“Fields of Faith,” a Christian event featuring music, guest speakers, and student testimonies, drew nearly 300 people to Badger Stadium on the Yosemite High School campus Oct. 14.
The event was sponsored by the Yosemite High Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) club, under the leadership of club adviser Pat Lynch, a long-time employee of Raley’s, and assistant YHS football coach, who called the event “a great night of worship and encouragement.”
In addition to YHS students, members of FCA clubs from Mariposa, Sierra, and Minarets high schools were also in attendance.
Playing worship music for the event was the YHS alumni Rocky Von Wagner Band, made up of Rocky, brother Jason, Johnny Dew, and Leo Valesquez. All four of the band members are YHS alumni and members of Yosemite Lakes Community Church in Coarsegold. Surrendered Life Worship also performed.
In addition to moving student testimonials from YHS FCA President Alli Stearns, and club Vice President Matthew Holden, keynote speaker for the evening was former YHS graduate John Murphy, now a spiritual leader with Youth With A Mission headquartered in Arvada, Colo.
Murphy was on the Youth With A Mission training center in Arvada, Colo., on Dec. 9, 2007, when 24-year-old Matthew J. Murray opened fire with a pistol at the training center, killing two and wounding two others before escaping. Later that afternoon, Murray attacked the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, with a number of firearms, killing two more and injuring three before being shot and wounded by a member of the church’s congregation - Murray then committed suicide.
“It was a successful night under the lights of Raupp Field,” Lynch said. “The musical groups and speakers did a great job in preparing for the evening, and I was very encouraged by the outpouring of support in attendance from the night. We will definitely plan this event again for 2016."
Taylor Mann, 20, of Ojai, was visiting friends in Oakhurst when she heard about the event and decided to attend.
“This event is going to cause a ripple effect that will cause the wave of revelation in Oakhurst,” Mann said. “It is so awesome to see God moving in all sorts of places especially in high schools like Yosemite. I’m so thankful to have been able to witness the kind of love these kids have for Jesus and hear what He’s done in their lives. God surpasses trend and culture. I’m so glad that there are kids breaking out of what the world says high school should be like. To all the students who shared their testimonies, you are warriors. There truly is an army rising up.”
“Our goal in Fellowship of Christian Athletes is to change the hearts of our athletes to change their team, change their school, and to help create a positive change in our community,” Lynch said.
Assisting in the event planning was John Lorenzana (Rebellion Youth and Minarets FCA), Michael Massachio (Sierra Pines Church), Alex Bohegian (Sierra Vista Church), and Jen Zapotosky (The Grove Church).
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes was an idea of Don McClanen in 1947 when he was a student at what is now Oklahoma State University. McClanen believed that athletes could use their platform of influence to present Jesus Christ to the entire culture in a powerful way. McClanen officially began FCA in 1954.
In 2004, Lynch said more than 6,000 students gathered on school athletic fields throughout Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas for “Fields of Faith.” Through the student-led events, more than 100 students made decisions for Christ, and since then, hundreds of thousands of people have attended “Fields of Faith” events, and thousands have accepted Christ.