Saturday, May 12, 2007all these eyes have seen...
On occasion, when driving back home from our Friday night of evangelism, I think to myself: "how in the world will I convey all that I have seen tonight to those who read my weblog?" Tonight was such a night. There are so many things that were said, so many things I have witnessed... and all of it, for the most part, is all mixed up into a big mess of ideas and impressions that I will most definitely spend the weekend trying to sort out.
Friday nights have become quite wearisome.
First, there was this mildly drunk man. He criticized my preaching claiming I was far too closed-minded and that I needed to "lighten up". I tried to share the Gospel with him but I was cut off by this statement:
"I am saved, man. I've done the whole born-again thing."
My answer: "No."
This, of course, infuriated him. He carried on and told me all about his Bible studies and he shared with me some of his insights which included such doctrines as: Jesus wasn't God, there are mistakes in the Bible, and the Genesis account is complete nonsense. I told him that he had done a pretty thorough job at inventing a "jesus", but that this "jesus" couldn't save him from anything. At this point, things turned ugly and he started cursing at me, so the conversation ended with me pointing out, again, that I had no time for his impotent "jesus". He left.
Then, there were the women. It never ceases to amaze me how in this age of "equality of the sexes" and the whole "women's rights" movement (what a joke those words are), that so many women make their way to the market dressed in a manner that labels them as sex objects for men to lust for. They are not comfortable in the clothes they are wearing (that much is clear), and the little outfits they wear give poor warmth in a cool night like tonight. Insanity. Wicked insanity.
Praise God for his help tonight though. He, by the power of the Holy Spirit, kept me in an attitude of prayer throughout the night, which helped to keep my eyes off the pseudo-prostitutes of the marketplace.
The next observation of the night was the police. They were out in full force tonight. There were literally four to five police officers on every street of the marketplace (no exaggeration). My pastor mentioned that there had been an article in the newspaper about the police cracking down on the drug users/traffickers, the panhandlers, and other criminals that do business in the marketplace.
The thing that truly impressed me was the number of arrests that were being made tonight. When the police get organized (that is, when they actually enforce the law), a whole lot of people get busted; and that, to me anyway, speaks volumes of just how BAD things are.
Which brings me to a conversation I had with one of the market's restaurant owners. He came by to see me as I was preaching the Gospel and asked me if he could interrupt me for a moment. He said:
"I have two questions for you: why are you doing what you are doing right now, considering that most of your audience don't know anything about what you are talking about, and they don't want to know. My second question is: have you ever had lots of people come seeking after God from what you are doing right now?"
I was all set to answer the questions when the man interrupted me again and added this precision:
"The reason I ask is because I go to a church in the West of the city, and I learn things about the Bible there, and I like it. So I talk about it to my employees at the restaurant but they don't care! And more than that: they don't know anything. They don't know anything about God and holiness, and they don't want to know! So, that's why I want to know if you are seeing or experiencing something different than I."
"Well," I began, "to answer your first question, this is a labour of compassion and of love. Like you, most of my audience don't know anything about God or holiness, and want nothing to do with these. Nevertheless, I preach on because it's the right thing to do. If a man stands in the middle of the street and a bus comes rushing down the road, the decent thing to do is to call out to the man and warn him of his imminent encounter; that's what I'm doing here. I'm warning my fellow man of their imminent encounter with a holy God.
"As for your second question," I continued, "no, I have never seen lots of people come to me for the Gospel. I have had a few souls here and there, but never large numbers. A fact that is truly heartbreaking."
We talked for a few more minutes, lamenting the state of our poor land. He told me he attended a charismatic church not too far from where I live, which really surprised me because he made a whole lot of sense (sorry... but most charismatics I meet don't make much sense). He then took off, thanking me for my work. I thank God for this gentle and kind man, he was a welcome break from the insanity of the market.
Finally, more insanity. Wicked insanity. From the man who decided he was going to urinate against the parking garage wall, to the woman who was so drunk-out-of-her-mind, she had to be dragged into a cab (again, not an exaggeration). From the man who called me "sick" for preaching the Gospel of peace, to the woman who gloried in the knowledge that she was going to hell. And then there was Richard. Richard came to our meetings for a number of months and we were all praying that the Lord would save him. Sadly, that never happened. Richard became a drug dealer, and clearly, after talking with him tonight, this error ruined him in every possible sense of the word. Poor Richard, he was a shadow of the man he use to be. All pretty grim. All pretty sad.
I have no idea if this post makes any sense, or if it gives you, dear readers, any insight in the work that was done here tonight, but this is all I got. I'm at the point of tears now. I'm terribly tired and resigned to the fact that I may never be eloquent enough with letters to truly explain what I experience in our three hours of open-air evangelism, and its aftermath. I'm going to bed now, I have a busy day tomorrow.
I hope you all have a blessed weekend, dear readers.
Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, have a glorious, holy Lord's Day.
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 2:1-3)
Labels: Friday evangelism