Downtown San Francisco ~ United Nations Plaza ~ The Castro ~ Livermore, California
San Francisco Evangelism Report – September 2011
Dear Friends in Christ
San Francisco, the most densely populated city outside of New York has many people to witness to everyday. The Lord allowed me to preach in San Francisco on ten different occasions, some of those days were an all day venture. Fisherman’s Wharf, The Powell & Market area, (where the cable cars turnaround is located), are among the many places to go. 4th & Market proved to be a very good place to preach to thousands of pedestrians as they pass by.
The weather was excellent here and it allows for many opportunities to witness. I often hear that street preaching is impersonal and that relational or friendship evangelism is a superior method. I want to share with you the people who I saw here this trip that in the past I have developed a relationship with because of the street preaching; Caesar, Tom, Les Union Square Security, William, Freddie, Jesse, Kevin, Harold, Margaret, Michael, Jerry, Fredrick, Officer Dalburg, and old friend, Dennis Hitchcock.
Lots of people make it a great place to preach. Having moderate weather all year round is another plus in evangelism here. I was here for a week this time and I went out preaching everyday except for travel days. Like other cities the response is indifferent and apathitic. I had a few good encounters and one very trying experience with a man who just wanted to argue. He persistance got under my skin and I ended up leaving that day, but not before preaching for around two hours. Most preachers like hecklers and thrive off of the opposition in order to draw bystanders into the speaking arena. I understand why they do it and everyone has their own style. I prefer to ignore all of the hostile people and keep preaching the message.
Walk On Preacher
After having a good share of experience out here in the streets, I have found it unwise to give the microphone over to a stranger. There has been too many situations that I have regretted. There are times when that policy is not followed and this particular day was one of them.
Ramone, a young Christian of about a year old in the faith was walking by and heard me preaching. He stopped and talked to the other fellows I was with and he started handing out tracts.Eventually Eric Martinez encouraged Ramone to take up the mic and preach. Ramone had mentioned his desire to become a pastro and preacher on the street. Besides the normal apprehendsion he was concerned about his english. Ramone, 21 years old, is from the Philipines. He did a wonderful job and his english was very good. Eventually we all left after praying and would hope to see Ramone continue in evangelism. He lives and goes to church in San Francisco.
The Castro – San Francisco, California
Evangelism in the Castro DistrictThis last week I had opportunity to witness the Gospel in one of the largest strongholds of the enemy in our country today. It is San Francisco’s Castro District. It is Friday night and several of us brothers, most from SOS Ministries, head for the Castro. Our strategy is different here than in other parts of the city. We focus on tracts and having one-to-one conversations.
Fear and depression set in as we drive across the Bay Bridge into the city. Spiritual warfare comes in many forms and tonight, like all the other times coming to the Castro I think; I just don’t want to be here. This occupies my mind as we are taken to our “drop zone” – Gay Village, the hub of Castro between 17th and Market Streets. Jumping out of the car is slower than it use to be for me. I’m getting older. I am old enough to remember “straight” meant you didn’t smoke pot. For those who don’t remember, below is a bio on the Castro.
Brief Castro History
The gay Mecca, San Francisco, still leads US cities in having the highest percentage of homosexuals per capita of people. It is over the 15 percent mark. The Castro is one of America’s first and best-known gay neighborhoods, and it is currently it’s largest.
Having transformed from a working-class neighborhood through the 60’s and 70’s; the Castro remains a symbol and source of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activism and events. Twin Peaks, the first gay bar in the city, and possibly the United States, is located at the intersection of Market and Castro.
The Castro came of age as a gay center following the Summer of Love in the neighboring Haight-Ashbury district in 1967. The gathering brought tens of thousands of middle-class youth from all over the United States. The neighborhood, previously known as Eureka Valley, became known as The Castro, after the landmark theatre by that name near the corner of Castro and Market Streets.
No Briefs Tonight
Tonight we see the first wave of nakedness before a nude protest tomorrow over the laws concerning being naked in the city. There is an ordinance that requires the wiping off of seats etc. if you sit on them naked,which is legal bye the way. The protest will be by those against the ordinance. So tonight there are a few men walking around naked. If that isn’t bizarre enough for you, there is the seemingly harmless “Little Mermaid” sing along at the theatre. As patrons came out it was a clear similarity to the Rocky Horror Picture Show of the eighties, but in all fairness not as extreme.
After arriving Pastor Eric Martinez and I went across from the theatre and came upon a small group having a prayer vigil for those victims of a string of killings in Washington DC. It seems that the gender confused people were being targeted. I struck up a conversation with a homosexual man from India. I asked him if he knew why there were so many violent acts done by mankind. He nodded no and I began to share about Adam, man’s sin, the judgment to come, and Jesus Christ and the resurrection from the dead. He politely listened and he took a tract. It is apparent that many homosexual foreigners find refuge here.
