Mardi Gras '01
I am currently in New Orleans with Lance Rowe, Richard Martin and Brian Chamberlin. We are parked at Celebration Church on Airline Hwy. next to Causeway Blvd. Today I drove in from Florida and picked up a hitchhiker near Tallahassee, Florida headed for Western Tennessee by way of Mobile. He was returning home to restore his relationship with his wife and son and was very attentive as I shared the gospel of Jesus Christ to him. I left him a Bible and he prayed with me calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I left him in Mobile, Alabama where he hopes to catch a ride North tomorrow. How often do we pass by these people needing a ride and cry out "Lord! Use me!" while the harvest is standing on the side of the road with a need? How often do you have a strangers undivided attention for several hours where you can preach your hearts desire?
Brian Chamberlin and I prepare to walk Veterans Blvd. in New Orleans
Lance and Richard walked from the West end of Veterans Blvd and Brian Chamberlin and I started at the East end and we walked towards each other. As Brian and I started, an elderly man pulled into the parking lot behind me. “I have a lot of questions to ask you!” he said. So we talked for a long time as I answered his questions. He believed in the Lord but had never been saved. He finally prayed with me to receive Christ and rejoiced as his sins were washed by the precious blood of the redeeming lamb of God, Jesus Christ!
As I passed by a gas station, the attendant walked out and asked me “Are you against Mardi Gras?” I said “Maam, are you Christian?” She said “No! Are you for or against Mardi Gras?” I said “I'm for Jesus!” She didn't want to talk about Jesus but was looking for an open door to argue with me about being for or against Mardi Gras. But my answers gave her no liberty to do so. I asked her “Tell me; what is Mardi Gras all about?” She replied “Parades!” “And what else?” I asked. She didn't want to say anymore as I had cornered her on this sinful party. She finally walked away from me in disgust.
Just as we were finishing up, I was still at the corner of Veterans and Causeway when a young man stopped by me waiting for the light. After a short conversation, he too prayed with me to receive Christ as Lord!
Very windy day which eventually brought rain and cold weather. Lance, Brian and I traveled to the bayou to Lockport and ministered to the saints there. When we first came through Louisiana 5 years ago, Lance started a street outreach ministry in Lockport called “My Brothers Keepers.” Since that time, they have continued to reach out to the streets and preach the gospel. Last night Lance spoke to the members of the outreach team, many of whom will join us at Mardi Gras to preach, encouraging them in the Lord.
Richard, Lance and Patrick went to Canal Street to preach for several hours in the morning. Later, Brian, Richard and I went to walk St. Charles, but when we got there we found that they had parades all day so we had to cancel the walk. Our desire is to walk the street prior to the parades. Maybe we can walk it on Monday. Dave Schneider came to visit us.
Alex O'Connell, Lance Rowe, Dave Schneider and me. Dave was homeless 3 years ago when we met him here in New Orleans. He accepted Christ and is now serving the Lord with all his heart.
After church, a precious brother from the church invited me to lunch. While at lunch, he took notice of my eyesight and offered to fix me up with a new set of glasses. So we traveled to his shop. When I left, a man walked past me so I offered him a tract. He had a strong smell of alcohol and I gave him a tract and asked him if he was Christian. He had tears in his eyes and said he was Catholic and that his brother had just died. I told him of the love of Christ the Lord had for him, and that maybe he would see him again in heaven. Then I asked him to pray with me. So he prayed to ask Jesus into his heart. He prayed with his heart and stressed every word with his emotions. When I left, he watched me as I unlocked the car door. He said “Thank you!” Praise the Lord! He had received the grace of God and was thankful. So I lifted my hands in the air and said “Thank you Jesus!” He smiled and I left.
Before we started walking, I met a young man who appeared to be high on drugs, at the goodwill store next to the church. I asked him if he was Christian. He said his brother was “born again” but he wasn't. I said “Why not?” He replied that when God calls him, he will come. I quoted 2 Cor 6:2 “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” I said God is already calling him, and he needs to respond. Then he said that he had some things to do first, so I challenged him asking “What, sex, drugs…” I explained that he was a puppet in the hands of Satan and that only Jesus can break the strings and set him free. He finally chose to pray with me and asked Jesus into his heart.
We then traveled to St. Charles and walked the cross. Richard and I both started from opposite ends and walked towards each other, meeting Brian and Frances in the middle. I met a young man as I started the walk. He said he had never been in a church. I asked him who he felt Jesus was. He said “He was a good man.” So I continued to explain that he was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies and that he was in fact God! After much more discussion, he prayed with me to receive Chris as Lord!
