MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
The Somebody Loves You crusade rocked out for a crowd of more than 13,000 people during a free, public concert Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Combat Center’s Victory Field, the first time ever on a military installation, showing their support for the troops and spreading Christ’s message.
Four members of Riders 4 Christ, a freestyle motocross group, put on a stunt show, followed by musical performances from Christian heavy metal group Disciple and country singer Darryl Worley.
Afterward, Raul Ries, a former Marine and pastor at the Cavalry Chapel in Diamond Bar, Calif., gave a rousing speech about his love for Jesus Christ and the importance of spreading the word of the gospel.
“What Somebody Loves You is all about is just reaching out,” said Michael Fallebella, a Somebody Loves You crusade director. “Today we want to show our love and support to the men and women who are serving our country.”
Since 1993, Somebody Loves You has been traveling throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world to help spread Christ’s word to both Christian and non-Christian communities.
“We mainly try to reach out to the non-Christian communities,” said Ries, who served in Vietnam with Company A, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. “We also want to get to every military base we can, to reach out to the young guys and see what God can do for them.”
The 61-year-old veteran and pastor added he found God in 1972 after returning from Vietnam and experienced a great deal of hardship in his personal life. Now he travels around and spreads the gospel, hoping to help young people the way God helped him.
“We’re reaching out and praying for all the young people going over to Iraq and Afghanistan so they can come home safe and see their families, and I give God all the glory for it,” he said.
The Riders 4 Christ, all of whom are professional motocross riders, began their stunt show at 4:30 p.m., launching off a ramp and flipping through the air on their dirt bikes, causing roars of cheers and applause from the crowd.
In between stunt shows, several members of Riders 4 Christ shared their personal experiences with the audience about how they came to find Jesus and why they support the military.
Jimmie McGuire and Destin Candrell, two of the Riders 4 Christ, both spoke about how they came to accept Christ after going through troubled teenage years. McGuire also thanked the Marines and sailors for their service to their country.
“On behalf of the Riders 4 Christ, we want to thank the brave men and women of our military,” he said. “We can do what we love to do and ride our bikes in a free country because of your sacrifice.”
A second show at 5:20 p.m. wrapped up the Riders 4 Christ demonstration and kicked off the live music from the Christian heavy metal band Disciple, based in Knoxville, Tenn. The band’s vocalist, Kevin Young, also told his story about why he loves Jesus and why he supports the military.
“My grandfather was killed in the invasion of Normandy and my mom had to grow up without a father,” he said. “Because of his sacrifice, I appreciate every single person who joins the military and fights so we can be free to travel and preach the word of God.”
Disciple has been playing together and traveling for more than 15 years using their unique lyrics to help spread God’s message to people all over the world.
After Disciple got the crowd riled up with their head-banging portrayal of the Holy Book, Darryl Worley mellowed them back out with a few of his soft country hits.
To wrap it all up and tie it off with a bow, Ries got on stage and delivered a rousing sermon to the audience, sharing his own heartfelt tale about how he found the path to righteousness.
The Somebody Loves You tour will be traveling to South America next, making stops in Chile, Colombia and Peru before returning to the U.S. to perform in Las Vegas in August. They will continue to draw in both Christian and non-Christian crowds, and preach the word of God.