Saturday, December 20, 2008

Transforming a City One Life at a Time

This last quarter 6 people from the fellowship got baptized in the beautiful Pacific Ocean right across the street from the Del Playa house – all of them but one had a past with drugs and alcohol. Holly and I feel so honored that the Lord has allowed us the pleasure of seeing His hand of mercy and grace extended to people in such a pivotal time in their life. Jesus said it best when He affirmed to the disciples that He did not come for the healthy, but for the sick; not for the righteous, but the sinner. It is a humble realization that our righteousness before God and the love He fills us with after coming to know Christ all originates in Him. The one guy who did not come out of the party background was a guy who grew up Muslim and had a radical encounter with Jesus that compelled him to give his life to Him. It has been such a place of joy and encouragement watching God transform a city and a generation one life at a time!

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace

(Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas in Isla Vista

Just wanted to do a quick post and check in with what is happening in this college town! Isla Vista is a very unique community in so many ways, and one of the unique things about it is that during the holidays it gets almost completely empty! Finals ended last week and now almost everyone is gone! The streets are empty and there will be plenty of parking for the next few weeks!

It is nice to take these slower seasons to just spend a little more "family time" together with the few IVC people who are still around, so we had a fun Christmas service in the prayer shed, complete with Jeremiah playing the baby Jesus :) We sang Christmas hymns, read the Christmas story verses, and even had a cello player! It was beautiful! This Friday we are having a Christmas party at our house with the few people left in town and then we will have a Sunday gathering at our house before we take off for Jason's parents' house in Monday! Should be lots of fun!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Isla Vista School of Discipleship

For the last 3 1/2 to 4 years God has placed in me (Jason) a burden to have a school in Isla Vista that would teach and equip the next generation in the things of God. This last year I strongly felt God prompting me to go forth with this burden and to begin to take steps to make this happen. Officially the school will launch at the beginning of the school year in September of 2009. By the grace of God, a lot of prayer, and work we have been able to put together a brochure and a website to begin to get the word out and enroll people into the Community Living aspect of the school. As of next year, the house that the church has had under its banner the last 7 years, along with the prayer shed and the Jesus Burgers, will all be under the banner of the Isla Vista School of Discipleship. The school will be interdenominational and multi-church affiliated - I have been able to bring in pastors and ministry leaders from all different denominations and backgrounds. I believe one of the main strengths of the school will be its diverse background of teachers and topics being taught.

If you want to check out the brochure for the Isla Vista School of Discipleship you can upload it by going to the website:

We are very excited, but a lot of work is still needed before the school officially launches. Please be praying for all the logistics and for the right people to move into the home July 1st, 2009 - people begin to sign leases as early as January for the next school year.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Testimony of Friday Night Fruit

Here is a testimony from Jason of some fruit of the friday night outreach...

About 2 years ago I met a guy named Mike on a Friday night at Jesus Burgers. I still remember it very vividly: Mike was waiting in line with all the other partiers to receive a hamburger and when I looked at him from a distance, I instantly felt the Holy Sprit nudging me to go talk to him because God had been drawing His heart. When I walked up to him, I just introduced myself and asked him if he would want to hangout and talk about God sometime that week because I believed God has been talking to him about his life. He was surprisingly shocked I knew that and really wanted someone to talk to about it. Without going into great details about Mike’s life, he lived like most guys in IV. The first time I went over to Mike’s apartment he had a strip poll in the center, posters of women up, and empty bottles of liquor – you get the picture. Not to mention he lived with his girlfriend and smoked a lot of cigarettes. Over the course of the next year I began to meet with Mike and help him to hear from God and encouraged him to walk in the truth. I plugged him into a men’s group that I was leading and I tried to bring him around as much as I could. I even baptized him in the ocean in his Corona trunks one Sunday after church in the ocean. To make a long story short, Mike went to Europe for a study abroad program about 6 months ago and after he returned he moved back home to Anaheim. I was concerned for him, since his walk was very much two steps forward, one big step back. However, I knew God was responsible for him and that God had been growing him while he was living in Isla Vista. Then I received this email from him a week ago,

