I have attended the last 4 Remix conferences. To explain my experiences at remix I believe I need to inform you of some life events of mine well before I ever got involved in Remix.
I first became saved the summer I
went into Junior High School in 1998, I was about 12 or 13 years old. I was at
a summer camp called UCYC (United Christian Youth Camp). I remember after hearing
a sermon that evening thinking to myself I had never made my own decision to
follow after Jesus Christ and accept him as my personal Lord and Savior. That night
on the rocks next to a large wooden cross I sat with my Youth Pastor and he led
me into the prayer that changed my life as I asked Jesus for the forgiveness of
my sins and for him to be by Lord and Savior.
I remember thinking after that camp, what is next, if I am to allow Jesus to change my life, then I am all in and want to serve him to the best of my abilities all of my days. That became my prayer for most of my seventh grade. As I started to think about what I wanted to be and who I wanted to be, I decided that I wanted to be a father. But I knew in order to be a good father I should first be a good husband. So for the rest of the seventh grade I started to pray for my future wife. In the 8th grade I started to pray for my future children. I continued praying in that order first to be used by Jesus to the best of my abilities, then for my future wife and then for my future children.
I had followed Jesus all the way to and through college. In college I met a girl who I dated for a significant time and eventually got engaged to. Long story short we broke off the engagement in early 2011. That was one of the hardest darkest times for me. I was so emotionally hurt and could not understand that why God would not allow me to be with the one I thought I was going to marry and had been praying for all those years. I was perplexed as to why God would let that relationship just tank. In order to protect myself from getting hurt I decided that I was not going to feel any more emotions and turn that side off in me.
I believed my Mom could tell I was going through a lot and she said that there was this young adults camp she heard of called Elevate Remix. And my Mom sent me to camp. When I arrived at Remix in 2012 for my first conference, I got to experience the Holy Spirit in a way that I had almost not felt since I was saved in middle school. I asked the Holy Spirit to allow me to feel emotions again, soften my heart and help me understand what my calling is in Him again. I knew the Lord was telling me that soon he had someone special prepared for me, and that he heard my prayers all those years for a wife, but he was still working on me.
By the time Remix came around in 2013 I had met a girl in the most unlikely of ways, and we started to date. I knew there was something extra special about her. I had watched this women accept Jesus into her life and be baptized just before Remix. At Remix God was showing me that this was the one who I would marry, who I could trust fully and be completely opened up to. I watched the Holy Spirit grow our hearts and spirits closer together. I had kept asking the Lord to show me my purpose. I watched as the Lord moved from working on just me, to working within that special women.
At Remix 2014, that special women I just mentioned, was now my fiancé and we attended Remix together as an engaged couple. While at this retreat, I got to see something amazing which broke my heart. I saw just how many young men and women did not have a father growing up, or if they did was not a positive influence in their lives, and because of that it had affected so many people deeply. This broke my heart to see almost the entire camp of young men and women breaking down because of the lack of fatherhood in this generation. I believe that weekend the seed was planted in my purpose to help be a mentor to young men and help raise up a generation of exceptional men, but I did not know how this was to happen yet.
As 2014 passed, I got married to my wife, Brittney Forsman, and at the end of 2014 we were pregnant. Just before Remix 2015 we found out that we will be having a little girl. This is where I now share my experience from Remix 2015 Immersed. With hindsight I could see that the reason God allowed me to go through the all hurt of my first ex-fiancé, was because that was not the one who I had been praying for all those years, who was going to be the wife to my child and person who shared my dreams and desires with. If God did not allow me to go completely face down the first time, I would not have chosen to follow after him faithfully when I could not see his plans; and I would not have appreciated Brittney in the way I needed to and do. And now almost a parent, I understood what it means to worry for your child, as worries had surrounded me recently. was i going to be good enough as a parent.
I watched God move from working on just me in 2012, to working in Brittney in 2013, and in 2014 working on us, now to working on our purpose as a married couple as an example for younger people. Again I was able to see all the hurting youth who did not have a father to guide them in life. God again stirred up a passion to help rise up a generation of young men to be Godly men, faithful husbands and loving fathers who actively participate in the lives of their children/family. So I started to pray about it.
I briefly talked with pastor Chad who gave me the best advice when I asked, “How do I tackle all these big dreams?” he told me to be faithful with what I got going on right now. I stopped and thought about that all day long. And then it all made sense. In order to be the very best I could be for God to use I needed to have some strong spiritual ties broken off. I have been praying for purity all my life, and like an onion needs to be peeled layer by layer, I believe God was peeling off some of the strongest deepest layers in my life for my purity. God met me right where I was at and set me free from pornography and broke my addiction to it.
For years I have been praying and doing all I could do to be pure. But like the onion there are many layers and like a chain there are many links some which are were very strong in fortified places. It was not that I had failed all those times, or God was not working when I believed I failed, it was that God was breaking off every chain of all sexual impurity within me over the course of time. I felt the last chain break, the last layer peeled, I felt freedom. I felt my worries of inadequacies, of not being able to measure up to the father I know I needed to be, just disappear and was replaced with peace, courage and confidence. I had a refined vision for my purpose in fatherhood; to build up a generation of young men pure in heart so they can be great fathers.
I am 29 years old now, and know that not everyone has experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit, but I have many times in my life, and every time I have gone to Elevate Remix God has met me right where I was. In summarization my story is simple. God again showed me that he is a powerful, personal, Loving Father who wants nothing but the best for me. He has heard my cries over the years, and knows my voice.
At Remix 2015 Jesus set me free to be the best father to my daughter, and role model for young men. I walk in that freedom as his presence of Mercy and Grace surround me now. Gratitude to all those who make Remix possible, because of your example I want to now be that helping hand for the next generation so they find their purpose in Christ and experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in such a personal way. I can not hardly wait to help out with this year's Youth Camp elevate at the same place i first found salvation!!!
p.s. is it too soon to be looking forward to Remix next year!?!