I may have found the “Bible Belt” somewhere between Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia. This of course is a subjective experience. I was well received in Birmingham for the one day I preached there with many Christians showing their support. Atlanta was similar but you have to factor in the general southern hospitality. Many young people, even the rough looking ones, always were respectful calling me sir. Once someone knew your name they would call me; Mister Larry. It was a novelty to many people when they found out I was from California. In Hemming Plaza Park in Jacksonville I approached while there was some sort of protest going on. A couple of men were holding the Confederate flag. A black woman about my age informed me of the situation. She said that Northern Florida is just an extension of Georgia. Some people even refer to the area as Southwest Georgia. The real Florida is down by Miami she firmly asserted.
Southern Trip Summary
My trip went approximately 7,000 miles across 10 states, preaching in 13 cities (6 new cities), while going coast to coast. Interstate 10 runs across the entire country from Jacksonville, Florida to Santa Monica, California. I traveled this route on my return to homebase. Gas prices outside of California were much cheaper. In Houston at a Shell station I bought gas for $1.89 a gallon. I spent just under $800.00 in gas on the 47-day excursion. I stayed at many Walmarts, a couple of motels, and three different families, two of which I stayed on my trip last year.
Threading the Needle
When I use to work construction and we would pour cement, the weather would have to be just right for a good pour. Many times we would take the chance and get the job done right before a storm or before a heat wave. We would call this, “Threading the Needle”. What stood out on this trip the most is where the Lord had caused the weather to be conducive for the preaching even when the news had predicted inclement weather. I avoided many tornadoes, thunderstorms, and horrific baseball sized hailstones. These storms would either end before I got to a city or start once I left. My only conclusion is for the sake of the Gospel the Lord had mercy, not so much on me, but on the cities I preached in.
After attending church at Mt Zion Bible Church in Pensacola, Florida (Great Fellowship) I passed through Mobile, Alabama. The timing forbade me not to preach there but I thought in the future I would definitely give it a go. It looked like a fairly large city.
I drove and preached in New Orleans. The city was sullen and hard. It was eerie that this kind of wickedness prevails here. Perhaps this is due to some strongholds such as religious spirits (catholic) and there has been a long practice of voodoo in these parts. I preached for somewhat over an hour and then left.
On to Houston – I had to walk about 6 blocks once downtown to find the perfect corner, It was Louisiana & McKinney. I think I may have preached here last year on this corner. Anyway I started early about 11:20 am and ended about 1 pm. There were lots of people on the street today. More than I remember from last year. I had a few arm waves and a couple people stopped briefly and listened. I gave away about 3 Gospels. I talked to a man who invited me to church but I wasn’t staying. He took my card and said he would get in touch. It seemed to be a better day than yesterday.
Not just today here in San Antonio, but the whole preaching trip. I finished the last city on my Spring 2016 tour. The Lord was awesome today as I got here from Houston right at noon. I got a good spot about ten feet from the corner I selected; Commerce and Navarro. I was here last year and got shut down. But not today. I escaped the thunderstorms and hail and was able to preach for an hour unhindered. There were four cops across the street but paid no attention to the amp. I had one conversation with Christopher a Spanish young man. I also gave away about 5 Gospels. The rain started right when I was leaving in the van. Thank so much for all of you who were of great support in many ways.