Tuesday, July 7, 2015

History

In 2006, we missed the event due to a horrific accident.
Later, in 2009, more mechanical trouble would strike us.
Project “The Spike” was originally envisioned in early 2009 when my family was on an off road trip to join 4x4Him in their annual Calico Jamboree.  On the way to the event, my tow vehicle and off road rig had a mechanical failure which caused it to be limped home and parked in the garage until repairs could be completed.  This was now the second year we were missing this event.  The previous year there was a major accident which involved my entire family, and now this mechanical failure of my vehicle.  I decided I needed the fellowship of these other believers in 4x4Him and we left for the event at nearly 5:00pm.  We took my tent trailer and a borrowed tow vehicle while leaving my rock crawler at home.  After a long drive at night, we arrived in camp to warm welcomes from friends.  They had set up our camping spot with lights so we could set up easily and many even came to help so we could get my 2-year old son to bed quickly.  I knew we were in the presence of friends as soon as we arrived.
The next morning as we were cooking breakfast, one of the leaders of 4x4Him, Rick K.; aka. “The General,” came to my camp and asked if I still wanted to wheel.  I said of course, thinking he had a passenger spot open and I could join him, but instead he handed me the keys to his buggy. 
"The General"
Owned by Rick K.
“The General,” as the buggy was also called, was a modified Toyota 4Runner with a complete tube buggy around the highly modified drivetrain. Modeled after the Hendrix Formula Toyota buggy, this was a great honor. As an avid rock crawler, I have dreamed of having a buggy someday, but as a family man and on a limited budget, I had only my modified vehicle to crawl with.  It was very capable, but it was not a buggy.  This offer was more than a friend helping a friend, Rick had truly blessed me with the ability to get on the trails and get the therapy (as I like to call it) I needed to calm my nerves after the vehicle frustrations the day before.  He was blessing me in more ways than he ever could know. I went back into my tent trailer to get my son and his car seat to join me.  Kristi wanted to stay at camp, so I had the first opportunity to give a complete 4wheeling novice a glimpse of what rock crawling is.  I asked another camper who was new to the sport if they wanted to join me and ride in The General with their daughter.  They agreed and we soon we were loaded up and heading to the trails. 
It was during that time that the dream started.  It was during that drive that I saw how I could introduce people to rock crawling safely and show the love Jesus Christ has for all of us through the enjoyment of this sport. That is when my ministry off road dream began to unfold and God began to reveal the plan He had for my ministry. After a great trail ride and some great rock crawling, we returned to camp to have dinner.  The group meal that night was offered to us and we ate with everyone having great fellowship.  The trip was a huge relief for me, even with the turmoil that started it off.
The next event I attended which built this vision was one where I was simply a passenger at a large scale event hosted by a major parts manufacturer.  Rex T. had invited me to be his passenger and spotter at the famous trails known as “The Hammers,” in Johnson Valley, California.  The event was very memorable for more than a few reasons including record setting cold, but what impacted me was the trail ride.  I was observing a spotter on the trail who was taking vehicles over lines they were not capable of driving and making drivers very uncomfortable. 
Rex T. driving through the hammers with my spotting.
As Rex approached his position at the start of the obstacle, he told the other spotter he wanted me to spot for him.  I knew his comfort level and what damage, if any, was acceptable for his truck.  On the first try, I spotted Rex through the obstacle over a fairly tough line.  That ease made the next driver also ask me to spot for them.  I made brief introduction and asked them about their comfort levels both in driving and damage, and successfully spotted them trough as well.  Each vehicle in the line asked me to spot and I got to help over a dozen drivers accomplish an obstacle which many thought was impassable after seeing the first few built rigs have such trouble.  This happened two more times up the trail, and I knew that helping people and introducing them to what their vehicles could do gave me great joy.  I knew I wanted to do this more.

As a founder of the United Christian Off-Road Alliance (UCORA) since 2005, I was already a part of an off road ministry designed to bring glory to God while exploring and enjoying his creation.  We are a group who loved off road events, but not the off-road after party at camp in many cases.  Personally, I have seen camp tragedies too numerous to count, but still remember the camp fire “Mickey Bomb” going horribly wrong and seeing a group burn a fellow event attendee’s camper to the ground.  No one was hurt, thank God, but I never forgot those times and why my kids never go to non-Christian off road events with me.  UCORA was formed to bring all the great parts of the events together with a family friendly atmosphere and keep camp safe for everyone.  The mission of UCORA, combined with my dreams and desires to have an off-road related ministry, fueled my desire to start “The Spike.”

Finally the last series of events which has fueled my passion for this project is the Crawl 4 Christ. 
This event, organized by UCORA, is a national event with varying locations each year in order to bring a family related event to off-roading and introduce people to our sport and let them enjoy it with us.  We are open to both Christians and non-Christians, but camp rules are followed by all.  The first event, held in in 2007, was the launching point for what has now grown to over 100 families each year and has been held at over 5 different locations nationwide.  People travel from all over the United States to attend the event, and we love seeing God work every year.  During past events, I have had the opportunity to lead in a message service, serve food to participants, host the event, and help from behind the scenes; and I love seeing the joy people get every year through pictures and hearing event stories. This form of serving is the other side of how my ministry project will serve the people; more on that later.