I was not satisfied.
Oh, I was plenty happy with the fact that the evangelism team had established a beachhead from which we could wage a Gospel battle in the pagan festival called Fiesta Hermosa. It’s just that, well, there were way too many people milling about the streets and I didn’t want to settle on talking with the lost one at a time. I wanted to make a bigger difference. I wanted to reach more people.
Then I remembered what “Righteous Richard” Chavarria had done on his milkcrate…
…how he was as bold as a lion when he preached the unadulterated Word of God to all those innocents standing in the shuttle bus line.
I wanted a piece of that action.
I grabbed my own milkcrate and Oliver Donan (another zealous evangelist), and we headed to the area that was taking people from the fair, back to their cars.
And what a move!
Hundreds of people lined up to wait for the bus.
Hundreds of tired, partied-out, fair-goers were the perfect audience for what I wanted to do: give them a special Memorial weekend church service. The best thing was that we were about 50 yards outside the fair—well within our rights to preach in the open air. No one could hassle us; we were on public grounds.
Oliver and myself prayed fervently to the Lord of the harvest. We blanketed the line with hundreds of Gospel tracts. I spotted a wall about three-feet high and climbed on top of it. I inhaled deeply and greeted my new congregation.
“Happy Memorial weekend!” I welcomed. A few in the crowd returned the greeting. “I’m thankful that we have set aside a day where we can remember those who died to give us the freedom that we have now in America!” Some people clapped in approval. “Because of their sacrifice, I am able to hand out those silly million dollar bills with a Gospel message on the back without fear of being arrested. I also have the opportunity to express my First Amendment right to speak publicly to you.
“My name is Steve Sanchez and I am an associate pastor at a church located right up the street. I also have credentials to be doing this.” I pointed to the badge that was draped around my neck. I explained that I was the Director of the Department of Annoyance, a division of the Eternal Affairs Department.
I got a few chuckles from that one.
“So if any of you get annoyed at what I am about to say, don’t worry about it; your bus will be here soon. When you get on you can say to yourself, ‘Whew! I’m glad to be away from that guy; he sure was annoying.’ ”
I then asked everyone to take a look at the bill we just gave to them.
“If you read the back of that million dollar bill you will find a very important question: If you died today, would you go to Heaven or Hell?” I then launched into the “Good Person” test.
After appealing to the crowd to repent and trust Jesus for forgiveness of sins, one woman clapped and said that she would be attending my church. I asked her about her story and she described a wasted life. “I just got kicked out of six bars last week for stripping.” Her boyfriend walked away during our conversation, but her little daughter stayed within earshot.
Everyone loaded onto the bus—then another line formed. I preached. Oliver worked the crowd…
…talking with all types of people. The bus came, took them away—then another line. Oliver worked it. Another sermon.
Another bus. Line. Sermon.
On the fifth go-round, someone caught my eye. Off in the distance I noticed a security guard making his way toward me.
I continued to preach. He came closer. I preached… then… “Excuse me, sir! You need to stop and come down from there.”
I kept on preaching.
Security tried to interrupt again. “Excuse me, sir! Stop talking and come down from there , now!”
I continued to preach as if he wasn’t there. Eternity was at stake for those people in line. I was not about to let Satan stop me from my work.
But he tried… ohhhhh… how he tried. The security guard now positioned himself directly underneath me, fixed his gaze like flint then screamed, “YOU STOP THAT PREACHING RIGHT NOW!!! COME OFF THE WALL NOW!!!!
I just kept preaching.
Oliver stepped up to his side and gently informed him that it was my right to preach there.
I kept on preaching.
Another security guard stepped up to the hollaring guard and agreed with Oliver.
I kept on preaching.
Old Yeller left with his tail between his legs.
A drunk guy thanked me afterward.