able to gain a fresh perspective and vision for the ministry and I would like to invite you to participate in re|engage 2017 with us. 

For 2017, the plan for SKAD is to step back from the Nation-wide outreach effort with Warped Tour and to go back to the main focus and vision, which is providing a safe community for at-risk/struggling teens local to Tyler.

At the beginning of 2016, SKAD left our facility in West Tyler and relocated downtown at a coffee shop. A host of volunteers continued meeting weekly with our teens and participating in one-on-one mentoring, however throughout the year, the volunteers dwindled, but the teens remained in attendance. In December at the end of my sabbatical, my husband and I, felt the burden to step back in and lead SKAD together as a team. It was truly perfect timing because our youth-outreach volunteer, at the time, sensed God was directing her in a new path.

Here we are, 2017 and ready to re|engage with the original vision and mission and here is how you can participate:

1.    Pray without ceasing for our outreach, the teens, and our future staff and volunteers

2.    Volunteer
     a.      Administrative assistant, grant writing, accounting, fundraising, communications, etc
     b.     Serve on our board
     c.      College-aged community night leaders and mentors

3.     Contribute financially (a few examples on where funding would go, are listed below)
     a.      Secure a new facility downtown so we can broaden our reach in the city (This is an immediate need)
     b.     Staffing, Operating, administrative, and program expenses
     c.      Mental health first aid training for our staff and volunteers

Without your help, teens in need, will miss out on services that they so badly need. Together as a community, we can offer that same faith based safe-haven, catalyst of hope, outreach effort to the struggling teens in our neighborhoods. Thousands of lives have been radically impacted since 2008 through this ministry and I have hope that with your help, it will continue.

Thank you,
Estella Adair

*Please note that if you choose to financially contribute monthly or make a donation over $500, to our 're|Engage 2017 fund', you will be included in monthly updates and also invited to a SKAD luncheon in 2017.

Is this thing on?

We have been away from our blog for a few months now, since Warped Tour is over, but don't worry, we're back and we are in action and things are going smoothly around here.

If you've missed our November newsletter, you missed some really cool stuff, so let me give you a little summary!

-We've launched weekly bible studies for our local teens here in Tyler, called 'Real Talk.'
-We have two new additions to our Tyler home, named Raisin and Blush. They're our new pet rats and we are excited to see how pet therapy helps teens experiencing trauma.
-Don't forget that we need donations year round to keep our building open, so you can safely and securely donate below.
-We are working on a few upcoming fundraisers, our banquet for January, and we're also getting ready for Warped Tour again. It seems just like yesterday, but it's right around the corner.
-With the Warped Tour talk happening, we need to find the perfect candidates to come on the road with us, so if you're interested in applying, apply here or visit here to read more information about it.

That about sums up our monthly newsletter, so if you missed this months, don't worry, you can sign up securely below to begin getting next months! It's super simple and totally worth it.

Warped 2015 update 7

TWO shows left.

With only two shows left, it's hard to believe this summer outreach is coming to an end. As soon as it's over, the team will go back to their respective homes and cities, but I know they'll be changed forever from this experience. I ask that you pray for our outreach team as they leave the tour because I know firsthand how hard it is to go back to 'normal' life after two months of missions. I could never express how proud I am of this group of four that served this ministry so well this summer. They were used as catalysts of hope to so many young people this summer and many lives have been forever touched through these guys. 

As the tour comes to a close I spent two off days in a hotel room in Vegas reflecting on the summer. It’s amazing that I started the summer with the intentions of changing kids lives and I’m leaving knowing our team had an impact as well as our team being impacted. I know that personally my life has changed this summer. My perspective on a lot of things have changed. I’ve grown to understand our generation a little bit more. I’ve learned why the kids do what they. It’s took meeting them where they are at to really grasp what pain their circumstances create. after seeing all the kids and hearing the stories it has changed how I view life. Everyone struggles in their own way and some deal with things you would never imagine and couldn’t see yourself being able to get through. A large amount of respect is due to this generation of youth. They have more being thrown at them daily then any other generation. I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve these kids. I’m excited to see what I’ve learned this summer to further serve these kids in my life at home.
— Blake Gederberg-Outreach volunteer
This card, it instantly convicted and humbled me. Because when I first saw this man I thought, no I don’t want to talk to him he might be weird. But the lord knew I needed to in order to learn a lesson about true beauty. As soon as I read his card I teared up and saw his ‘incredible worth’, even though my first instinct when I saw him was how the world sees him. This man was a burn victim from a young age and had scars on his face and hair line. He’d gone through years of judgment and still chooses to see beauty and worth in the world. A true beauty from ashes story! I just hugged him and told him how thankful I was for him and that his beauty and worth was beyond measure. We are there to encourage others but sometimes we are the ones encouraged and it’s awesome!
I have learned so much on this trip! I have gained confidence when sharing the gospel face to face and so much about discipleship. I have grown in mercy and patience. Even a bit in discipline. I have had moments with the team of anxiety for the future and of pure joy reveling in Gods miracles. There’s been a lot of sweat and tears but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m honored and blessed to have had this opportunity with this amazing team and the amazing things we got to do.
— Carrie Miller-Outreach volunteer
This summer has not only been life changing for me but for the kids we’ve had the chance to speak with. It blows my mind still how a simple “you matter” “you are loved” “you have purpose” really changes someone’s day. There is a generation of kids, teens, and young adults that are experiencing loneliness, anxiety and unworthiness at higher rates, and so many don’t know where to turn. In a world that’s looking for more equality, love and peace I see so many struggling to even love themselves. Continue to pray for those we have encountered this summer. That the seed of hope we help plant will give them the courage to continue on, fight hard, seek truth and above all acknowledge that worldly comforts are temporary and God is eternal, the foundation for all life.
SKAD is so needed for so many young ones to have a fighting chance, to hear about a Love that is real and unfailing. Please continue to lift us up and the organization in your prayers.
— Avery Whitsett-Outreach volunteer
Here we are at the home stretch of the tour. I am feeling kind of tired, and I’m running out of talking energy. Sometimes the tent is placed near a stage which makes it hard to hear and you have to speak up pretty loud when you talk to kids. I didn’t think this would take so much out of you. But that’s not stopping us from having great conversations. I encountered a really shy girl in Ohio and we invited her to write on a card. She expressed that she struggled with self harm, self worth, and people talking down on her. She was only 15 so I had a lot to say to her about being your own person and not letting the negative things that people say to you affect your life. She still had so much to discover about herself and when she heard these words, it seemed like she was encouraged. Then we talked about her self-harming issue. There is freedom from it, she just has to choose it and fight for it. This conversation lasted quite a few minutes and at the end she asked “are you going to be a therapist? Cause you’re really good”. I laughed and said, no. I began to tell her that I’m not a therapist, but a messenger. A vessel of light. I asked her what she thought about Jesus. And she was uncertain on her feelings towards that. She didn’t seem to know much. I took this opportunity to tell her a bit of Jesus and what He did for us. Which lead me to why I do what I do. And why I live my life to honor the Lord and glorify Him. Then we went back to the issues she wrote on the card, and I made the connection. We have an eternal Father that loves us immeasurably and wants to shepherd us through our trials and dark valleys.

I always feel so privileged to speak about the Father’s love and actually go in depth with it. This girl seemed to have received it well and I’m glad I got to know her a bit.

This summer has been life-changing. My patience was tested, my leadership was stretched, and my love for the youth has grown. Most of all, my relationship with God is closer and more intimate than it has ever been. He brought forth a lot of healing in my life this summer. And He’s continuing to show me the man that He’s molding me to be.

Im grateful for ALL the kids that I had the opportunity to talk to. And all the people I’ve met on tour. And the work the Lord did during this summer. We have two more dates, and I can’t wait to see how the Lord wraps this up.
— Arthur Yepez-Outreach volunter

I find great joy in knowing that the Lord does not need us, but He likes to use us. That's one of the coolest gifts. So many seeds were planted this summer and we hope to stay in touch with many of these teens throughout the year via social media and email. 


Financial needs:

We are still in need of $2,800 and you can be a part of helping. I know I say it every blog, but were just making our needs known so you can be a part of this mission. Flights need to be purchased home from tour for a few of our team, so if you want to give towards that as well, I know they would be so grateful. We are being hosted in Seattle for a few days by some church planters from Tyler, so we are super thankful for that.


We asked to hear from those that stopped by our tent and this is a message from one of them:

Last year, I learned of a tent called Steal Kill And Destroy, where you write on a little notecard either something encouraging, or something you’re struggling with. I loved writing and speaking with the reps last year that I couldn’t wait to come back this year.
This is Arthur. I tried to sneak past the few people that were already in the tent, so I could just write what I wanted to write, and then skulk out. The two other people that were in there had left, so by the time I went to tack my notecard up on the board, he walked up to me and asked if he could read it. I obliged and pointed out which one was mine. I awkwardly stood there while he read it, and he looked at me with a look or sorrow and compassion on his face that I wanted to burst into tears on the spot.
What I love about SKAD is that it’s a faith based organization so that when he read the last line, “God if you’re there I need to hear you now,” which is a line from a Memphis May Fire song, but is heavily applying to my life at the same time, he looked at me and said, “wow, you’re are totally allowed to question everything around you right now and think that nothing’s there. Just know that God is there. He hears everything you say, every prayer. John 10:10 says that the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy but it also says that I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” We went on talking for what seemed like forever and I could’ve kept talking for that long, but everything he said made a difference, and after all was said and done, he asked if he could pray for me. After all, that was what I was mainly there for. I just wanted someone to pray with that didn’t know me, anyone I affiliated with, or anything about me, that wouldn’t judge me, and would just pray with me. We stood there and prayed while again, I cried through my sunglasses.
Afterwards I asked if I could take his picture, we exchanged names, and I went on my way feeling a bit better.
Thank you Arthur. You have no idea how much you and your tent helped me today. Please travel safely.
— Lillie

Warped 2015 update 6

We're almost finished!

