When I was 16 years old, my brother brought me to the youth group at Lakeview Assembly, and God saved me. I felt God’s love and grace for me, and knew that I wanted to live for Jesus. As much as I loved going to youth group, I kept hearing people say, “wait until you go to a Donnie Moore camp!” or “wait until you see Donnie Moore speak!” About a month later, I found myself at a Radical Reality camp, sobbing at the altar.
Donnie was the love of God, expressed through a man; a focal point in the lives of thousands who, on their own, adopted him as their spiritual father. When Donnie spoke, you just felt love. You felt cared about, as if for the first time in your life. Whether you were his best friend, or the clerk at a grocery store he frequented, Donnie made you feel like you mattered. He remembered EVERYONE’s names! As one of thousands of teens who encountered Donnie, I didn’t expect him to remember mine; however, each time I saw him, he called me by name and gave me his time.
I cherished spending time with Donnie. At the end of each camp, I always wanted to stay behind with the clean-up crew and be among the last to leave, because I knew Donnie would treat the crew to pizza on the way home. We found ourselves may times over at the Pizza Factory in Gridley, camp after camp, feeling more privileged than if the President had invited us to the white house. We sat around him, feeling so special, and listened to the most random stories that he decided to tell. Sometimes, he shared some ridiculous memory of something that just made us crack up. Other times, his stories were gold-nuggets of wisdom that he gained from stepping out in faith and listening to God over listening to man.
As more of us in the youth group, galvanized by the Holy Spirit, started stepping out and preaching, you could hear traces of Donnie’s messages in just about everything we shared. It is not just those at school assemblies or camp meetings who were touched by Donnie’s life; it was every random person in countless corners of the country who heard pieces of Donnie through us, who were carrying his message and his love with us everywhere we went. It truly is impossible to measure the impact of Donnie’s life on the world, because the ripples are countless, and the ripples are unending.
In addition to the way Donnie’s public ministry transformed our lives, his private friendship spoke equally. In my senior year football banquet, Donnie came out to show me his support. He scholarshipped me to camp several times. When my wife first moved to Stockton, Donnie gave her his car! Donnie prayed over us at our wedding. He gave to the ministry I started as a 19 year old. He accepted the young people from our ministry to his camp for free. He called me out when I was in the wrong. He bragged about my strengths to other people when I wasn’t around. Donnie checked in on us. He sent me and Melinda Christmas cards year after year, even when it seemed to everyone else that we had fallen off the face of the earth.
Though Donnie’s life was cut shorter than anyone ever expected, he lived more in his time with us than most people could hope to live in a thousand lifetimes. He is and forever will be the hallmark of what we all hope to be. Donnie, you’re forever our hero, our friend, our father in faith. Thank you SO MUCH for the life you lived. We look forward to seeing you again someday.
To friends and family
Our hearts are with you in this great loss. Words can’t express what Donnie has meant to us. So much of the love he shared with other people was a reflection of the love he had for his amazing family. We are eternally grateful to the entire Moore family.