“…that set aside, i feel like i should let you know that the Lord has never been so evident in life before. Things are becoming a lot more clear and every day my mind is being renewed with the Holy Spirit. Along with some severe chastening i truly am starting to realize God has a special calling for me in my life and there is no time to be wasted in ungodly and worldly sins. After studying much more of the word and putting a lot more time in him i notice how it really starts to benefit me in ways that i wouldn’t expect to happen. Things like completely realizing the ignorance of false and worldly accusations and very lost people, and how our society is prevailing in many good ways but at the same time there is a huge black cloud of darkness and sin that completely engulfs some people, most of the people. I remember how you used to always tell me how this knarly and serious battle is constantly going on with us and Satan and i realize how true this is. I just feel a lot more free and happy and more independent. I really have you to thank ALOT for this. Yeah, i am a smart person but in Santa Barbara i could have gone straight down that path if i didn’t have someone like you there. Isn’t wonderful how God is there to help us in so many different ways and be a father to us at all times no matter what the circumstances are. gatta love our Lord!!”

Praise God! Please remember to pray for Mike – “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Settling In

Daddy being funny with Jeremiah -- We are enjoying this little baby!

Check out this cutie! He's a serious one :)

Our new Sunday meeting place -- Tropicana Gardens!

Baby Jeremiah getting dedicated last Sunday at church

Our family is doing well adjusting to three kids and baby Jeremiah! He is a good baby and we are so thankful for God's grace in this transition. We dedicated him at church on Sunday, which was a special time.

IVC is going well and we are enjoying our new meeting place. There was a baptism after the service on Sunday and Jason said it was a really blessed time. Four guys got baptized, one of which just came to the Lord a month or so ago and was a Muslim student that had a pretty radical conversion to Christ through a guy we know. Praise God for His work in these students!

Something we would love everyone to be praying for is the School of Ministry, which is actually going to be changed to the Isla Vista School of Discipleship. It has been going well so far this year, but Jason is the process of developing it further, especially for next school year. We will be communicating more about this as it comes together, but for now, we would ask for you to be praying that God would really guide us in how to establish this aspect of the ministry in Isla Vista.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Jeremiah & the School Year are Here!

We are going full speed ahead now! Jeremiah arrived exactly one week after UCSB started... He finally showed his beautiful face at 10:19pm on Thursday, October 2nd, and we are so glad he is here! He has been an amazing baby this first week, and we are hoping for that to continue to be so! Samuel and Hope are very fond of him, though they have also thoroughly been enjoying their grandmothers being here this last week and giving them lots of extra attention!

UCSB is in full swing too, and that means Isla Vista Church has officially kicked off our 9 months of non-stop ministry & fun (well, we do get a slight break during the holidays)! The Lord has so graciously provided a larger location for us to meet in for this school year -- it is a rec room in one of the off-campus dorms (Tropicana Gardens) and there is great favor there as the director and many of the RA's are believers.

Jesus Burgers has begun, and there is a lot of excitement this year for this ministry. A lot of people from different campus ministries and other churches are getting involved this year.

The Isla Vista School of Ministry classes have also begun and so far everyone seems to really be enjoying them. Jason is teaching one of these classes, going through Richard Foster's book "Celebration of the Disciplines". There are two other classes, one on relationships in the Kingdom (everything from the Trinity to relationships with our friends & the opposite sex), and the other class is on the Covenental Kingdom.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gearing Up for the School Year

So, we have approximately 3 weeks left before our lives drastically change... it just so happens the beginning of the school year will also be accompanied by the arrival of Jeremiah, our third child, around the same time. So, we are kind of in a holding position right now, patiently waiting (and frantically preparing) for both of these major transitions.

Jason is finalizing the new School of Ministry that will be starting the week after school starts, and making sure everything is taken care of for the Del Playa Houses. Most of our students have moved in already, some just this past week, and there are a few who will be moving in this next week or so. Be praying for them all as they settle in to a slightly crazy environment, and that they can begin bonding with one another.