I passed by two city employees. One said he was Christian and had the glow of a child of God, the other was not, but was Catholic. I preached the gospel to him and he prayed with me to receive Christ. He seemed very thankful and I encouraged him to fellowship at the church that his friend went to.
I reached the middle of the walk where Brian was preaching out loud standing on a milk carton. Frances stood by handing out tracts and holding the cross. I handed a tract to a confessed backslidden Christian. When I asked him why he wasn't serving the Lord he said he didn't know. I counseled him to begin today to serve the Lord and forsake his sins. He chose to pray with me, asking the Lord to forgive him. He was thankful as the joy of the Lord flooded his heart again.
I also met another man, who prayed with me to receive Christ. Then, a young man walked up saying “I'm a psychic.” I asked “Are you Christian?” He said “I know your name!” I asked again “Are you Christian, are you born again?” He said “Your name is Brian isn't it!” I suspected he might have read one of my tracts and was taking a guess. I said “Yes, but you need to be born again, man!” He finally admitted that he met me here at the same corner last year. He worked at the gas station behind me. So he took my tracts and said he had to go back to work and left.
Richard had a woman stop at the light and when she saw him she broke down and wept. He instructed her to pull over and she confessed that she had reached the end of her rope. She prayed to receive Christ! Thank you Jesus for the fruit today.
Brian Chamberlin, Lance Rowe, Richard Martin and me starting the walk on Bourbon Street
Lance, Richard, Brian, Francis and I walked Bourbon St. in the French Quarters. We stopped at various intersections and prayed, then blowing our shoffars, we concluded by shouting unto the Lord. A bar owner came out to chase me away, later, a detective was in a bar getting drunk. He came out flashing his badge and screaming at Lance while Lance prayed over the intersection. Rather than argue, Lance walked to the other side of the street to pray. We then blew our shoffars and shouted a long shout unto the Lord.
I had one salvation, a Catholic man whom I gave a tract. It was a short conversation, but he humbled himself and prayed asking Jesus Christ into his life. We completed the day by walking up Canal to Rampart and passed out many tracts. It was a joy to find various brothers in Christ preaching the gospel. Some we have seen year after year faithfully come to proclaim Christ in this city of physical and moral filth.
Richard and Francis on Canal Street
We had planned to go to the “wall” to feed the gutter punks. But our cooks had a change of plans so we cancelled. Frank Gresham, a brother in Christ whom I ministered with at the Super Bowl, had known of the feeding we planned to do, and not being informed of our cancellation, took his team to the streets to gather the gutter punks to the feeding place. About 100 gathered and we were not there. So they came to the camp to ask “Where are you?” Ouch! We quickly brewed up a meal with the help of Alex and headed to the wall for the feeding. We arrived around 9:30 PM. The gutter punks had already left, but we went out and gathered a group to the feeding and had some wonderful ministry time with those who showed up for food. Thank you Lord Jesus! We were not a little convicted for missing the feeding.
Lance, Richard, Francis and I with brother Pat walked the crosses to Jackson Square. We put up the crosses in front of the Catholic Church at Jackson Square where Tarot card readers, palm readers and psychics have established their cultic business right at the churches door steps. Several years ago, a Christian group had set up in the same area and round the clock they read the Holy Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The Catholic Church called the police asking for the Christian Bible reading to cease, while they set their seal of approval upon the occult, never saying a word about their presence.
A young couple from Illinois took a tract from me. They said they were excited about seeing this historic church. I shared the testimony of their rejection of Gods word, as well as my experience in Rome when they refused us entry with the crosses and yet allowed an idol of Mary to be brought in. They were in tears as I spoke the word of God to them and rejoiced that we were there. The wife went to talk with Lance as he then prayed with her and I prayed with the husband.
While we ministered to them, and others, a Satanist circle all of us blowing incense upon us and sprinkling dust around our feet. His name is Junebug. He gave us much resistance last year at Jackson Square. After the couple from Illinois left, we gathered together to pray and as we prepared to blow the shofars, the couple returned in tears. They said “You guys changed our lives today. We have committed to serve the Lord from now on. When I get home, I'm going to tell everyone this testimony!” We hugged them and prayed with them as if we had known them as family for years.
When the couple left, we all blew the shofars and Francis watched as Junebug literally ran away when we blew the shofars and began to shout loudly the high praises of our God. Catholics exiting the church stopped and wondered. We then left. As we walked up St. Peters, we stopped at a spot where we often preach each year and prayed. It was in front of a bikers bar and they began mocking us loudly as we prayed. They turned up their music to the max. A biker revved his motorcycle at high RPM trying to drown out our prayers. Richard later laughed at the fact that the biker spewed a ton of exhaust into the bar door, smoking out the patrons. We then blew the shofars and shouted to the Lord! It was glorious! As one of them cursed us I shouted “Hey man, we're praying for you!”