It's hard to believe that as I type this, there are only 5 show dates left. 5! Our team will have finished an intense summer of hard work, mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Not only have they woke up early every morning, stood in the hot sun and worked together as a team to set up everything before the doors open, they spent time in the word together, and they worked together to pour into thousands of young people this summer. It's remarkable what this team of four have given up to be here this summer and there are not enough words to thank them for being conduits of hope on the road for SKAD. I am personally so thankful for them and by the emails and comments we've received via social media, I know there are so many young people whose lives have been deeply impacted by this ministry. 

A lot of the time, we have kids just hanging out in the shade of our tent because Warped Tour is just too much sometimes. They get exhausted, weary, and dehydrated. So of course we’re going to let them chill in our tent, even if they don’t want to hear about SKAD! There were these two guys that were in and out of our tent and every time they would come back, they would bring their friends too. One of the guys was reading all of the cards on the board. I walked over to him and said “pretty heavy stuff, huh?” I then explained what the board was about and how the first step into moving forward from our struggles is by speaking up about them. Then I walked over to the other guy and he asked a few questions of what I do within the ministry. And this lead to me talking about how our tent is a safe place at Warped Tour where teens can just come and be themselves, speak up about their struggles and they won’t be judged. Then we just chatted a bit about stories. How every story matters and every life is valuable. I pointed out one of the cards on the board from a kid that was abandoned by his dad and how that kid was able to let out so much when he talked with us. And I told the guy that that’s something we do as a ministry-we’re here to listen. The face on this guy sort of changed and he was more engaged with what I had to say. He then asked “do you mind if I can hear your story?” I sat down beside him and said sure! Then I noticed that all of his friends were sitting in a circle tuned into what I was about to say. There were 5 of them. I shared my story from beginning to end and to where I am now. The most beautiful part was that I was able to share the gospel. I talked about how the Lord brought forth redemption and healing into my life. Though I still may struggle with some things, I have a foundation and that is in Jesus. They were engaged to the story the whole time and I praise God for that. Then it almost turned into a mini SKAD meeting. Since I opened up so much about myself, they started talking about what they were facing. And it was all related to dysfunctional family life, something that I talked about a lot when I shared my story. I sat back and listened to what they all had to say and I was just embracing the moment of transparency. I realized that so many more kids need this kind of community where they can openly share their struggles. And I was just honored to be sitting in a circle of awesome kids, sharing the gospel, and hearing stories. Unfortunately I had to lose them because their favorite band was about to take the stage and it kind of bummed me out but at least I was able to share truth with them. I truly believe that the Lord blessed these conversations because I saw a difference in each of them before they left. I noticed that one of the guys carried himself in a very tough manner. By the time he left the tent the expression on his face changed and he was no longer a tough guy, but a friend. They ALL gave me a big hug and a ‘thank you’ before they left, which they had nothing to thank me for! I’m always happy to share my story and about Jesus.
— Arthur Yepez-Outreach volunteer
The feeling of loneliness can be crippling, leaving you gasping for a breath of fresh air, for someone or something to take the pain of being alone away.
This week I met a girl who is crippled by her loneliness even though she’s not physically alone. She left home to live with a boyfriend who doesn’t treat her well and she can’t return home to a house full of alcoholics. She’s in a place where she hates life and doesn’t want to live but also doesn’t want to take her life. This had me in tears, my heart hurt for her and with her. I spent a long time encouraging her and loving on her. At the end of our conversation I had the whole team pray with me for her. I also exchanged emails with her and I’m staying in touch, to get her connected with local churches that can help her get out of her situation and help her with finding a great Christ centered community. I felt like she walked away with a renewed sense of strength.
— Avery Whitsett-Outreach Volunteer
Out here on the tour we are accompanied by a few other great organizations with a like-minded mission. Specifically. I have grown close to Joe from I Am Second. For the second time this summer Joe has felt the urge to introduce me to someone he felt led to bring over to me because he felt that I was meant to talk to him and would be able to relate in a way that he may not be able to. He brought over a guy named Garrett. Garrett was a big guy, similar to me but a little taller. I knew right from the start that we would have a lot in common. After talking with Garrett I could tell that he had a gentle spirit like myself and just in a big, tattooed, intimidating body. After a brief conversation we were able to relate in that way. We both have had to deal with being intimidating on the outside which growing up caused a little bit of a social barrier at times. We shared a story that was extremely similar and I am blown away that without prior knowledge, Joe was able to feel that we needed to talk. To me, this is a story about the body of Christ working as one. God has His way of using all his hands and feet out here on the tour to impact people’s lives. We see a lot of division in the church today and something like this is a reminder that we are all on the same
mission, serving the same king. We are vessels that can sail together.
— Blake Gederberg-Outreach volunteer
The ways in which God is using us to bring hope to the kids at Warped Tour is so eye opening. I’ve realized that while most the time I do steer the conversation towards the grace of God, I don’t always have to. A lot of these kids have been hurt by religion or forced into it and have a distorted view of what Christianity is. We have the opportunity to show them what Christlike love looks like by just listening to them and loving on them. So many of them are wary to open up to us for fear that our intentions are to convert or condemn them. But once they realize we are actually there to listen to their darkness and encourage them and genuinely care, they really open up. The fact that we could be the ones that change their negative perspective on what a Christian is to a positive, is a privilege. I’ve also noticed this on a level beyond our tent, in our every day lives. We have that same opportunity to represent unconditional Christ like love with the people on our bus and on the tour in general.
— Carrie Miller-Outreach volunteer

I'm pretty sure this summer has marked the lives of many and we are looking forward to finishing out the tour strong. We do have a cost of $6,000 that we need, so if you feel led to give, please do so. Continue praying for our team because there have been some rough moments in these last few days. Our bus broke down and our team has had to separate and go on different buses, which is potentially for the duration of the tour. Thankfully the last date of the tour is 8/8, so we're on the home stretch, but we are still in need of your prayers and support.

Warped 2015 update 5

We have such a gift day after day to be on the road with Vans Warped Tour. Our outreach team has met hundreds of young people and heard stories that you wouldn't believe. Our goal is to provide a safe place for these young people and we are certain that is exactly what these teens are feeling when they stop by our tent this summer. 

Check out some special stories from our team from this last week.

As the day came to a close in Holmdel, NJ a specific girl came to my attention. I could tell by the look on her face and her body language that something was troubling her. After Carrie said “Hi” to her it was obvious from that point on that she took interest to our tent and she lingered in the area until she then decided to come in the tent and read the cards on the board and we were able to share with her what we did out on the tour. She had a very short response to it something like, “this is really cool, I like this” and then we asked if she wanted to fill out a card and when she did, it was quick and she handed it to Carrie as she quickly exited the tent and walked off with a sense of shame and embarrassment. Her card indicated that she felt that it was all her fault and that she was to blame for something. After she walked off I knew God wanted me to go find her. So I walked off to track down a young teenage girl in a mass crowd during Pierce The Veil, which for anyone who knows about that band, I had my work cut out for me trying to locate this specific girl in a sea of girls in almost the same outfit as her. I searched for about 10 mins and then began to feel like I missed her and she had made off by now. Just then I stumbled upon her and went up to this nervous girl and before she was able to make eye contact with me I asked her why she felt like she was to blame. I knew that someone had done something to her that was out of her control and I told her that and right then she began to cry. I shared with her how I sensed her shame and embarrassment and I knew God sent me to find her and it was no mistake that she stumbled upon our tent today. I asked her to come back to the tent where I knew I had the girls back there who would be able to assist further and more comfortably for her because I had a feeling it was a situation involving sexual assault of some kind. When we got to the tent Carrie was able to immediately sense what was going on and took over the conversation. After the conversation she came over to thank me for seeking her out and coming back to find her. I still sensed shame and guilt on her and I once again told her she had no reason to carry those burdens anymore and that she can walk with her head up. She then cracked a smile, walked away and then stopped and turned back and took one last look at us and the tent as if she was wanting to take a mental snap shot of us so she can be reminded of today in days to come when she is troubled with her emotions. This summer has been full of stories of rape and sexual assault. It’s a very real and prevalent thing in our generation. I am honored to be on the front lines this summer encountering these stories and speaking life into these kids.
— Blake Gederberg-Outreach Volunteer
So today a girl came into the tent acting a bit curious but hesitant, so I told her about SKAD and encouraged her to write a card if she was dealing with anything. She seemed eager to write something down, so I waited and when she was done she handed me her card and left off in a hurry before I could talk to her. Her card said something along the lines of “It’s all my fault.” A lot of the times kids just aren’t ready to talk about what they write down, whether it’s because it hurts too much or they’re embarrassed. So before I could ponder her reason I was distracted by another girl. By the time I was done talking to her I noticed Blake talking to the first girl and she looked extremely shaken up. I felt immediately that I needed to comfort her and came over to hug her while Blake talked to her. He pursued her because he knew in his heart what she blamed herself for and by the time I got over there they had established that someone hurt her and he was asking what had happened so they could talk about it, but she was hesitant. I don’t know if it was the Holy Spirit or the fact that I’ve seen this guilt many times before, but I knew in my heart what she blamed herself for as well. So I asked her if she was sexually assaulted and she nodded and I asked if it was a family member or a friend and she whispered to me who it was. I noticed she was having an anxiety attack because she was scratching her side raw, so in that moment I felt like it was time to have girl on girl time. She told me the story of what happened and why she blamed herself. She was taken advantage of in a time of vulnerability and had to learn the ugly truth about how us girls can almost never let our guard down. It’s tough for a girl to know she’s not the one at fault in that situation when others tell us we are. Guilt plagued her to her core because her best friend blamed her for what happened. The amazing thing though, was watching the tension melt off of her as we spoke. After having a good one on one I closed with three points I wanted her to remember when she left. 1, Talk to a counselor. 2, The only thing he took from her was her choice and it undoubtedly was not her fault. 3, Temporary things give temporary peace but our eternal God gives eternal peace. Three of the most important things I have learned from my own personal experience or experience with working with sexual assault victims. The smile on her face as we hugged and departed was priceless. The way God used Blake and I very harmoniously in that situation was really cool!
— Carrie Miller-Outreach Volunteer
Everything happens for a reason. I do believe in this statement. This week we had a guy come into our tent just asking if we knew anyone that sold sunglasses and took cards as payment. Apparently everyone around us only took cash. Of course I responded “hey we have sunglasses and take cards!” He told me that he had been watching a band and someone knocked off his prescription sunglasses. As I grabbed the sunglasses I heard the Lord tell me to give it to him for free. So I obeyed and said “hey brother God told me to give these to you, it’s on the house.” He was shocked. He asked what we were all about and I shared our info with him. He asked to fill out a card and it said he didn’t feel good enough. As I started to talk to him I felt the Holy Spirit promoting me left and right in ways only could be special and mean something to him. As I was talking with him I noticed Arthur praying. Then God instructed boldness, he told me to help lead this guy to the Lord, I called Arthur to come pray over him and I lead him. Arthur had a huge smile on his face because he already knew what was going to happen, the spirit had been prompting him too. He gave his life to the Lord and the coolest part was we kept telling him God had a purpose for him that it wasn’t by chance he walked into our tent. It was emotional and amazing and sometimes I can’t share the tiny details because they are too precious and special for the people that we’re involved
— Avery Whitsett-Outreach Volunteer
I can’t express what an honor and privilege it is to be doing outreach on Vans Warped Tour. Almost breaks my heart that it ends in about two and a half weeks. I want to personally take the time to continue to ask for prayer. If anyone that is reading this would take time to specifically pray for the outreach team, it would be highly appreciated. The Lord is moving so much in the ministry tent and in our own lives.
About two days ago, we witnessed another young person come to know the Lord. There was this young man that Avery was talking to. I saw him put his card on the board and it expressed how he doesn’t feel good enough. As Avery was talking with him, I felt led to just sit and pray for this guy. I was praying for the conversation between him and Avery and for his heart. During my prayer I started to ask God to draw near to him. After repeating this prayer a few times I heard Avery call my name and I knew what was happening. She called me over to join a prayer with this guy. I briefly got to meet this incredible person and we started to pray. He repeated a prayer asking the Lord into his heart. I was almost left speechless. He was genuinely letting God into his life. What an honor it was to witness. After prayer, we chatted a little bit and he pointed out his card to me. I had already known what it had said which is why I started praying for him. And I was able to tell him that he is worth an abundant life. God didn’t need us but still chose to love us. He expressed how emotionally moved he was by that sentence I said. God was already working on his heart.

