The cries of gulls cut through the early morning mists. Squirrels poked their heads out of their seaside homes, curious about the sudden commotion along the beachside boardwalks. Cold waves rolled across the shores as children armed with plastic shovels scurried about the legs of their parents passing out gloves and trash bags.
Couples walking dogs slowed, and beachgoers stood on tiptoes to stare at the growing crowd donning slate blue shirts beneath fluttering banners. Some even stopped at the tables and watched as Rock volunteers bowed their heads in prayer to bless the day and their mission to rock this city!
On Saturday, March 16, hundreds of Rock Church volunteers showed up in the early morning hours at multiple beaches across north county San Diego to clean up city beaches and spread pervasive hope through community outreach. Beaches reached included Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, the Del Mar Powerhouse Park, and Tamarack State Beach in Carlsbad.
Despite the need for jackets and warm hats with the chilly marine layer, volunteers were excited to spend their morning together in fellowship while bringing awareness of the Rock Church to the community. Many were first time volunteers, and they were glad for the opportunity to be part of something special.
Terry and Arlene Martinez, part of the Rock registration team at Moonlight Beach, said the most impacting thing for them was to see how the event reached the community directly. “Early on during registration a woman approached the table and told the team she wanted to help even though she did not attend the Rock Church,” Arlene said.
The newcomer paired up with Christian, Rock Runner, and they spent their time cleaning and sharing testimonies. After they returned, the woman told Arlene that she had enjoyed a wonderful time talking to a Christian and alternately sharing their testimonies.
“I am certain that this woman never expected to spend her morning the way she did,” Arlene said. “And I know by her smile that she really enjoyed it!”
Aside from a wonderful opportunity for God’s presence to touch those at the beaches that morning, the day was also highly productive and full of fun surprises for the volunteers. Over 250 pounds trash and 70 pounds of recyclables were collected, with a high majority of the trash being cigarette butts and plastic soda bottle caps. Some of the most interesting finds were the leg of a Barbie doll, various electronic devices, reading glasses, Lego pieces, lobster traps, and an old deactivated smoke bomb. One just never knows the finds he may discover while cleaning up trash at the beach.