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E-vangie Tale: Fiesta Hermosa, Pt. 1: No Retreat from Sodom

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Tens of thousands of people from all over Southern California converge on a pagan festival called Fiesta Hermosa each Memorial and Labor Day weekend; I say pagan, because Christian booths are nowhere to be seen. There are however, lots of demon jewelry displays, anti-God artists, lucky candle shops, and New Age trinkets to be found. There were certainly lots of gods on display, but no evidence of the One True God being represented… save for one lone tabernacle of witness in the wilderness.

We set up our Christian Gospel tract booth just outside the fair, right on the outskirts of enemy territory. It was imperative that the Hope Chapel evangelism team recruit lots of soldiers to man our headquarters at the base of the Hermosa Beach Pier. We were there instead of inside the fair because we didn’t want to be restricted from handing out our Gospel literature.
nullTo be in the festival, applicants had to sign a form agreeing not to hand out any literature within its perimeters. If an applicant was caught distributing flyers, leaflets, or other information, they would be removed. The fair organizers were very kind to the non-profits that wanted to participate inside, though. They set up a special “Free Expression Zone” behind the vendor booths, next to the Port-a-Potties. (The Democratic Party was located right beside the outhouses, within smelling distance. No comment).

The rule wasn’t enforced very well. I saw people all over the place handing things out…
null This guy was blatantly—dare I say, illegally—handing out cards that enabled fair-goers to possibly win a million dollars, by sliding their cards in a slot-type machine.
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We eliminated the middle man and gave the people
their desired millions—our million-dollar bill Gospel tract, that is.
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There were solicitors all over the place, giving out ridiculously forbidden yellow sheets of paper with advertising on them. The nerve!!!
I was stunned! How could they allow solicitors with big ole yellow sheets of paper on the streets of their fair! We weren’t allowed to do it!

Unfair! Unfair!

And this guy made a mockery of the whole anti-soliciting-stay-in-your-own-booth rule by flying his $5.00 mini-kites in full view of everybody!
null How brazen!!!

There was no small amount of litter left by these hooligans.
Those Scofflaws!

Unclean! Unclean!

Since we were technically not in the festival, we did not have to abide by the festival’s rules, because the First Amendment of our Great Country’s Constitution guarantees the right of free speech on public streets. This includes the distribution of “religious” literature.
null Taking our charge from Matthew 11:12, “…the kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it,” we dug in and prepared for battle. Our motto for the weekend was “No Retreat!” Unless someone came with a gun, we were staying put.

We stood our ground despite the many hurdles we had to jump…
nullPagan beach cities don’t like Christians taking a stand for Jesus. Snipers took shots at us during the first hours of the war:

First we had to deal with an Arrowhead vendor that had his booths on the sand right next to us. He didn’t like the fact that we were handing out Kirkland water to the masses; it was bad for business. I offered to hand out his Arrowhead water if he donated a few thousand bottles… He declined. We stayed.

No retreat! Forcefully advance!

Next an underling official warned that he would report us to the proper authorities if we were caught handing out our Gospel tracts in the fair. I told him that he might face possible legal action if anyone denied us our First Amendment right to free speech on public streets. After showing him the legal case that grants us this freedom, he said he would look the other way.

No retreat! Forcefully advance!

Then the fire Captain, who was responsible for all of Hermosa Beach that weekend, got involved. The underling official had incorrectly told the captain that that we would sue if we were kicked off the pier. I told him that wasn’t true; we just wanted our First Amendment right to hand out tracts in the fair. The issue of the pier was never discussed and if the Captain told us we had to leave, then we would leave. “We just want to hand out our tracts in the fair, undisturbed!” I explained.

“Oh,” he replied. “Of course you can do that. In fact, you can stay on the pier all weekend!” We did.
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No retreat! Forcefully advance!

Advance we did.
null At the end of the weekend, 100 volunteers handed out over 30,000 Gospel tracts and 4500 bottles to those who thirst for living water.

Later that day, I challenged a member of our evangelism team to really test the limits of free speech. I asked him to do what had never been done before at Fiesta Hermosa. People might really get angry, maybe even stone him with beer bottles. He did it anyway, despite the risk.

(To find out what happened next, click here to read Part 2!)

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Black

  2. wow steve is cool on his boldness for God that motivates me to be bold too.

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