Damian Hernandez said he was on the verge of quitting bass fishing one day when he asked God, "Do you want me to quit?"
Fortunately, God's answer was "no."
Hernandez went on to start the West Coast Christian Anglers bass club.
"I just felt God wanted me to do something more, and as it turned out, that was right," said Hernandez, president of West Coast Christian Anglers.
The club was incorporated in February 2004.
A Christian-based club West Coast Christian holds six competitive tournaments each year, but the club is known more for its mission, which is as it should be, Hernandez said. The membership is small, comprised of members from Ventura County, California, but the goal is huge.
"Yes, we want to use fishing to spread the Gospel. So in 2005, we began taking Ventura Rescue Mission program graduates fishing. This nine-month recovery program is for men with drug and alcohol problems.
"Each month, we take graduates fishing at Lake Casitas. We give them a license, rods, reels, lures, and everything. The results have been amazing. Some have never been in a boat before. The experience, the testimonies, it's life-changing," Hernandez said.
"For many, it is the first time they have realized they could have fun without the dependencies."
But West Coast Christian Anglers don't just take them fishing. They also offer anglers a chance to join the club. "Four of our present members came out of this mission, and one is the club chaplain," he said.
West Coast conducts all of its mission work without sponsorships, relying solely on donations.
In addition to working with those from the Mission, the club also helps with Kids Day at Lake Casitas each spring. They cook for the 150 volunteers at this event, which is held in late March.
Reprinted with permission from