This is José Ireta’s third year as Camp Director for Messiah West Coast. Jose works as a high school counselor and has been working in education for nearly 20 years. Additionally, José was in ministry working part time as a music director in the church up until a few years ago when he heard the call to follow Yahweh’s Law. José has led the music / praise at Sukkot in Orosi the last three years and he and his wife, Yanina, have worked closely with Bryan Barnes of Growing in Torah since coming to Torah. José and his family live in Southern California and can be seen in The Way; A Documentary. They host a weekly home fellowship.
Bryce & Melissa Jones
Bryce Jones lives on the Oregon/Idaho border with his wife, Melissa and two children and are expecting their third child! He is currently working in Challis, Idaho for the Bureau of Land Management. He holds a degree in Wildlife Resources and Rangeland Management.
He believes the biggest challenge facing Messianic youth is finding other kids their own age with whom they can fellowship. His advice to youth is for them to realize that they are not alone. Today’s youth are the next generation of believers that have a real opportunity within the Messianic walk to make an impact on the world at large.
Bryce came to know and grow in his faith largely due to meeting his wife. While his parents taught him about Torah, it wasn’t until meeting Melissa that he implemented a Torah observant walk. He lives his life significantly different now (set apart). Eating Biblically clean food and observing the Biblical Feasts are just two of the ways he lives his life differently now.
Last year, Bryce was Co-Activities Director with his brother, Russ. He loves following Yahweh and wants to demonstrate to today’s youth that being obedient can be fun and it’s what we are called to do.
“Yahweh has worked in my life by helping me gain more of a personal relationship with Him. Reading the Scriptures and really beginning to search out answers has been a huge blessing. In doing this, I have been able to put away worldly things such as sports, specific career goals, etc., that are not important.” – Bryce Jones
Melissa fell in love with Messiah West Coast last year. It provided her with the realization of how important a camp for youth who follow Torah is. It is a place where youth can grow in their relationship with their Father and she wants to be a part of that and contribute to that as well. She sees one of the main challenges facing today’s law-abiding youth is that they feel alienated. It is a challenge for them when they feel they are the only ones walking in Yeshua’s footsteps. She wants to encourage today’s youth to seek out believers and to be strong in their walk. Camp is a perfect way to do this.
Melissa attended a Christian high school, however her family was not very “religious”. After high school, she attended college where she thought she was happy and headed in the right direction. But then she met Bryce, her husband. He was already exposed to the truth and started implementing it in his life. Her intent to prove him wrong only led her to see the truth of Yahweh’s Law. Her life has since taken on a completely different path and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Being a part of MWC has been a huge blessing. It led to us being a part of Sukkot in Orosi and has led to talks of how we can do more where we live to reach out to other believers. We have connected with a family who had just left their church when they saw the truth. I think meeting each other has been a blessing for both of our families.” – Melissa Jones
Russ & Michelle Jones
Russ lives in Roseburg, Oregon. He is married with three children. Russ works as a paramedic / firefighter. He and his wife, Michelle, facilitate a home fellowship. He is very physically active, enjoys the outdoors and loves to see young men and women grow in their faith, which includes mentoring young men. Russ is passionate about Messiah West Coast and is a true servant. Russ believes that one of the challenges for today’s young men and women is being truly set-apart, a peculiar people. His encouragement to them is to ‘choose life’ as the world only offers death. Russ will serve as the Camp Medic for the third year this upcoming year and as Co-Activities Director with his brother, Bryce, for the second year in a row.
“I grew up in a traditional Christian home. Never knowing what it meant to really love Yeshua. Always wondering why it seemed like I could do whatever I wanted and there was no difference between my life and anyone elses. In my early 20’s, I began questioning and looking into all the pagan holidays. Then I began reading the Bible for myself and studying the Torah and realized that all of Scripture is relevant to me. Starting a Bible study and fellowship has helped me grow in my everyday walk as a child of YHWH. We have put ourselves out in the Torah Observant community much more than we have in the past.” – Russ Jones
I grew up in a small town in northern California. My family consists of seven children. We didn’t go to church but were influenced by my aunt who was going to a 7th Day Adventist church. She always led us in prayer as we sat around our dinner table and spoke highly of Messiah. I always wanted to know my Creator; especially after I lost my father to cancer when I was eleven years old. When I was seventeen years old, Yahweh brought my beautiful husband Russ into my life. His upbringing was Christian focused, which allowed us to be able to talk about God. We both valued wanting to know God, keeping us together through Russ going into the Coast Guard and myself going to college. I had the opportunity to receive a scholarship to play softball while going to school at San Jose State, CA. Russ and I were engaged during my senior year in college and I soon after obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation & Leisure Studies with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation.
