Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Reignite 3

Now that I have sufficiently recovered from my adventures in Phoenix, I will be able to give you a brief summary of what happened there last weekend.

It was the final boot camp of the Great News Network (there is a link on the side), but the seed sowers that were a part of that ministry will be hosting their own boot camps. You can find out more details at Adventures in Christianity, where a lot of seed sowers, including myself, have reset.

Even though there was a cloud of sadness surrounding the disbanding of the seed sower ministry of GNN, there was great joy in the preaching and planting and, yes, even harvesting of souls for Christ. We handed out thousands of tracts, spoke with tens of people (I don't think we got to talk to hundreds--there were only 20 of us), and pray for hours.

Inevitably, the question comes up, "Well, how many people did you lead to the Lord?" It's important to realize the truth of this colloquialism: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." Every person who was handed a tract, spoken to personally, or preached to from afar was led to the Lord. How many drank of the Living Water He offers? We only know of four. But we do praise God for those four! (Jesus said that the angels rejoice over just one--Luke 15.)

I was not a witness to the harvest, so I did not get the names of those people, but God knows who they are, and He'll know whom you mean when you pray for them. I did get to talk to Crystal, one of the "bicycle cabbies" (I don't know the proper term), who was stopped by someone stretching a phone cord across the sidewalk to test it out. She is a lesbian, but her grandfather has been kindly and patiently prodding her to repent. She said of him, "I know he loves me, but he keeps telling me... Well, I'm gay, and he's telling me I'm living in sin." At least she knew that the man loves her! How missing is that element from so many Christian messages!

Well, I didn't let her continue to believe that her sin was okay. I lovingly explained to her that the Bible says, in Romans 1, that it is only after God has become so fed up with sinners that He gives them over to a "reprobate mind" and they get into homosexual fornication. I did pray for her and for her partner Mara. I prayed, in her presence, for blessings on their lives and for their salvation. (I had my partner Larry with me.) She received the prayer well, and showed no hostility whatsoever when we saw her later that night, when we were standing outside the Suns game.

Speaking of which, I have a funny story: I was passing out tracts across the street from the arena in which the Suns were playing the Spurs (NBA), and some people were taking them, and some were not. One man rejected the tract, and, as I turned away, his wife dropped her wallet, spilling the loose contents on the ground. I tried to help gather everything, but she said she didn't need the loose coins. She was satisfied to retrieve the wallet--and then took a tract anyway! HA! Take that, Satan! Praying for her soul, too.

We ate for two nights at this wonderful restaurant called the 101 Bistro, which is on 1st Ave and Adams in downtown Phoenix (yes, I am plugging for them). We got to witness to the waitresses and even some of the customers. (MDBs work great! You just say, "Here: this should cover dinner," and watch them laugh.)

The third night (Saturday), we ate at a pizza place in Scottsdale whose name I have forgotten, else I would give them a plug, too. That pizza was gooooood! I tried to hand out more millions there, too, but I had forgotten that the manager of the farmers market had stopped me and Sara Owen (my partner at that time) from passing out tracts there earlier. Well, she didn't catch us for about 45 minutes, so I had fun. Then she did see me and reminded me of our conversation. And I did comply at first. But oh well. She didn't charge me rent. =) And we left right after dinner.

I forgot to say that on the flight over, I sat next to NFL place kicker Bill Grammatica. Well, actually, I sat next to his girlfriend, but, anyway, I got to talk to his brother Santiago during the flight, and saw Santiago again at the Italian pizza place (which might have been called "Taste of Italy," but I'm not sure. It's on Fifth Avenue, less than a half mile west of Scottsdale Rd. I'm forgetting the cross street, but it is at an intersection and it is on the south side of the street.) After the flight, I also got to give Martin, Bill's older brother and an NFL kicker himself, the GPT, as I had done with Santiago, with Bill listening. I handed them the Pope Collectible tract from Living Waters as we parted with good will. And, yes, I did explain that the Catholic church doesn't make the rules, Jesus does, but I was able to say so in a way that none of them were offended.

One more thing about the flight over: I had been upset because I didn't have tracts to witness to the people on the plane. Well, it was a 4 1/2 hour flight from TIA to Sky Harbor, and I had to keep getting up to go to the restroom--and so did everybody else (well, except Olga and Bill--and I had the window seat!) So, as everyone was waiting in line, I stood at the back (so I didn't have to keep asking them to move) and got to witness to about 20 people right there on the plane! It was awesome! I even spoke to Richard, the flight attendant, and his teammate Sean over heard me talking to several people (including Santiago). Please also pray for Josh, DJ, Ty, and Jeff, whom I saw goofing around before the flight but was only able to talk to Josh and DJ about the Gospel (on the flight).

