life in lake elsinore

snap! crackle! pop! the adrenaline rush is so suddenly so real. i can hear the power lines breaking and feel the earth crumble beneath my feet. a few blocks away the lakewater is already surging into the streets. it's happening (already happening!)...
or is it?

the house on lindsay st.
i lay here on the bottom half of a bunk bed on the second story of the hundred-year-old house on lindsay street sketching out this story. a quick look out the window confirms my deeply held suspicions - the streets of lake elsinore are quiet and undisturbed. a few cars pass, stuttering slightly at the four-way stop that my room overlooks. it's 10:28 and all is well... externally.

i came to the eclectic and largely under-resourced city of lake elsinore three days ago with my room-mate jonathan. we are students at the university of oregon in eugene, though jonathan is originally from a nearby suburb called temecula. one day jonathan's mom suggested that we go down to see his family in the area. a couple of days after finals, we hopped on a plane, and here we are.

the old two-story house that we're in belongs to jonathan's cousin cameron lemons, who's putting us up for the week. cam sincerely believes that in 2008 he received a prophecy from God - a devastating earthquake will utterly destroy the nearby city of los angeles... in the year 2010. he articulated this prophecy on youtube, where it was instantly subject to no end of skepticism and ridicule. this, of course, did not silence him. cam has remained resolute, holding on to the things he believes he has received from God largely on faith.

both the urgency of his message and the vehemence of his critics have increased as the months have passed by. this give and take is also what you might expect in a situation where someone claims to be predicting or interpreting the future; perfectly natural. however, some would say that cam has a genuine reason to be afraid - at t-15 days, the only thing shaking is the confidence of those around him. here is just a little piece of his story:

cameron lemons grew up in temecula, california, raised by his parents bob and donna (bb and dd to the grandchildren). his family was apparently nominally christian at the outset. cam remembers deciding to really follow God at age 17, and ended up studying at westmont college, where he met his wife, jenelle. he got his masters at a seminary on the east coast, and became an associate pastor at an evangelical church back in temecula. he's worked there for the last four years.

tanner has changed quite a bit since meeting cameron lemons.
cam's life is currently undergoing some pretty intense changes. he's finishing up his work in temecula at the end of the year, to move on to some new things. in addition to the earthquake prophecy, cameron also believes he has heard god telling him to leave a safe, predictable and affluent temecula and transplant his family to a poor and drug-ridden town called lake elsinore. cam, jenelle and their three kids in their new home there for fourteen months. the young couple brought with them three boys from their church in temecula - james, michael and frenchie.

"the fellas," as cam calls them, live in a room on the first floor of the lemons' new house. the fourth "fella" is tanner, a recently homeless young man who converted, cleaned up his act, and now has an enthusiastic passion for the gospel of jesus christ.

cam counts tanner among the few who have expressed a serious solidarity with the earthquake prophecy. other serious supporters include his wife jenelle and a few other pastors who have emailed him saying he received a similar prophecy. jonathan, cam's cousin and my travelling companion, is on board as well. currently a senior in music composition, at the prestigious university of oregon school of music and dance, he dedicated last spring's junior project to the prophecy, subtly entitling it "los angeles earthquake 2010: a prophecy of judgment."

jonathan reading out in front of the house.
two and a half weeks into december, cameron lemons' stance is solid. he believes that god is sending a devastating earthquake tot eh city of los angeles in judgement of sin and lawlessness, and is determined to warn as many people as he can that they are in harm's way.

actually, his views are not altogether unsupported. according to the us geological survey, southern california is due for an immense earthquake. similarly, the california geological society recently made a video predicting with certainty a catastrophic quake in the la area.

whether their perspective is scientifically or prophetically formed (and for many it's both), many people have cause to believe that the occurrence of such a disaster in los angeles is only a matter of time. so why are there so few standing with this particular pastor in his mission of proclamation?

a very solemn cameron addressed the issue in his usual humble and polite manner: it's the timeline. many who would have otherwise supported his messaage and its distribution are concerned that the man is preaching judgement in a specific chronological time-frame. still, this preacher continues to gently and lovingly spread the word. how will this all shake out, anyhow? maybe only time will tell.

jenelle, cam and the fellas.

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