Casey and Shannon – Two different women came upon us at 6th and Yamhill in downtown Portland only a few minutes apart. Although in similar situations, they were different in many ways. Here’s what happened: John Payne was preaching and I was handing out tracts. Casey, the first gal came up and grabbed a new testament off of the display that John had set up. She said she was a believer and when John asked her where she went to church she said she didn’t. He gently challenged her as she began to say what so many people do, and that is; you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian. We continued to discuss this issue with her but she had to run and grab a bite before her lunch hour ended. As she parted John gave her a verse to read, it was Hebrews 13:7 (Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.) A short while later Casey came back, and to our surprise, received John’s exhortation and the scripture reference he gave. She also looked up some other verses on her own concerning attending church. She was convinced this is the course she was to take. She admitted that she had never really read the Bible much for herself before this. Later that evening we prayed for her at a prayer meeting that she would find a church in her area.
Now enter the second woman; Shannon. She had the same objection about attending a local church. We started a similar conversation with her but noticed a stark contrast. Shannon did not seem to yield to the scriptures nor our advice. Rather she wanted to argue and then strangely enough another man came into the picture. He was a homeless man and had many problems, perhaps even had some demonic issues. We’re not quite sure if she knew this man previously, but she offered to give him some money. Anyway she invited him to stick around and listen to us as well. John went back to preaching and this man started to yell and interfere. In the meantime, Shannon wanted to talk to me more about attending church and the different aspects. At this point wisdom told me she had another agenda. She indicated that she liked talking to me more than John. This I figured was nothing more than the enemy trying to divide our unity out there on the street. I prayed for her and then dismissed her. Around the same time the homeless man moved on as well and we went back to our preaching venue.
Sample of John Payne’s Preaching
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I spent two weeks in July here in the Portland area. You may remember John Payne. He is the man who started street preaching out there in Portland with me about a year ago. John has continued the street preaching ministry and has his own equipment. John also does prison and nursing home ministry as well and is quite involved in Glencullen Baptist Church. Part of my purpose this time was to let John lead us out there and do the preaching as I handed out tracts, prayed, and observed his ministry. I had a very good report on John and encouraged him to continue as he’s a good preacher of the word of God.
I have gone to Portland now several times over the last many years and have established a relationship with Pastor Cavin of Glencullen Baptist Church, as well as, many other believers in the area. I saw my friend Richard Latimer who I’ve known for about 25 years. I also met up with Ron Rohman and his wife Karen, Marty & Steve as well. These folks have been going out on the streets of Portland for many many years and it was a pleasure to work with them as well. Ron who is 75 now was preaching one day and a lady came up and basically started to assault him trying to grab the mic out of his hand. All of this to fulfill the slogan the city has “Keep Portland Weird”.
On my way back to the Bay Area I traveled a little bit on the coast and stopped in Lincoln City, Oregon where I hooked up with a fellow traveling minister, Larry Stevens, who sings and shares the gospel in nursing homes all around the country. I met Pastor Darryl of the Foursquare Church there in town as well and we had a good time together.