I can’t wait to see what the Lord does for the remainder of this tour.
— Arthur Yepez-Outreach Volunteer

What is so unique about these stories is that these guys shared different perspectives from how the Lord is using them together to reach teens on the road. It's so very exciting to see how He speaks to our team in unity and they're working together to make His name known. We hope your heart is touched, just as much as ours are through these stories in this blog and previous blogs. There's so much to share and it's so hard to choose which ones! 

Special thanks to our friend Rachel who came out and shot some photos for us. These photos speak a thousand words. 

We still need your help fundraising.

We still owe a little over $11,000 for our bus and merchandise, so we are asking that you consider giving. Every single dollar helps us reach our goal, so please pray about it and if you feel led, give. Of course, please continue to pray for us as we finish out the next few weeks. We are confident that provision will come, but we're asking you to help us continue making a difference in the lives of the teens we come in contact with at Warped.

Warped 2015 update 4

Our team is having a blast on the road. Despite the heat and hard stories, the Lord is giving them the strength each day to continue running the race. They've spoken to so many teens and young adults this summer and like I mentioned last week, we've received many messages online from them. Below are just a few of the sweet things teens have said to us.

One of our favorite ways to share how the road is going, is by sharing stories from each of the volunteers. So check them out below!

One of my favorite conversations these past few days was with a 19-year-old guy in New York. On his card, he wrote about his cocaine addiction. I knew there was something that had to conjure up this dark habit. He then told me that he was lacking self-worth which led to his addiction. I was so angry with the enemy when I heard those words come out of his mouth. I immediately was speaking life into this guy and rebuking all of the lies that we’re going on in his head. This guy had such a sweet spirit and it broke my heart that he had this heavy chain holding him down. I told him that if he remembers one thing when he leaves the tent, to remember that he is worth it. He is worth living life abundantly and free from the darkness because that’s what Jesus promised us. We ended our conversation in prayer which was incredible. He said that I uplifted him so much that day, and I praise God for that. This guy heard the gospel at the tent and he heard what Jesus can do for us. He hugged me like four times before he left and I grew such a big heart for this guy. It burdens me to hear what he had to say but I’m filled joy knowing that the Holy Spirit was moving in the tent.
— Arthur Yepez-Outreach Volunteer
Sometimes we have kids that walk into the tent, hear what we are about and walk out. This last week this happened to us, but a little later these two girls came back. One of the girls asked to fill out an index card. As she started to fill it out I began praying for the right words to give to her. She allowed me to read the card and it said she wanted to die, she was done with life, it wasn’t worth it to live, she’s 15. As I spoke with her, poured into her life and spoke of God’s love for her, I finally asked her what some of her hobbies and passions were. She told me she loved to draw, so I decided to introduce her to the co-owner of Choonimals (like Blake had done before) and told her about the story of how they came to be with their drawings, etc. I encouraged her to know she could use something she loved to do to give her some push to get through this time in her life, to make goals and dreams come true through hard work and time! After all was said and done I finally got her to smile and gave her a big hug. Her friend had still been following the whole time and watched and listened to everything. I stopped and introduced myself and asked what her friends name was, the girl stopped and said oh this is my mom. I was confused as to why she didn’t input much while we talked. It left me feeling slightly unsettled but I stayed in prayer the rest of the day. The story really stayed with me and I’ll continue to pray for her and her mother and that God shows up in a miraculous way. In the end, God is in control.
— Avery Whitsett-Outreach Volunteer
These past 12 days have been one heck of an experience. 12 cities in 12 days, non-stop, no off days until yesterday. Thousands of faces walking around all telling a different story but at that current moment all their stories have brought them to that one place, Warped Tour. Is it the music that brings the kids to the pain? Or is it the pain that brings the kids to the music? Is it the brutally honest and raw content that corrupts their lives? Or is it the brutally honest and raw content what brings them comfort? Questions similar to these surface from time to time from the parents that come through the tent. I’m not sure what it is that draws the parents in, for some it’s the scripture “John 10:10” on the tent or maybe it’s the “radical movement to wake a generation” that entices them to come talk to us. I value the conversations with parents just as much as I do with the kids. Why? Because an impactful conversation with mom or dad can create a new mindset that can carry over into their home which can have a longer lasting and a daily impact on these kids. We see card after card about kids with parents who pick on them for appearance and music taste and make them feel less than because of those choices and it breaks my heart. There’s 2 kinds of parents we see at warped tour. The parents who are there and support their kids but would be more at ease being there since the kids are so young or the parent who is at warped in vain and is bitter and judgmental about the whole day. Either parent I welcome gladly into the tent. The 1st kind of parent needs to be thanked. They need to know that what they are doing has a huge impact on their kid. More than they probably hear from their kid. That kind of love and support seems to be a lost art in this scene. The second parent just needs a different outlook. I get it, you don’t like the music. Understandable. They don’t need to put their stamp of approval on the music, but they need to put their stamp of approval on their kid. Their kid needs to know that they are still loved and supported by their parents despite minor choices in life that they make such as music taste or wardrobe. All it takes is a simple perspective change. Many parents say, “well this music makes my kid so dark.” It’s not the music that makes a kid this way. In my personal opinion, the music is what helps the kid feel okay for feeling the way they do. They turn to this music because they feel something, they can relate, it’s honest, it’s real, and it’s relevant. Radio music isn’t gonna cut it for a hurting teen. These kids don’t wake up feeling like P- Diddy, everyday isn’t a party, and love doesn’t always happen the way it seems to happen in songs. It’s when the parents begin to understand that, then the understanding of their child comes easier. To me, that’s a conversation I’m ready and willing to have because it gets taken home with that family. Those kids will feel the love and acceptance of their parents in a very real way. Some for the first time.
— Blake Gederberg-Outreach Volunteer
When I read this card I instantly felt like I was holding something so fragile. A cry for help, like seeing a flare gun spark at sea. And also the preciousness of her haunting darkness being brought to light, that opportunity being so seldom for her and girls alike. She wrote it and expressed it like it was no big deal, because this had been a fact of life for her for so long. I wondered why she hadn’t gotten out of her situation and the answer came to light when she told me about her nieces. She didn’t want what has been her darkness to be theirs too. She’s afraid of him. She felt trapped and settled with that fact.
I don’t know if my words and advice resonated with her. I hope she remembers how strong she is, and brave. Brave enough to end the cycle that more than likely wouldn’t end with her. I hope she remembers her worth and what truly defines her. I know I’ll remember all of those things about her above anything else. Girls like her are why I’m out here, why I do what I do.
— Carrie Miller-Outreach Volunteer

These stories are so important because they give you an idea of the depth of conversations that our team has daily-on the road and locally during our weekly meetings. We could give you numbers all day long, but these stories are like precious gems, that need to be treasured and prayed over, thought about, and our desire is to give these young people a voice. Our job is to advocate for these kids and share their stories to the world because so many people are in a little bubble and do not think these kinds of things are going on, but they are. This could be your niece, your nephew, your cousin, your neighbor, that 'punk kid' with weird hair you see at Starbucks daily, the captain of the cheerleading squad, the valedictorian, the student council president, your grandchildren, or even your child. Hurt and pain is not limited to 'troubled' looking teens. We live in a fallen world and it's bound to happen, but what can we do as a ministry to help those who are willing to confess some of the deepest, darkest, brokenness in their hearts? We can allow the Lord to use us to love them well, speak into their hearts, pray with them, and share their stories to hopefully inspire others to reach out and pour into those around you. 

Lastly, we still need your help to cover the cost of the rest of the tour. We need a little over $11,000, so please consider giving towards that. With your help, we will be able to continue to be a listening ear to young people, a message of hope to those in need, a safe place of community, and solace for the weary heart.

Thanks to everyone who has already made a donation. We honestly could not continue doing this without you. You guys are incredible!

