Almost Heaven West Virginia

Last state I needed to complete the lower forty-eight on my quest across America

Since the last report I have been through six cities in Virginia, including one day in our nation’s capitol. After that it was on to West Virginia where I completed the preaching in every state in the lower-forty eight. It has truly been an unbelievable accomplishment which started back in February 2015. Currently I am in Kentucky and have a few more stops before arriving, the Lord willing, in the Bay Area the first week in November. I will give a full report at that time.

Besides preaching on the streets I was able to give the main Sunday morning message at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Dale City, Virginia. At the evening service, after song and some announcements, I got up and shared my born-again testimony and then used that as a bridge on how I got into the ministry of preaching the gospel on the street with a Q & A afterwards.

I stayed with Tom Smith and his wife Margaret for 4 days while I was there. Tom is a First Love missionary along with myself. We met in Kentucky at our conference back in August. I also got to know others from the same church at that time. I had a grand time of fellowship with them all. I have shared more below. Virginia and West Virginia have spanned the first two weeks in October.

Charleston, WV

On the way there it threatened to rain the whole time. I prayed of course. Once I got here it was pretty decent out. I drove around a few blocks and got some metered parking for a buck fifty. I walked only one block down to Capitol & Lee streets. I started early about 11:30am and preached until about 1pm. It was great. This was the best overall city so far on my trip. I felt my message flowed and lots of people were listening. One young man in particular listened almost the whole time. Afterwards I tracked him down and gave him a Gospel of John and a homeless pack although he said he was not homeless. His name is Ryan. There were several other people stopping and listening. Several Christians made themselves known either as they walked or drove by. The police drove by at least once and I had no complaints. Also there was some sort of officer across the street patrolling the park on foot. Perhaps he was only a park ranger. Either case I had the freedom and favor of the Lord. It was an excellent day. As I packed up and headed for the van it started to rain slightly and heavier as I drove out of town. Charleston is the closest thing I have experienced to the “Bible Belt”.

Huntington, WV

Only about an hour drive away from Charleston it was like a different world here. This is more typical of an American city. The people seemed hardened as ever and quite liberal. It looked like there were several good corners with lots of places to eat and business around, however at first it was like a ghost town. I started a little bit early because I wanted to continue on to Kentucky before too late. I start around 11:30am and preached for an hour. Once I started preaching people were coming out slowly but surely. Not one person acknowledge Christ or anything. This is so much different than yesterday in Charleston. However right at the end, a young woman who was college-aged came up. Her name is Serenity. She was asking me if I knew of a place in town to fellowship. I told her I was from out of town. We had a discussion about being born again and where her faith was at. I then encouraged her by praying for her to find a good place to go to church. She took a gospel of John and I encouraged her to read the Bible. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God I told her. From what she told me and answering some questions I believe she is born again. But her own testimony suggests that after she went to college she got into the world somewhat. I told her I would continue to pray for her. Please do the same – thanks!

I Went Down Virginia

As mentioned above while in Dale City I had a great fellowship with the saints there. I met Cliff and Marti Hellar. They are well into their upper 80’s now and retired from over 50 years of missionary work in Papua New Guinea. The Hellar’s joined the Smith’s and myself for dinner at a family from church on Friday evening. The next day was the Church picnic which was well attended and lasted most of the day. A very nice day for this since it was rather warm for this time of year here. I met Pastor Bob Gifford and his wife Jane for the first time at the picnic. After church on Sunday they took me out to lunch. I got a ride in a model T classic car by Jeff Bailey whom I met at the conference in Kentucky also. Jeff Bailey and Cliff Hellar go out door-to-door witnessing. They had a real divine appointment they shared about with me. I also got acquainted with Tom & Wanda Tonnesen. I met Tom while in Kentucky at the conference and Wanda and her daughter attended the First Love conference in the Bay Area recently.

Virginia Beach – This was the first city I went to in Virginia. I got here to town early, leaving North Carolina about 6am. I found free parking and took a walk for exercise and to check out my preaching options on the boardwalk right next to the ocean. It was Neptune Festival here this week. I decided on a spot on the far end of the venders. I am glad I didn’t take a spot on the street where I was going to set up since they had a band playing right behind there when I went to leave. I preached somewhat for an hour with what I felt was another good message. I had several people stop briefly and listen and several with good comments. It was really windy so I didn’t put out any materials although I gave away 3 Gospels. I had one 10-year old boy come and tell me thanks for preaching the Gospel. Later there were two other boys who also came up and I gave them Gospels.

