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Tragedy at the Gay Pride Parade

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Every now and then something unforeseen happens on an evangelism outing that is so inexplicable and, well, downright tragic, it’s almost impossible to write about….

I was not able to attend the yearly Long Beach Gay Pride Parade with our evangelism team due to other commitments, so a faithful team leader, Tom Nance-Ulrich, took over the demanding job.

Every year, it’s a battle. Every year intrepid Seed Sowers must venture into a community that hates fundamentalist Christians, especially the preaching kind. (Read last year’s report from the West Hollywood Gay Pride report for proof by clicking here.)

It was Sunday morning, and I was at our church’s Men’s Retreat in the mountains, far from Long Beach, Sodom-by-the-Sea. I stopped to pray for the upcoming event under the shade of a magnificent pine and afterward looked up into the brilliant sunlight filtering through the needles. How would Tom and the team fare on this day? I trusted that God would see them through.

Several hours later I could stand it no longer. I pulled out my cell and sent Tom a quick text message: “How did it go 2day?”

His response was wrenching. I had only gotten this type of answer on one previous occasion.  I was crushed. I worried for Tom. I felt his pain. Would Tom ever be the same again? Will he continue to trust God with the outcome of future adventures, no matter how disillusioning?

I took a deep breath and glanced one more time at his message. This is what it said:

” No one showed up and i did not want to go to this alone so i did not go.”

Read Tom’s other disappointment by clicking here.

32 Comments

  1. Wow. I’ve been there. With God’s help, maybe one day I’ll go it alone but I’m a chicken! And we don’t even have Gay Pride parades here. Stay strong, Tom.

  2. I was expecting some kind of persecution story, but that would not be disillusioning, moreover only encouraging… May God forgive us (those who could have gone) for not showing up for Him… We should have been there… Sometimes I am a selfish fake, but God is always a true friend…

    “Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness” Psalms 115:1

    “Your [GOD’s] faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.” Psalms 119:90

    “What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written:
    “So that you [GOD] may be proved right when you speak
    and prevail when you judge.” Romans 3:3-4

    Tom, your faithfulness too is an inspiration to us all, God willing, there will not be a next time for you to write such a message…

  3. Going alone is no fun, I always love having a partner. Can we coordinate ahead of time who will be there, and have the phone numbers of the people who are commited for that function? Tom, it must have been a difficult decision for you, please get my number from Pastor Steve & call me. Arlette

  4. Tom, I exhort you to repent of your fear of men. The time is now for us to be bold with the lost, calling them to faith and repentance in Christ. I understand your fears, have experienced them myself. But, let us still press forward to the high calling we have in Christ. When I began to preach the truth of God’s Word, I realized these are things God has said to humanity, what am I fearful of? I must not be ashamed of the Gospel or fearful of men. Their eternity is in the balance. Do we really believe that people will swim in the fires of God’s justice forever torment without relief?

    Let us obey the Master in every area of our lives.

    Matt 10:25-27
    It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.

    God bless you as you seek His will in your life.

    John

  5. Wow…that is a tragedy…and I totally understand…and can’t blame you. I often witness alone and it can be frightening. I’m careful about what kinds of events I go to witness at when I’m alone. I certainly wouldn’t have tackled a Gay Pride event on my own either. I pray that brothers and sisters in Christ will join you next time!

  6. Been there and done that … it just wasn’t at a Gay Pride Parade. I thank God for His faithfulness because I definitely am not as faithful as I should be.

  7. Just for the record; I would not have gone alone either. No way.

    Tom is leading the next Gay Pride Parade outing (pun intended) in June. Stay tuned for the schedule.

  8. I read a link from fb (http://www.streetpreaching.com/spm_table_of_contents.htm) which is a great help. One of the mechanics about protection wrote:

    “Street preaching is the single most physically vulnerable ministry that I know of. It is imperative to depend one hundred percent on the Lord, and yet there are a few rules of protection. Jesus sent His disciples out two by two, and He certainly knew what He was doing. One preaches and the other looks for obstacles or distractions which may hinder that preaching.”

