As this year draws to a close I am posting my last update for 2017. It has been a great year for preaching and evangelism. Below are two main reports of Christmas outreaches plus a few other cities in Southern California that I have recently been to. The first Christmas outreach was in San Diego (December Nights) in the part of December. The second Christmas report is from the most current trip down to Riverside’s Christmas Nights. Tucked in between these two major events was a nice time going Christmas caroling with a group of believers from Alameda Chapel. It was a swell time. This last weekend in SoCal proved to be the most preaching I have done since ending my trip across the country last November. Upon arriving I noticed lots of smoke over the area from the plane because of the fires here in Ventura County. They have been dealing with this issue for several weeks as the fires continue. Below are some videos and photos.
San Diego December Nights
Once we arrived Jerry was late due to a lot of traffic. We also had a hitch in the plans. Diana on her way to work hit a large dog killing it. She was very shaken up and the car was fairly damaged. So instead of going to Grossmont College we had to abort our evangelism plans and go to Diana’s office. Once we were there Jerry made an assessment and spent the next couple of hours dealing with the insurance etc. We went back to the Benson’s and got settled.
Friday after having breakfast and some fellowship we headed down to December Nights at Balboa Park for our first night of outreach. We got there about 4pm and stayed till about 8 pm. We took a large sign and I brought my orange amp which may have been a mistake since it went through the batteries very quickly. Anyway I preached quite a bit. Eric and Jerry preached one good session each. Lots of conversations occurred and tracts went out. Jill stayed behind since she was under the weather with a cold. Her and Diana had a fellowship and time at the house.
On Saturday we ended up leaving a little bit earlier. We took Jerry’s Aker amp for backup. Once down at the outreach we met some other Christians that were out there handing out tracts and preaching. Jay Wegter also joined us with his wife Michelle. They got into some conversations. Jill was with us this night and her and Jerry got into conversations too. Jerry preached some but Eric and I did most of the preaching. Eric preached a longer session tonight which was very good. Right before we left I preached one last session so Jerry could get it on video. I decided to use the Aker amp and it actually sounded pretty good. I preached a good message and both Eric and Jerry said it was the best one the whole outreach. I was very encouraged myself. We went back to the house and had soup and sandwiches with a recap of the evening before heading to bed.
On Sunday after early dinner we ended up going back out into the neighborhood where they always have the great Christmas light displays and drove through. We capped off the evening by going to Menchie’s Yogurt and having a dessert celebrating Jerry’s birthday.
Riverside Festival of Lights
This is the 4th year that my friend Jeff Baron and I have evangelized at the Festival of Lights here in Riverside, California. We have not been here in four years but decided to come here taking in a full weekend of evangelism. (other cities mentioned below) This year Jeff decided to get us a hotel room instead of driving back to his place in Camarillo, a two-hour drive. Jeff booked us a room at the Hyatt, less than a block away from the main area of the festival. (nice room wow!) We started our outreach at 6:00 pm after meeting several Christians from other areas coming there for the same thing. This is a huge event that lasts for several weeks leading up to Christmas. The weekend before the holiday is always the busiest. I did the lion’s share of the preaching and Jeff had two sessions where he read the Scriptures; the birth of Christ from Luke. Lots of tracts went out as well. The highlight was when several children came up and gathered round while I preached. They were kneeling on the ground right in front of me. Their parents stood behind them while I preached. Eventually I brought the message to them specifically for kids and also shared the Christmas story. For a short time this also drew some other people in as they must have wanted to know what was going on. Around 9:30 pm we called it a night. Before heading back to the hotel we had some crepes from one of the many food booths they have. It was too bad that our friends Jerry and Diana Benson had to cancel due to sickness. Diana had prepared 200 gift bags to hand out. Praise the Lord, they will be able to hand them out at another outreach before Christmas in their area at Santee, California. Between the smoke and my constant preaching my throat is irritated and sore, but praise God it has been awesome!
Glendale / Burbank / Santa Monica
Jeff picked me up from the airport at about 1:30pm in Burbank. In years past the Burbank airport has played Christmas music from a Christian channel. This year was not the case although they had some Christmas music it was very faint in the background and secular. Anyway we drove down the road to Walmart to get me a stool and Jeff bought a table and chair for our outreach in Riverside on Saturday. After that we went to Glendale (first time here) and went on the corner of Brand and Broadway. This was a pretty good corner with no other things going on. It was a busy area possibly due to extra people for Christmas shopping. We stayed here about two hours or so. Jeff talked to a few people as I preached. He was able to get out many tracts too. We had no problems with anyone and many people showed support.
Once in Burbank it was dark and we went to the mall. They had the Christmas tree up and plenty of other performers were in the area as well. There was no room for us. There was a large church group there and they gave us some coffee. We walked down toward another mall area about two blocks away; the corner of Magnolia and San Fernando. This had more people and we stayed here about an hour. No problems with police but had a few youngsters stay and mildly heckle me. Not so many tracts went out. Afterwards we went to Jeff’s but not before driving through Camarillo’s Christmas light neighborhood. Very impressive!
Saturday morning we arose and with no hurry got ready. Once in Santa Monica we worked our way to the 3rd street promenade and found an OK spot to preach for about an hour. This was a very hard area as people were really indifferent. Jeff talked to the JW and there was one lady who question me about a woman’s role reading the scriptures. This was an interesting dialogue and drew a small crowd for a short time. We left and drove to Riverside. On the way we stopped at the infamous Fazoli’s and got some food. (Riverside report above)