Portsmouth – I opted to go here since Chesapeake, although larger in population, has no downtown area to speak of. I went to the corner of High & Court streets. I preached here for a little over an hour. I didn’t give away anything. Not a lot of people today but the Gospel was announced. I had several cars stop at the light, this could have been where the fruit will come from. One man in particular had his window down and was listening. I noticed him since he didn’t drive off right away after the light changed. After preaching I walked two blocks to the waterfront and snapped some pictures, but mainly went there for a walk which I got in a good one. I have not been walking much since leaving on this trip.

Norfolk – I was half a block from where I wanted to set up. This was at the corner of Grandby & E Plumme Streets. I set up on a corner where the building was vacant but still was to the outside of the sidewalk as per custom. I preached for a tad over an hour. I gave away one book. Police drove by, and one also walked by, and nothing was said about the amp. I felt this town was really dead spiritually. Anyway my message was not great, but ok. After preaching I took a walk a few blocks down to the waterfront and got some pictures of the navel area including the USS Wisconsin that was docked there. It is a pretty city and looks like it would be great to live here. It is a Navy town for sure.

Newport News – I ended up going one block down from where I originally planned. I went to 26th & Washington. This seemed to be the hub of this smaller city. There were two food trucks in the area. There also was a bus stop. Today was more quality than quantity. Not too many people but my message was very good and I gave away many Gospels and several other books. I preached for about an hour and a half. It was great. This turned out to be the best city (I thought) that I preached in all of Virginia. Virginia Beach being second. I had a few conversations as well.

Richmond – This is the capital of Virginia and has a lot of history. I didn’t expect the city to be on so many hills. I went to the corner of 9th and Main Street but decided to walk around a bit since I wasn’t sure exactly where the Lord wanted me. What would be the best corner? I walked up the block and saw Jehovah Witnesses. I went to a few others but ended up on the one I started at (9th & Main) I did give away a few gospel of John’s and some books. There was a few people that seemed interested in the things of the Lord. After about 45 minutes or so into my preaching a police officer came and said that I had gotten a complaint and I had to shut down the amp. I gave him no argument and said I would leave. It turned out that he was a Christian officer. He asked me several times not to go; to preach without the amp. I visited with him a little bit but said no I’m going to be on my way. Admittedly it is getting harder to preach without an amp. Besides that, my batteries were getting low and the amp wasn’t sounding good. No doubt I would have stayed and preached without the amp had the complaint came immediately when I arrived.

Washington DC – A Capitol Offense

I was here last year and found that the best way to get to town is to park at a light rail station and take that into the city. So that is what I did again this time. Incidentally, DC’s light rail, which they call “Metro” was modeled after the BART system in the Bay Area. This made it even easier to use. I took it down to Metro Central Station. I came up out of the station and went to one of the first corners I spied, which was 11th and F Street. There was plenty of people here and I got lots of preaching in, however; only two people acknowledged the Lord. I did not give away any literature today. Once I was done preaching I ended up going up to the Walgreens and buying a few souvenirs. Although masses of people are here on the streets most everyone was indifferent, at least visibly. Since I did experience some hostility toward me, I figured they take great offense to the Gospel A capital offense; pun intended.

Alexandria

Despite the threat of rain we took off from Tom’s house and went to Alexandria, Virginia. We got there about 1:15pm. There was Jeff, Tom and myself and we found a great corner. We were on King and North Royal Street. There was to my surprise quite a few people out and about today, even though it was Columbus Day and most business and government workers were off. I preached for a good hour before the police came and said we had a complaint so I shut it down. Before leaving I preached, “open air” without a mic. This was mainly for Tom and Jeff’s benefit since I wanted to give them a full scope of how the ministry goes out on the street. Tom and Jeff each handed out about 25 tracks. We also gave away a couple books and the police officer took one. We had a hostile homosexual that probably was the one who complained. We talked and prayed with a few homeless people and we had a closing prayer before we left the area.

That evening we had company over for dinner. Cliff and Marty Heller, Jeff Bailey and his wife and his son Jared. It was a great evening of a nice dinner and fellowship. I gave the people a tour of the van and then we all visited a little longer which was a great way to spend my last night here. Until next time my friends, thank you for the prayers. I will have a full gallery of pictures in my final report sometime this November.

Preaching on the corner of 11th & F streets in Washington DC

One comment

  1. Congrats on making the 48 states! What an accomplishment. Hope you come visit Calvary Chapel in November. God bless your trip home and keep you safe.

    Like

Comments are closed.