Warped 2015 update 3

Our inbox has been filled with "Thank you's" from teens from all over. Young people and even older people are taking the time to thank our team for taking the time to listen to their story, to pray with them, hug them and give encouraging words. It is a delight each day when our inbox is read through and stories are shared of lives being changed from stopping by our tent at Warped Tour. 

We’ve gotten the hang of how a day at Warped Tour looks like for SKAD. At first I wasn’t too sure what to expect but I’m grateful that I have an incredible team. The heat can be very exhausting and it really does take a lot out of you. Everyday I’m desperate to find refuge in God and allow Him to fill me up. It’s hard to pour into young people at Warped Tour under the circumstances of heat and loud music. So it’s very important to me to get the rest and time in prayer for the strength that I need.
I encountered a young guy a couple days ago that has a powerful story in the sense of him going through so much but being able to stay positive. This guy was molested when he was younger and because of that he suffered from anxiety. He’s been able to overcome his past darkness and now has a positive outlook on life. I then asked him where he stands on faith and what he thinks about God. He mentioned that he’s uncertain about that but yet he’s open to whatever life may reveal to him. I truly believe that God is after his heart and wants to pursue it. When I told him this, his face lit up and he had a huge smile from ear to ear. I asked I could pray for him and he was more than okay with it.
Being able to pray over this guy and have real conversations was such a privilege and an honor. He said that he didn’t expect to have a deep conversation at Warped Tour and thanked me for taking the time to listen to him. Also for being so open-minded about his beliefs. It really hit me when he said that, because we are called to meet these kids where they’re at no matter what they believed. So the fact that he felt comfortable talking to me is because of the heart of Jesus. He met people where they were at- the broken, the sinful, the weary and so on.
The power of prayer is absolutely amazing, so anyone I have the opportunity to pray for is such an honor. I believe that God is going to use this young man and work in his heart, he has a powerful story and such a sweet uplifting spirit.
— Arthur Yepez-Outreach Volunteer
Justice. Daily I ask myself, “where’s the justice?” Everyday breeds a little more longing to see justice in the lives of these young kids that come through the tent. To the girl who feels like her innocence was taken from her at a young age by someone she called dad and now has turned to exposing her scars through exploiting herself for the next guy who she can attempt to replace the images of what’s been done to her with forced intimacy with the first guy who comes knocking. To the girl who has deemed herself to be unlovable because she has been abused, mentally, physically and emotionally by the very people who have brought her into this life. To the girl who’s mom abandoned her leaving her no other choice but forced foster care. My heart breaks for you. As much as I want to see justice I want to even more see true healing in your lives. To have you reclaim the worth that you were tagged with since your birth. To not be ashamed of your story but to use it to reach others. May you see yourself stronger rather than weaker. You’re still here. You’re loved. You’re not defined by what’s been done to you, but by what’s been done for you. You were worth it, as Jesus took their sin on His shoulders and showed you the love you deserve. There’s no abandonment in His love, and there’s no flaw. May you find that true love and feel its sustainability.
— Blake Gederberg-Outreach Volunteer

This photo on Warped Tours official Instagram received well over 20k likes in just one day. What a privilege it was to share this message of hope with so many people.

So many touching conversations have been had the last few days but today I got a glimpse of the impact we are making. This morning when I woke up I received an email from a girl I spoke with in New Mexico. It says...
”Hello. This is ******* (name blocked out for privacy) you probably don’t remember me but you prayed for me in Albuquerque and right now your the only person I can talk to. I’m sorry for bothering you but I just would like to thank you for what you did. You gave me that tiny bit of hope to get me going passed my suicide date I set for my self. Okay ill leave you alone. But thank you.”

I cried as I read it, that she had passed her suicide date. What I am doing and saying through and because of the Holy Spirit is making a difference. I was overfilled with joy all day long. I am so grateful for being apart of this tour, mission, ministry, God is at work and I’m honored to be apart of it.
— Avery Whitsett-Outreach Volunteer
This girl was slowly walking past our tent in Orlando Florida, checking out what we were about. So I told her about SKAD and the the bring your darkness to light campaign we were doing. She agreed with me that it was so important to not hold our burdens and struggles in and that she was still getting over what happened to her. She didn’t seem interested in writing a card so I asked her what had happened. After she told me her parents died on Christmas morning, she told me that it was hard but that she wanted to focus on her dreams and doing what it takes to be happy. I was so taken back by her motivation and pursuit of happiness despite the darkness surrounding her. Darkness that she could have let control and consume her, but didn’t. I asked her what her dreams were and what would encourage her, she said she was interested in music and wanted people to know her story and be influenced by it. So I thought since her story was so inspiring to me it could be even more inspiring to others. I asked her to write what she wanted to share on a card and I posted it on SKADs Instagram (all with her permission of course). I was so excited to be able to encourage her in her healing process and help get her story out there because I felt in my heart that she was going to change lives. But little did I know God had bigger plans for her story. A couple hours after I posted her story on our IG, the warped tour Instagram reposted it! Thats 700,000+ more people that saw her story! And the comments came flooding in, encouraging her, telling her how inspired they were, loving on this girl! Who just happened to walk by our tent, who God led me to just encourage, who inspired thousands within a day. Wow. God, you’re really cool.
— Carrie Miller-Outreach Volunteer

Please continue to pray for our team. Pray that they would have energy to continue going forward each day, that they would be encouraging and walk in unity with one another  and last, but certainly most important, that each member of the team would give their day to the Lord every morning before their day is even started.

We have a cool story to share on how our last bus payment came through. We had a payment due on 7/2/15 of $5,100, but all we had was $1,500. We prayed, reached out and prayed some more. It was down to the wire and someone from the Living Acts Church donated $2,000 the day it was due, SKAD had some check donations in the mailbox when it was checked and cash to deposit from the road and daily sales that day at Warped and it all totaled down to the cent of what we needed. It was miraculous and so encouraging to our faith. We are putting full faith that if the Lord wants our team to continue to be out there, He will sustain us. We are so thankful to be surrounded by so many 'senders' and pray that if you're one, that you'll pray about how you can be a part of sowing into this ministry. As far as financial needs go, we are in need of $11,602, in which 10,200 is for the bus cost and the rest is for merchandise we purchased, so if you do decide to donate, that's where you'll money will go. We are so thankful for everyone who has given so far and cannot extend our gratitude enough. I'm hoping these stories we're sharing with you guys will continue to inspire you to pray for us and give.

Last week the Warped Tour Instagram also featured a promo video of ours and through that we were able to reach an even more broad audience and it has led even more teens to our tent during the summer.

Warped 2015 update 2

There are no words to express how powerful our past couple of weeks have been on the road. So many young people have entered our tent feeling despair and left feeling hopeful and encouraged. Here are a few stories.

This past week, I think what has blown my mind the most is the level of vulnerability these kids feel comfortable being with us. Never in my mind did I ever think they would want to share the darkest parts of them with me. And in the middle of warped tour I might add, a place they came to have fun, listen to their favorite bands and let loose. I’m just a girl, I’m no counselor nor do I have experience in half the things these kids have been through. But I know pain and that we are not defined by it. And I love Jesus and I love these kids just like the rest of my team and I think that’s evident first glance into our tent. They get to look at our wall and know they aren’t alone in their struggles, and they know we care. We care a lot. But it’s only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to convey how deeply we care, and how serious we are when we say they are loved and forgiven. And only by the Holy Spirit are those words taken to heart.
— Carrie Miller-Outreach Volunteer
I’ve been really enjoying these two days off that we have since we are about to go on a fourteen-day stretch! Tour has been intensely hot but so rewarding. I’m learning and growing so much already.
My heart is stretching in so many directions. For one part, it absolutely shatters me when I look into the eyes of a young teenager and they tell me that they have no purpose and no worth. Particularly, there was this 17-year-old guy that was telling me that he’s always depressed because he feels like he has no one to love him. That he has no special talents or anything to show for his life. It felt like I was talking to 17-year-old me. I knew his pain, his sense of loneliness, and how he desires to belong. I couldn’t help but just boldly tell him how loved he is, how he has so much purpose in this life. We talked about Jesus for a bit and how he’s uncertain about faith. But he allowed me to pray for him, which I was really thankful for. Prayer is so powerful and I was able to speak hope into this guy’s heart.
I also met this girl that feels like the world has completely let her down. Her family issues, a boy that broke her heart, and inconsistent friends. She was able to talk about things that she desperately needed to get off her chest. I could see a sense of relief in her as we were talking. Having the world let you down is so relatable, and I expressed my growth in faith and how I find my refuge in God. Though I could get hurt, people can let me down, and sometimes situations bring out the worst in us. But I was able to tell her how Jesus brings redemption. We’re always going to be attacked by the enemy but we have hope in Jesus. He will give us new mercies every day and a life to live to the full. I then told her how beautiful she was through the eyes of God and the immeasurable love He has for her. I could see tears in her eyes and it was obvious that this young girl hasn’t received the love that she deserves. It was such an honor to show her the love of Christ and to hear her say “I feel so happy now” as if it had been a long time since she was last truly happy.
— Arthur Yepez-Outreach Volunteer
I met a 14 year old girl in San Antonino in our tent that filled out a card, her card said she always felt alone and invisible. I talked with her and encourage her, loved on her. She was so very sweet and shy but you could tell if you gave her the chance she would talk for hours and really open up. I asked her who she was here with that day, she told me she was there by herself! She is 14 years old! It broke my heart to see her there by herself at such a young age. I asked her what bands she came to see and decided that I should do something special for her, so I told her she would get to see one of her favorite bands with me, onstage! I told her I’d take her onstage to see Metro Station for their set, she instantly started crying. I met her in time for the Metro Station set and we watch the band walk back stage and then on stage, she loved every minute of it and was grinning ear to ear, and tears of joy, of course. I felt so blessed to make her day special, I thanked God for putting me here at Warped Tour to do such things for the people I encounter. I got to let her know she’s never alone, God is always by her side.
— Avery Whitsett-Outreach Volunteer
One of my favorite moments will forever be in my heart. A girl was sitting in our tent to shade herself from the sun. Earlier, Arthur had offered her a chance to fill out a card for our Bring Your Darkness to Light campaign, but she said she didn’t know what she would even write. Well, while I was talking to her about the heat, she mentioned to me that she was four months pregnant and I immediately got into “momma stells” mode and made sure she was drinking water and had eaten. Well, all of the sudden, I felt led by the Lord to tell her that her baby is a miracle and a gift and that she is going to be a great mother. She said thank you and her head hung a little low. She grabbed a clipboard and started filling out a card. When she was finished she handed me the card and it wrote “I am four months pregnant from being raped. Most people said I should have aborted, but I don’t have it in me.” I hugged her, prayed with her, and spoke to her about how God will take that ugly situation and make it beautiful with the precious gift of life she is carrying. She cried, smiled, thanked me, and we continued to chat for a bit. We exchanged contact information and I can’t wait to hear about that precious baby and how God is going to use its life and the situation for something beautiful. So thankful to have met her today. What a gift SKAD has being on this tour
— Estella Malone-Founder/Director

It has been amazing seeing this team up early every morning to start their day, encouraging one another, setting up the tent, and pouring out to each kid that takes the time to come in and chat. Despite feeling tired and hot, they are so eager to show hope and love each day and it's astonishing.  Please continue to pray for the team and the kids dropping by the tent each day. That they would be able to have new eyes to see themselves the way they were designed.

