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Fury at the Fiesta!

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The “Prophetess” grabbed the million dollar bill Gospel tracts out of my hand then jammed them down the front of my shirt. Still, I kept my attention focused on the crowd at the bus stop, who stood not-so-silently as I preached the Gospel message…

This was just one of the reactions from the captive audience as we preached in the open air at the shuttle bus stop during the Fiesta Hermosa… a wild, drunken, pagan bacchanal that takes place Memorial and Labor Day weekends in the South Bay.

Tune in later this week for a report!

(The story about the other angry lady from Peet’s coffee will also be later. I still need some more info… you’ll see what I mean…)

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  1. I, too have attended Hope Chapel with my family — and am INCREDIBLY embarrassed by how Hope conducted itself at this year’s 2007 Fiesta Hermosa. Standing on a hill SHOUTING at visitors who have no other place to go while they’re waiting for a bus, SCREECHING that they are going to hell if they don’t accept Jesus as their personal savior, doing nothing but SCREECHING some more as children are crying because other people are shouting back and forth at the preacher, is simply sad. I really, really hoped that Hope Chapel would conduct itself in a more professional, God-worthy way. I am so disappointed in what is otherwise a really lovely church and I simply cannot understand why anyone would pointedly drive potential members away like this. If you have some deluded ideal that people get on those buses after you screech at them and their hearts are suddenly called to attend Hope Chapel, you should know that every person within my earshot who got on the bus talked openly about how embarrassing, unprofessional and downright creepy the man’s “actions” were (and I say “actions” and not “spreading of the gospel,” because spreading of the gospel does not involve screeching at people and children until they question the mental stability of the person screeching). You can calm yourselves into thinking that I’m just some disgruntled heathen Who Just Doesn’t Understand You, but please remember that up until today I have always been very happy with every person I’ve met at Hope since moving here 4 years ago… And that there were at least two other families from Hope on the bus with me who mentioned out loud how embarrassed they were by what they saw. I hope that by posting here you seriously reconsider the damage you are causing to Hope Chapel and find some other Godly way to conduct yourself in a manner that helps instead of harms its mission. Because making a spectacle of yourself in order to provoke people into interacting with you is the utter definition of selfishness and egotism.

  2. Thank you for your comments, Christina. I’m sorry that I offended you.

    We know going into the fair (or outside of it, as it were), that there is a risk that people will be offended at what we have to say; the Bible actually promises this fact. We instruct all our evangelists to be gracious, gentle, and never, argue with people. While I admit that we raise our voices at times (due to traffic noise, etc.) it is not our intention to screech at people. In fact, our evangelists are instructed never to shout, scream, or argue.

    Christina, we are there because we love people and we want them to know Jesus; that is why we are preaching the Gospel. It is uncomfortable for us to be there, too, but we truly desire that people will hear the truth and trust in the Savior.

    This is all still so new for us, so please accept our humble apologies if we offended you or your family in any way.

    Thank you again for your concern—and your patience—as we continue to learn how we can deliver our message more effectively.

  3. Christina,

    The very first time I tried to speak the gospel to people outdoors, a friend of mine was video taping. By speaking the gospel to crowds outdoors I was trying to follow in the footsteps of John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, and even Jesus himself. I was DESPERATELY trying to communicate that God’s wrath was real, and that His grace to us was truly AMAZING!

    I was honestly doing the best I could.

    However, when I watched the video tape I was horrifed to see myself “screeching.” I was just mortified.

    Everything I had been TRYING to say got “lost in the translation” so-to-speak… and it took me a year to get over this initial experience enough to make myself try again.

    Perhaps the person you saw at Hermosa was trying for the first time.

    Believe me, anyone who is trying to obey Christ by taking the gospel to people in an open air situation is certainly not “trying” to be offensive. The Bible says that gospel itself is offensive enough… I mean, honestly, who wants to hear that they’ve offended God to such a degree that they are heading to hell??!? That concept alone offends the socks off of just about everyone I know of. We like to think of ourselves as good people… all of us do. To see ourselves the way God sees us… as wicked law breakers… IS offensive. No open air preacher that I know of wants to add any more offensiveness to what’s already there.

    There is a very short article written on open air preaching that you might be interested in here: http://www.evangelismstuff.com/resources/intro.htm

    Also, just one other quick thing… In your post you said “…and their hearts are suddenly called to attend Hope Chapel…”

    Just so you know, it’s certainly not my intention, as an open air presenter of the gospel, to get anyone to go to any particular church.

    I’m not sure what the person you heard was saying, but it shouldn’t have been anything along the lines of “…come to Hope Chapel…”

    Instead it should have been more like “…repent and place your faith in Christ Jesus so that you can be saved from God’s wrath on Judgment day…” Doing that, does not require anyone to fellowship at Hope Chapel.

    God bless,
    Anna Jackson
    http://www.needGod.com

  4. oops… sorry I posted twice… 😛

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