After leaving Southern California (Santa Monica) I drove to Phoenix, Arizona where I had intended to preach at several community colleges in the area. After prayer I decided to go with my “mainstay”, and that is preaching downtown. I preached on the corner of 1st & Washington where I have been at several times over the years. It has proved to be a good corner in the aspect of lots of people and people from different walks of life. Nothing spectacular happened the first day downtown.
The next day I tried a new corner a few blocks away (3rd & Washington) When I arrived, after getting a great parking spot about ten feet away from where I ended up preaching, I noticed an elderly man handing something out. I walked over and waited for him to get done conversing with another gentleman. Yep, sure enough he was handing out Gospel tracts. He has been doing that around Phoenix for the last 13 years. Unfortunately he had to go about the time I was setting up. I had a good day and was able to talk with several people including Patrick, a new believer.
The next day I was rained out and with the forecast for more of the same, I traveled down to Tucson a mere 120 miles away on Interstate 10. I got there early on a Thursday evening and staying at my friend Roy’s property, which is fully equipped with a bathroom, shower, and washer and dryer. It is a great place to camp out in the van. I was able to plug in which was nice because I could run my electric heater. The next day I went down to the abortion clinic where several Christians I know minister there. I met Brian who has been around Tucson awhile but our paths have not met until this day. He also has done some street preaching and knowing this I wanted to meet him. I invited him out with me for the following week but his work schedule prevented this from taking place.
At the beginning of the following week I went out three straight days in a row to downtown Tucson preaching the Gospel. The first day, like Phoenix, I went to a familiar corner. (Congress & Stone) I didn’t give away any Gospels that day nor did people seem to be interested at all. There was one man who identified himself as a believer in our Lord who came by on his way back to work. I mentioned how he was the only one all day that seemed to be on the Lord’s side. He then came back over and prayed for me before he left.
The next day again a new corner (Pennington & Church Streets). This day was a little better as I gave away a few items and had several people come and inquire, including a few Christians.
Hankering For A Heretic
The following, and last day is where the excitement started. I was on Pennington & Stone. From what I could gather this is one of the main pedestrian hubs in the city. I never set up here in the past because there was always some musician already set up there. But today I got my chance. It was a cold blistery day for Tucson and lots of wind. I was in the even cooler shade but got the best part of the street strategically. I was able to hand out several whole large-print Bibles, Gospels, and other literature today. I had several conversations with interested people. I was about two thirds through my session when a man came up seemingly agreeing and then sort of held me hostage with his discourse on keeping the commandments and the Sabbath. I tried to politely tell him to save this until I was done but he would not and eventually he became enraged. I didn’t exactly hold my peace. I told him he was a false prophet and against the Gospel of grace, and that he was a son of the devil. He finally left. A Christian businessman had been observing the whole thing from afar and brought me words of encouragement and a cup of coffee.
On the next day after preaching in Tucson (Thursday) I packed up the van and left camp to spend a little time with Roy before leaving for California. I planned it so that I could preach on last day in Phoenix on my way back through. I drove up late Thursday and spent the night at the Walmart off the freeway in Tempe about 12 miles from downtown Phoenix. My back was hurting more this day and so I almost cancelled but sure glad I didn’t. Here is what happened:
I decided to go up by the court house on Jefferson. Walking and driving by here in the past I noticed a lot of people coming and going. Today was Friday and maybe there wasn’t a lot of court today because it seemed not as busy as before. That didn’t matter though. When I arrived I met a man named Mike who was somewhat of a drifter but didn’t seem to be in need, nor did he ask for anything. After a conversation it was evident that he was a Christian. I told him I was planning on preaching here. I set up on the same side of the sidewalk but back against the street. The courthouse stairs being in front of me about 15-20 feet away. I set up the Gospels and started preaching. I felt that the Lord was really blessing the message and several people started to gather. Although most of them came and went, some staying for up to five minutes, I had Mike and four others stay there the whole time I preached. I preached for about two hours nonstop and for the last twenty minutes or so I mainly ignored everyone else except the five people in front of me. I started to share the Scriptures concerning genuine saving faith in Christ and exhorting them to follow the Lord. When I finally felt it was time to stop they had several questions which I answered and then I prayed for them. We visited a few minutes and then Mike who was still there gave me his contact info. We said our goodbyes and I went away rejoicing!