White Center ~ Westlake Center ~ Downtown Seattle ~ Capitol Hill ~ Everett
Seattle Evangelism Report July – August 2011
I arrived here in Seattle in late June after being in the San Francisco Bay Area for a week. Upon arrival I stayed with some old friends that are moving to Spokane, Washington. Like Sacramento, the Puget Sound area has had more rain and lower temperatures than normal for this time of year. I still preached on some of those days where showers were forecasted. I am visiting lots of people up here as well which makes a full schedule. I have highlighted some stories below. Check back for more updates, I should be here a few more weeks yet.
A SEATTLE HOMECOMING – VEXED BUT VICTORIOUS IN CHRIST
While I started preaching one day in Seattle I saw a gal coming across the street toward me. She was saying something and I thought oh no, an agitated listener. She was a young woman with shoulder-length greasy hair and her face was polka dotted with sores. She came up close and asked if I remembered her. At that point I recognized her. It was Molly.
It has been about eight years ago that I knew Molly from the Capitol Hill district here in Seattle. I first met her when I was ministering up there with Pastor Rich Dover. We made great efforts in trying to get Molly off the streets and cleaned up. She landed in jail and we visited her there. After that Rich made appeals to the parties at hand to let her out in his custody provided she went right into treatment. We took Molly to the Lord’s Ranch women’s house. She stayed several days and then left. We then saw her on Broadway and after awhile she was on the run and the authorities were looking for her.
During all of this time I got quite chummy with Molly. Sparing you the details, Molly is the reason I no longer do any direct ministry with heroin addicts or those in recovery. I should have learned this lesson before after falling several times in the past. I am more influenced by them, than they are by me. 1 Cor 15:33 Although ministering to people with addictions should be right up my alley, my track record would indicate this is not God’s will for my life. So now I leave it to the experts like Rich Dover.
Today as I saw her I was amazed that first of all she was alive, and secondly, she remembered me. She said she recognized my voice. For what ever reason, probably guilt or maybe a defense mechanism, I told her right away that I had been clean going on 7 years now. She said, wow, I have been clean for about 7 minutes. She gave me a hug and we visited a few moments. She said she was going to some shelter to take a shower but she would come back if I would still be there. I said I would be there for at least another hour. She gave me another hug and walked away briskly as there was another person waiting to talk to me. I was very tempted to call her back and some how make our encounter a longer one. This would not have been wise Prov 22:3. I prayed she wouldn’t return and she didn’t. I can best help her by praying for her, as I ask you to do the same. On the bus ride back I listened to 1 Cor 10:13 on my Mp3 player. This was a very fitting way to end my day!
THE STREETS OF EVERETT – I THINK IT WAS THE FOURTH OF JULY
It was a milestone for me as I preached the Gospel at the Everett Fourth of July parade. Everett , just north of Seattle, was my hometown for a number of years. I always wanted to preach at this event but chickened out. Tim Gruner, a brother from Pennsylvania, joined me as we took turns preaching down Colby street before the start of the parade. We preached about twice in a block as we worked our way down to the start of the parade. We had a few supporters and a few boos, however it went great I thought. A lady on stilts that was the statue of liberty came close to us and made some negative comments. We turned the corner and went down Wetmore street and preached there as well. I had one antichrist person engage me as Tim preached there. We had to end about two blocks early as the parade had turned the corner and was coming our way. We stopped on Hewitt street and went down a block to put away our equipment. (we used the amp and mic and it sounded good). Tim was handing out tracts to some people at a tavern and we caught some flack. We went across the street where it was quiet and prayed to close off the day. Tim continued to hand out tracts before returning to Seattle where he was to leave the next day for Israel. I had a wonderful time and the Lord gave me boldness and energy. Loved it!!! Many people heard the Gospel.
A CUP OF COLD WATER
There are lots of tourists this time of year here and this last Friday was no exception. With the sun peaking through the clouds it was a great day of preaching near Westlake Center on 5th and Pine. This has proven to be a good corner. Don, a man who joined me today to try his hand at speaking on the microphone brought me a sandwich and a soda pop. (bless him) I didn’t say anything to Don but I don’t drink regular pop because of the sugar, which he didn’t know about. My mouth was dry and I thought within myself I wish I had just a bottle of plain water. A few minutes later a man in a van pulled right up next to me as 5th avenue is a one-way street. He had his window down and said, “Praise the Lord” and handed me a bottle of ice cold water. He drove away just as fast as he came. I thought, wow, the Lord is so good. And He delivers! As small as that seems I marvel at the Lord’s timing and provision, Wow!
I preached the Gospel in downtown Seattle many times this month. I usually preach about 1 1/2 to 2 hours per day. I hit several corners within about a 10 block radius. If you figure that at least 40-60 people are at an intersection each minute, at the end of an hour there would be about 3,000 people who would hear the Gospel. Not everyone is listening of course, but that is amazing. The streets of Seattle are always busy and especially during the summer with tourism. The Lord has given extreme favor using the amp. Police pass by all the time and say nothing.
What makes Seattle distinct is the many prayer requests I receive while on the streets. The most touching was a man who mentioned his daughter Vicki, who is 19 years old and addicted to pain pills. I always try to pray for the people I meet each day at least once. The other aspect is the many Christians who pass by and show encouragement by what they say. Sometimes it is only a jester to let me know they are for Jesus Christ. I do have people stop and listen here too.
This is the hub of the shopping district. A three-floor Westfield mall is located here with the transit tunnel underlying the basement. You can catch the monorail to the Seattle Center where the space needle is located. Needless to say many people pass by here everyday. Other vendors and street performers line the area at times. I always get my favorite spot on 5th & Pine, which is the east side of the mall. I perch on the corner out in front of Nordstrom’s and have never had any kind of trouble here. It has an overhang that goes the width of the sidewalk for rainy days.
The most memorable time this trip was a conversation with a new young pastor. Alex wanted to know what made me tick, seeing as I preach out on the street. It was a good conversation with mutual agreements and differences. At the end we had a time of prayer and said our goodbyes. His main concern was how effective did I think this method of evangelism was. Like many, he preferred the friendship evangelism method winning someone to Christ over a period of time as they see what kind of life you live. I agreed this would be a good thing. But reminded him as I am reminding you now; Jesus said, “For in this the saying is true: One sows and another reaps. Full text: John 4:35-38 Friendship evangelism is a better reaping method, but not a better sowing method.
RATS RETURN TO WHITE CENTER
White Center, a community south of Seattle was dubbed, “Rat City” back in the 1970’s. Rats, referring to the addicts and other “low life’s” frequented the area and it was a hotspot for heroin and subsequently crime. In our day and age it seems a lot of areas are known for drugs and gangs, even in the suburbs. My friend Rich Dover has found White Center and Burien the place to minister these days. I went out with Rich and others from his Church as we walked the streets visiting and witnessing to whoever we came across.
Probably the most significant person I talked to was Tera. She was standing along with others at a spot where her cousin was shot to death the night before. I heard about it on the news but paid little attention since that is the norm these days. I had a little comfort for her and she took a Gospel tract.