I had just left Kentucky after my last blog update. I went through more of the South before spending quite a bit of time in Texas. There were no hard knocks in Knoxville as I traveled south to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Here they have the most polite drivers around. I was also encouraged as I preached here. In Birmingham, Alabama I was received well. Many people came by and either touched me gently on the arm or back in their support and approval of the Gospel. After that it was a fast track to Texas across Mississippi and Louisiana. My only day scheduled in Houston was rained out. The alternate city of Beaumont was also.
I continued my travels to Cypress, Texas which is a Houston suburb. There I stayed with Paul and Sini whom I met several years ago through the Hospitality Network called “Candle in the Window”. This is the third year I have stayed with this young couple. They have a new addition to the family Hananel who is about 16 months. I spent the weekend with them; going to church and meeting some of their friends. I then moved on to College Station where I preached outside of Texas A&M. After that I headed to Austin and stayed with another family the Featherstons. It was good to see them although the time flew by. David & Sonya have two sons Graham and Luke. Graham was leaving on a road trip for a conference in North Carolina the day after I arrived. I stayed here 2 days preaching in Austin and then on to San Antonio to preach before arriving in El Paso.
Old El Paso
I arrived in El Paso a day earlier than I had planned in order to spend a few days at a men’s retreat. These were guys I’ve known for a couple years that attend Old Paths Christian Church in El Paso. Before going to the men’s retreat I was able to preach in downtown El Paso. I then met up with Ivan Ramos and we went to Cloudcroft, New Mexico which is 10,000 feet on top of a mountain. I wasn’t prepared for the cold but it was a great time. I was reacquainted with Ivan, and also Frank Gonzales. Frank now does pretty much a full-time ministry in Juarez, Mexico. I also met for the first time a man named Ryan Denton, who previously I had corresponded with through the email. He is a fellow preacher and now his wife Tasha and him reside in El Paso after moving here from New Mexico. We got back from the retreat on Saturday afternoon and then I went to church on Sunday of course.
On Monday I went with Ryan down to the University of Texas at El Paso. They call it UTEP for short. Ryan who is also in full-time evangelism ministry goes to the college campus quite often. I joined him this day and we both were preaching about one hundred yards from each other. A young man named Carlos also joined us. I preached for about 45 minutes before I had someone representing the college come and tell me that unless I was a student I couldn’t preach. I was forewarned about this by Ryan who informed me that Texas has a law that excludes people that do not belong to the university to come in for the purpose of free speech. I’m sure this law will be overturned in the Supreme Court, however for now, Ryan has enrolled in some classes so he technically now is a student. This does not stop the University from giving him a hassle and trying to basically get rid of him. Despite the faculty and their policies the students are very open to the gospel in much respect. Even the ones who disagree are not mean-spirited, but ask a lot of questions. I had a couple Divine appointments on the college campus that day. The highlight was Piya from Argentina. She was an older adult woman who was on the campus as a math tutor. She is Catholic and listened to my preaching for quite a long time. She approached me mentioning that I certainly spoke different than the priest. I showed her some scripture verses and I gave her my contact info and she has emailed me. Please pray for her salvation
I left Ryan and before leaving the area I made a few stops and then drove to Tucson, Arizona. I preached there one day and visited my friend Roy Spears before leaving town. I’m now in El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego. I am staying with some friends Jerry and Diana Benson. We plan to go out several times before I have to leave on Sunday headed back to the home base. We did go out today to Grossmont College Community College. It is always been a good place to go and evangelize. The students seem very receptive and polite. For the most part no one bothers us from the staff. Today I was able to preach open air without a mic for an hour and a half. This went very well and I had a few listeners and several inquiries. Meanwhile Jerry ,and another man Ben, had many conversations with several students. One man in particular, Isaac, who listen for quite a while professed Christ. After I already said goodbye he followed us out to the parking lot. He then asked about being baptized. he really didn’t belong to a church, however his confession seems pretty solid. Jerry and Ben that live here in the area gave him their contact information and exchange phone numbers. Hopefully he will get plugged into a church and get baptized in due time.
I was a little taken back since I didn’t seem to experience the famous “Southern Hospitality”. I think there is more in Southern California. The infamous Bible Belt was also not quite what I had expected. There is a hardening of people here it seems. It isn’t just me, many of the local Christians feel the same way. There a lots of churches and some are very old, but nice brick buildings. There are large church buildings here with large congregations. I would say there were mostly Baptist churches and then after that Pentecostal. I definitely have more people on the West Coast gather and listen, inquire about God, and take publications than I have had here. Nevertheless I was glad I covered the South pretty thoroughly and did have generally a profitable and good time here.
Well you won’t hear from me again for a few weeks when I give the final report for my trip. This should come out right before Thanksgiving. I appreciate everybody’s prayers and support over the years and could not do it without you, however; we do give all the glory to the Lord Jesus Christ who enables us to be in the ministry and gives us his grace and power to carry out what he has commanded us to do in preaching the gospel to every creature.