Midwestern United States 2013

Las Vegas ~ Denver ~ Omaha ~ Des Moines ~ Minneapolis ~ Milwaukee ~ Chicago ~ St Louis ~ Oklahoma City ~ Albuquerque 

Midwestern United States Evangelism Report – September 2013

By the grace of God Jeff Baran and I traveled through 14 states preaching in 10 cities in 12 days. It was a great trip and we had some unexpected ministry opportunities besides preaching. We were able to do some mini discipleship to several people, mostly new believers. There were two young men, one in St Louis and one in Oklahoma City, which were being called to preach on the streets and were very excited to meet us. We met a few people on the road in gas stations and motels that we were able to minister to as well. We prayed with many Christians too.

Our destination was Minneapolis, Minnesota where we were to stay with a friend and fellow preacher, Bill Schank, whom we met in New York City a couple of years ago. We stayed with him and his wife Virginia as they were very hospitable for the three days we were there. Originally we were going to fly to Bill’s place for a long weekend. We decided to drive and make a longer trip. That way we could preach on the way there and back.

I preached for 20-25 hours total during our trip. We gave out around 90 Gospel of Johns and 100 pocket New Testaments, plus myriads of Gospel tracts. This was possible by you who donated these items and also provided other funds and prayer support. Thank you, for without this we could not have made this evangelism trip. Jeff reported after arriving home; “everybody I know was praying for us; my church, friends, family, etc. One thing they all prayed for was our safety and protection from evil people and from police interference. We affirm that the prayers were answered beyond expectations. We came in under budget by about 40 percent which was terrific.



Preaching in Las VegasI arrived at the airport and waited for Jeff to pick me up. The airport was crowded because many people were leaving after the Labor Day weekend. We drove down Las Vegas Boulevard, commonly known as the “strip” looking for a place to set up. We took the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Paris Street around 3:00pm. On Paris Street is a replica of the Eiffel Tower. There were lots of people walking by even though it was the hottest part of the day. (nearly 100) I preached for the next three hours as Jeff handed out tracts and talked to people. We only had a few hecklers and there were many families; on vacation I guess. Jeff talked to one young lady Shariah, who was handing out little cards advertising the strip clubs not too far from us. He explained the Gospel to her and gave her a Spanish New Testament. She said she was getting $6.00 per hour and there were no other jobs available she said. She didn’t like what she was doing however so we prayed for her. Latoya, Jerold, Maria also were handing out “Escort Service” cards. They were presented with the Gospel and given Bibles.

At 6:00pm when I was tired and the sweat running down my face was salty and made my eyes burn; just then a man who worked for a hotel was pushing a cart down the street. Not sure why he was going down the sidewalk, but he had his cleaners and things and a stack of fresh white hand towels. He looked at me and offered me one. I took it and was convinced that this was the Lord’s great way of providing the right thing at the right time. Praise the Lord!

Leaving Las Vegas and driving all night we arrived in Denver about 11:30 am and met a fellow preacher, Ron Underwood. We went to the area where he frequents during the week, the 16th Street Mall. This is where the light rail and busses are, as well as, many shops and dining places. It was a hot day and we preached and ministered the Word of God for a few hours until about 3:00pm. Ron preaches there and other places during the week and holds a Bible study right there downtown for the people who are interested from his preaching ministry. I prayed with a few people and we gave out tracts. Jeff talked with Dillon, a young believer from Louisiana. He encouraged him to share the gospel and then Jeff prayed with him. I visited with Lucille, a partially blind woman who loved the Lord. She prayed for me.

The largest city in Nebraska, Omaha has a population of a little over 400,000. Today the streets were wet as the rain had set in. We found a place on a corner under some trees at 16th & Farnam. This kept the speaker from getting wet. Although there was not as many people on the street as in bigger cities this place proved to be a fertile ground for the Gospel. Jeff said that almost everyone he handed a tract to took it. Several people took either a Gospel or a NT. I had several people come up close and listen to the message as I preached. We were very impressed with what the Lord did in our midst in Omaha. Al & Fred who were presented with the Gospel and both took and started reading the book of John with enthusiasm. They were very repentant, meek souls. Omaha was our best stop so far and one of the best overall.

