It had been over two years since I jumped into the car to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the streets of San Diego. As such I wasn’t expecting much fruit.
For one, it always amazes me that people open up their lives to us. Second, it just seems so random to approach people on the street to discuss such a personal topic without a plan.
But once again I was wrong to doubt!
This time I brought my fourteen year old son, Jacob and my friend Tim who co-pastors Surfside Church in Encinitas.
We arrived at our destination at the corner of 36th and University Avenue due east of Interstate 805.
My son and I exited the car and immediately saw a man coming toward us. His name is Claudio. He was polite and accepted our invitation to share with him about Jesus.
I shared with Claudio from the Book of Romans and the Gospel of John emphasizing man’s rebellious nature and need to be born again of the Holy Spirit. I also shared my testimony. Then I asked him if he wanted to ask God to forgive him of his sin by placing his faith in Jesus Christ. He said yes!
Wow, I couldn’t believe it. The first person we shared with said yes to repenting of his sin and receiving Jesus by faith.
I prayed with Claudio, gave him my contact information and encouraged him to call me for follow up.
Next we approached several gentleman who were painting a church sign on the other side of the street. We encouraged them to continue being bold for Jesus in their neighborhood, then we prayed with them and went on our way.
We literally walked a few steps to the corner and there we met Emelda and her two daughters. Emelda smelled of marijuana. Once again I asked to share with her about Jesus and she said yes.
I used the same approach with her that I did with Claudio and half way through, after broaching the subject of sin, tears began to stream down her face from beneath her aviator sunglasses.
I told her that her sins could be forgiven by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Next, I called over Ricardo who was one of the men painting the church sign. He informed Emelda of their Sunday service times and then something amazing happened.
I politely asked Emelda whether her husband was in the home. She sheepishly replied no. Then Ricardo confessed to Emelda that he was formerly a drug addict and that six years prior his own marriage was in trouble until Jesus came into his life.
It was at this point that I was flooded with compassion for Emelda and gave her a big hug. I just love how God convicts a person of their sin and then right on the spot they cry out to Him for forgiveness.
I first saw LaTasha sitting on a park bench on University Avenue by herself. I approached her and asked for permission to pray for her. She said in an earnest voice please pray for me and then she grabbed my hand and pulled me down beside her.
She immediately began to whale as she put her head in my lap and cried tears of torment. She continued whaling and crying for several minutes as I prayed.
I pleaded with God to pour His love and grace into her heart and to set her free from her bondage to sin, as He did with me nearly twenty years ago.
When I stopped praying, LaTasha lifted her head, wiped away her tears with both hands and proceeded to tell me that she was a prostitute and was afraid her pimp was watching her and would come to beat her. This broke my heart.
LaTasha was obviously tormented but she did not repent.
I bought her a meal and watched her walk away feeling disappointed but hopeful.
There are many more men and women on the streets of San Diego like Claudio, Emelda and LaTasha who need to know that God loves them. Will you join us share this message with our fellow San Diegans?