Trip to Syracuse, Niagara, and Toronto
Miles asked "Do you want to drive the motorcycle to Church?" I said "Nope" but he expected to hear "yes" so he said "Alright, you got it. Let me grab the helmets." I decided not to correct it but enjoy the ride, and boy did I enjoy the ride! I thought of how great the Lord was for bringing me back to Syracuse, NY and how awesome the next few days of traveling and witnessing were going to be!
The witnessing started that Thursday night when we stopped for some ice cream after church. While we were sitting eating our ice cream, we listened as those in the ice-cream shop discussed all the gospel tracts we gave them. Miles went to go and talk to one kid who continued to talk about them. I couldn't just sit there while Miles had all the fun, so I went and gave a tract to a different man and spoke one-on-one with him. It was the typical conversation about sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. He had a few objections but nothing too serious. It was going well until he told me that he already knew all this. So I tried to show him that with knowledge comes responsibility. So I said "then you need to make a choice. Jesus said you were for him or against him, there is no middle ground. Not making a decision is in fact making a decision. Not accepting him is in fact rejecting him. If you know it already, then you need to live it." That's when he made his decision. As he threw the tract back at me he said something like "I just don't want any of this stuff." Be sure to pray for him.
Once again I found myself riding with Miles on the bike and it was a lot of fun! There is a DMV in the city of Syracuse that has long lines waiting on the public sidewalks in the morning. Perfect place to preach. Miles has been there before, the other DMV closer to his house has threatened to have him arrested so the one in the city is the only one available.
Miles told me that he had been getting a great deal of hecklers from the people in the line and has felt hatred flowing out from them, so he was going to really be as friendly as he could this time around. But from the very beginning, despite his nice tone of voice, he started getting hecklers. One man told him to take a few steps back into the middle of the road. When Miles spoke about soldiers fighting to he could have the right to speak, a heckler said "Have you ever been a soldier?", the decided Miles had no right to mention it because he had never been a soldier. Then when Miles spoke about the amount of car accidents that occur, the man asked "Have you ever been in a car accident?", then concluded that he had no right to speak on car accidents since he had never been in one. I soon got with the flow of things so when Mile spoke about death, I yelled out "Have you ever been dead before?" The heckler actually said "Yea, have you ever been dead before? Then how could you speak about it?" Miles had 5 or more hecklers that kept him busy the whole time. I didn't get to preach but I didn't mind at all! When the man came and opened up the DMV doors, the man in the front of the line said "Thank you so much. You just saved my life, you have no idea." As if Miles was torturing them!
On our way from Syracuse to Toronto, we decided to stop at Niagara falls for witnessing and preaching. Miles, Miles family, and myself connected with Chris and Hans Brush, Jon Speed, and a whole bunch of others great seed sowers! Jon Speed started the first open-air and lasted maybe a good 2 minutes before the cops were called on him! He was on public property so there shouldn't have been a problem. We waited and waited and realized that the cops probably wouldn't come anytime soon for something small like this, so we just packed up and walked around giving out tracts. One time walked around giving out tracts while the other did some open-air and one on one.
When we finally got to Toronto we had a nice long meeting where everyone got to know each other better. Then we had some equipping time. Miles spoke on open-air preaching, Jon Speed spoke about G.N.N., a man named Henry with Open Air Campaigners spoke on that ministry, and I spoke on one-on-one mainly out of the article "Wisdom in Witnessing".
This day we went first to the market place in downtown Toronto. My team found a nice place set up in the "elbow" of the L shape market place. Hon's preached the first time and gathered a crowd by asking trivia questions and giving out Millions. It was very nice listening to him preach. He's very pleasant but also passionate. The first group he ministered to was all the way from England! I had preached and had one man who kept saying "I just woke up" give me a hard time over the Moses/Noah question. But I took one kid through the good test who first had some objections, but soon got serious and listened. Even his friends walked away and he still stayed until we were done! Apparently Jon Speeds group had a while heckler who continued to swear profanities, yell at them to leave his country, and even mooned everyone!
We then walked through the "China Town" section of multiple blocks of Asian stores to get to the "Eaten Center" where we had the largest crowds for open-air. One crowd I am told was up to 200 people! Because there were already a few teams there, I took my team up a few blocks to a different corner. While we were walking there was ran into Muslims who had boxed of the Quaran and they were giving them out to people for free! I had never seen Muslims evangelizing before. I gave them the gospel of John and told them it was from the "Injeel" which is the Quarans term for the New Testament. When we did preaching, we went old fashion style and preached scriptures on a corner. Our crowds there mainly consisted of people waiting to cross the street. I had one heckler who I went back and forth with, and then he left. But when Hon's got up to preach, the heckler started screaming from across the street, taking his shirt off and waving it around. Later we went back in front of the "Eaten Center" where there were some of the nicest sized crowds I have seen in a long while. I preached and took one girl through the Law and then painted a picture of the crucifiction. I'm told from others that the look on her face was that she was about to cry and was trying hard to hold it in. Praise God!! Eventually we all went out to eat and said our good byes as the "Seed Sowing Saturday" was over.
I had the honor and privilege of teaching the adult Sunday school and preaching the service at a Church in NY. The Sunday school teaching was on Cain and Able. Both who grew up in a religious family, both who believed in God, both sacrificed to God. They probably both prayed together. Yet because Abel's sacrifice was respected while Cain's was rejected, the religious Cain killed his righteous brother. And when you as a Christian start rising higher then the status of the religious church members by witnessing and preaching the gospel, you will be engaging in the age old battle of "the religious vs. the righteous." Then the sermon for the service was "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" which took me 2 hours and 15 minutes to preach! The Pastor and everyone else enjoyed both the Sunday school and the sermon, except for one couple that I know of. "That message was terrible and was way off" the man said to another guy in the room. The other guy said "Actually, I agree with everything that was said. It was all backed up with scripture." which made the man absolutely furious! His face got red, his veins popped out, and he just about hit the roof the pastor told me. Apparently this man was the son of the Pastor who Pastured that church years ago. He hadn't attended it for maybe 20 years but showed up that Sunday. He was an answer to prayer. I prayed "God, may this message be either entirely received or entirely rejected by those who hear it. May they either get angry at it or completely agree with it." My message was basically "woe is you when all men speak well of you" and so it wouldn't make sense if everyone spoke well of that message.
All in all, this was such an amazing trip! Jeffrey Lockwood, the master mind behind this attack, video taped the event and is putting together a DVD. When I get the DVD I will try to put it on the website ( www.OpenAirOutreach.com ), and if you want a free copy of the audio sermon "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" just email me your physical address.