In addition, we are working to figure out the format for Sundays as far as a location, what to teach on for this first quarter, who all will be teaching, etc. We are also gearing up for all the students to return, for the beginning of Jesus Burgers (our outreach ministry), and for some strategic networking this year with different campus ministries. One of the main networking endeavors will be in regards to the House of Prayer that will be beginning. A girl who is involved with one of the campus ministries and has been around IVC a little bit will be running the House of Prayer this year (the prayer shed that is behind the Del Playa Ministry House). Please be praying for Tiffany O'Hara as she works to get vision for this ministry and to set up the House of Prayer and coordinate with all the different campus ministries in this.

We have completed some of our support letters and are excited to be able to start sending some out. Please be praying for the Lord to raise up a team of people who can really get behind HIS vision for IV and partner with our family in this.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Summer Recap

As you can see, we haven't done any updating over the summer, mostly because it has been crazy busy and filled with all sorts of special events such as weddings, family trips, retreats, etc.

The summer has been pretty low-key in Isla Vista... we've had a once a week "Family Time" at our house all summer where people come over for dinner and hanging out. It has been really fun and a blessed time of fellowship. The Lord has given us a good summer with being able to develop friendships amonst the Body in a deeper way.

Also, in July, we had a church retreat down to Orange County and all stayed at one of the guy's parents' house from IVC. It was a great time of fun and fellowship! We spent a good part of one of the days at the beach, and as you can see from the pictures below, the kids had a great time playing with everyone! They are big fans of all of their 20-something-year-old friends!

Jason has had to spend a lot of time this summer getting prepared for next school year -- finding people to live in the Del Playa Ministry Houses (which finally are filled as of last week! praise the Lord!); getting things together for the School of Ministry that will be starting this fall; finding older men & women of the faith to mentor/disciple the guys and girls in the house for the school year; etc.

As some of you know, I (Holly) have a party planning business, and this summer I had 3 weddings to coordinate all in the space of a month! It was quite a challenge being 7 months pregnant and doing this, but I am happy to report that all went well and our family was blessed by some extra income from them.

On the topic of income, Jason recently started a new job as a personal assistant for an 83 year old man. It is a great job for him and he only has to work 9 hours a week (3 mornings a week for 3 hours), leaving time for all the demands the ministry in IV places on him.

We are also in the midst of raising support to be able to raise up a team around us who can back us in prayer and financially. Please be praying for this process, that God would really bring together a team who can support the vision God has given us for IV, and that God would continue to provide for our family financially.

So, there is a little update on what's been going on over the summer for us! Now we are just gearing up for the school year to begin (City College just started, but UCSB will start later in September) and for Jeremiah's arrival sometime around the end of September!

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Fun Weekend!

God has been so good to us lately and is doing some amazing things in our midst... He has been bringing some amazing divine relationships and connnections with some freshmen at UCSB that are involved in Real Life (Campus Crusade for Christ). Jason has been meeting with some of them sporadically over the last few months, and a number of them have started showing up on Friday nights to the Burger Ministry. It seems like they have been really blessed by being around some of the slightly older people in our fellowship and having the chance to get poured into by them. I think they also see the depth in our people, and these freshmen are hungry for that same depth in their walks with God.

On Saturday night, we had about 5 or 6 of them over for a BBQ at our house, along with about 5 or 6 people from IVC that had already started building some cool connections with them. It was such a blessed night of fellowship and God doing some neat stuff. We had a time of prayer and worship and just enjoying the Holy Spirit towards the end of the night, and God was moving! Praise the Lord for the unity and divine connections He is building for such a time as this in IV!

Also, at church on Sunday (we now have a 4pm gathering in the front yard of the DP Houses), about 8 people from Real Life showed up, along with about 25 or 30 people from IVC. It was not a huge gathering, but God showed up powerfully nevertheless as we worshipped Him and shared testimonies of things He has been doing in our lives. We have been having dinner together after the service, and this has also proved to be a very blessed time of fellowship and building one another up.

We are so thankful for all God is doing in our midst. He is also continuing to connect us more and more with people from the Goleta Vineyard as a number of us have now been joining them on Sunday mornings for the last three weeks for their worship service. The work He is doing with bringing together the generations and the different fellowships and expressions of the Body of Christ is so exciting and something many of us have had a burden for for many years now. What an exciting thing to see it coming to pass in this hour!