A young man named “Crash” assured me that he was a Christian after I shared a brief Gospel presentation with him. That was right before he asked me if I knew of someone who wanted to buy some hashish. I asked him pointed questions in regard to this, and shared from the Word. He saw no conflict with smoking drugs. As he talked, it was apparent that he had no real understanding of what it is to be saved or who the real Jesus Christ is. I witnessed as much as he could take in and then prayed for him and we parted ways.
Does Anyone Care?
Eric and I also encountered a young woman whose claims of paganism, witchcraft, and abuse growing up seemed a little hard to believe. We listened patiently as she shared her disappointment in Christ and how her friends on the street were more supportive than the Church. She indicated that no one cared. She seemed very content to go to hell. After awhile she softened a little and took a tract. Eric did the lion’s share of the speaking, assuring her that Jesus cares, before she meandered down the street. Eric pointed out that sometimes people just want to be heard and by listening we fulfill a need. Regardless of what is really going on with her, she needs to be saved. May God have mercy on her and all who are out here tonight.
Reminiscing of Times Past
Mike who works at the San Francisco Rescue Mission and comes out evangelizing with us showed up tonight. We started wondering if anyone comes out here on a regular basis anymore. A couple of years ago during the California SOS crew in the Castro Districtmeasure known as prop 8, the gay marriage issue, there were many Christians thatwent into the Castro to pray and witness on a regular basis. At one point they suffered much persecution and had to be escorted out of the area by police when a small riot had broken out. This made national newsat the time. Mike was a part of that group. Adam the leader, a former homosexual himself, had reported that a breakthrough seemed to be made after having to endure the assault of the homosexuals and the infamous group, the sisters of perpetual indulgence. They were throwing ashes of a dead warlock on them amongst other things. To our knowledge no prayer group or organized effort to preach the Gospel in the Castro is being undertaken at this time. Is God calling you to come to San Francisco? You may find yourself on Castro street. Here is a link to a very fitting song for this occasion: “Everpresent” by Paul & Noreen Coca. Click Here to Listen to Song
Around the Bay
Obama Protesters Hear The Gospel
Unbeknownst to us President Obama was in SF the day we were preaching downtown. There was a group of protesters that came by with a police escort. Ironically they were very quiet as they passed us so I continued to preach. There was visible favor from several of the officers as they stood for several minutes at that corner. There were patty wagons, motorcycles, and police cars all ascending on the corner. As the group passed by it was if the Lord caused them to be quiet. The other people passing by were quiet as well, almost an erry feeling. It was amazing as hundreds at one time heard the Gospel. After they turned the corner and left us you could hear the roar of them shouting out and chanting there agenda again.
Halloween in Livermore, California
Dan, Seth, Walter, and I witnessed in Livermore this Halloween. Dan had about 75 chick Halloween tracts. We prayed and went into downtown Livermore. The highlight was talking to about a dozen or so youth from their late teens to Halloween Evangelism in Livermore, Californiaearly twenties. Hannah was the most engaged in our conversations and although she had many questions she is not born again. She professes a faith though. There was also A.J. a Hindu who we shared with but could not get past the many roads lead to Rome theory. We prayed for these as well as the others.
Testimonies & Prayer Requests
Chris (Scrap) It was Thursday on 4th and Market and thousands must have heard the Gospel that day as I was there preaching for two hours. I noticed at the pinnacle of sharing Jesus on the cross several men stopped and came up close and listened. There is something about the cross. A young man named Scrap also came up and asked about a Church. So I told him to come this Sunday to Calvary Road. I didn’t have one invitation card on me but I drew him a map. He came that following Sunday and received a Bible. Pastor Eric talked with him at length and Chris is not saved. We prayed for him but I have not seen him since.
I prayed for a man who stood 5 feet away and listened to me for at least 45 minutes. His name was Ernie and he was in bad shape physically and mentally and spiritually. I prayed for him to have deliverance and he was crying. He was very thankful and I visited with him at the end as well. He confessed of always backsliding.
On a Friday night we went to the Fisherman’s Wharf. The highlight of the evening is that Dave from SOS Ministries talked to a couple who were inquiring about the Lord. He gave them a Bible. Also there was a man, Steve, who I don’t think was saved going to Afghanistan we prayed for him. There were two drunks that need our prayers as well.
After many hours evangelizing on the embarcadero. I did have a divine appointment with Robert, a man on methadone, that is a believer. I was sharing about the sermon on the mount, about mourning. Robert said he was mourning over his sin. I prayed and encouraged him. I gave him a New Testament. Praise God!