As a new Christian, I began attending bible studies through Campus Crusade for Christ. They met at another school and it was at one of these evenings that I signed up to go to a Bible Conference at Campus Crusade's headquarters in Arrowhead Springs, California.
My first day there, I was in awe... at the number of people there who believed like I did, and the love that they showed to each other. Somewhere in the next couple of days I met another guy who was also from Phoenix. His name was Bob.
Everything that had encouraged me earlier in the week came to a screeching halt, as I realized that although we were all Christians, not everyone liked everyone. And I realized I could harbor some serious dislike too. It wasn't new to me that someone could hate me (or at least appear to). I was adept at avoiding all of the kids at school who taunted, teased and simply verbally abused me. I knew I could get past this, too. Bob and I avoided each other as best as possible.
At the end of the week-long event, I was thrust into a situation that would change me forever... I had to share a ride back to Phoenix with this boy who pushed all of my buttons.
To pass the time during the ride through that desert night, those of us riding in the van began singing... and then at some point we began talking about music and I mentioned that I always wanted to sing with a band.
This person who I tried to stay as far away from as possible said that he too wanted to be in a band and sing Christian music. He then did something miraculous and mind boggling... he asked for my number. As I died a little then and there, I learned that God does truly raise the dead (if in this case metaphorically), and I complied...
We met and found we had more similarities than differences and he told me about a place he knew called Hand in Hand. He also told me about a man named Bernie who was in a band of his own and a great musician. Bob set up a meeting.
For a boy whose only real musical training was a few years of grade school clarinet and singing into his hairbrush, this was eye opening.
Enter Terry Hann... a friend of Bob's (maybe Bernie's, I am old). We began meeting each week at the Hand in Hand building to sing together under the tutorship of Bernie. I learned that this was something I really wanted to try... I learned to sing harmony... I learned I really didn't like the Doobie Brothers all that much.
More people were introduced to this grouping of musical newbies including Jay Haugen and a friend of his, Don Nelsen.
There was a first concert... there was a second one... there was a fire lit within.