Please consider giving towards this summer outreach. We still owe $15,000 for the bus alone and we have a payment due tomorrow of $5,100 in which we are very short 

Warped 2015 update 1.

Hello everyone! We are enjoying a day off in Goodyear Arizona, at Starbucks sharing stories from tour, feeling overwhelmingly blessed to have the opportunity to spread hope and speak life into the hearts of young people. The first few days of tour have been intense already and we've seen a handful of people already commit their lives to Christ at the SKAD tent.

It's astonishing how many young people believe the lie that they're not worthwhile and what a huge opportunity we have to look into their eyes and tell them otherwise.

With your donations, we were able to extend our tent this year, which gave us the opportunity to designate one tent for ministry and one tent to sell merchandise. So far our sales have been few, but the board has filled up each day and despite not making any money, lives are being changed and our hearts are filled to the brim with joy knowing that many teens lives are being changed from one encounter. 

In Mountain View, I had been in and out of the tent during the day, walking around, chatting with people and I went back to the tent to grab something and I saw this guy stumble in out of the corner of my eyes. Immediately, I knew he was someone I was supposed to talk to. He filled out a card for the Bring Your Darkness to Light campaign that we are doing on Warped and it said “I feel like I don’t belong.” Immediately, I knew it was something deeper, it meant more than just not belonging with people. He then explained to me that he experiments with LSD and other things in order to find out his purpose on this world. I then was able to talk to him about how we were created for something so much more and how our identity can’t be found in this world. After talking with him for a bit, I felt in my spirit to ask him if he thought abut death more than the average person and he looked at me shocked that I knew that and in that moment, I knew the Lord has been pursuing him for some time. He told me he is a miracle and has no reason to be alive and then pulled out his phone to show me photos from a car accident he had late last year and then shared with me how he broke his neck. We talked for a good while and at the end of the conversation I told him to keep on seeking, keep on knocking, and that the door will be opened. I’ll never forget this young man and how the hand of God is in his life. He has a great purpose and that purpose is to have a relationship with the Lord. I’m praying for him and believing that the Lord will draw him to Himself-it may have not happened that day, but the Lord did something big that day through that conversation.
— Stella Malone-Founder & Director
In Ventura California, three girls came walking into the tent and started talking with Carrie, I instantly knew I needed to talk with them, God was laying the love on thick. As two of the girls filled out there cards the other girl was looking at our merch. I was talking with her and joking around and I just felt I needed to tell her how stunningly beautiful she was. She immediately started to tear up when I said that. I told her not to cry and accept the compliment. After writing her card it became clear why she feared up, she wrote hoe she didn’t feel pretty, or skinny enough, often making her self sick after meals and that she wasn’t good enough. Her other two friends had similar struggles. I talked with them as a group and spoke love and encouragement into their lives and reminded them how beautiful they were. I asked to pray with them all and as I did so I heard the Lord say “lead them to me” and mid prayer I stopped and said “I’m switching things up, girls if you want to accept Jesus into your heart repeat after me...” And all three gave their lives to Christ. How amazing and how beautiful it was to witness the Lord work. I will not forget that moment. God is good all the time
— Avery Whitsett-Outreach Volunteer
Warped Tour has been incredible so far. I’ve had many great conversations with kids and it’s just so awesome to talk about real life issues and being able to encourage them. With a lot of these interactions, I’ve been able to openly express my faith and share my testimony of how the Father’s love has impacted my life. I have found that sharing this love is so much more powerful than I would have anticipated. There’s been a lot of hugs, smiles, and even tears.

One guy was highlighted to me and I knew that we was supposed to hear something. Not from me but from the Lord, and this required a lot of patience. He was the shyest person I have ever encountered. It took a bit of pushing for him to come into the tent and he eventually did. As he was holding an index card in his hand and a pen in the other, I could tell he was extremely hesitant to write something down. I invited him to sit down if he needed to. He just sat, staring at the card, banging his head against the clipboard, knees shaking, with unpredictable eyes. After about ten minutes he handed me his index card faced down. I looked up at him and asked him if I could read it. He told me that I could do so whenever he’s gone. I respected his wish, and in that moment I knew that I needed to speak truth and life into him. I let him know that whatever is written on the card, that he is not alone. That his life has so purpose and that he is so loved.

When I turned the card around after he left it read “It’s hard to remember that I deserve love too”.
I don’t know how he took what I told him before he left, but I’m glad he was able to hear what was said to him at the tent.

It’s so important for these kids to know that there is an infinite love.
— Arthur Yepez-Outreach Volunteer
I have seen more redemption and thankfulness in the last three days than in my entire life. To have the opportunity to personally speak life to so many kids daily is such a mind blowing experience! To be honest, I was wary coming on to Warped Tour. I doubted I could be the one to make a difference in a youths life. My confidence lacked as far as being a true disciple and making a true impact. The only thing that kept me from turning down this opportunity was my faithfulness in knowing it’s where God wanted me. Faithfulness that was rewarded the moment I stepped out of the SKAD tent and spoke to my first kid of the summer. Words flowed from me that were not my own! Even in my imperfect knowledge, awkwardness and social anxiety the Holy Spirit used me. I cant keep up with how many beautiful girls needed to be told of their worth and princess status! From my weaknesses of my past I had authority speaking against depression, lack of self-worth, self mutilation, anxiety, etc. In my weakness I am made strong!
— Carrie Miller-Outreach Volunteer
A girl walked in front of our tent and I could tell she felt drawn to our tent and so I met her halfway and invited her over to share with her the heart of our outreach. She filled out a card and said that 2 years ago she was in a hospital because she tried to take her life. She expressed that she has reached out to friends and they seemed to only care for a little bit then she felt like she became a burden. She didn’t feel loved, couldn’t feel joy and didn’t feel like she served a purpose for anything or anyone. I was able to encourage her and share with her that life is a gift and that everyday is a journey to find our purpose and it’s a beautiful thing that we don’t always know that purpose because it’s enjoyable to search for it and be open to follow what we are passionate about. I then felt led to ask her what she loved to do and what her passions are. She shared with me that she loved to draw animations. It’s been her dream to work in Hollywood as a animator some day. I then quickly remembered about a sponsor on the tour called Choonimals. They are a clothing company that was a start up by accident and started out of a hobby to draw and animate animals. It then turned into a clothing line and now is this years theme/art sponsor for the tour. I wanted to take her over to the tent to introduce her to the founder Chad. I got them connected and he shared his story with her to offer her hope and gave his email to her so she could contact him for professional advice. I then bought her a shirt from them. I want her to always remember when she looks in her drawer that she has a vision and that someone believes in her. I told her she needs to follow that dream and never give up doing what she loves. She then cracked a smile for the first time since we interacted. This outreach to me a is also about encouraging kids to follow their vision and dream. To not believe in the lies that this world feeds us that we need to sell our lives away for social gain, or to settle for a job because they simply want stability. Life’s too short to live someone else’s dream or fall in line and always look back in regret.

So far, we have only sold $400 dollars worth of merchandise and we have a bus rental due on 7/2 of $5,100. Please pray for our sales to pick up and if you feel led to give, please do so. Your donations are tax deductible as well. Any gift of any amount will help. Be sure when you donate to select the "Warped Tour Outreach" option.

30in30 final update.

Hey friends! Our 30in30 fundraiser ended on the 10th and unfortunately we didn't reach our goal. However, we did raise almost $10,000 and that's a good start to get us going on our outreach this summer. We still have a month to raise more funds, so it's not too late to give. In fact, you can even donate during the summertime while our team is on the road. 

Last week the Warped outreach Team was in Tyler for orientation and it was awesome. We had time to hear each others stories face to face, learn from one another, set up the new tent, pray for the summer and the kids we will meet, and have a lot of fellowship. We are so excited that we have an amazing team assembled and are still praying for one more girl to join our team. If you're a missions minded young lady and interested in applying, you can do so here. We have a few applicants we are praying over right now, so please join us in finding the perfect fit for our team. 

We are excited about the growth of this ministry and the amazing team we have locally and the ones we are preparing to send out. We ask that you continue to lift this ministry up in prayer because so many lives are being changed and our teams desire is to always remember why we do what we do.

Thanks for the continued support.

12 days left!

We only have 12 days left and we still need to raise $23,250 for our outreach on Warped Tour.
Please help us reach our goal so our team can hit the road this summer, fully funded and so that their focus can purely be on the kids they come in contact with.

Like we mentioned last week, we asked our teens to write down why they think it's important for SKAD to be on the road and here is what one of them said:

Click the photo above to read more about our fundraising campaign and how you can help us reach our goal. Every dollar matters!

The fundraiser has launched!

Hey friends! We are a little over a week into our online fundraiser and so far we have reached $6,750 in our $30,000 goal. We are so thankful for the people that have donated already and we feel truly blessed to have your support. 

