lake elsinore, part 2

this is a continuation of an earlier post. cameron lemons is the fellow who made the controversial prophecy that God will judge los angeles with a catastrophic earthquake in the year 2010.

the lakeside house
the question is so hopeless and fragile: what does cameron lemons stand to lose if those critics and skeptics from the youtube comments, the churches and the streets are right, if the status quo continues, if the ground doesn’t shake by january 1st? what if he’s wrong?

respect, reputation, social credibility, a church, and a discipleship program - cam stands to lose a lot, but not quite everything.

tonight we are ninjas, secret agents. our mission is to leave a box of candy and a hastily composed personalized poem on a neighbor’s doorstep. at 11 pm, jonathan, claire and i pile out of the lemons’ minivan and creep up toward the driveway of a dark and looming house. we are holding invisible guns and humming the “mission impossible” theme. with claire posted as lookout, jonathan and i stumble up the porch steps, crouch beneath the living room window and deposit the goodies and the card on the front doorstep. back at the van, we are slamming doors and cam is pulling back out onto main street. mission accomplished.

“elving” is the practice of secretly leaving gifts and messages on the doorstep of an unsuspecting neighbor for the 11 days preceding christmas and revealing yourself to the victim(s) on day 12. the gifts increase in number each day and are generally coupled with an appropriately themed poem. cam penned tonight’s poem after a prayer meeting that ran for hours. he and his wife jenelle have been elving for years now, and now the “fellas” (the boys living in the first story of their house) and whoever else is around get to join in. cam makes a great getaway driver.

another neighborly practice that i got to witness is caroling. it seems strange to me that people really go door-to-door singing christmas songs in socal where mid-december is still warm and summery. but when the lemons took their boys (5-year-old josiah and 4-year-old jordan) along with the fellas and then ten or so guests that happened to be at their house out for caroling, the neighbors loved it. house after house was the scene for a wonderful display of community: we all sang “joy to the world,” while frenchie set up and played the djembe and jonathan backed us up on the violin. door after door opened to reveal the smiling faces of little children and their parents.

from afternoon group car washes set to soul music to 5 am prayer and bible study meetings, the people here intentionally live and do most everything together. not only an outward expression, authentic community life is really lived out here at lakeside (the nickname for the lemons’ old two-story house on lindsay street). smiles are more vibrant here.

earlier in the night while jonathan and michael were having a deep conversation at the table, i was chasing josiah and jordan from room to room while carrying baby grace. tanner sat in a nearby seat researching about jehovah’s witnesses and jenelle and claire were cooking up burritos in the kitchen.

the liveliness is no ‘faux show,’ either. i stared in amazement when the day before cam worked through an intense internal issue in the group, all the while employing respect for those who disagreed with him. he took the unusual step of consulting everyone at the table and patiently waiting for all of the frustrations to be expressed. he also followed up the discussion with at least three one-on-one talks with the people involved. i have never experienced such a strong example of care and concern from a father figure.

it goes beyond compassion, though. cam apparently sits by himself praying for hours at a time. “my husband is addicted to God like crack cocaine,” jenelle commented. his relationship with God seems to stand outside of everything else, and that might be the only thing he doesn’t stand to lose.


  1. keep the posts coming Joel I love it Grandma

  2. Reminds me so much of a tightly knit barrio in the Dominican Republic...

  3. @grandma: thank you : )

    @nathan: yeah i really sense some good aspects of community at tears also.