I came to do my DTS here in September 2013. Our campus is located in the lovely foothills of Los Angeles. We’ve got incredible views of mountains and we are surrounded by a couple of polo clubs with horses. It is truly a blessing to be a part of this neighborhood. From our campus, we could see 3 white crosses at the very top of one of the mountains. As a student, we loved taking the journey to hike up to the crosses-- it was a nice get-away and workout. Sadly, in December 2017 there was a wild fire and it completely burned down our crosses. We really missed seeing the crosses from our campus and having them when we hiked.
We wanted to preserve the history around this community, so in May of 2018 my peers and I decided to paint new crosses and replace the set that had burned down. We hiked up the trail and replanted the new crosses, for us and for our neighbors. Now, there is a fresh set of white crosses at the top of that hill again. Not only do they hold up a banner of hope, reminding us of where our strength comes from, they also invite us to see our God through another lense.
Hiking up to the crosses is a two-fold experience. It brings more awareness of who God is in our lives, and it also helps us see more of who we are along the way. As we scale up the mountain, we are reminded of how brutal of a journey it was for Jesus as he shed so much blood carrying His cross for us. I’ve had beautiful connections with God, and with others, trekking up the gnarly hills to the crosses. When you get there, there is a rush of bliss and victory. The view is quiet a breath of fresh air, and you are literally as high as many birds fly around this area. Every person I’ve hiked with to this spot have all mentioned how “worth it” the trek was to get to the top. Taking a trip to the crosses is such a refreshing experience, whether you are a staff, mission builder, student or just visiting.
One thing I noticed while taking this trail is how the beginning runs through one of our neighbor’s property. One day, God was stirring on my heart to meet our neighbors and connect with them. Flowers and a card seemed like a nice way to warmly introduce YWAM LA to them, and so I did. As I was doing this, I knew this could be the beginning of a beautiful connection for our campus in the future. We love our neighbors, and the ways to love can come in so many different forms. Sometimes it’s easy to take for granted the things God has given us. For me, it was our neighbors we have around us. Taking the trip back and forth to the crosses seemed to blind me from seeing the people around me. Often, we can be so caught up in ministry that we are blinded from seeing the people closest to us. God moved me and reminded me to love my neighbor. A simple act of introducing myself and our beautiful YWAM campus was my act of obedience. Be encouraged or even challenged to love your neighbors, even when its out of the way of your journey to the top of a mountain.
written by Laura Lynn Callen