Our volunteers will be in town in a few weeks and we will be going through all of the details on what day to day looks like for our outreach team. We will only have a few days of hands on training, so be praying for us during that time. They have already been having weekly meetings and learning about one another, praying as a group, and they just began a devotional. It's hard to believe Warped Tour is right around the corner-it's so exciting!

This fundraiser is about the hundreds of thousands of young people that attend this festival during the summer, not about us. It's about meeting these young people right where they are and speaking truth into their hearts about their identity, worth, value, etc. It's about encouraging the kid who feels so alone, that believes the lie that nobody cares-to speak up about the hurt in his or her life. To give them a hug, to pray for them and share true hope with them. Every cent that is given, will fund life changes, light, truth, and new beginnings. We hope you'll consider sowing into our outreach this summer.

Last week at SKAD Community Night here in Tyler, we asked our teens to write down why they think it is important for our outreach team to be on Warped Tour. In the upcoming days and weeks during our fundraiser, we will share some of their responses.

Click this photo to learn more about our #30IN30SKAD fundraiser and to learn about the giving incentives.

Click this photo to learn more about our #30IN30SKAD fundraiser and to learn about the giving incentives.

Please watch our outreach video below:

Now if you've missed our fundraiser video, please watch it!

We would love your participation...

We are gearing up for Warped Tour 2015 and our team is so eager to get on the road to meet you guys! We have so many photos of your visits from past years while on the road at Warped Tour and we've received countless emails, but the one thing we're lacking is your voice! We are getting ready to launch our fundraiser (stay tuned for the date) to take care of our needs (transportation cost, outreach material, a second tent for strictly outreach purposes, promotional material, etc) and would be honored if you participated in making this our best year yet on Warped Tour. We want our team to go out knowing that the single focus they have is to speak life into the hearts of you guys-not selling shirts to pay for our buses while on the road. 

This is where you come in!
We want YOU, the teens that we've met at past Warped Tour dates, to be a part of our fundraising video. 

We would love if you would make up to a three minute video sharing about your experience at our tent at your Warped Tour date! We are going to use clips of every video sent in for our video and we want all of your faces in it!
Also, by doing this for us, you'll have a chance to either win a pair of tickets for your date OR you can volunteer with us at your date! Totally your choice! 

1. If you're under the age of 18, Be sure to tell your parents you're making this video!
2. If you use your I-Phone, hold your phone horizontal while filming.
3. Include your Name, Age, and what city we met you.
4. If you feel comfortable, share about what you spoke to our outreach team about.
5. Share how stopping by helped, encouraged, and/or impacted your life.
6. Why you think it's important for us to be on the road!
7. Send all videos to by Friday 4/3/15!
8. When you send the video, tell us if you want to volunteer with us at your Warped Date OR if you want to enter to win a free pair of tickets to a date of your choice! Be sure to mention the city name too! ;)

1-2-3 Go! We are so eager to have you a part of helping this movement continue reaching out to broken and hurting teens!
We look forward to seeing you on the road this summer!

Meet our Warped Tour Outreach team!

We are so excited to have the opportunity to go out on Warped again this summer with our 'Bring Your Darkness to Light' campaign. Our hope is that we would be able to speak life into the hearts of teens that may be struggling and offer a friend to talk to. We are very excited to introduce to you the team we are sending out on the road this summer. This summer we will bring back Madison, who was out with us last year and we have three new people to add to the mix. Check out what they had to say about why they want to volunteer with us this summer and learn little bit about them.

Meet Madison: "I moved to Texas in January to work with SKAD, but have lived all over the country. I had the amazing opportunity to go on Warped tour last summer with SKAD, and after seeing the impact the outreach had on the kids, tour members and myself, I am so stoked to see what God will do with a bigger team! Merging my passions for the music industry and youth ministry was something I dreamed of, and SKAD makes that possible! Growing up I was always the "weird kid", I dealt with many of the struggles that teens currently face and I love to offer hope that there is Light in the midst of it! I battled everything from eating disorders to depression, self harm, insecurity, anxiety, emotional/verbal abuse and numerous losses of friends and family which led to suicidal tendencies.  Throughout it all, and even though I am still learning to overcome my anxiety and insecurities, I cling to Christ. I was and still am determined to allow God to use my past experience to help others find the same Love, strength, and peace."

Meet Madison: "I moved to Texas in January to work with SKAD, but have lived all over the country. I had the amazing opportunity to go on Warped tour last summer with SKAD, and after seeing the impact the outreach had on the kids, tour members and myself, I am so stoked to see what God will do with a bigger team! Merging my passions for the music industry and youth ministry was something I dreamed of, and SKAD makes that possible! Growing up I was always the "weird kid", I dealt with many of the struggles that teens currently face and I love to offer hope that there is Light in the midst of it! I battled everything from eating disorders to depression, self harm, insecurity, anxiety, emotional/verbal abuse and numerous losses of friends and family which led to suicidal tendencies.  Throughout it all, and even though I am still learning to overcome my anxiety and insecurities, I cling to Christ. I was and still am determined to allow God to use my past experience to help others find the same Love, strength, and peace."

Meet Avery: "I currently reside in Nebraska but was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. My favorite movie is The Goonies, I can pretty much quote the entire thing! God has really placed a huge desire on my heart to be in ministry and to volunteer and serve with SKAD. I am so beyond excited to see the Almighty God move this summer at Warped Tour through SKAD. For hearts to be changed, healing to come to the lost and broken, and for lives to be transformed by the power of love and Christ. I once was hurting, lost and consumed with my regrets and lack of self worth. I was angry with God because I felt so alone and abandoned but He picked me up and changed my heart. Because of Him I am alive today and ready to show love and hope to teens feeling the same way I once did. "

Meet Avery: "I currently reside in Nebraska but was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. My favorite movie is The Goonies, I can pretty much quote the entire thing! God has really placed a huge desire on my heart to be in ministry and to volunteer and serve with SKAD. I am so beyond excited to see the Almighty God move this summer at Warped Tour through SKAD. For hearts to be changed, healing to come to the lost and broken, and for lives to be transformed by the power of love and Christ. I once was hurting, lost and consumed with my regrets and lack of self worth. I was angry with God because I felt so alone and abandoned but He picked me up and changed my heart. Because of Him I am alive today and ready to show love and hope to teens feeling the same way I once did. "

Meet Blake: "I was born and raised in New Jersey but I call Lynchburg, VA home currently. I attend Liberty University online pursuing a business management entrepreneurship degree with a plan to one day own my very own music venue. I am married to the most amazing and supportive wife there is. I do vocals for a Christian metalcore band called Pathway Home and I'm also a concert/festival promoter. I am looking forward to being on the SKAD team this summer because I believe In what they do and I see the importance in it and potential it has to change hearts. I knew I had to be a part of it when I first heard about it at Warped Tour bible study from Stella. I have dedicated my life to doing music related things for the betterment of others around me. I share the same passion as these kids at warped and I am confident that they will see the passion I have for the scene, others and my Savior. I'm ready to encounter some life changing moments this summer."

Meet Blake: "I was born and raised in New Jersey but I call Lynchburg, VA home currently. I attend Liberty University online pursuing a business management entrepreneurship degree with a plan to one day own my very own music venue. I am married to the most amazing and supportive wife there is. I do vocals for a Christian metalcore band called Pathway Home and I'm also a concert/festival promoter. I am looking forward to being on the SKAD team this summer because I believe In what they do and I see the importance in it and potential it has to change hearts. I knew I had to be a part of it when I first heard about it at Warped Tour bible study from Stella. I have dedicated my life to doing music related things for the betterment of others around me. I share the same passion as these kids at warped and I am confident that they will see the passion I have for the scene, others and my Savior. I'm ready to encounter some life changing moments this summer."

Meet Arthur: "I am currently a SKAD Community Nigh leader in Tyler, Texas, where I live. I'm beyond stoked to go on Warped Tour with SKAD because it's a great avenue for this ministry to reach the youth. Thousands of kids look forward to this summer day to escape their lives back home to enjoy a music festival, so what a better way to share truth and life with them? I've struggled with partying, identity issues, and feeling like an outcast, so I understand where some of this kids come from. The great part is that there is always hope. And there will be four people at our tent this summer, ready to love on every person that comes through. 

Meet Arthur: "I am currently a SKAD Community Nigh leader in Tyler, Texas, where I live. I'm beyond stoked to go on Warped Tour with SKAD because it's a great avenue for this ministry to reach the youth. Thousands of kids look forward to this summer day to escape their lives back home to enjoy a music festival, so what a better way to share truth and life with them? I've struggled with partying, identity issues, and feeling like an outcast, so I understand where some of this kids come from. The great part is that there is always hope. And there will be four people at our tent this summer, ready to love on every person that comes through. 

Check out this video to learn about our outreach on the tour.

Check out this video to learn more about our organization:

Maybe you're asking yourself, 'Why does this organization go out on Warped Tour, when they are focused on weekly meetings for teens in local communities?!" Our answer: We have a hope that our organization will be spread Nationwide, so when we go out on the road, we hope to meet potential new leaders for the cities we tour through. We also want to plant seeds into the hearts of young people even if we have not been able to expand quite yet. Every one teen matters and every conversation has the potential to change a life. 

Welcome to 2015!

Hey friends! How is it already mid February in 2015? It seems like the last few months have just flown by and things have been crazy in our office. Last year was wonderful, but we are so excited to see what is in store for this year.

At the beginning of the month, we launched a Tuesday night meeting for our Tyler Community Night and haven't had any trouble bringing in teens. It's exciting to meet all of the new people coming to the meetings and we look forward to seeing how it grows.

Our HR team has been working hard by interviewing people for Warped Tour and new Tyler Community Night leaders. We welcomed two new leaders to our local Tyler team at the end of last month and already they are doing such a great job. Our Growth Training for our leaders began this month and we've already had two sessions and we have two more in the upcoming weeks. On March 1st our leaders will go through a Mental Health Training with a mental health professional and how to respond to teens that are suffering from those issues and substance abuse issues.

We had a wildly successful banquet last month and over 160 people were in attendance and we really believe so many eyes were opened to the need for this organization for young people not only in Tyler, but nationwide. It was definitely an eyeopening evening to those who had never heard about SKAD and the kinds of struggles teens are facing today. 

