Tempe ~ Arizona State University ~ Downtown Phoenix ~ Mesa ~ Set Free Ministries
Phoenix Evangelism Report February – March 2011
I just returned from a three-week stay in Phoenix, Arizona. I had never been there before nor did I have any contacts which made this quite an adventure. It was very exciting, very trying, and I am glad to be back here in San Diego before heading home. My friend Adrian from Washington coincided his road trip with mine and he picked me up at the airport. We immediately went to Tempe, Arizona where ASU is located. Along with Adrian and his crew we preached there for about four hours. The next day we went downtown Phoenix and preached around the light rail station. Both of these places seemed to be good areas and we had no problems with the authorities using amplification. Adrian left that day headed to Quartzsite, Arizona; but before leaving he arranged with Set Free Ministries for me to stay the entire three weeks with them.
Although Set Free Ministries is somewhat rough around the edges, they were very hospitable and put me up in one of their houses and fed me while I was there. They were very close to downtown which was a plus. When I wasn’t out preaching I participated in the discipleship program with the fellas at the house and tried to limit my special privileges as a guest. I went to classes and did my chores and was able to fellowship with the men in the ministry. It took about a week of me being there before most of the men and many of the leaders realized I wasn’t in “Phase One”. Without a doubt the worst part of the trip was catching a flu bug that put me out of commission for a little over a week. This is common in group living as you can imagine. Some other things were bed bugs which I didn’t have the pleasure of getting.
At Set Free they take people right off the street if they are willing to come to the ministry. They can get a shower, food, clothes, and shelter. If they decide to stay they have a routine to follow which includes Bible study, Church services, and work. This is a busy time for them as they go to the Spring training baseball games and work the concession stands. Another thing they do is go out on the streets witnessing. I joined them one night and we went to what they call “The Zone”. This is where a concentrated area of homeless people stay for the night. We got to visit with several of the people staying there. They took one guy to the detoxification center. They serve breakfast to the folks in the zone twice a week as well. In the neighborhood they give away food boxes to the many needy people, paint over graffiti, and pick up trash as a help to them. Some of the residents come to Church because of their witness.
Preaching in downtown Phoenix was unlike any other city I have been in. The city itself has over 1.5 million people although the downtown area was not overly populated during mid day. The people were not really for or against the Gospel but just indifferent, or apathetic I guess. Although this is a subjective analysis I compare it to the other cities I have been in and their responses overall. Most of my divine appointments were with the men at the house. I was able to encourage them in the faith and give some advice for what it was worth. Praying for the guys was probably the most rewarding. They taught me something as well; how to be humble and thankful and really take a look at what is a need and how the Lord provides.
It was great sunny weather most of the time with the highs near 80 degrees. It rained a couple times and rained hard. I saw some large bugs and some large cactuses. Because of my sickness I missed some opportunities. I never made it to the capitol or spring training to witness. Thus ends my trip to another American city.