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A blast of pure faith

Twins’ Youth Explosion revival gathers followers for music, testimony

POSTED: March 31, 2012 1:00 a.m.

After traveling far and wide sharing the gospel, twins Sharon and Jonathan Arrowood realized that their mission field was right in their own backyard.

"Four years ago, my brother and I wanted to do something different," said 21-year-old Sharon Arrowood.

"We’d been to different places and we saw God move so greatly in different countries and states, but we wanted to start something in our own hometown.

"We started talking together and really praying, asking God what He wanted us to do."

Divine inspiration manifested into the first annual Youth Explosion, a revival of sorts for young people by young people.

"We picked young people because they are looking for something to do. They want to be involved with something," said Jonathan Arrowood.

"We had this vision in our hearts that we wanted the young people in churches to be involved, but we didn’t want to be bound by (any one) church, so we thought having a big rally outside of a church would be best."

Although they didn’t initially anticipate having repeat performances, this year’s version Thursday through Saturday at Jaemor Farms will mark be the fourth anniversary of the youth-centered event.

"The first year, The Shed (at Jaemor) was packed out," Jonathan Arrowood said.

"Seeing the impact of young people saying, ‘Yeah. We want to be a part of this,’ was amazing."

Putting on the annual event is a family affair.

"Our parents, (Jerry and Jennifer Arrowood) have been very supportive from the beginning," Sharon Arrowood said.

"They both told us to go for it. Our mom does a lot of the cooking and our sister (Bethany Arrowood) does a lot of the music.

"Everybody works as a team and that’s how we get it done."

Even though their father organized his own youth revival at the Gainesville Civic Center in the early 1970s, this present-day adventure is the twins’ baby. They organize and fund expenses themselves.

Although they initially targeted church youth, anyone and everyone is welcome to attend. The free interdenominational event features singing, live music, preaching and refreshments.

"This year we’ll have all kinds of singers," Jonathan Arrowood said.

"Church of Life Deliverance Tabernacle Youth Choir will be coming. Brother Chad Romero, a gospel recording artist and speaker from Louisiana, will be coming and doing the service on Friday night and evangelist Chris Enloe will be coming and preaching Thursday night."

While they line up some speakers and performers in advance, the siblings say the schedule of activities over the three-day revival is very loose. If attendees feel inspired to be a part of the services, they’re more than welcome.

"Whatever God wants you to do, we want to give you a platform to obey Him," Sharon Arrowood said.

"If (attendees) want to sing, we let them sing. If they want to share their testimony, we let them share. However you feel motivated to obey God, we want you to feel free to do that. That’s the whole focus.

"My friend Lauren had a car accident and she never really got to give her testimony about what happened, so we let her share her story one year. It really touched a lot of the young people to see that God can use anybody and everybody."

Word of mouth from past attendees has helped the twins blossom in ways they never anticipated.

"We have kids coming up to us all the time asking when we’re having the next one," Sharon Arrowood said.

"Some people even want us to do it twice a year," Jonathan Arrowood said.

Instead of just holding services in the open-air shed at Jaemor, this year they’ve also rented the neighboring enclosed barn.

"It’s something the young people seem to really enjoy. It’s something out of the ordinary," Jonathan Arrowood said.

"We never thought it would progress this much," Sharon Arrowood said.

"When we pray, we say, ‘God, this is your ministry. It’s not about us. If you want us to move on, we’ll just quit. But if you want us to keep doing this, we know you’ll provide for us.’

"And every year, he provides a way."


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