At SoCal Harvest, you may see crowds gathering outside the stadium. It’s likely they are at one of the four merchandise (merch) tables selling anything from books by popular Christian authors like Greg Laurie and Rosaria Butterfield, to stickers, hats, T-shirts, and hoodies with the latest SoCal Harvest designs. This is also where you may find great volunteers.
Tony and Deana Arellano celebrated two things at the 30th anniversary of SoCal Harvest. Nineteen years serving in a merch booth, and 19 years of marriage!
“Working in the merch booth each year is like getting together with family. We enjoy seeing and working with each other every crusade season. Our kids serve with us, and this year we even brought our niece to help out. It’s truly a family affair!” Deana brings treats from her bakery for all of the workers, “I make them cookies, brownies, and sometimes cupcakes.”
But the best part about working in the merch booth is the customers. Tony says, “It’s very encouraging to interact with people that come up and buy stuff, they like to share their stories of why they came to the crusade.” Deana agrees. “Last year, a lady came to buy Bibles and T-shirts, I had only asked her one question: ‘How are you liking the Crusade?’ She was so excited sharing with me how she had just gotten saved on the field, what her life was like before Christ, and that she was serious about the decision she made to follow Him! I love talking to people like that, that’s what these crusades are all about!”
Each year features apparel with brand new designs, and they sell out quickly! Last year’s bestseller was the Faith, Hope, Love T-shirt, and this year? “The shirts and hoodies that say Love One Another,” says Tony. “Also, when Pastor Levi Lusko wore the Change the World shirt on Friday, it sold out that night! Pastor Greg’s newest [Johnny Cash] book has also been a top seller!”
The Arellanos work each day at the merch booths and love serving together. “I enjoy any time with my wife, but seeing her connect with people the way she does, it’s like seeing God shine through her.” Deana says, “I get to serve, doing the thing I like the most with the person I like the most!”
I guess it can be said, the couple that serves together stays together.