We are praying and walking up and down the streets of our city. I am posting these reports of what happens on our evenings of street ministry. I bought a Radio Flyer Wagon to pull along behind us. That is kind of our trademark for people to recognize us by.
Terry Wallin and I had a super time tonight handing out fliers in the neighborhood. We did Middlebury street down to Main and back, completely covered the low income apartments at Prairie and Middlebury, much of the Gladstone area, and the area around Greater Wayside Temple/Penguin Point and the new apartments catty corner from the barber shop. We started a little before 5 and finished a little before 8. It was cool and some spotty sprinkles, but really not bad at all.
The ATW Radio Flyer was just great on it's maiden voyage, it's shake down cruise so to say. . . :) We carried quite a bit of stuff. I haven't found a cooler that I like yet. I'm still looking, but I made up a little plastic mini-case of Bible verse cards like the one I take to the jail each week. I had three Bibles along to give away if the occasion arose (it didn't). I took quite a few tracts from the back of the sanctuary to give out also. As I explained to Terry, the wagon maybe isn't so much needed for it's carrying capacity. We could surely do that ourselves with cases or backpacks or something like that. People might forget a couple of guys walking down the sidewalk, but they're pretty sure to remember a couple of grown men pulling a red wagon and that's what I'm after, familiarity, recognition, the people being comfortable with seeing me and knowing who I am and what I am doing.
Terry remarked what a tremendous time he had. It was grand. We talked to lots of people. A couple of interesting things happened. I had my second bad rejection. I left a flier on a porch on Center Street over in the Gladstone neighborhood. I could hear yelling and cursing in the house. I didn't know what was going on. I thought it must have been an argument between a husband and wife, for all I know maybe it was. Anyway, as Terry and I walked up the sidewalk a man stormed out of the house, grabbed the flier, pointedly tore it up and took it to the garbage can sitting between the street and the sidewalk all the while muttering (not very quietly) and cursing under his breath. That was pretty interesting. We prayed for him.
A real first tonight, I was accosted by Elkhart's finest. A couple of men were walking down Monroe street north toward the railroad tracks. Terry and I were just coming out of the apartments at Prairie & Middlebury. I kind of hurried, half ran across the parking lot (leaving Terry behind pulling the wagon) and into Monroe street to catch up to the men. Wonderfully nice men, anyway we were standing on the side of Monroe street, maybe a couple of feet onto the pavement, not in the middle of the street by any means. An EPD squad car from half a block away, turned on his loud speaker and bellowed very sarcastically at us, "HERE'S AN IDEA. HOW ABOUT YOU ALL GETTING OUT OF THE STREET." That was one of the strangest things I've ever had happen. We surely were not blocking traffic on that quiet little street. We had only just briefly paused to talk for a moment. The fellow I was talking to said that officer was the worst and that if we did not move quickly, he would give us a ticket. It was an older man, maybe 65 and his nephew, maybe in his late 20's or early 30's. They are from down south, Tennessee I think he said. They have two families in the neighborhood. They've just sold one house and bought another. They had attended West Side Assembly of God until recently. The old Pastor had left and they did not care for the new Pastor. The older man took care to tell me with some pride (not yet knowing anything about me) that they were Pentecostal. . . They wanted a Bible believing church, one where the Man of God read words out of the Bible in his sermons that they could follow along with in their Bibles. This new Pastor did not do that. He didn't use the Bible very much at all. They might come visit us. It was pretty cool
We passed out around 200 fliers and maybe 30-40 Bible verse cards from my new little plastic box for the wagon. I was passing out Revelation 3:20. One of my favorite verses and I have such a pretty picture to go with it. I have to change. I have to learn to slow down. This is not an evening to hurry. I'm accustomed to hurrying to get all the prayer walk fliers handed out. I've got to change that. The wagon helps me go slower. This night is about meeting people face to face and ministering to them in what ever way they will allow me. If I don't get all the fliers handed out, that's OK. This isn't about fliers. It's about people. Thank you my God!. . . what a night we had.
We talked to lots and lots of people. Numbers and numbers of Moms with their kids. I gave everyone I met, kids and adults Bible verse cards and the adults fliers. I talked to two young men maybe 20 years old, on the north side of one of the apartment buildings at Prairie & Middlebury. The first young man promptly pulled the string loop and tore it out of the card. The other young man. . . very very nice told me He thinks about God a lot, He prays and thinks about godly things. Such an unexpectedly precious moment. . .it touched me deeply. We spoke for a minute or two and then as we left he called to us, "God bless you". . . .
One lady hollered to us from the other side of Middlebury street, I went across. . . she knew who I was from last year. She wanted a flier. I gave her a flier and a card. We talked for a few minutes. . . . .she called across the street as I was leaving. . . "Thank you Pastor". . .
I know I am no Pastor. I surely know that, but walking and talking with these wonderful people and praying for three hours on a Tuesday evening. . .It is such a blessing. It's not just me. Terry has a terrible back. He was in great pain by the time we were done, but he, like me, by the time we were done, was just pumped up. This is so cool. If I had the money I would do this every night of the week all across the city.
I stopped by Kerry's Grandma's house. We prayed for her on a prayer walk last fall. I knocked. She called me in. She was so happy to see me. She said that Kerry is living in Angola. She hasn't seen him in quite a while. I anointed her and prayed with her. I'm going to make that a regular thing. Every week I'm going to call on her.
It was such a wonderful night. . .
Thank you my God. . .
Thank you my God. . .