IMPERIAL — Men from local men’s homes flocked to attend round three of the Man-Up Men’s Conference at Faith Assembly Saturday in Imperial. The five-hour conference began at 9:00 a.m. and was attended by about 200 men.
David Ascencio, pastor of Victory Outreach in Brawley and El Centro, said the attendance was good.
“We have a lot from the men’s homes,” he said. “We have the New Creations men’s home, Turning Point men’s home and Victory Outreach men’s home, and brothers from local churches of different denominations.”
Prior to the messages from the ministers, worship leaders from Faith Assembly sang a number of songs to which participants reacted by singing, swaying, clapping and stomping of feet.
Ascencio said this was an opportunity for men to get together, hear powerful preaching, and to edify themselves by hearing of God’s word from three local ministers.
The pastors speaking included Manuel Silvas of Victory Outreach in Yuma, who spoke on “Reclaiming the House of the Lord”; Richard Moore of Trinity Baptist Church in Holtville who delivered a message on the “Temptations of Christ”; and event host Dan Bruce of Faith Assembly in Imperial who spoke on “Jesus Dependent Life.”
At the conclusion of Bruce’s message, attendees were invited to approach the altar to dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ. As the worship team sang, men thronged towards the altar, knelt, bowed and offered prayers in silence. The pews, little by little, became empty as men walked toward the front. They raised their hands and sang while others raised their hands as if surrendering to a higher power.
Many of those attending were street-smart tattooed men who had, at some point in their lives, got involved in drugs or gangs. And yet, they bowed, knelt, shed tears, raised their hands, and uttered words of prayer from their hearts.
“They responded well,” Silvas said. “We had a great time in the Lord. We believe God is gonna do great miracles and change peoples’ lives. We help them to them get to know their purpose, their callings, and become successful Christians.”
Frank Fernandez was one of the participants and he said he is new to El Centro-based New Creations having been here just three weeks. He confided that involvement with drugs resulted in untold pain and family disruptions. At the altar call, Fernandez knelt, bowed, raised his hands and shed tears.
When asked later about his prayer, he said he prayed for other residents at the men’s home, and pastors who teach the word of God, as well as praying for himself to be a good father, a good son, and a good husband – things that he wasn’t years ago.
Fernandez talked about his experience at New Creations. “It is actually an amazing experience. I’ve actually, for once in my life, felt loved, accepted and wanted. In my whole life, I grew up by myself; and never had a family much around. Since I’ve been to the home (New Creations men’s home), I’ve learned to love and forgive. I felt humbled and I felt joy and love for everybody, as well as for myself. But I especially have more love for God.”
Furthermore, Fernandez challenged and encouraged others. “For those who are lost in the world. Just to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our savior. If he saved me from the gang, drugs and was of the world, He can save anybody.”
Later, after the altar call, the men proceeded to the church’s gymnasium for lunch and fellowship.