Life changed after he shared with me some of the truths he had been discovering in Scripture as well as history. These truths were revealed to him after he set out to prove his parents wrong. Thankfully his eyes were opened to what the Bible really says. He was then faced with approaching his soon to be bride with wanting to live out truth as our Creator has instructed. He made it clear that he loved me very much but wanted his future wife and kids to follow truth and not tradition. I was not opposed to knowing truth but had not started searching. I didn’t know our Creator gave us instructions to live by or special feasts to celebrate in honor of Him. I was also surprised to learn about the origins of many traditional holidays. I shared with him that I too wanted to learn and live truth. He was quickly relieved because if I would have disagreed, he was prepared to respectfully part ways. Soon after, I started reading my Bible and looking for myself at the history behind why I was celebrating traditional holidays.
Russ and I married and moved to Astoria, OR where he was serving the United States Coast Guard and I worked as a Physical Therapy Aide. Life continued to change as we started walking out our faith. We encountered many struggles with extended family but continued to grow together and with our Creator.
Life continues to change in a positive way. Two years ago I left my career for the second time to homeschool our children. I understand that my responsibility is to teach my children Yahweh’s instructions, set a good example as a wife/mother for my boys and to others. Russ and I have also grown together in seeing how important it is to love and delight in Yahweh by following His ways while being a helpmate to each other AND to others. I am thankful our Father continues to shine a light on our path as He continues to help guide us in truth and in love. We have to be willing to continue to show Him we love Him back by keeping HIS commandments. Praise Yah!
Michael & Alicia Cozzie
Together, Michael and Alicia have eight children (six are pictured). They are originally from Illinois but currently reside in Southern California. Michael and Alicia worked at camps in Wisconsin at Lake Lucerne for a number of years. Additionally, Alicia worked as a children’s counselor for Lutheran Social Services for seven years before choosing to stay home to raise her children. She currently home schools three of her children…all boys! Michael is a talented musician who sings and plays a variety of instruments well (piano, guitar, bass, and drums). Michael was the drummer at Sukkot in Orosi (Growing in Torah) the past two years. He also played bass on the MWC music team. Both Alicia and Michael were cabin counselors last year.
Both Michael and Alicia were in the Christian church for nearly twenty years, even while having doubts. After learning of the Father’s name, as well as several years of uncovering lies in the modern church, they both felt called to leave the church where they were both leaders. They chose to follow Torah and state, “It has been a complete blessing and has completely changed the way we live. His Law is not burdensome and brings blessing.”
Their counsel for today’s youth is to persevere through difficulties, choose blessings and not curses, and keep your focus on Yahweh. His joy is our strength. He has plans for you that are good and He delights in you! This will be their second year at MWC!
Jeff Kelly is a man of many talents. As a single parent of two teenagers for the past eleven years, Jeff has firsthand experience regarding raising children, a valuable asset to have as a MWC staff member. This will be Jeff’s second year as a staff member. Last year, Jeff was a co-team leader and a musician on the MWC music team. Jeff also assisted with leading music at Sukkot 2017 in Orosi alongside Jose Ireta. Jeff is a talented musician, singer, and songwriter. Here are some links to some of his original songs as sung and led by him:
“I’ve learned to trust in the Creator through trial and error over time. This is a lesson I am continually learning more completely. I believe this is very relevant to teens who are so tempted and driven to take shortcuts in order to achieve instant gratification. I’ve learned the hard way that this leads to curses and death. As a father of teenagers, Cloey and Caleb, I am able to share this experience appropriately when relevant to conversation. Also, as someone raised “in church” and who has come into Torah within the past couple of years, I am freshly aware of many of the contradictions present in mainstream false doctrines as compared to Scripture. I think many of the teens will relate to this issue in their interactions with others who are not on this walk.” – Jeff Kelly
Jeff’s counsel for today’s youth is, “Don’t allow yourselves to be enticed and lead astray by the temptations of this world and the culture we live in. These temptations are in essence lies that will lead to sin and death. The wages of sin are certainly death, which becomes very tangible to workers of iniquity – especially those who are raised in the Truth and know the Truth. Learn the Word and seek the Father in prayer, continually. Seek His perfect will for your life, and seek discipleship and wisdom. Learn from the successes and failures of others when at all possible rather than incurring difficult consequences yourselves through sinful choices. There are enough mistakes out there in the pasts of Yah’s people to learn from (wisdom), without having to make the same mistakes yourselves and learning the hard way (foolishness).”
Messiah West Coast is excited to welcome Jeff Kelly for a second year.
