SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. The girl stood alone in a dark parking lot. Crying, she pulled out her phone and frantically tried to reach a friend, who had stayed inside the rave. But the music was too loud, so no one answered.
Slowly a car filled with gangbangers pulled up and came to a stop. Tatted up guys jumped out and quickly encircled her. About that same time Colleen Myers, cofounder of Plur Life Ministries, walked boldly into their midst.
“Hi, you guys, what’s up?”
“We’re trying to help,” they said.
“You guys are so nice,” Colleen said. “And I appreciate you trying to help, but that’s why I’m here.”
Rescuing girls from human traffickers and drug overdoses are part of the reason Colleen and her husband Rob started Plur Life Ministries three years ago.
Colleen said that until she attended her first rave to research the risks on a work-related assignment, she knew nothing about radical audio-visual experiences, from which rave gets its name.
“I cried all the way home,” Colleen said.
Many of the 11,000 kids at that rave had said they were looking for PLURthe ravers’ credo for peace, love, unity and respect.
“I knew they were really looking for Jesus,” she said.
Overwhelmed by the schemes of Satan and sobbing, she woke Rob at 2 a.m. to share her concerns. Many of the girls had worn skimpy clothesthongs or booty shorts, small bras, fishnet stockings and furry boots.
“But the most heartbreaking thing,” Colleen said, “was what I didn’t see. No one was there reaching out to them for Jesus. We just didn’t know.”
The next day, after searching online for rave ministries and finding none, the couple started Plur Life Ministries.
Since then, they’ve discovered that most churches aren’t aware of the effect that raves have on their own congregations, Rob said, adding that he believes every church in Southern California is affected by them. Through their experiences, they learned of a fifth-grader who announced in his Sunday School that class that “I can’t wait to get to my first rave.” They also encountered a youth pastor who said he had seen rave evidence among his group without realizing what it was.
The rave culture is very distinct, with bead bracelets, LED lights on gloves, soft furry items that enhance the tactile experience, and pacifiers all signifying possible rave attendance, Rob said. Pacifiers help control ecstasy-induced teeth grinding.
The drug also makes kids want to touch and be touched, so they massage one another. Disc jockeys control the crowds with musica quickened pace heightens sexual desire, said Colleen, who has witnessed sex acts taking place even on the dance floor.
Raves are big business, and that may be why they aren’t shut down, said Colleen. Tickets can cost $65 or more. Three-day tickets for the 16th annual Electric Daisy Carnival this June in Las Vegas start at $215.
According to Colleen, teens from as far away as Australia, Japan and Russia come to the Inland Empire and Los Angeles County to attend raves. Large venues, once empty, now book these huge money-making parties. Colleen said she learned that raves stimulate the economy and increase tax revenues from hotels, restaurants and gas stations. As a result, she believes many decision makers appear to turn their backs on the problems.
“Though we’d love for the raves to be shut down, that’s not our goal,” Colleen said.
Plur Life’s mission is to replace the counterfeit version of PLUR, which lasts only for a few hours, with the everlasting peace, love, unity and respect offered by Christ.
“Our goal is to put raves out of business by loving on the kids,” she said. “If enough of them find genuine PLUR by going to church, raves would cease to exist.”
Colleen and her friend, Nicki Erber, engage rave-goers by distributing free “kandi” bracelets treasured by rave-goers. Bright colored beads spell out www.plurway.com. As many as 2,000 of the bracelets can be distributed in 45 minutes. After the rave, kids can go to this site to find out how to receive genuine PLUR through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Over 12,000 hits on the site plus positive Facebook feedback, indicate receptivity to Plur Life’s message.
Even though volunteers don’t usually know the final result of their efforts, Colleen said, “we till the soil and plant the seeds.”
But once in awhile, they glimpse more significant changes.
Last year more than 200,000 kids attended the Las Vegas event. This particular rave seemed especially dark.
“Nicki and I felt so tiny,” Colleen said.
A lot of kids wore Satanic symbols; some had pentagrams drawn on their bare backs. When the two women went into a corner to pray, God impressed on each of them that they needed to find one particular person.
After handing out bracelets, the moms walked by a beautiful girl standing alone. She didn’t appear troubled, so even with the Holy Spirit’s nudge, Colleen said she kept walking. But Erber turned around and said “that’s the one.” Taking a deep breath, Colleen asked if the girl needed help.
“I took some bad drugs. My boyfriend took them, too,” the young girl, Kate, said. “Something is really, really wrong.”
“God told us you were the one we were supposed to help,” Colleen said.
“I don’t usually believe in God, but right now I do,” Kate replied.
The two women escorted the couple out of the rave, while telling Kate how much God loves her. On the way home, she prayed for salvation. Thankfully she required no medical attention and Colleen has made occasional contact with the teen.
“It was like holding the Creator’s hand,” Colleen said. “Nothing in my life compared to walking that girl out and knowing I was working hand in hand with God.”
Colleen and her team followed up with the teen, connecting her with a church in Las Vegas where they could show her PLUR.
“Though at times Kate struggles with her faith, we still keep in touch and try to encourage her,” Colleen said.
With thousands of kids at stake, there’s much to be done. For those who qualify, Plur Life’s ideal outreach team includes two women who enter the rave, plus two men and another woman, who drive around watching for kids in trouble, Rob said. Everyone prays.
It’s that type of teamwork that can save a young girl left alone in a dark parking lot.
ACTION POINT: The ministry is in need of thousands of bracelets for the large rave in June. Kits are available for people wishing to help assemble the bracelets. For more information see www.raveoutreach.com.