Although the capitol of Iowa, Des Moines is a somewhat smaller city than most (200,000). This was a very different experience. If we wanted to preach here we had to arrive in the morning commute about 8-9am. There were not many people on the street but those in cars heard the Gospel just the same. We also noticed a tractor going down one of the main streets. Something you don’t see in Oakland. The people that were on the streets took the tracts just like Omaha. There was one man who we prayed for and he took the Gospel of John with him. There was a girl on the phone and it sounded like she was having difficulty with a court case. Jeff handed her a Gospel and she took it saying thank you. We got in the car and prayed for her and the others we contacted that day. Glad we came here. John was given the Gospel of John by me and I encouraged him to read it to bring him to faith in Jesus Christ.

We arrived at our friend Bill’s place in Cottage Grove, a suburb in the afternoon. After meeting his wife Virginia and unloading the car of our luggage. We headed for downtown Minneapolis. We arrived at about 3:00pm and parked in a Church parking lot for free. Walking a few blocks we set up and I preached while Jeff and Bill handed out tracts and talked to people. There were plenty of people on the streets and it went very well. They have city ambassadors which we had favor with and no one forbidding our use of the amp. It was very windy but we had a great time with lots of divine appointments. We went back to Bill’s and ordered pizza and had fellowship until quite late.

Jeff Baran Ministers to men in MinneapolisWhile I was preaching Jeff was busy with one-on-one witnessing. There was Timothy, a gangster kid who shed some tears at the presentation of the Gospel. Jeff prayed with him and gave him a NT Bible. He showed him how to use the topical index and also mentioned to start in the book of John. Bereket, a former drug and alcohol abuser has been saved for 9 months. He wanted to know how to study the Bible, how to find a good church, and how to evangelize. Jeff gave him a Bible and he texts him every day with scriptures to read. Alex, saved 2 months wanted to know how to find a good church and how to study the Bible. Jeff talked for a long time with him and prayed that God would guide him. Gave him Bible, email & phone info. Lele who has been saved 1 year wanted to know about street evangelizing. Jeff explained what we were doing and encouraged him to start witnessing. Jeff gave him a NT Bible as well.

Minneapolis Police shut down street preachersThe next day, Saturday we spent some time praying and reading the Word. We didn’t leave the house until afternoon hoping to go into St Paul, we aborted and went downtown. Unbeknownst to us there was a Minnesota Twins baseball game going to start shortly. We had a small window of opportunity to preach to the people as they entered the ballpark. We were down a bit from the stadium on Hennepin Street and we encountered for the only time on the trip some complaints about the amp. Bill and I both preached. The police finally arrived when we were leaving. They said they were going to cite us but never did. We left in peace although the venue was very intense. We had some time of prayer and debriefing then Jeff helped a guy, Dale, with a bus ticket to Duluth as our final encounter before leaving. Sunday was a day of rest as we visited Bill’s church and met his church family. I should add that Minneapolis as a good number of Somalia people and it is a haven for the Black Hebrew Israelites. (unrelated to the Somalia people)

Arriving around noon we found parking and ended up at Wisconsin Street that was close to the Milwaukee river that had a draw bridge. The cars waiting got to listen to the Gospel. There were plenty of people on the street and it was close to a bus stop. Many people took our free materials and listened as well. I had a young woman named Emma come up to me and ask why I was preaching on the corner. She was a catholic and said what I was doing was a “turn off” She expressed that I should win people by being happy and then they would be drawn to God. I told her the only problem with that was I am not happy all the time. She was very polite and in all her questions I never got to share more about Christ dying for our sins. She shook my hand before leaving and the Lord reminded me that we have to be approachable like He was. I passed the test (this time)