We are still looking for Community Night leaders in Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston and are hoping to find passionate college-age people to serve alongside this ministry in their city before the end of this year is up. So if you feel led to get involved and you're in one of the cities mentioned above, please read more information about that position here

Warped Tour prep is in full swing right now. Like I said, HR has been interviewing people and it has been awesome to hear how passionate about spreading hope each of the applicants are. If for some reason you didn't know about the opportunity, we are allowing a few more applications to filter through. Please fill out the application here. This year we are excited to have 4 people out with our team and we will have two 10 x 10 tents this year. One will be for our 'Bring Your Darkness to Light' campaign and another will be for merchandise. If you're looking to serve at your Warped Tour date, we will discuss that once the tour is closer, so be looking for that closer to summer. We are excited to have contests this year for free tickets to your Warped Tour date too, so stay tuned for that.

This is just a brief update to keep you guys posted with where we're at. Thanks for the continued support and prayers. 

If you haven't watched our most recent video about Community Nights, check this out. 

Check out our latest testimony video from Josh about how SKAD impacted his life greatly. 

Warped Tour Applicants!

It's that time of year and we are taking applications from you guys to serve with SKAD at this years Vans Warped Tour. If you're interested, please fill out the online application and you may be contacted in January for an interview.

Check out the follow videos from previous years that will give you insight to what we do on Warped Tour.

Again, we are seeking to fill male and female positions for the entire 2015 summer on Warped Tour! If you have any questions, please contact me at Note that it is preferred for applicants to be 21+.
Hope to hear from you guys and we look forward to another fun summer!

Warped Tour recap!

Warped Tour has been over for a little under two weeks and our volunteers David & Madison are still trying to rest and wrap their minds around what all happened this summer. I know from first-hand experience, it's a little overwhelming to process the countless conversations that are had via the SKAD team at Warped Tour. These two finished strong and when I had the chance to be with them for 10 dates, I really felt like I didn't even need to be there because I saw how hard working they were and I know the Lord was working through them. They were the perfect fit for this summer and I would like to publicly thank them and show them some love for offering up their summer to serve this ministry and the thousands of teens they spoke with this summer. There are so many stories to share, but how do we even begin to choose which ones to share? 
Right now, I am focusing on counting the cards and categorizing them so we can get you guys some statistics on what kind of conversations they had this summer and what the teens were mostly dealing with. So stay tuned for that.
Might I add that we are completely astonished at the Lords provision for this tour. It cost around $18,600 to travel the country, feed the two volunteers, and for promotional material- and every cent we had a need for, came in, just on time. We have you guys to thank, the people that stopped by our garage sale and car wash fundraisers in Tyler, and the teens at Warped Tour that donated for shirts and bracelets to take home to rep SKAD. All in all, we are so thankful to have been taken care of this summer and we could not be more thankful. Right now, our team is already working on next years outreach to make it bigger and better! Also, a little more prepared too-that'll definitely help.

The first kid I talked to came in and filled out a card but ran off before I could talk to her. She then came back later that day and to talk about her story of how when he was 14 she went to a summer camp and how her parents never came back for her. For over 3 years her and many others tried finding her parents, but no one could. No warning, no indication of anything was wrong, they were just gone. She was later adopted by her best friends parents, but still struggles with the pain of being left behind and the lack of a fathers love in her life. She said the only time she really ever talked about it was at the confessional (she was raised catholic) and I asked her if he had any feelings of anger towards God for all she had been through. She then told me she doesn’t see how a loving God could let this happen. I talked to her about my anger/frustration with God before I was saved and it led into me sharing that we live in a messed up world, not a perfect one, and how people are flawed and rebel against God and do really messed up stuff sometimes. More often then not, i’s out of our control and it’s not Gods fault. I shared with her how people will let us down, fail to keep promises, hurt us, and abandon us, but that God grieves for us in our struggles and that Jesus understands our struggles. I was able to tell her how we can have a relationship with Him and I shared that God is like a father to the fatherless and how he loves her so much and cares about what she’s going through. She was very encouraged.
— David Rozier
A young girl was walking by the tent with a hula hoop and I stopped and asked her to show me what she could do. She was extremely talented and I hugged her after she finished, and then asked her if she knew about SKAD. She hadn’t, so I explained it to her and she instantly wanted to write a card. It stated she was about to go to court for a rape case the next day and she didn’t think she could do it. I immediately embraced her again and just let her cry. We sat and talked for a while about the situation, and how she felt about it. While we were speaking I brought up faith and was instantly moved to be bold in it. I just poured out how much she was worth and that she would not be alone tomorrow. I told her that she was loved so unconditionally and where she can always find peace, love and freedom. While I was talking I got goosebumps, I felt like it hadn’t been me at all! The passion and comfort in what I was saying wasn’t from myself. I asked if I could pray for her and she said yes. It was beautiful. When she left she got my IG, and I asked her to let us know what time her date was so we could continue to pray.
— Madison Vander Hamm

We want to hear from you about your experience with us at Warped Tour or any festival outreach!

I visited the tent in march when I went to the south by so what festival. I filled out a card for the ‘Bring Your Darkness to Light’ campaign with personal information, thinking it was going to be put on the board and then that would be it. But when I handed it to this guy, I notice a woman coming up to me (Stella). She asked me about the card and I let her know a little backstory about me and what I put on there. Now, usually when I go to friends for advice or for them to lend an ear, they don’t really care much. But Stella did. She hugged me and I just started crying. I had never really just took a breath and let it out. She knew what I was going through. She cared enough to pull me aside. To talk to me. To listen. And no one had/has ever done that for me. After we talked for a bit, I felt more weightless. Its like, I felt okay. It gave me hope. So when I went to Warped Tour this year at the Houston date, I had to go see her. I hugged her and cried, because I just think of what she’s done for me, to me she did so much. Not even my friends could listen and help me like she did. I recommend this place to my friends. Its feels good knowing you’re not alone.
Thank you.
— Amanda
I visited your tent this year and got to share some wonderful news that I had been clean for 6 months, I remember waiting for my date to get closer so I could tell you guys this and its what kept me strong on rough days. I went through so much since the first time I met you last year, but the idea that I could come and tell Stella that I was six months clean and coming to terms with everything was so empowering for me. Because of SKAD I have found faith, that someone is watching over me. It has made me feel truly blessed to be here. I am here, I may still have my demons, but I am strong enough to fight them. And I truly believe if I hadn’t met you guys last year, a struggling borderline with three attempted suicides and a truly messed up family life I wouldn’t be in as good of a place I am now. Thank you for everything you stand for. Its truly the biggest help I could ever ask for.
— Geneva

We are so eager to hear more stories trickle in from teens that stopped by our tent this summer. So if you're reading this and you had an encouraging experience at our tent this summer, please take the time to send us an email or video sharing your experience. 
I know so many lives were impacted greatly from stopping by our tent this summer and we are honored to be able to be a beacon of hope to many and it was truly inspiring to see so many lives to change right before our very eyes. It's just more motivation to continue going on the tour and spreading truth, hope and love to these teens.

Check out what Madison and David said about their experience:

If I had to describe my experience working with SKAD over the summer in two words it would be “eye opening”. I have seen first hand the darkness that consumes the lives of our generation, and I’ve seen the perfect love of Christ transform the lives of so many teens, hurting and broken. The experiences had, the relationships developed, and the memories made truly couldn’t have been had in any other environment, and I think the thing I realized more and more on this tour is that this summer working with SKAD on Warped Tour has molded me and developed me in areas of my walk with God that I believe no other environment could, I feel bolder, more compassionate, and comfortable sharing the love of Christ with anyone, in fact some of my favorite people I shared Christ with on this tour were atheist, satanist, homosexuals, hindus, witches, drug addicts, and more. God has truly enlarged my heart for this generation, and has shown me how needed people and organizations like SKAD are in places like Warped Tour.
— David Rozier
This summer, where do I begin? Just to be offered the opportunity to go on this trip was the start of a life altering journey.
God took me through a lot of challenges and taught me a great deal about myself and my obedience to Him just in our preparations for the tour. Through asking me to give up a very important festival, to the obstacles of fundraising, prayer, and working quite a bit more than normal, He began to show me just how majestic He is and how everything is used for His glory.
From before we arrived in Texas, and everything started falling into place, I knew that I was getting into something far bigger and better than I’d ever imagined. For the first time in my life, I wanted to wake up to go to “work” and felt like I was right at home. Over the course of the first few days alone, I realized that I could see how every moment of my life truly did build me for this. Those moments that were my darkest, were exactly where I could draw from to have answers for the kids and relate to them on a level that made them feel comfortable . There were many, many times where a kid would write something that I had no answer to, and it was unexplainable how by lifting it up to God suddenly I would just be speaking. It was as if the words just came through me, sometimes quite boldly, offering peace and comfort in light of their situation .
I met some of the most incredible kids and people over the last two months. So many kids who came to the tent have won a place in my heart. I cant even begin to explain the love that spread through me from them! Quite often I would ask the kids if they felt they were wanted, loved and beautiful. Following, I would have the opportunity to share with them about Christ’s unconditional love, how He spoke them into existence and how He chose them to be here despite their flaws. The impact on my life upon seeing a recognition in their eyes, and being embraced by them after them writing a card or an emotional conversation was not only healing for me , but help to build strength in my faith that God really does know what he’s doing with our lives. About a week and a half into the summer, I realized that many of the questions I would ask the kids or the truths that I would speak over them were the ones that I needed to answer/believe for myself .
Throughout the tour, I began to find myself as the person that Christ called me to be. I was able to listen to others, to be aware of what they needed, and to be open to those who are hurting the most. It wasn’t just the kids then attended the tour who were part of the impact zone. There were some vendors, and bands on the tour were an integral part of the building me up in Christ, or showing me just how burdened for the lost I truly am.
During the tour, there were some unexpected things that came up but almost instantly I was able to see His Grace in them! By the end of it I felt proud of myself for one of the first times, and I realized that this was exactly what He had to call me into existence for. I wasn’t proud because I had accomplished something, because none of it was me. I was proud because I felt like I had a purpose, and worth, and I had finally understood my life. There have been many times growing up where my brain could just not process something, or I would be put down and told numerous times that I was handicapped, I wasn’t enough. Through Steal Kill and Destroy reaching out to hundreds of people who are hurting, God showed me just how loved, cherished, and needed I truly was.
— Madison Vander Hamm

Super exciting news!

