Richard Aaron Thomas started with WCA with the re-formation of the Young Adults in September 2015. He knew it was a “fit” when he found himself jumping in and putting chairs back in their proper places after the meeting (which, of course, does not surprise any of us who have worked with him). Because he was working on weekends he didn’t start attending WCA until the end of January, beginning of February 2016.
He was born in Long Beach January 28, 1991. He grew up in a Christian home. His family attended various Calvary Chapels in the area while he was growing up; mostly Calvary Chapel Pacific Coast. When he was 5 or 6 he was in the Royal Rangers Straight Arrow program while they attended Calvary Chapel Huntington Beach. That’s when he learned “The Golden Rule.”
When he was 12, he attended a youth camp and was baptized. He did not understand it at the time, but in doing so he now realizes that Satan declared war on him. Immediately he found himself raising a lot of questions, causing doubt on a level he never experienced before. It seemed like after that point, it was difficult to concentrate on the church messages. He found himself regularly thinking about X-Men during the sermons. He even found himself asking questions like, “What is belief?” And, “How do I really know Jesus did all this stuff?” He felt it was true, but how could he really know? He eventually came to the position, that “well, if I’m saved, God would eventually yank me back.”
Some changes led the family to move to WestGrove Calvary Chapel and he found himself the awkward teen, not knowing anybody. He’d sit in the back and have no one talk to him. Eventually, he basically quit going to church when he was around 14-15 years old. He began drinking beer at the end of High School, and when he was old enough at the age of 21, he started smoking pot.
But when he was 23 in July 2014, his cousins from Phoenix were in town, and they and Grandma invited him to go to church with them. It had been awhile since he had gone to church, and he did like his Grandma’s Lutheran church. The Youth Pastor spoke that day. He talked about what kids are dealing with today. And as Richard listened to him, he says he was “being destroyed,” because this guy was describing everything he was going through; even the order and every feeling he was experiencing. Suddenly, he found himself asking, “Is that you God?” He realized He was hearing God speaking to him through this Youth Pastor. And he fully committed his life to the Lord that day; and became committed to the truth that, “the Bible is fact!”
In February 2017, he became a Deacon of WCA and shortly after he started serving with our Royal Rangers. He originally planned to join the US Navy and make it a career. However, he had made a poor decision when he was 17 by making a “firecracker,” which later was described by an official as an explosive device, thus ending his career before it got started.
But now, with Royal Rangers, he is on the path to become a nationally recognized trainer. Whereas most will study just enough to know what is needed next to advance in the program, he knows every step that needs to be completed to move to all the way to the top. It will not surprise me to see him one day in the national office as a key leader for the Royal Ranger program.
And, of course, there is more to his story…