SHELDON, IA -
This week we're going down the road to Sheldon, Iowa, one of the many towns in Siouxland that hold a great community event each summer. Friday and Saturday Sheldon is hosting RiseFest, a Christian music festival that's sheparded by a man who's early views of God were anything but positive.
"It wasn't, do I believe in God or not believe in God. My thing was, I don't like him," said Rob Roozeboom of Rise Ministries.
Surprising words from a minister's kid. But Rob Roozeboom certainly had those feelings for a reason, after being struck by MS at age five, an affliction that ended a young boy's dreams of becoming a star athlete.
"My freshman year of high school I said goodbye to baseball, basketball, football. I went out for all of them. Football I collapsed, basketball I collapsed, got hit in the leg in baseball, and it was over," said Roozeboom.
Roozeboom says he woke up every day, hating what he saw in the mirror, not measuring up.
"It's the first time I attempted suicide or the thought was there. I remember putting the rope around my neck that night. The only thing that save me as I was taught there's a heaven and a hell and I didn't know what came next," said Roozeboom.
What came next was rebellion, to the point his parents forced him to attend a Christian retreat.
"I had no idea they signed me up for it and the next thing I know the weekend comes and they got me in the car. And two kids that went to my church, a 6' 8" and a 6' 9" guy sat on this side. I sat in the middle and my parents drove because they knew I'd jump out of the car when it slowed down," said Roozeboom.
The gathering turned out to be the first glimpse of acceptance by others. But years of self -loathing wasn't totally washed away by a young man still questioning life.
"I'll tell people once in awhile I used to look up in the sky and say, 'Moses got a burning bush. Can I get something? Neon flashing lights? Something?," said Roozeboom.
That "something" later turned out to be his wife of 17 years, Sharla.
"What she taught me and what she continues to teach me is Rob it doesn't matter what you do, it's who you are," said Roozeboom.
Roozeboom's leap of faith eventually led him and others to try putting on a Christian music festival, which moved from Orange City to Sheldon in 2012. Last year's festival drew 6 thousand people. But it's just one part of the fellowship and message that's spread by Roozeboom and his Rise Ministries.
"If it wasn't through the hope I found through Jesus I don't think I'd be alive today. And I want to share that," said Roozeboom.
Some of you may know Rob from his work with MDA. He's been featured on the telethon with Jerry Lewis and Ed McMahon and travels the country as a speaker for the organization and his ministry.
Here's a look at the acts scheduled for Friday, the opening day of RiseFest. The gates open at 5. Jayrah performs at 7. Tim Byrne at 7:30 Joshua Jordan is at 8. Bob Lenz at 8:30. Loftland at 9:30. And the "Rapture Ruckus Dance Party" starts at 10:15 Tickets are 25-dollars and that covers both days. Kids 10 and younger get in free. To get to the festival grounds turn north at the Fareway Store on highway 18.
Here's the schedule for Saturday. The gates open at 11AM. There's lot of music, but mixed in between the musical acts are some seminar tent speakers, including Jason Wiersma at 1:10pm, Grant Van Riesen at 2:50pm, and Arturo Gomez at 7:05 pm. At 8:35 Rob Roozeboom, the founder of Rise Ministries will speak, followed by Jeremy Camp at 9:30pm.