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6th Annual Memorial Day Celebration (Harrisonburg, VA)

33965561_10217103583328833_8253969030197542912_nWhat a whirlwind of a weekend!

I was asked to be a part of the Steve Wingfield 6th Annual Memorial Day Celebration in Harrisonburg, VA. Steve Wingfield is a great man of God who has a heart to really reach out in innovative ways. He desires to see the lost get found, but also to see the wanderers come home! Steve organizes “Victory Weekend” events at NASCAR races, and he has also been organizing this Memorial Day Celebration event in his home town of Harrisonburg, VA for several years now.

I count it a huge privilege to be asked to be a part of Steve’s events. He always goes all out to put on a great event and represent Jesus as well as possible. There is always a clear gospel presentation, and the audience is given the opportunity to respond. Steve does it right!

This year I received a phone call from Steve earlier in the week asking if I could come out a few days early and be a part of an ABC News interview on Friday afternoon. “Yes!” was the obvious answer. So I drove out to Harrisonburg and joined him for the interview.

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In the studio at ABC News Harrisonburg, VA

It was a surreal experience being on the other side of the camera for the evening news. I am so used to seeing the two-dimensional version on the television, but being in the actual news studio and seeing how everything worked and operated was fascinating. They were running a 5 minute spot on the Memorial Day Celebration, so Steve was interviewed by the news anchor and he spoke about the event. I gave a taste of what they could expect on Memorial Day by playing a song. I played “How Could It Be?” from the upcoming Polen Band album (which is going to be officially released on Friday night at New Grounds Café in Walnut Creek, OH). It was a fun experience.

I drove home after filming the interview because there were a few things that I wanted to do, and a few things that I needed to do, at home this weekend. I wanted to hang out with my family, go to a couple of graduation parties, and go to a running group party at my brother’s house. I needed to be a part of our church worship team on Sunday morning, practice with Polen Band for the CD Release Party, and teach some Sonlife material at a disciple-making training on Sunday evening.

Late Sunday evening, after the teaching, I left again for Harrisonburg, VA. This time I was joined by Elijah Beachy, Nate Brown, and Mark Rowe. Elijah played guitar and Nate played the cajón for the event on Monday. Mark drove and helped out by running the JPM merch booth.

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Jeff, Elijah, and Nate on stage at the 6th Annual Memorial Day Celebration

It was raining all around the Rockingham County Fairgrounds during the event on Monday. Many people were praying for the Memorial Day Celebration to not get rained out, and it didn’t! It barely sprinkled at the fairgrounds where the event was being held. Meanwhile, it was absolutely pouring down rain 1 mile north, east, west, and south of the event! People that I spoke with at the event said they couldn’t believe it, but it was like there was a line where the rain was not allowed to cross! I believe that was the miraculous hand of God!

I do believe that the threat of rain kept the attendance down quite a bit. There were probably only half as many people in attendance this year as I remember from last year. That was a bummer, but I have to believe that the right people were there. God’s plans cannot be thwarted.

For our part, we played a country music / bluegrass / contemporary Christian set list. We played:

  • Chicken Fried
  • I Hold On
  • I’ll Fly Away
  • Be Thou My Vision
  • How Could It Be?
  • My Lighthouse
  • Alive To Shine
  • Everywhere I Go

It was hot and humid, and we were drenched in sweat by the end, but we had a lot of fun! John Schmid went on stage after us. He always does a fantastic job! After John was finished, Steve Wingfield came out on the stage to honor the Veteran’s, Active Duty military, and First Responders who were in attendance. It is a cool moment where he thanks them for their service, then volunteers come around to hang a customized medal around their necks and pray for them. Afterwards, Steve asked me to sing the national anthem (which I was not expecting, but it felt like a huge honor to be asked), and he gave the people an opportunity to respond to the gospel. Many people across the fairgrounds responded by indicating that they put their faith in Christ at that moment! Praise God!

Jason Crabb was the headliner for the event. I’m sure he was awesome, but we didn’t stick around to find out. We were making our way home, hoping it would not be too terribly late (or early) when we got there. We made it home a little before 2am.

I am a bit tired from the weekend, but it was worth it! Being a part of an event that so clearly points to Jesus and honors Veterans on Memorial Day was definitely worth it!

Maybe I’ll get a chance to be a part of the 7th annual Memorial Day Celebration, as well! I hope so. It is a great event.

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JPM Events

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