By Hyung Seok LEE
CV Weekly Intern
It was with a loving attitude near Valentine’s Day that a Café Night hosted by Holy Gate Evangelical Church raised enough funds to purchase a computer for a school in Sri Lanka.
The annual Café Night saw students dressed semi-formally to attend a night of talent shows and games. Unlike the past three years, a $3 admission fee was charged, even to the performers, so that enough money would be raised to donate to the Sri Lankan school.
Four years ago, the youth at Holy Gate went on a mission trip to Sri Lanka where they taught at the schools and developed a close relationship with the children there. In response to seeing the poverty and lack of school supplies, Café Night became a fundraising event.
“All of us who went to Sri Lanka developed a heart for the people there. We wanted to continually maintain a relationship so this was one event that way that we tried to keep it,” event coordinator Jasmine Kang said.
With over 50 people present, the show proved to be one of the most successful events Holy Gate Church has hosted. The performances ranged from lip-synching to B-Boy dancing to singing with a guitar or keyboard. When walking into that hall, one would see a talented group of teenagers singing a well-rehearsed song to not only show off their talents, but to promote a noble cause. Singers came from as far as Riverside to as local as the church youth members themselves.
“I think the performances were well-performed, and the amount of effort on the setting and decorations set the perfect mood for the show,” attendee Kevin Kang said.
The highlight of the night came when the evening couples were randomly drawn. Every name in the crowd was put into two baskets distinctively by gender. Five names were then drawn from each basket to be matched with a random name of the opposite gender. People who had never met before were paired together and “encouraged” to play a series of couples games, including one that involved eating a long chocolate covered biscuit stick together to see which pair could leave the smallest piece.
“It was extremely awkward at first, but after playing a few games and posing for the camera a few times, it wasn’t as awkward as the first time,” member Sabrina Park said of being randomly paired.
The evening came to a close with the youth pastor singing to his wife, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley. The crowd joined in and a series of “awes” could be heard as he declared his love to his wife.
Over a month of planning went into this night, sending Facebook invitations, posting fliers around the school and making the decorations by hand. Eight youth members put much time and imagination into making the setting perfect for the attendees.
“We have this event every year and when we do it, our heart comes out to make it the best possible event. We try to make everything perfect, from the snacks to the table setting to the surrounding decorations so that nothing distracts the people from the actual show,” said organizer Jasmine Kang.