This past weekend we held our 2nd annual Kentucky Derby Street Preaching Blitz. Although we had some rain/thunderstorms on Saturday, the weekend went very well. Thursday evening we started off with singing and preaching at the camp. Friday we were out on the street from about 10:00 to 3:00. It was the normal atmosphere, with many "christians" telling us we were doing it wrong, drunks getting mad, etc. On our way to the area we usually preach at, a man in a golf cart drove by and started yelling at us. When a couple of the preachers responded, he came back, got out of the golf cart, and ran at us like he was going to hit someone. It is amazing how quickly the sinners get stirred up...we hadn't even started preaching, and they were already getting mad! Overall, though, Friday was a pretty mild day. Saturday was a little more wild. Due to bad weather, we didn't get out there til about 2:00, and the second we stepped out of the vehicles, you could feel the spiritual tension. Within 5 minutes of getting to the corner, confrontations and debates started! I was literally moving from one end of the line and back again, keeping an eye on which conversation had the most potential for aggression! It was a real blessing to have several men out with us who pretty much made it their sole job to bodyguard. During the last hour and a half out, we ran some "caution" tape between a couple trees, and kept everyone but the bodyguards and camcorders behind it. The whole spirit, atmosphere and even the women's dress (or lack of dress) was worse than it had been the previous year. The police gave us a little trouble, and right as we were getting ready to leave, an officer approached and said he was asking us to leave-there was too much aggression, and they couldn't be there protecting us when people got mad. When Dad read them the law about protecting those exercising their 1st Amendment right of free speech (even when it is unpopular), another office got mad and responded with some very vulgar language. They finally walked off a little ways, and as we continued to pack up, a couple Marines got mad and basically started a mini riot. The police moved in right away, including 4 mounted officers, and sent them on their way. Honestly, if we had stayed out longer (after the race actually let out), we almost definitely would have had a riot, probably even worse than last years'. Here is some video footage from preaching Friday. I'll try to get some up from Saturday by tomorrow.
I know I'm late getting this posted, but we've been pretty busy lately. The past 2 weekends we were out preaching at Spring Break. As always, most of the people we dealt with claimed to be Christians. A couple young men that Dad talked to admitted they would be getting drunk, and would even be out looking for girls, but said they were saved! It is amazing how low so-called Christians' standards are! The manager of the Walgreens store on the corner we preach at came out and argued with us as well. She also said she was saved, but said we weren't doing it right...the normal "you're judging me-Jesus didn't judge-you're too hard" spiel. She ended up getting so mad (after Dad pulled the Hezekiah question on her) that she literally was bowing down to Dad (mocking, of course)! The next weekend we were out, Walgreens put up a sign that read "We Do Not Support This Group". The best part was the next day when we came out to preach...the sign was off...looked like it was broken!
Another man who came out said we were "building walls", and no one would listen....not even realizing he had come out, as well as 20-25 other people who were talking to various members of our street preaching group right then! Some people are so blind!
Don't you love her sign?!
Don't they look like trouble?
More of our group
Dealing with some people who "jumped over the wall" to talk to us!
Gasparilla is an annual event we have preached at for the last few years. This takes place in Tampa, FL and is a celebration of a pirate, Jose' Gaspar, who was a wicked man. The first year we went we were told it was a family event, but boy were we shocked when we got out there! Far from being a "family" event, Gasparilla was one of the most vile events we had been to. Many places we preach are more violent, (although last year people were trying to light the preachers on fire-including my then-15 year old brother), but few are more vile. Anyways, this year was a blessing. We had 4 members of our Church come down to help us, and 2 men flew in from New York and 1 from Chicago, as well as others driving from various places in Florida. We were told the weather was supposed to be pretty bad, but, as we usually do, we headed out anyways. Praise the Lord, the rain held off for a good 2 hours or more! We stayed out for 5 1/2 hours (it didn't seem like it-time flew!), and because of the weather, less people were out. Usually 700,000 people attend this festival/parade, but the number was a little lower today. However, there was still a good crowd, and in a way it was a blessing. We had more conversations with people than normal, although less people took the Gospel tracts. As always, we had a number of interesting discussions! One woman I talked to said that she didn't have to follow Christ today (I told her that drinking was a sin), because it wasn't Sunday! I have to admit, I think that's the first time I've heard that one! Another young girl (probably 13 or 14) approached my Dad and told him that God loved everyone, no matter what they did or how they lived. When confronted with Scripture verses teaching God does hate some people (Psalm. 5:5, 7:11, etc.) she started raising her voice and saying that it didn't matter if she had Scripture to back up her claims-God loves everyone! During the discussion she also took God's Name in vain, and admitted it was a sin. She ended up walking off soon after we opened a Bible, and said that she was comfortable in her beliefs and hoped we were in ours. We had the usual number of hecklers, which always help to draw a crowd. One girl told us that she didn't care what the Bible said (after we showed her 1 Cor. 2:15 about a spiritual man judging all things), Christians weren't supposed to judge! All in all it was a good day of ministry. I'll get some video up in the next couple days, but until then here are some pics.
Our street preaching group!
Bro. Glen and Rob
Clay and Bro. Jeff
Aaron and Elijah-when you see these 2 together...watch out!!
Yesterday a good friend from Chicago drove down to visit us. We stayed up late playing a couple games and had a lot of fun! For the second game of Scrabble we had just 2 teams-boys against girls! The guys were a little outnumbered (6 girls and only 3 boys), so they are using that as their excuse for losing :) It was a late night (about 1:00 in the morning before everyone got to sleep!), so most of the family slept in this morning. Unfortunately our friend will have to leave later this afternoon, as she has to be back for the bus route at her Church tomorrow :( It was nice to have someone drive over to spend a day with us, since where we are right now there are no good Churches.
Here are a few pictures of the Scrabble game!
All the "girls" but Mom and me (I'm taking the picture)