Sunday, January 24, 2010

It’s a L.I.F.E. Celebration

January 23, 2010



When I see an email from my friend, Derrick Engoy, awaiting my attention, I know it’s going to bring my life to a whole new level of selflessness. Derrick is one of those people you need to have in your corner, especially when your heart burns to help the voiceless and oppressed. We have participated in a few Freeze Projects together and I continually support Derrick and his wife, Marissa, in their endeavors. I’ve dubbed them “the Dynamic Duo” and they work together to create awareness of social justice issues in the local area and abroad.
As I read the email Derrick sent, my flesh broke out in goosebumps. I wasn’t disappointed when I read about an idea Derrick pitched about a L.I.F.E. Celebration event and knew I had to be part of it someway, somehow.
L.I.F.E. (Loving In Full Embrace) Celebration event served two purposes:
  1. To create an opportunity for friends, family, and the church family to serve our surrounding community; encouraging a lifestyle of giving and reaching out to those in need.
  2. To create an opportunity to bless the local community.
I had a chance to ask Derrick how the L.I.F.E. Celebration idea manifested, how he gathered performers and vendors to participate, and how he invited the community to join. These were his words:
It began last year (Jan 2009) when I partnered with International Justice Mission, through Facebook, and challenged my friends to donate the dollar amount of the age I turned that year. We were able to raise nearly $2,000 towards IJM's campaign against human trafficking. Later that summer, on a silent drive back from Riverside, God gave me a vision of taking the FB/IJM idea and bringing it to a local level. From there, the L.I.F.E. Celebration Event was birthed. In short, it was God's way of allowing us to bridge communities in a particular neighborhood together.
I pitched the idea to a couple of performers and they were on board. Word spread and the other handful of performers came to me. I reached out to my current networks and, again, they were on board. Similar to the performers, other orgs came to me. From there, we all worked together to invite people in our networks and neighborhoods.
I was truly blessed to be able to photograph the event and see everyone’s hard work materialize in sweet success. From the performers, to the vendors, to the volunteers, and participants, the night shone with a supernatural light of generosity, grace, community, and love. Local neighbors and families in need were provided food, goodies, free flu shots, entertainment, and grocery store gift cards.
Later, I asked Derrick if he thought the outcome was favorable. With humility and excitement he answered:
The event actually turned out better than I thought. I was blessed and humbled to see my friends and family take ownership of the event as much as they did. We collected more gift cards than I had anticipated, but more importantly, the amount of gift cards we collected was more than enough for all the families who came out. I'm just happy to know our neighbors were blessed and enjoyed themselves.
VENDORS:
CASA DE LOS ANGELITO, COMMUNITY'S CHILD, DREAM CENTER, JUST ONE, LAANE, LOVE INC., SHAREFEST, MILLETTE SAN PEDRO, NEW LIFE CENTER
PERFORMERS:
DAVID "APPLESAUCE" TRAN, DELAND AND THE FUSS, ELEMENTS LIVE, KEI PALOMO, MARISSA ENGOY, INSPIRE


Snapshots of L.I.F.E. Celebration