Grounded for Life on the mission trip to Romania; Miles Mathews, Collin Roth, Scott Eshbaugh and Bryant Parrales.
The deadline for this article is soon. And as you would have it a ferocious storm came through tonight. I mean gale force winds and torrential rain. I am now sitting in my darkened living room with three candles flickering, their light faint across the room. I can’t find my flashlight. I write with pen and paper because I need to save my laptop battery and there is no internet connection anyway. Just when I could really start to complain I decide this is the perfect setting to write about ministry.
Anyone who has ever felt the call by God to step forward and, as my son Scott likes to call it, “become a Christ Follower” knows what it is to work in the dark as a deadline closes in. This, I decide, is a fairly exact picture of walking in faith. God just doesn’t seem to provide for us until the moment we need Him. He doesn’t seem to illumine the path we walk until we step out in faith.
When Scott was 14 years old he decided to forget about soccer and baseball and take up break dancing. I witnessed the perfection of many strenuous poses and many afternoons of amazing feats of endurance in my garage as Scott and his friend Bryant Parrales practiced what I believe is closely related to Chinese acrobatics worked out to the rhythm of Hip Hop.
Then one day Scott told me he knew that the Lord was going to use his break dancing for His glory. And you know what? I believed him. At the time I was developing art ministry at my church and break dancing seemed like another venue that was plausible for a person to use to express worship to the Lord. I was moving forward in faith, believing God created us uniquely, and it was no stretch for Him to use us in the same manner He created us; uniquely. Unfortunately, an artist, whether he or she is a visual artist or a hip hop artist, often struggles to believe God really can and will use the things we love to do for His glory. So when Scott said he believed this was true of himself, I rejoiced.
Scott and Bryant were soon mentored by Mike Lacsamana, a friend of Bryant’s older brother. Mike helped them refine their dance moves and introduced them to competitive sessioning. Mike knew his way around the Dallas break dancing scene. They named their dance team Grounded for Life because they were grounded a lot and that was the only time they missed practice. Mike encouraged them to keep up with their homework and to maintain good grades. The boys knew they needed their break dancing time to keep them out of trouble.
Things seemed to be moving along in their plans to compete when Mike joined the Army. When he left for basic training, their plans evaporated. That is when Collin Roth and Miles Mathews began to show a real interest and talent for “breaking.” Scott and Bryant got a lot of attention at school and church with their dance moves causing other boys to ask them to teach them break dancing. Not many of the boys stuck with it, but Collin and Miles did.
On a mission trip to the Rio Grande, the boys were asked to perform. They also helped at neighborhood VBS events where break dancing proved to be an ice breaker. The boys genuinely loved the kids, making instant connections. Their performance began to open doors for the groups that invited them to dance, helping them to see how they could do outreach in their community and beyond.
Prom: Yes, they did break dance at Prom for Plano Senior High School, unofficially.
Scott Eshbaugh, Hope Yarrow (a fan), Bryant Parrales, Collin Roth and Miles Mathews.
The real breakthrough in understanding that break dancing was ministry and that God meant to use them, was when Dan Busch, their youth pastor at Willow Bend Church in Plano, Texas, took them under his wing and began to teach them. Dan had them give testimonies after their performances. They began to perform for other youth groups who were trying to reach out to the teens in the community. Events would be held and the boys would dance and give their testimonies. They encouraged the teens to rely on God’s power to combat the temptations they all faced daily. They shared that the teens could to do something they loved and do it for Jesus. For Scott, Bryant, Collin and Miles that thing they loved was break dancing.
One night, Grounded for Life danced and performed for Celebrate Recovery at their church. Celebrate Recovery is Saddleback Church's ministry to fellowship and celebrate God's healing power. After Grounded for Life spoke, three older men came forward on the decision that they needed to get serious about some life issues. They told the leadership that if these young men could be honest about their struggles and deal with their life issues then they needed to also. The boys realized in a big way that God had used them because the decisions made became life-changing for the men that came forward. Ministry that night became more than just getting up to dance. Since then, Grounded for Life has performed for more Celebrate Recovery and youth groups meetings, Disciple Now events, VBS and a mission trip to Romania where they did outreach in the high schools.
As summer approaches and graduation looms over the horizon, their future once again seems uncertain. Mike is on a tour of duty in Iraq and the boys want to spend the summer seeing how far and how often they can dance together and share their stories. They are all leaning towards mission involvement, but those doors have not yet opened. They are a little like me, sitting here in the dark, scratching these words out with a pen. And I, of all people, cannot wait to see what the summer holds for them, however uncertain it may seem today, because I know that next step of faith will be no less amazing than the ones that have brought them this far.