My court case will be December 22. It is right before Christmas so I may not be able to fly home to CT to see my family which is disapointing but you can't be apart of THe Fellowship of His Sufferings without a little bit of suffering.
Since it is in Dallas I'll be staying over night at Brad Snows house. In the morning before court we are meeting up with Darrel Rundus so they can support me. I praise God for those men!
The citation that I recieved the cops told me was for "speaking loudly and drawing attention to myself that resulted in blocking the side walks" HOWEVER the court letter said that the charges are for "religious solicitation without proof of ID." That is absolutely rediculous considering I was giving away money and never, ever ask for money. Plus I always have my Drivers ID on me (they saw it themselves) and I also keep my passport, my birth certificate, my social security card, and my insurance card in my bible! If I lose anything, it won't be my bible! So this whole situation is getting crazy, lets pray that the charges are dropped. I will not pay a citation for breaking a law that I never broke! Thank you all for your prayers and support.
For those of you who don't know the full story, here it is.
Wild Witnessing 10-8-04
When the six of us headed out to Deep Ellum for open-air preaching again we had no idea what we were in for. I can honestly say that it was one of the best open-air preaching times I have ever had. Right before we left I had watched Ray Comforts "In Season and Out" for encouragement and it certainly inspired me. That night was actually just like that video.
When we first got there we scoped out the area and found a nice large chunk of sidewalk where there was plenty of room for a crowd. It also was right next to a crowd of police officers but they didn't bother us...yet.
I started by asking questions and giving out cash. A decent size crowd gathered and the open-air session lasted maybe 30 minutes. Then I did it again and this time an even bigger crowd gathered. This crowd was huge! The entire side walk was covered! I took them through the Law and preached Gods grace. We had some hecklers go to the hecklers microphone but they were all fun, not angry. This open-air lasted 30-45 minutes with a huge crowd the entire time.
Then the police pulled me aside and showed me the ordinance that said I can preach on the streets so long as no crowds gather. It is crazy when you think about the location. There are crowds everywhere! They allow crowds to gather to go to the clubs and to just hang out but they won't let them gather for a preacher. This is not what the law was ment for. Basicly they said I can preach so long as nobody listens. Ofcoarse I've had plenty of problems with the police even when nobody gathers. If I have a crowd, they hassle me. If I have no crowd, they hassle me. If I try to talk one-on-one, they hassle me. If I try to give out literature, they hassle me. As Christians though we need to be the alarm clock that will not turn off. Sure they may hit the snooze button, but we must never stop being alarms declaring "the wrath to come".
They cops actually told me that if I go to a different sidewalk I should be ok if nobody has complained there. The sargent himself told me "I'm not leaving this corner, read between the lines." So I thanked him and we went to a different corner. This time without even giving out money, just taking one person through the good test, another absolutely huge crowd gathered! Different cops showed up however and started taking pictures of me and even filming. I thought they were maybe admiring what we were during until they called me aside. This open-air didn't even last 10 minutes. These cops said that since I already recieved a warning from the other cops, they are giving me a citation.
It was a good and a bad thing. It was good because the reason for the citation was for having too big of a crowd! Praise God! As a street preacher, sometimes I don't get any crowd at all! But it was bad because now I have to go through the whole legal process and possibly pay a fine.
This actually reminded me of something David Ravenhill told me not to long ago. David told me that when his Father, Leonard Ravenhill, would preach on the streets during the second world war, that the crowds would get so large it would block traffic. Because it would block traffic the cops would pull him into court to see the judge. When he would see the judge, he would tell the judge about how one day they both will stand in the court room of God.
So after this other encounter with the police we all moved to a parking lot where the cops said they wouldn't bother us. We started again by taking someone through the good test. A crowd gathered. We had all sorts of hecklers. One man said he was Jesus Christ. Others just swore at me and called me all types of names. One man, I thought, was going to actually beat me up but he beat up my easle instead until his friend pulled him away. It's too bad to because my easle never saw it coming. This open-air lasted maybe 1 hour and 45 minutes, possibly even 2 hours. Although it was getting late and some of my friends were signaly me that it was time to leave, the Lord has blessed us with such a large, lively crowd that I couldn't stop. I had to keep going. However our lively crowd just about turned into a mob at the very end and then the cops showed up. He told me that the clubs were closing and we had to leave. Even though he said he was with Christ For the Nations he didn't like what we had been saying and vowed to give us a hard time whether we break the law or not. Its too bad I didn't have my recorder going for that one. Thats alright, the Lord will protect us.
It was such a great night. It's unfortinate we didn't take any photos or film because we had such huge crowds and perfect hecklers. There were also people convicted. You could see peoples eyes getting watery actually. Some non christians told us we really impacted them and also Christians who were out witnessing said they were really encouraged to see someone standing up and preaching the gospel. All in all, it was a great night. I hope to have more nights just like it!