    I confess that I am more bolder out there when my wife accompany me 🙂

  9. It was covered as it has always been covered for 27 years in Long Beach and over 30 years in West Hollywood.
    See Report
    http://officialstreetpreachers.blogspot.com/

  10. He could have gone alone and just not evangelized. Take the time to learn about your fellow man.

  11. Tom, I have been there many a times. But like John McGlone said above we have to press forward seeking God not only for repentance but for strength to rise again and preach the Gospel! I am learning that right now in my walk with Christ. Be encouraged brother and DON’T GIVE UP!!!

  12. God has called us to be faithful. Of course we know that He is faithful, but what will happen to the faithless? Without faith, we can not please God. Is the Holy Spirit in you? Is He with you? Why wouldn’t you go to this or any event alone? God is with you, who can be against you? It may not be pretty, exciting, or ‘fun’ but is it God’s will? Are the militant homosexuals to be feared? No wonder, our country is in such a condition. The believers fear sinners, thus nullifying God’s word and His commands.

    I will ask the question again, “Do we really believe that people will swim in the fires of God’s justice forever torment without relief?”

    Just for the record Steve, I have the same exhortation for you that I had for Tom. No wonder he would not go, he is following the ‘leader’ instead of Jesus.

  13. A word of encouragement. I am not in the position to say whether I would have gone or not, but one thing I do know is that no matter where you go, you + Jesus Christ is a majority!!!

    Whether you’re alone in a sea of thousands at a gay pride parade, or one on one at the store, you are a majority, because Jesus Christ is with you!

  14. Gerry, I agree with what you have said, but the Holy Spirit is a person also and much greater than any of us. Almost a year into my witnessing experience I begged and pleaded with anyone from my ‘church’ to come out with me. They all thanked me for the ‘gift’ God had given me to witness, but they could not come themselves. Why? Being a chicken Christian is the standard of the day, when the Bible says, The righteous are as bold as lions. I had to go out with the Holy Spirit as He was the only willing witnessing partner that would talk with the miserable sinner about the way they were living and where they are going.

    Jesus said, “…but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:7-11

    Additionally, you can search out an event of this proportion and always find someone who is preaching if you are willing to look. I would be thrilled to live in SoCal that I could work alongside such bold brethren as Ruben Israel. Also, I find that one2ones, small groups, and tract work is almost never ‘dangerous’ as many would like to proclaim. The homosexuals, drunkards, liars, and hypocritical Christians are all very zealous for their ‘faith’. Why aren’t we? Let’s stop looking for excuses and start obeying God in all circumstances.

    God bless you.

    John

  15. I usually go alone wherever I go, because most people don’t want to do what I do. That doesn’t mean that I always preach open air. I take tracts, I talk to people on the side. I preach if I feel compelled. I understand Tom’s fears. But I pray for him that he will not fear man again. If we die preaching Christ, we die honorably.

  16. Hey, John thank you for your strong words of conviction. They are very much need, however just a healthy reminder, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Matt. 7:3). Now if you are living it out (in this case evangelism) perfectly than this does not apply to you. Though if you or I or anyone else is living out our walk with Jesus perfectly than why do we need grace and mercy and love? Just a thought. God bless.

