I finally made it to Florida. I got as far as Pensacola as you remember and then was averted because of hurricane Irma. I spent the next two weeks hitting cities more north. I left Claxton, Georgia after church on Sunday (9/24) and drove just past Jacksonville where I stayed at a Walmart for the night. I was here in Jacksonville last year for a week of preaching. Jacksonville is listed as the largest city in Florida. This is misleading however since they include the whole county and put it within the city limits. This makes the population around 800,000. The city itself is not that big and the preaching was something to be desired. I should have aborted my plans to stay a week last time and go further south. Regardless I made it this time to the three major cities of Florida, Miami still being the largest in reality.
Now I did not preach in Jacksonville this time. I also did not preach in St Petersburg and Fort Myers which was included in my original plans. There was still a threat of rain here because of the season for these storms so I high-tailed it down and covered the most important ones. It has been hard to sleep at night because of the heat and humidity. Some nights it never cooled down below 75 or so with 90% humidity. I usually didn’t get to sleep until after 1am but still arose around 7am to start my day. In Miami they have a lot of road construction going on which makes traveling worse. Also the further south I went I saw some of the damage done by hurricane Irma. I was entertaining the thought of stopping in Fort Lauderdale to preach but it turned out it rain quite heavily and besides I was on the fast track to Virginia.
Orlando – H2O
This turned out to be a great stop. I found a good populated corner and from what I could tell it was mostly local people. Most of the theme parks and tourism is a little south of the downtown area. After parking my van I had a few minutes to check out some corners and to get some postcards. When I came back to the van to get my gear there were several homeless people standing around on the sidewalk. I talked to them a few minutes and was able to give them some water I had on ice. They pointed me to the best corner they thought I should be on; the corner of Church & Orange Ave. I gave away one Gospel and one book (answers for the seeking soul) I preached for somewhat over an hour. The police who came by didn’t say anything about the amp. I also received a bottle of water in which I gave to the only homeless person still by the van. I also gave her my last homeless packet. I felt it was a good day.
Tampa – A Beautiful City
The Tampa Bay area located on the west coast of Florida is a very nice. I can see why people would want to live here despite the chance of a hurricane. On this gorgeous day I found myself on the corner of Jackson & Florida Streets. It was a good corner as I preached for an hour and half. I had one man take a gospel and a city ambassador girl take a few books. Once again some police passed me by with nothing said about the amp. As I was packing up the van a man came over and said thanks for being out there. Once on the road I drove the four hour drive to Hialeah, outside of Miami at the Walmart. I passed a severe thunderstorm and it rained so hard that I could not see. I almost hit the car in front of me.
Miami – “I see you made it”
After parking the van as I was walking to downtown, what I believed to be a demonized fellow was speaking gibberish and acting bizarre. Then right when I passed him he said, “I see you made it” I took this for a demon saying this as I was not sure I would ever see Miami and prayed for it a lot. I was consumed with getting here and was a tad pent up until today. Hooray! I made to the last large city of the US not counting Anchorage, Alaska.
Despite only a few hours sleep I managed to get downtown around 10:30am. The night before was hot and humid and I finally got to sleep by about 1:30am. At 4am came on knock on my window by Walmart security to leave. This very rare. I got my things together and as I was going to the drivers side I noticed a man sleeping between the van and the curb on the ground. Anyway he awoke when I started the van. I told him what happened. After that I drove around the neighborhood lost. I finally got the GPS to get me to another Walmart. I stayed here fine the rest of the night.
I had to drive around the area for about fifteen minutes before I parked in a city owned lot which gave me free handicapped parking. It was congested with cars everywhere. There is a lot of construction downtown and I imagine some work over the recent hurricane. I preached for about two hours on the corner of 1st street and 2nd ave. This was a small area but was loaded with people. Rose who approached me right as I was setting up took some books. I asked her where I was and she said right in the heart of downtown. “Great!” I said. It was a good day and I gave away a few Gospels and other items. I had many come by and acknowledge the Lord. Most people seemed to be humbled by the hurricane and I had no bad remarks or complaints. The police came by many times. It was a great day. I left and as I went back to the van I found a tourist shop and got postcards and souvenirs. Praise the Lord I am rejoicing as I am headed north having fulfilled my purpose in Florida.
Cocoa Beach – Dreamy
Although I didn’t preach here this was a stop I made on my way back up to Georgia. I had planned on looking up a brother in the Lord but he was leaving to go to a conference at my church in California the day I was here. I ended up going to the beach. I had heard that the water temperature here is much warmer than the Pacific Ocean. They were right. I wadded along the shore in what I would call bath water. There is also nice white sand. Next to this beach was a street named, “I dream of Jeannie” Lane. If you remember this television show you are getting pretty old. For those who don’t, you can look it up, but Cocoa Beach was the setting for this sixties comedy with a storyline that involved astronauts that were stationed at nearby Cape Canaveral. Leaving there I got my Florida grapefruit and drove north and crossed the border into Georgia.
The Deep South – It’s a Wrap
Passing through to Virginia I preached in Savannah, Georgia & Charleston, South Carolina. This completes my trip through the deep south. In Savannah the police tried to enforce some weird law about having to keep moving while talking (preaching) We also got shut down with the amp. I heard some disheartening stories on some of the tactics of the police and local government here in Georgia. Yes, this stuff goes on still, right out of the movies. Anyway the highlight in Savannah was preaching with a young man named Jesse who attends Grace Truth Church where I attended the week before. He met me there and we took turns preaching without the amp. We also got into a few conversations and handed out some Gospels.
Charleston proved quite well in my opinion. There were lots of people downtown and I struggled finding the right spot. I walked down aways from the main attractions and found a corner East Bay and Vendue Range Streets. This turned out good and I preached here for an hour and a half. I had no problems using the amp. A few people seem to be pretty receptive and at least from my perspective my message really flowed today. It was very good day and I was very excited. This was definitely the best city I have been to in all of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. On the way back to the van there were some Black Hebrew Israelites that must have had a permit because they had a big huge sound system. There was plenty of activity there on the corner where they were. I am glad I didn’t stop there to preach when I passed that area, I would have been driven off. They believe that white people cannot be saved and they basically preach a lot of hate twisting the Bible.
Well again thank you for all your prayers and encouragement! We are almost done with the country – Until next time!