Tune in to watch the Saddleback event live on abc7.com between 5 p.m. - 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 16.
"I'm very, very excited," said Meriven Deocariza says luck was on her side. And now, she'll be among the 2,000 people or so to watch presumed presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama in their first joint appearance since the end of the primary season.
"I didn't think that I would be able to get tickets," said Deocariza. "It was something I wanted to do, and when they called me yesterday to say that I had won tickets because I had been leader of a small group, and they put me in a raffle ticket. I was ecstatic."
And for good reason: Tickets to Saturday night's event, during which Pastor Rick Warren will question McCain and Obama on personal morals, faith and leadership, have been hard to come by.
Church representatives say the forum is an invitation-only event, open exclusively to church members. But local residents say that's not what they read on the church Web site.
"There was just an unfortunate situation where they promised there would be tickets available to the general public, and they kept postponing the date on their Web site, and finally Wednesday, the big day, they said all tickets have been distributed," said Jan Young. "I happen to have made a contact here, and she was kind enough to find two tickets for me. She works here. So I'm very mixed about my feelings. In general I think it was unfortunate."
Some church members say the ticket controversy has been blown out of proportion, and despite the disappointments, the forum will be remembered as one of the most exciting events ever to take place in south Orange County.
"Absolutely exciting," said Saddleback Church member Tony McGivern. "Guaranteed the next president is in the room, that's just unbelievable. It's exciting, it really is."
Church representatives say they will be streaming the forum live to hundreds of people on campus at three nearby locations. Two of them are tents, and tickets are required to attend those events.
Tune in to watch the Saddleback event live on abc7.com between 5 p.m. - 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 16. Eyewitness News reporters John North, Jovana Lara and Wendy Burch contributed to this report.