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Busy Week

So, there are a lot of cool things God did in the last 8 days to share about...

It first began on Sunday, April 20th, when we had a joint service with the Goleta Vineyard, our new blessed support and provision of "parental wisdom & encouragement." It has been such a God thing, this joining together of fellowships... It is not a merging of churches or anything like that, it is more a group of older people who are willing to come alongside us and bring us wisdom and encouragement and relationship as we seek to be a fellowship that goes out on the front lines and contends for the redemption of Isla Vista. It is such an answer to prayer, as we are obviously a group of fairly young people, and now we have some people willing to be some mothers and fathers to us. During the service, Jason shared some about IVC and our history and our call to IV. They presented us with a really nice bbq tool set for the Jesus Burger ministry. One of the overarching themes really seemed to be God bringing about the generations for the furtherance of His Kingdom & the Gospel and a more complete expression of the Body of Christ. Dan Hodgson, the head pastor of the church, is a very wise and experienced man of God, and shared a profound statement that I think in many ways summed it all up -- that God is linking us up with one another, bringing together the zeal and passion of youth with the wisdom and experience of age. What a blessing! Thank You God!

Then, the following Friday (April 26th) Jason and I went down to Jubilee Church in Camarillo (about an hour south of Santa Barbara) for the 7th night of a conference they had been having down there all week. Jacob and Kimberly Reeve (our founding pastor & his wife) have been getting more and more involved down at this church and Jacob is now on staff part time. The night was about the younger generation, and Jacob was hosting it, along with other people from our generation. Jacob had asked us to come down and share briefly about IV. The night was really amazing as it quickly became obvious that God was doing a significant work of again, restoring the generations, and teaching us about honoring one another. A number of young people (in their 20's) shared about different things, but what it seemed that the Spirit was really saying was that our generation is hungry to know God in a deeper way, and hungry to see Him move in a way that has never been seen before! Amen! There was a very obvious theme of LOVE -- that God is taking us all into a place of a deeper love relationship with Him, out of which will flow love for others and ultimately, a revolution of love that will sweep across this generation. At one point, Jacob brought up people from the younger generation AND the older generation and we had a time of prayer and repentence and acknowledging our need for one another. One of the themes was how at one point Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all dwelling together in the same tent. And that God is a God of generations, and we were never meant to be isolated from one another. So, it was so cool to see this theme come up again right after we had just had the service with the Vineyard and God had brought forth the same revelation of our need for the different generations to come together as part of what God is doing on the earth today.

Then, the very next night there was a unity event called "The Body" in Isla Vista (in the IV Theatre) that was a coming together of many of the different campus ministries for the purpose of worshiping together and fellowshipping together. Jason was one of the main speakers at this event. It was a blessed time of worship and sharing. We got to hear from most of the different campus ministries as a representative from each got up and shared some things God is doing in their fellowship and prayer requests they each have. It was such a blessing to hear how God is moving across campus and to get a pulse on what is going on amonst the students. Then Jason shared his testimony and gave a brief but stirring call to pray and contend to see Isla Vista changed by God. He called me up and I very briefly shared about some of the vision the Lord has given me for IV, and that I believe it will take 1. faith, 2. humility, 3. prayer, & 4. unity and community to see this vision come to pass. The students seemed encouraged by the night and by what we shared.

Then on Sunday, the next day, we had our first 4pm service in the front yard at the DP Houses. It was a blessed, warm day and God was faithful to meet us. Jason shared a reminder of some of the promises God has given us, mostly from Joshua 1. And he shared about how as we refocus on IV, we want to be able to really begin pouring into the college students and equipping them to be the ones to really reach the other students. Again, he brought me up and had me share about some dreams I've had over the course of about the last year about camp counselors. Basically, it is an analogy the Lord has given about the role our fellowship is to play - as "camp counselors" with "campers." The campers are the new or younger believers the Lord brings to us, and we play a role of encouragement, guidance, and support to these "campers", though we are not much older than them. We also get to engage in the fun with them, but have a level of responsibility and authority that they don't have. We then had all the students come into the middle of the group and share what school they went to (most go to UCSB, but there are some City College students too) and prayer requests. Then those of us not in school washed their feet and prayed for them. It was a powerful time for all of us.