The 3rd largest city in the country with around 2.7 million people proved to be everything expected from a big city. There was lots of smog and Jeff Baran evangelizes a Jehovah Witnesslots of people. We took the “L” train from Skokie, a suburb, and arrived downtown around 12:30 pm. Not knowing what stop to get off we trusted the Lord and ended up getting off at a crowded mall. Outside there was a corner filled with lots of people so why go any further? We stayed there for about 3 hours. Many people took the Gospel’s and Bibles. We had a box that said “free” nevertheless people would put dollar bills into the box. Jeff got into a conversation with a man named Solomon, a Jehovah’s Witness. Jeff explained what the Trinity really is – not the Watchtower literature. He went through dozens of scriptures which point to the true nature of God. There were lots of people and it was a great day. Hot and humid we left town and headed for the next city stopping at a motel for the night. While in Waukegan, Illinois we met Dan an East Indian motel owner. His best friend had just died that day. Jeff showed him the big Gideon’s Bible from our room which had reference scriptures for grief, sorrow, and worry. Jeff also gave him a John MacArthur deluxe Gospel tract.

Rated one of the top cities with crime, St Louis seemed to be very humble regarding the Gospel. Perhaps many people who hope for a better life in this world see the reality of sin and any chance for paradise slipping away. This was perhaps the best city of the whole trip for people being receptive toward the Gospel. Not too many people on the street but the ones that were there received us. It was a very good day.

Jeff Evangelizing in St LouisA few highlights we recorded: Demetrius has a sister Christine with kidney problems – gave him a NT Bible & showed him how to use it to find scriptures referring to topics of interest – prayed with him for his sister and himself. Clem a lady who wanted to know how to hand out tracts and what to say – Jeff showed her & gave her a hand full of tracts & she started approaching EVERYBODY with boldness. Jeff suggested she say to people, “did you get one of these”. She tried it and the first person she did this to started a conversation about Jesus. Now the lady can go forth with the Gospel herself. Clarence was presented with the gospel. He responded with meekness and a repentant attitude. Gave him a Bible & showed him the book of John to read. Lance a homeless young kid. 2 1/2 months saved. He wanted to know how he could share the Gospel – gave him tracts & showed him how to approach & talk to strangers about Christ – prayed with him for God to encourage and grow him.

We had changed our plans and went a little out of our way to go to Kansas City. We had met a man on the internet that said we could stay the night there and get a shower. We took him up on the offer and stayed with Todd and his family. Leaving early the next morning we decided to go to Oklahoma City and not preach in K.C. We drove through Kansas on our way south – southwest.

Jeff Baran & Ray Dove – Oklahoma CityWe found parking and a good corner to preach on. There were many walks of life but mainly business people. It was a somber session as there was very little traffic noise. Jeff mentioned that while across the street handing out tracts that he heard many people grumble under their breath about the Gospel being preached. One lady passed by and gave me a meek “thumbs up”. I often wonder if many who believe in the Lord are normally quiet about their faith but are embolden when they see people like us sharing openly on the streets.

The highlight here was that we met Ray Dove, a young man who desires to take up street preaching. He sat and listened for quite awhile and waited for me to finish before coming up and talking. He had been handing out tracts with another brother but felt called to preach. We gave him some pointers and I gave him my business card. After praying we parted ways.

Passing through and staying the night in Amarillo Texas we left early and made it here around noon. The streets were sparse and it threatened to rain. We did find a corner in which people came by to go to the local restaurants. I preached and Jeff talked to several people. We met James Payne who has been living on the streets since 1992. David, another homeless man who Jeff shared the Gospel with and he also took the very last Gospel of John – my personal large print one. David was excited. Leaving here we kept going toward Phoenix. We got there evening time and ate there but didn’t go out evangelizing. We drove straight through to Burbank where Jeff dropped me off for my flight home to Oakland.