David and his wife, Brianna, are home-school parents to their six children. David is a special education teacher and has worked with young men and women over the past 10 years who have moderate to profound disabilities in both the middle and high school settings. He loves working with high school students and currently works with autistic high schoolers. He has a heart to serve youth and looks for ways to create an environment that fosters growth in the ways of YHWH. He deeply longs to love how Yeshua loves.
Over the last couple of years, David has been facilitating a Shabbat gathering in his home. He believes that today’s youth face many of the same challenges as the rest of the body as a whole; division, pride, insecurity, etc. David’s goal for the youth he works with would be to help in establishing a solid foundation of knowledge of the Word upon which intense swings may be anchored. And his goal would be to learn from their zeal. His advice for today’s youth is to walk the Word out with the heart of Yeshua; the world is craving authenticity.
David grew up in a Christian home, attended a Christian university, learned Greek as well as the historical Jesus and the allegorical interpretation of an errant non-divine Bible. After a series of events which included a move to North Carolina, God met them face to face and revealed His Torah to them! They have been running from lawlessness ever since! Their life has been marked with both blessings and loss since teshuva. The Word has never been more alive, challenging, simple and profoundly beautiful. Yet, they stand alone, left by their closest friends and spiritual family. However, their Shabbat gathering has grown and David and Brianna are starting to see movement in their lives as they are healed from past hurts, and equipped for the days ahead!
I am grateful that Messiah West Coast is part of their journey. Campers will be blessed having someone like David, with his expertise and experience with youth, at their disposal. Please join me in welcoming David Silvius.
Luke & Kayte Abaffy
Luke and Kayte Abaffy are probably best known for their production of The Way, a documentary about the Torah movement. We are extremely excited to have them be a part of Messiah West Coast for a second year. Luke grew up on a farm in Ohio. His mother first began to follow Torah when Luke was living in New York, where he met Kayte. Kayte grew up in the suburbs just outside of Washington D.C. in a Christian home. She attended Christian schools from Kindergarten until she graduated from high school. She attended Columbia University and earned a degree in Creative Writing: Non-Fiction. Luke and Kayte met at a church in Manhattan, New York. It was love at first sight. Luke and Kayte have a rich cultural heritage. Luke’s father is from Hungary and Kayte’s father is from Ghana.
After they were married, Luke and Kayte moved to California in 2014. While in California, they joined a Torah Observant Fellowship where they grew in the knowledge of following Yahweh’s Law. It was also in California that they met Jose & Yanina Ireta, who later introduced them to Bryan Barnes. In 2015, Kayte led much of the praise singing at Sukkot along with Jose and others on the music team. It was there that Luke began to film for documentary. The film was nominated by the International Christian Film Festival for Best Documentary and Best Director for 2017.
Last year, Luke and Kayte were both counselors at MWC and Kayte led music alongside Rod Woodruff. This upcoming year, Luke and Kayte will have a new addition, a baby boy! Thus, their roles will be a bit different at camp, but we’re still so excited to have them back for another year!
Luke and Kayte are an incredible addition to the Messiah West Coast staff!
Messiah West Coast is pleased to have Officer Joe Gossett at camp once again this year. Joe and his family attend Hallel Fellowship in Santa Rosa, California. As with many of us, Joe grew up in a Christian home. He served in his church’s leadership for a number of years until he finally realized that he could not fully Torah while in the church. As a police officer, we are encouraged that Joe will be providing security services to ensure the safety of all while at camp.
Chenoa is currently a sophomore at the University of Sioux Falls, South Dakota studying computer science. She loves people and more importantly, loves Yah! She desires to make long lasting relationships with campers. She recalls being influenced herself by camp counselors when she was younger and this is what compels her to serve at Messiah West Coast.
Chenoa believes that today’s youth need to learn to relate to others with different beliefs. Many people in this walk can be very critical or judgmental. It is important not to become argumentative and it is not us, as people, that can change people, but only the Ruach. She also believes it is important to have a solid base of friends who are going to hold you accountable and to also do fun things with that are not going to lead you to sin or into temptation. She strongly recommends that everyone have friends who are filled with the Ruach.
Chenoah’s grandparents on both sides are Christian. During her sophomore year in high school, her father began to keep Torah. He taught her so very much. During her senior year, she and her father traveled to Oregon to observe Sukkot where she met so many other believers. In her own words, she writes, “I live differently because I have a more thorough understanding of the Bible and Yahweh that comes along with keeping the Torah. I also take the Bible a lot more literally. Over the past few years, I have been reading and praying a lot and have begun dressing more modestly; my views on a lot of things have radically changed and I feel much more knowledgeable about life in general.”
This will be Chenoa’s second year at camp. Messiah West Coast is excited to have such a vibrant person at camp!