Thank You Jesus for all You've done in this past week!

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Who, What, Where, When & How of the Lomelinos in IV

Who are we?
Well, we are obviously the Lomelino family, consisting of Jason & Holly (husband & wife) and our offspring - Samuel, Hope, and the baby in the tummy as Samuel lovingly refers to him or her, plus our beloved Golden Retriever Barnabas. On a larger scale, however, we are also a family of believers knit together by our love for Jesus and our heart for this community (read more about this community in the where section). Our fellowship consists of about 50-60 people, mostly college students and recent grads. Almost our entire church (Isla Vista Church) is under the age of 30. We consist of students, some young marrieds (a few with children, such as ourselves), new believers fresh off the streets of IV, people who have been walking with the Lord anywhere from 4 years to 20 years, people with a heart to see this community redeemed, people who just like the others they've met here, people who've been here 6 years, people who've been here 10 minutes, people who really feel called, people who just happened upon our door step, prayer warriors, teachers, evangelists, you name it.

What do we do?
So, as a family, a major part of what we do is pour our lives out into the people of Isla Vista Church, and live in this community with a heart to see it redeemed. Jason is obviously the one playing the largest part, as the main pastor for the church with the responsibilty of keeping most everything running, from Sunday services, to Monday night dinner & prayer, to Friday night prayer and outreach. But what Jason really does is invest his life into people. That is in fact what we all are doing (though the kids on a very small scale :). Jason often meets with students he has met on campus or from Friday nights, playing a sort of pastor, mentor, discipler sort of role in many of these young men's lives. He also meets with young men in the church and other leaders in the fellowship, bringing encouragement and accountability to their lives. Holly also meets with various women in the fellowship, particularly the female house leader on a consistent basis. We also have a men's group that Jason leads and a women's group that Holly leads that meet weekly.

Where do we do it?
The Lord graciously provided us a house right smack in the middle of Isla Vista, so we are certainly in the middle of it all. But, for this to all make sense, there are a few things that need explaining...

1. Isla Vista -- IV is an area of land on the coast of California that is about 1 sq. mile, yet has a population of around 20,000 people. It is directly on the edge of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), and therefore has mostly college students and some low-income families living here. It is known for its
partying and wild atmosphere, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. It is full of apartments and duplexes, often housing 6-8 people in an apartment, with students usually paying $500-$800 to share a room! It is quite a miracle that God provided our family with a 2-bedroom house in IV, complete with a fenced in yard (where we can have our dog), orange trees, and a washer & dryer! Thank you Jesus!

2. Del Playa (DP) -- this is the street in Isla Vista that is directly by the ocean, and is also the main party street. On Friday and Saturday nights you can't even drive down the streets really because everyone walks in the streets going from party to party. It is also where our ministry houses are located.

3. DP Ministry Houses -- a duplex that houses 7 women in the top floor and 7 men in the bottom floor... people from our church with a heart to be right in the middle of the ministry and to live in radical community and to experience serious discipleship (in a very real life, not always so organized sort of way). The houses in many ways are the hub of much of what we do here in IV. The houses are known in the community and serve as a base for the church. We do our Friday night burger outreach ministry from here, have Monday night prayer here (we have a permanent prayer shed in the back of the houses), and even often end up here for Sunday church services. We have had these houses since even before the church began (6 years now). Fortunately, our family's house in only around the corner from these houses, making us very accessible to one another!

When do we do it?
Of course the answer to this is a given -- all the time! Our lives are very much immersed in this community of people in IVC and in IV as a whole. And then there are the specific events going on: Monday night prayer and community dinner, Wednesday night DP house meetings (Jason usually attends these), Thursday night men & women's groups, Friday night burder outreach, Sunday church service, and all the various meetings with people in between it all (mostly during the weekdays).

How do we do it?
By the grace & strength & favor of the Lord of course! Many people look at IV and think it ridiculous to raise a family here, but we strongly believe God has called our family as missionaries here to this land and these people -- and He has equipped us with hearts and eyes that help us to be here with joy! We see all the beautiful and wonderful things about Isla Vista and love this place.