It stands for ‘NOT OF THIS WORLD’ referencing C28 / Colossians 2:8 in the Bible…
“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers[a] of this world, rather than from Christ.”
Welcome! Please allow me to share a few words with you. Below, you will find my brief testimony of God’s wonderful mercy and grace, a story about a man who got more from this world than he ever expected, yet found himself empty and without hope.If you are wondering about the name of C28, C28 is a verse from Colossians 2:8. This verse is special to me because I had become real good at the things of this world (the traditions & basic principals of this world, rather than Christ) only to realize I was chasing all the wrong things. As I became more empty and full of despair, I was led to Jesus Christ for the peace and purpose I never had! Soon after, I was moved by God’s Holy Spirit to reach the hurting and the lost in malls. Why Malls? Because malls get tens of millions of visitors each year. The mission statement at C28 is To glorify God by sharing the life changing gospel message of grace, truth and love found only in Jesus Christ through prayer, evangelism, and God’s written Word on apparel.
After 10 years and the sale of Dogloo Inc., an International company which I was co-founder and CEO, I found myself with all the material things of this world, but was without much purpose in life. I was a responsible man, a moral man, I loved my family and prayed every night, but I had never heard the gospel nor did I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In March 18, 1998 by the grace of God, I became aware that I was also a sinner (pride, jealousy, selfishness), that I would face judgment at death someday and receive the penalty of eternal hell for my sins. I finally realized I needed Jesus. It was clear that I could not work my way into heaven and as a mere moral man, I was headed straight to hell without a Savior. That’s when I repented and turned away from my sins, asked Jesus into my heart as Lord and Savior of my life!
My life began to change from a self centered life to a God centered life. I began to experience the peace I never had before and the assurance of my salvation. I began attending church and was baptized as my public acknowledgment of my new found faith in Jesus. I joined a weekly Bible study called BSF www.bsfinternational.org and began obeying the words in the bible. I listened to multiple daily sermons on the radio. I could not get enough of God!
I began praying that God would use the gifts and talents He had given me, for His glory. In December of 1999, while driving home through Victorville, the Lord led me and my son “JR” to a little store called “Christian Headshop”. The store was very cool, like nothing I had ever seen before! It was that night that God gave me the vision to share His life changing gospel message of grace, truth and love found in Jesus. I felt the Lord speaking to me about opening stores for youth. Initially, I was not sold on the idea since it did not make much business sense to start a retail store in this day and age. I prayed for months, I wanted to be obedient to God even though there were many uncertainties. This retail concept had never been proven before. There were thousands of Christian stores, but none for youth. Only by prayer and faith did I proceed. I started praying about a name and after much prayer C28 (Colossians 2:8, not about this world but all about Christ) became evident since it brought Jesus Christ all the glory! In April of 2001 after much opposition from malls, the Lord opened our first store at the Tyler Mall in Riverside, California! I learned it was all about praying, obeying and trusting in God’s sovereignty. God began opening doors!
There have been many challenges, but with God’s strength and direction we have persevered. God is so faithful. By His grace we now have 8 company stores, 3 franchise stores, NOTW and Canvas Threads Christian clothing and C28.com for online shopping. God is gracious and faithful!
Many people come to C28 stores to pray. There are countless testimonies. For example, a young girl in a wheelchair came into our Temecula store asking “Is this the store that prays for people?” This says it all. Since the first store opened in April 2001, 17,526 people have been led through the sinner’s prayer and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! All praise goes to our almighty sovereign God! Little did these people know that what started as a usual day of shopping led them to the best gift of all, salvation through Jesus! Many, many lives have been eternally changed. God is so good!
For 38 years no one ever shared the gospel with me! I was one of those people that looked like I had everything, but was actually lost inside. We want to help people realize God’s plan for them without having their life pass them by.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
Can you imagine a normal day of mall shopping turning into your day of salvation! It happens at C28! The Lord is using C28 to save lives, give people a hope, a promise and a future. God uses C28 stores to bring people closer to Himself in a secular environment, imagine that! All praise goes to God!
We want to reach the unreachable and to love the unlovable.
God forgives us no matter what we have done. When we repent of our sins, ask for forgiveness and accept Jesus into our hearts, we can be forgiven and filled with God’s Holy Spirit forever. Christians are in no way close to perfect, they are a work in progress. We are sinful people and we live by God’s loving grace. Praise God!
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.” 1 Timothy 1:15
Aurelio F. Barreto III