Please also pray for Emile, who works at the Chili's in TIA, to whom I did witness when I bought some orange juice. I wasn't able to finish with her, but I did give her a Pope Collectible, too.

Also, Jim, the guide in Sky Harbor, who was supposed to be directing people to where they needed to go (but gave me poor directions) received a tract. He was talking to a girl who had a lot of piercings and she got away before I could give her a tract, but he talked to me and I gave him the Good Person Test and a Pope Collectible, as well. In fact, I think I gave away about five more of those all total, including one to a Muslim guy who was working at the Cinnabon place, and guy and his gf, and an older couple. I should have handed one to a dad and his two boys, but I don't know why I didn't (probably that irrational fear that the devil likes to use to paralyze us).

On the Shuttle from the airport to the rental car area, I was able to start a spiritual conversation with an older man who was in town for business and ended up preaching to the entire back of the bus (about five or seven people). He wasn't real happy about it, but I don't really care.

When I returned to Sky Harbor, I was passing out as many Super Bowl Trivia tracts as I could, but when I got to my gate, I was not keen on doing that. The Lord wanted me to stop and talk to Derrick, who is from NYC. We had a great conversation about the things of the Lord and how they apply to everyday life. Please pray for his salvation.

After we had become silent, some young lady with long, beautiful legs--exposed by her short shorts--came walking by. My immediate prayer was, "Lord, get her away from me! I don't want to lust!" Well, He didn't listen to the first part, but He did keep me from lusting, as she sat down right next to me, and we had a good conversation about the Gospel. As much as I tried to make more excuses, the Lord shuttered them all: "She's got an accent--she'll have trouble processing this stuff." "She'll think I'm flirting with her!" None of these came to pass. It was all the devil trying to keep his grip on Christina. Pray that he doesn't.

My attempts to witness during boarding didn't go very smoothly, but that doesn't mean that they were entirely unsuccessful. The Lord knows how to use them. I did sit next to Ken and talk to him about the Gospel during the flight.

We had a stopover in Houston, where I had to change planes. I gave tracts to several people before I left the plane, and I gave a few out to more, such as the guy I sat next to on the cart that got me to my gate, to the driver of the cart, and to the other two passengers (I think).

Then I saw Shemeer sitting down, and I thought she was waiting on a flight (she wasn't--she works there). I began a conversation with her and gave her the good person test. She never was willing to humble herself, insisting that she could be mean to others who were mean to her, especially when it came to her making money (she, and all the other people who push wheel chairs and drive carts in Houston's Bush airport are supposed to earn tips, but people don't always do that, like me--but I didn't know that I was supposed to). She left unsettled and unhappy, but pray for her, too, please.

Then there was another woman who sat near me, to whom I tried to give the GPT, but she wouldn't humble herself, either, especially not when Jesus said that if you call someone a mean name you deserve the punishment of a murderer (Matthew 5:21-22). That was rather surprising, because most people have a hang up about the other commandment that Jesus expanded later in the passage--lust being adultery in God's eyes--but most understand this one. Oh well, pray that she and Shemeer humble themselves in time.

During the last leg of my flight home, I did hand out a few tracts, but right when I was about to pass them out to everyone on the plane, the captain turned on the seat belt light, meaning I couldn't get up for anything. I had had many opportunities to arise before them (when I wasn't sleeping), but the fear of man had me glued to my seat. I wish I had been more bold for those souls. I should have done better, and I pray that I will on the next trip I take.

Thanks for all your prayers. God bless you.

3 comments:

Johnny said...

Joshua, thanks for sending me these notes of your recent mission trip to Phoenix. In addition to souls added to the Kingdom, sounds like many seeds were planted, praise the Lord. May God bless you, Joshua Black, and to God the glory! Johnny Torrey (johnny@torrey.org)

Martin Lindsey. said...

Sounds like it was a fruitful trip. What are the Good Person Test and the Pope Collectible?

JOSHUA S BLACK said...

Thank you, Mr. Torrey and Mr. Lindsey.

Mr. Lindsey, the Good Person Test is a term that refers to a variously formatted way that many people who use the Law (the Ten Commandments) in their evangelism endeavors. My current format looks something like this, at this time--but it hasn't always, and won't necessarily stay that way. There is a computerized test linked on the side of this blog, and there is another variation linked to the counter on this page as well.

Thanks for reading, and God bless you.