Downtown Seattle ~ Westlake Center ~ Pike Place ~ 5th Avenue
Seattle Evangelism Report – August 2013
I just returned from a week in Seattle preaching the Gospel. This was a productive trip and low budget as I was able to stay with my friend Greg, whom I’ve known since junior high school. He lives in Snohomish, a town northeast of Seattle. Between the bus and light rail it was easy getting around. I didn’t let my relatives or my many friends know I was coming since I was only there for a week and I wanted to focus on evangelism. August is the best time to go. It rained one day but the rest of the time was sunny and warm.
Sandwiched in between the weekday preaching I took a couple of days over the weekend to rest. I traveled to Greenlake. This is in north Seattle and has a three-mile path for walking. I swam there as a kid. I had lunch in the area with Greg as well. On the Lord’s Day I visited a former church, “Midnight Cry”, and saw some people there that I have known for years. I got some needed rest and was stoked to go out again.
I like preaching here in Seattle because it has a lot of people on the street even though it is small in comparison to San Francisco or Los Angeles. I preached as much as I could in any single day; sometimes up to 3 hours. Several of the days were intense moving around and preaching on several different corners. Although there are many places to go I stayed in the heart of downtown. I have my favorite spots and preached on a couple of new corners as well. The sound has a way of ping ponging off the buildings here unlike any other city I have gone to. I handed out about 10 Gospel of John’s during my time here which is all I could fit in my backpack.
God’s Divine Appointments
On my first day out preaching (Wed 7/31) I went down to my favorite spot; Westlake Center which is on 5th and Pine Streets. I preached there for a little under two hours. I saw a Christian man named Bob, who saw me preach on the same corner two years ago. I visited with him briefly and then went to use the restroom at the Westlake Center mall. That is where I encountered my niece, Amy. I heard she was homeless but thought that meant she was on her boyfriend’s mom’s couch and had to find another place to live. Well she was on the streets of Seattle living with her mom’s cat she took in after my sister’s death a year ago. I got her some lunch and she introduced me to some of the street kids, Angel and Thorn. I talked with her and prayed with her. To my surprise she was holding down a job at Subway. She knows the Lord but is in need of repentance and restoration in order to come back to the fold. I saw her a few days following and she got a place to live.
A Couple of “Firsts”
For the first time ever a Seattle police officer came up to me on Friday to shut me down. It was raining and I was preaching under an overhang in front of Nordstrom’s on 5th Avenue. He told me I couldn’t use my amp. I responded politely and left going to another corner which I have never been to before. It turned out to be a great place. It was in front of a new Target store on 2nd and Pike. Ironically another police officer came by there and didn’t say anything. Overall I had great favor with the police as they were everywhere.
I had a strange request from a lady named Myra. She stood patiently while I preached and so I stopped to see what she wanted. She began to share her frustrations of being kicked out of her place and for the next ten minutes she didn’t stop nor come up for air. She wanted me to go and preach on 6th and Seneca. I asked if this was a good spot and she revealed that she wanted me to preach damnation at that location so that the landlord of her building could hear it and “get hers”. She was so distraught I just told her I would consider going there but I would have to preach what the Lord has ordained me to preach. She left but I saw her again the next day on a different corner. This time I didn’t stop for her and she left after a couple of minutes. I have never before been asked to be a verbal hit man.
Encounters on the Street
One day a young man who waited to talk with me inquired about my method of preaching instead of individual witnessing to people. He was very humble and yet I could tell he thought what I was doing was a bit useless since most people were uninterested. I explained to him what Jesus said in John chapter four concerning the sower and reaper, one sows and another reaps. When our conversation was over he indicated that it now made sense to him. I was glad the Lord used me to encourage him in this area.
A woman came up and wanted to know how the sound was coming out of my amp. As she lowered her head and walked in among my stuff I took the mic away from my mouth and asked her if I could help her with anything. She wanted to know the source of the power. I assured her the sound was not mysteriously coming out of the black box on its own. She was dismayed and left when I told her that she shouldn’t be so concerned with the sound, but where did she stand before the Lord? Crazy enough I had another lady two years ago on the same corner do the same thing.
I saw two drug deals take place on different days. The first one was right in front of me as I was walking to the bus. I went up to the young man and girl and I said “they were lucky I wasn’t a cop”. The girl skedaddled and I witnessed to the young man about the Lord. He heard me patiently after sharing about my past. The other drug deal was right in front of me while I preached on a corner down by what they use to call the “blade”. This is where you come to buy heroin and I suppose other drugs. I had just got done sharing how the Lord delivered me and then this drug deal, wow! It goes to show you people need the power of God for salvation and not just our testimonies, as compelling as they may be.
On my last day in the city preaching I felt flat and the areas seemed to have a change of spirit about them. This is subjective and I thought it was my spiritual condition as I didn’t get a chance to prepare as long as usual before going out. Regardless, I was discouraged, then I met a man named Lee. I was setting up to preach on 5th and Pike (a new corner for me). There was a police car across the street and Lee was talking to the officer. As it turned out he had his backpack stolen and inside was his wallet, laptop, etc. Lee is a college student. I bought him lunch and talked to him about the Lord. I surmised that he had an intellectual assent and that was about it. I prayed for him and bid him farewell.
Also on the last day after talking to Lee I finished up the preaching for about 45 minutes before I called it a day. Towards the end a young man pulled up to the intersection too far and was blocking the amp. He was going to back up his car but I said, “no, have you ever heard the Gospel?” He said, “no” through the rolled down window. I preached for his benefit the Gospel in a nutshell. When the light changed green for him he didn’t go but continued to listen. No one was behind him in that lane so I kept preaching and then finally dismissed up. He waved after driving off. Awesome!