    -Thomas

  17. Tom,

    I am an open-air/one on one evangelist from Harrisonburg Virginia. I have been doing one-on-one now for seven years. The open air is something I started just a few months ago. I used to go out by myself when I first started seven years ago. Most of what I did was in front of the regional Walmarts. I always saw great results, but over the years my heart began to suffer tremendously. DISCOURAGEMENT. I finally backed up and quit evangelizing. I could not find other people to help me and realized that my number one ministry was my heart. That all effective evangelism flows from an edified, encouraged, holy spirit filled heart. If I wanted to continue being effective for the Lord, then I had to concentrate upon my own heart. Slowly but surely the DISCOURAGEMENT began to leave to where now my heart is most of the time edified, encouraged, and filled. Now that I have learned some valuable lessons and not wanted to go back to that place of discouragement, as a general rule I DO NOT ENGAGE IN EVANGELISM WITHOUT A PARTNER. I usually only make an exception to this if my heart is feeling extremely encouraged and edified. Then I know that I can handle the opposition. The fellowship that the partner affords me gives me the encouragement in my heart so that I do not leave feeling drained or discouraged. I PROBABLY WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING THAT YOU DID. When I first started, I would not have. I was zealous to evangelize “whatever the cost”. However, unless a person has ever been taken to a place of extreme discouragement where they really have no power, no life, no flow to draw from to witness, they would not understand. Your first ministry is your heart. Take care of it. Do what is necessary to encourage your heart. Out of that edified, encouraged, Holy Spirit filled heart, witness to the lost. To keep your heart edified and encouraged, wait for the partner and then go out and evangelize.

    Jesus, please encourage Tom’s heart knowing that your acceptance of Him is not in his performance, but in your performance at Calvary. Turn his heart away from self and to you.

    Amen.

  18. Thomas, thanks for your thoughts. If you believe what I said was a plank in my eye, then I am willing to repent of what I said. If what I said was true to you then you should repent, or anyone else for that matter. As far as obedience goes, we are commanded to be perfect by our Master. I am not just living it out as a witness but as a child of God. We are to be blameless in our words, motives, and conduct. Anything else is just lukewarm compromise and leaves us without the Holy Spirit power to do anything in Jesus’ Name. My salvation, before anyone asks, is based on what Christ did on the cross and how I responded and continue to respond to that redemptive work of grace.

    What does God’s grace teach us?

    Titus 2:11-14

    For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

    God bless you.

    John

    P.S. We can do nothing without Christ! But, abiding in Him we can do all things through Him, Hallelujah!

  19. Mike Barko- WOW WOW WOW!!! I have never to this point heard it put the way you just have! I know just what you have been through and are going through. Everything you wrote about is what I have been through or am going through. I have never heard it or read it in that way about our struggle in evangelism. Thank you brother for your honesty. You have blessed me today and beyond! Thank you Jesus for using Mike! PTL!!!

    -Thomas

  20. Thank you all for the words of encouragement, exhortation and rebuke. I will take all in consideration and prayer. I’m pleased this moved so many to write comments. Let’s continue encouraging, exhorting & rebuking one another. Lord, help us all keep sharing the gospel…

  21. John-Thank you for your words. They are strong and convicting and I know that I need that. At the same time I am thankful we have a God who does not quit on us, but “. . . being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”-Phil. 1:6. We are bless to be saved and serve an awesome God!!! God bless you John with your strength, boldness and courage. I pray that God would increase those characteristics in me. Because the time is short and the return of Jesus is going to happen soon!!! May God leads us all in being bold and growing in boldness to proclaim the Gospel!

    -Thomas

  22. I echo Tom Nance-Ulrich sentiments as well.

    “At the same time pray also for us, so that God will give us a good opportunity to preach His message about the secret of Christ… Pray, then, that I may speak, as I should, in such a way as to make it clear. Be wise in the way you act toward those who are not believers, making good use of every opportunity you have. Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting, and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone.” -Col.4:3-5

    “And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the Gospel’s secret. For the sake of this Gospel I am an ambassador,…Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the Gospel as I should.” -Eph.6:19,20

  23. My heart sank when I read that no one else showed up. I remember the challenges we had there last year, so I don;t blame you for not going there alone. You should have joined us at the Torrance Armed Forces Parade. The crowd was huge. I got a chance to open air preach. The devil tried everything to try and stop me, first one cop, then an irate man, then another man with a pack of dogs. Nothing worked. God got the victory. The Gospel was proclaimed loud and clear. Wish you had joined us.

