Saturday, March 08, 2008let it snow... let it snow... let it snow...
You can't really tell from these tiny pictures I took with my cellphone camera, but it's been snowing non-stop today. I was afraid all this snow was going to prevent me from making it out to Friday evangelism in the marketplace, but the roads were just good enough for me to make my way downtown. It's crazy the amount of snow that has fallen this year. Watching the snow fall from above was quite a sight; and seeing the trees all covered in white, well, it was very picturesque.
Now admiring God's natural display was good, but it wasn't why pastor Tim and I were out in the market tonight. We were there to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that's exactly what we did. For three solid hours, repentance and faith in Jesus was preached, Bible literature was handed out and Bible signs were held high for all to read something of God's Word. The reception was, as usual, quite hostile and mocking, but there were some souls who were favorable to our message.
In our first hour of evangelism, I was treated to this diatribe a man laid out to his friend, as they walked by me (this whole conversation was uttered in the French language... you have no idea how offensive people can get when they think you can't understand them):
"So this crazy *expletive* who lived 2000 years ago with some pretty *expletive* ideas showed up and started preaching his *expletive* ideas. Then, 12 idiotic screw-ups started following him along and basically amplified his *expletive* ideas. Even after they killed him, idiots like those twelve screw-ups all the way to this idiot (that would be me, Rand) kept and keep the whole sorry thing going."
I never got the chance to deal with this poor soul for he kept his diatribe going as he walked away with his buddy. On the upside, when they walked past me, his friend did take a Bible tract from me.
In hour two of our evangelistic effort, I saw drugs galore. Right next to our preaching spot is a staircase which connects all four floors of the parking garage that lies at the center of the marketplace. Well tonight, that staircase was the WallMart of illicit drugs. From ecstasy-pills to heroin syringes, all of it was being trafficked right there before my eyes. I looked for police officers, but there were none in sight, and I knew by the time I called them in with my cellphone, the dealers would be long gone. So I endured, though it annoyed me to no end.
The upside to hour two was that both pastor Tim and I handed out a fair number of Bible tracts, and our preaching went uninterrupted, for the most part. I also had another conversation with Collin, the parking garage attendant. He remains quite favorable to our cause.
Hour three brought a nasty heart ache. I saw Richard again. In my Friday Night Notes from last May, I had mentioned Richard:
"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 remember listening to pastor Tim deal with Richard last year. He warned Richard that he was going to right down into the gutter of society, that he would lose his mind, and that he would destroy himself completely. Well, the warnings did little for poor Richard. I couldn't believe my eyes. There was Richard, walking towards me, mumbling to himself. He was carrying a plastic garbage bag, filled with junk food and pop. He even stopped a few feet away from me, picked up some crackers someone had tossed to the ground, and added it to his junk food collection... in his garbage bag. So overcome with heartache, all I could say was:
I was surprised he remembered me, I really thought his mind would be too far gone to recall anything about me. He asked me how I was doing and then told me that he was going through some pretty tough times. He followed that statement with the old:
"You wouldn't have a dollar on you, huh?"
And that was just too much. Anger and distress poured out of me like a raging sea...
"RICHARD!" I cried out angrily, "the reason you're asking me for that stupid dollar is why you are so messed up right now, AND YOU KNOW IT! Don't you dare tell me that you want that money for food or something good, because I'm not STUPID, and YOU KNOW THAT TOO! We warned you Richard. WE WARNED YOU! I MEAN, LOOK AT YOU! This time next year, you probably won't have enough of your mind left to understand me, and shortly after Richard, you'll die! You're killing yourself slowly, right there before me."
"No, no..." Richard replied, "I'm going to shape up soon, I'm telling you..."
"Do you have any idea how many times I've heard that phrase, Richard?" I inquired. "Do you have the slightest idea how many times I've heard guys in your situation assure me that they were going to make things right sometime in the future? I've never seen it happen Richard. Never."
I then pleaded with him. I pleaded that he would get off the streets NOW. That he would shape up NOW. He gave me a "I hear ya!", but I know all too well that Richard is still in the marketplace as I am writing these words, and just as soon as he gets the money necessary for his drugs, he'll be destroying himself further with those cursed narcotics. I prayed and continue to pray for Richard's physical and spiritual life, but I have to admit, it's difficult. He was just so far gone. He couldn't even stand in one place without twitching and mumbling. May the Lord help me pray...
Writing about this hasn't done me any good... I'm upset all over again. I'm going to close the notes now... and try to get some sleep.
The Lord bless you, dear readers. Have a blessed weekend, and a wonderful Lord's Day.
Labels: Friday evangelism