On the second to last day of tour, Mr. Lyman himself (the founder of Warped Tour) came out to meet us and thank us for our work on the tour. He told us he wanted to work with us this year to see how he could help us. What a huge blessing that way! Even more exciting though, is on that same day, we were approached by Jessie Owens and Sierra Lyman, who work for Unite the United with Warped Tour and they chose our small nonprofit to receive a $1000 grant! They told us the money is to prepare us to come back out next year because they value and believe in the youth outreach we are doing on the tour. What an honor it was to receive that and to be hand picked by those ladies. 

Madison, Jessie, Sierra, me & David on the last day of Warped Tour in Denver. We were obviously so stoked to be chosen for that grant!

Madison, Jessie, Sierra, me & David on the last day of Warped Tour in Denver. We were obviously so stoked to be chosen for that grant!

We are so honored to work alongside these incredible people that are working for various nonprofits that are on Warped Tour each summer. So, this is a see ya next year and thanks for the fun guys!

We are so honored to work alongside these incredible people that are working for various nonprofits that are on Warped Tour each summer. So, this is a see ya next year and thanks for the fun guys!

So, what's next?

We have a few things we are working on for the rest of 2014 and early 2015 and we are excited to share them with you.

In September we will start promoting our #SKAD1010 project! You guys will have a chance to share you're 10:10 stories with the world and spread hope to people that may be in need!

We are planning to start our after school programs at the Tyler building in October. Right now, we will only launch one program (ex, guitar lessons or photography classes) a month, until we have a better handle on how it functions. That will last for the rest of 2014

We will work on recruiting volunteers from churches and college ministries. So at this time, myself and a few others are working on the specific needs we need filled.

There will be a banquet fundraiser in January 2015. This will be open to the community and we are having it to bring awareness about the ministry and to raise funds for that upcoming year. We will have speakers, testimonies from some teens, food, and much more. We will give updates with this as they come.

I am working on the budget for Warped Tour 2015-4 volunteers, two tents, bus cost, food, insurance, merchandise, etc. We want to be prepared for this upcoming year.

Last and very exciting. The plan to launch community nights in Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston early next year. Be praying for the right volunteers to come along.

So, that's what I am working on with our board. Super exciting to have a team of people believe in the vision for this ministry and give their time to help see it become a reality.

If you haven't committed to monthly giving, I urge you to pray about it. We need more people to pour into this ministry financially to help with the continued growth. So if you believe in what we are doing for this generation, please pray about giving. You can do it online or send in a check to our office. It's tax deductible as well. Click here to read more about how to donate or click the 'Donate Now' button.

-Stella Malone Founder & Executive Director

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We look forward to the growth in the next year and having you guys be a part of every step.

-Stella Malone
Founder & Executive Director

Warped Update 5.

Be sure to click this photo to check out Corinne's work on her site Stuck with Pins.

Be sure to click this photo to check out Corinne's work on her site Stuck with Pins.

Psalm 139:12 says "Even the darkness is not dark you" and that's something we at SKAD have been clinging too lately. Whether it be our team in Tyler, that are working with our local teens or our amazing volunteers on Warped Tour. We were so inspired by that verse that we even had our talented friend Corinne Buchannan create a shirt for us. Anyway, when I read a card like the one above, I just see the hurt, the struggles, the pain, and for anyone without Christ, they would probably look at that and think there is no hope-even the person that wrote that card, may feel like there isn't any hope. However, I'm here today to tell you that 'EVEN THE DARKNESS IS NOT DARK TO HIM.' Your biggest struggles, your deepest darkest secrets, and anything you think people would shun you for-it still doesn't phase the Lord. Let Him give you peace, comfort, freedom and allow Him to be the light in your life. You're worth it.

If you haven't watched our most recent video about our outreach on Warped Tour, please take time to do so.

Last week, I was in the office and received a Facebook message from a young lady on the SKAD facebook and this is what it said:

I saw you today in Cincinnati and wanted to know what you were about, but never got around to asking even though I was volunteering at the booth right next to you. Near the end of the non-profit day (5:30, 6ish), I had ventured out into the crowd for the first time that day and came back a few minutes later after buying a shirt. For some reason, my anxiety was acting up (in all my years of volunteering at Warped Tour it never has before). In the midst of trying to deep breathe myself out of a panic attack and taking a little bit of my medicine, I looked over and saw a teenage boy crying at your booth talking to one of you. It shocked me at first, but I assumed he had gotten hurt and was waiting for First Aid or something. Seeing someone crying was making my anxiety worse, then I looked over again and saw -you- (whoever the man running your booth is) holding his hands over the boys head and it looked like he was praying. I automatically understood, he was experiencing the same thing I was. Maybe not anxiety, but some crippling form of emotional pain. I wanted to cry right then, because seeing -you- help talk him through it was helping me, almost like his calm demeanor and energy was radiating. I wanted to go over and say something once the boy left, but I was afraid. The people I was with are friends, but I still don’t feel like they would understand if I went over to say something to the people working your booth. The stigma behind mental illness is getting better, but not everyone is accepting yet.
I’m sorry for the long message, but I just need to say thank you. Thank you for what you are doing, what you stand for, and the safe environment you give to people who need it. Thank you for being fearless in a society that wants to point fingers instead of opening arms. Thank you. I’m sorry for the long message, but please pass on to the two people who are working your booth that they are making a difference even if they don’t realize it.
— Anonymous

After reading that message, I was so moved and encouraged by it, that I shared it with David and Madison. David was so blown away and then shared the story about what was actually happening when the girl witnessed that.

It was about 30 minutes to close, super slow day, when out of nowhere this dude and his girlfriend ran up to the tent and started off the conversation by asking me if I was a Christian and if I could pray for the guy. (My guess is they saw “JOHN 10:10” on the tent). The guy proceeded to tell me about how he’s a volunteer fire fighter who suffers from PTSD. When we began to pray that God would fill him with peace, he started weeping, I asked Him what was going on, he then told me all about how he had been involved in witchcraft, the occult, and even blood sacrifices. I took Him to the back of the tent and asked Him if He wanted to be free from all that and he was desperate for freedom. I briefly shared the gospel with Him and explained that even the darkness is not dark to God and how no matter what he’s been involved in or bound by, the blood of Jesus is powerful enough to set Him free. With many tears He renounced all of His witchcraft and ties with the occult, repented of His sin, and gave His life to Christ.
— David Rozier

That story is reason enough to be out there. Lives are being impacted whether they stop by the tent or whether they're just passing by.

A young girl came up to the board and as she was reading the cards, I asked if I could tell her about SKAD. She wanted to fill out a card right away and when she did, It read - ‘I love drugs way too much.’ I asked more about it and she really opened up about what type she liked, the highs, and how it made her feel- positive and negative. She stated that she has talked herself back from the edge of death. As we continued to talk I asked her if she felt like she was worth more and if she thought she was loved and cared for. She said she was sure her friends and family did. So I asked how they would feel about her not being around if something happened. I was able to really impress on her how unexpected death is and how the drugs could affect her by telling her about the loss I just had the night before. It really hit home about the severity of it then, and she seemed genuinely serious about trying to be free of them. We talked about a lot of random stuff following that, including snowboarding, which she was so passionate about. She came back later to talk even more and we really kept bonding.
— Madison Vander Hamm

Last week, our volunteer Madison lost a friend named CJ and texted me around 2:45 AM to tell me about it and yet, she still got up early the next morning and went out to continue outreach. That right there, shows the power and strength of the Lord. The story above also shows how God can use anything and everything for His glory. He can take dark situations and use them for something beautiful. Don't ever forget that.

We only have a few weeks left of the tour and we ask that you continue praying for David and Madison and the teens that stop by our tent to bring their darkness to light.

We still need $4545.71 to finish out the tour, so please consider giving.
We are having a local car wash fundraiser this Saturday the 26th at CVS on Broadway and 5th street-next to Bergfeld park. It starts at 8 am and will last until there are no cars left. Please come by and let us wash your car, so we can continue impacting lives of young people locally and nationally.
We are also having a garage sale this Friday (8-4) & Saturday (8-1) the 25th & 26th. Please come by and spread the word. If you have any thing you want to donate (local only please) that we can sell in our garage sale, please contact me at and I will come and pick up the goods.

It's not rare or random for us to receive messages from kids that stopped by our tent, so here's another that I wanted to share with you. I think it's great that David took a photo of Gumby with her card, posted it to our Instagram and she ended up contacting us. How awesome.

You guys are doing amazing things. Yesterday was my first Warped tour and my clever self spent it in a gumby costume the majority of the time. I was walking past the tents trying to get people to smile and someone pulled me I to this one (matt or David. I feel terrible for not remembering but I do remember his story and love it.) I spent maybe 20-30 just in the tent with him while my friend had to wander because she was bored. After writing out a card, I wasn’t afraid to write my first name, he asked if he could read it. I have nothing to hide, so sure. He seemed surprised of everything I had to go through. After he read it I told him everything since it wouldn’t fit on one card, and that just seemed to blow him away. He asked if he could share him story, and of course I said yes. I’m always intrigued to hear where people come from and what they had to do to get to where they are. It just blew me away and it made me so happy to hear that God was involved in a huge way. I’ve heard these stories where people curse god and get better on their own, but being a Christian in a metal scene, it really made my day.
He asked if he could pray for me and of course I said yes, even the people in our church just shunned me away after learning about my past, never praying for me. We ended up praying right there in the tent and it was all I could do not to tear up. I truly appreciate everything he did for me, and everything He’s done for me so far, even though I’m still not okay. Thank you guys so much for being on Warped, and please share this with him so I might be able to find him.
— Anonymous Gumby

This post is dedicated to CJ Eckhardt, may he rest in peace.