  24. Thanks John for the rebuke. But may I disagree about your comments:

    “I find that one2ones, small groups, and tract work is almost never ‘dangerous’ as many would like to proclaim. The homosexuals, drunkards, liars, and hypocritical Christians are all very zealous for their ‘faith’. Why aren’t we? Let’s stop looking for excuses and start obeying God in all circumstances.”

    Proclaiming the Gospel doesn’t mean that we have to go out every time and look for ‘dangerous’ fields to sow in. You may not find one2ones and tract works ‘dangerous’ but at least give God the glory that the Gospel is shared to a lost individual.

    “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ABILITY which God GIVETH; that God in all things may be GLORIFIED through Jesus Christ: to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” -1Peter 4:11 (emphasis mine)

    God may have given you more ability to be in ‘dangerous’ fields, then pray for me brother for more ability to be in there also. But it’s not right for you and me or anyone to be proud about it or boast such ability for being in a dangerous field. And I have to strongly disagree about your opinion towards your fellow ambassadors of the Gospel who are faithful in one2ones and tract work. There are fellow Christians out there who still struggle and pray for boldness that they may at least hand out one single tract all for the Glory of God that the Gospel may be spread. But that doesn’t mean that they are a lesser or coward ambassadors of the Gospel.

    May all of us remember that everything and in all things, it is still the Grace of God that enables us to become what God has ordained.

    “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” –Ephesians 2:10

  25. Gerry, I appreciate your thoughts and agree with most of them. Of course, the comment I made that you take exception to is an issue I should address. The context of what I was trying to communicate about one2ones, tract work and small groups is not belittling them or boasting in open air preaching. The point I was trying to make was that the fear to go to such an event by yourself is understandable if you are open air preaching or holding up a ‘HOMO SEX IS SIN’ sign. But, we should go anyway. Br. Tom or anyone else on the team could have been faithful to go by himself to witness personally to the homosexuals. I did not mean in any way to boast that open air preaching is a higher form of obedience or that I was boasting in myself whatsoever. If any understood it that way please forgive me. When I finally began to open my mouth for the Lord a few years ago, it was by personal evangelism, tracts etc. which led me to open air preaching for His glory not mine.

    Without Christ I could do nothing.

    God bless you.

    John

  26. I don’t know what is sadder, going alone or having children in the “group”.
    I know the hatred they have for Christ. My child blasphemes at ever opportunity and has cut off all contact with me. It breaks my heart not to have her in my life, but it is less pain than hearing the blasphemous words flow from those once sweet lips that memorized Scripture as a child.
    God help them as they are out of our reach, it is as if they have been given over to a reprobate mind, lost in their lust and hatred of GOD.

    Should we “go alone”? Is there none to stand with us in prayer as we war with the enemy?

    • Faith,

      I pray that God restores your “little one” back to you. As a father of two sweet little girls, I understand. But, as you know, there’s a always hope: “Raise them up in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.”

      God bless you as you wait and trust in Him.

  27. Search the scriptures. Except for experienced Apostle Paul, did not
    the men who went out to witness, went out in two’s or more?

  28. Faith, be proud you actually raised an independently thinking child rather than one that just memorized what you said as opposed to actually considering it. That’s not easy and rather commendable.

  29. Faith, I am sorry for you and I am praying for you and the return of your child to your life. I also want to agree with Azou.

    I will say it will be a wonderful blessing if she comes back to you and turns back to God on her own and of her own mind. It’s more rewarding that way.

  30. Steve… So how did the Parade go.. We have been Praying for the new Canadians guys and Mike from NY who went from the Academy . SO let us know
    Thanks To God be the Glory!
    MAy God continue to Bless you as you PREACH TE WORD!
    from the 16# Ambassador’s Academy
    Thanks ever so much..
    Please add me to your group list with Janet
    also please send me the beginnings paperwork
    Thanks Mary

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