We finally ended at Rampart and I met a young man and as I gave him a tract I asked him “Are you born again?” He said “I go to Church of God in Christ!” I said “Hey man, I went to church for 30 years but was not born again until I fell on my knees and repented of my sins and asked Jesus Christ to be the Lord of my life. You can go to church and not be saved.” I repeated “Are you born again?” He replied “No!” After more ministry, he prayed with me to receive Christ as Lord. I later learned that he had a praying Grandmother.
Lance at Jackson Square in front of Catholic Church to left. Junebug is behind him walking away. The tables and businesses you see on the right are all cultic businesses such as tarot card readers, psychics and palm readers. They are there year round and feast off of Mardi Gras.
Our team walked to the amphitheater where 2,000 Christian brothers and sisters will gather next Monday to worship the Lord in one of the most spectacular worship experiences any Christian could ever witness as the lost souls walk by, some in tears being drawn by Jesus, others in awe. We then prayed over the place and then blew the shofars. Then we split into two teams and walked the circle around the park at Jackson Square, stopping occasionally to pray and preach Deuteronomy 18:9-13
9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God.
Junebug returned to argue with us, flashing his book of Satan in our faces saying “This is the best book I've ever read!” Suzanne, a precious sister from Texas had ministered to him in the past and she was again very effective ministering to him. He seems to melt when she ministers to him. So if your reading this, please pray for him as he does seem to have a soft spot.
Lance preaching to the palm readers!
Jeff Bloodsworth, Mike Awe, and Michael Siemer with family arrived today. We had an awesome time of worship and prayer at Victory Fellowship in the afternoon, then hit the streets at night. I didn't have any salvations although others did. But I had one backslider pray with me to repent and walk with the Lord once again. I had several other really deep and good witnessing opportunities, one man was from Australia. I prayed with him trusting the Lord to manifest Himself to the man in a way that he cannot deny that it was God and know that Jesus is the Only way. I also had a conversation with a Christian Science telling him that he needed to be born again. Using God's word to get blessings and actually having a relationship with Jesus Christ is two different things altogether.
Lance and Richard on Bourbon Street!
We started the day working with the youth and members of Celebration Church help a woman from church move her furniture to her new home. When we were finished everyone prayed over her new home. Lance asked her if she was saved and found out that she had not yet surrendered to Christ. So he prayed with her to receive Christ and everyone was in tears. She wept with much joy as the burden of sin was removed from her.
In the evening, we fed the homeless and had some real good conversations with them, planting seed of the word of God into their lives. We had much support from the people of Celebration Church. Then we went out to Bourbon Street to preach. It was rough tonight. Someone topped the beam of my cross as I walked with shaving cream or whip cream, making it very slimy and sticky. I was bathed several times with beer thrown down from the balcony, and was used as a target for neck beads being tossed down. Nevertheless, I had some wonderful, fruitful conversations with several people, whom appeared to be receiving the gospel into their heart as I spoke. But the only salvation I had was when we were leaving and headed for the truck. A man from New York City was sitting with a beer in his hand and his head was low. He was obviously depressed. He received the gospel and prayed to receive Christ. He beamed with the glow of a child of God and thanked us for praying with him.
Feeding the homeless at the "Wall."
We returned to Bourbon Street and St. Peter. Shortly after arriving, a young man who claimed that he talked to me last year, wanted to argue with me about whether baby's go to heaven or not. “Since you claim that only born again believers go to heaven, then that means that baby's go to hell!” he accused me. I finally got him settled enough to let me explain Matthew 18:10, and Romans 7:9 and I proclaimed my belief that Baby's go to heaven. He asked me many questions for over an hour while his friend listened. Finally his friend told him to shut up and he wanted to ask some questions. The other fellow finally left but the second one ended up praying with me to receive Christ as Lord! God is good! Last year, I was urinated upon. This year, a man urinated upon my two disputers and this infuriated them both. One, the one who later got saved, actually grabbed the guy and wiped his wet leg on his pants. And they call this fun?!
Police dragged away several violent partiers who thought it would be cool to attack the cross. I praise my Lord for his protection and these servants of the law who watched over us.
At the end of the night, Lance said they were going to take a 25 year old girl home, “She has to get out of here right now!” he said. I saw that she was crying and with a repentant heart, wanted to leave this hell hole immediately. So we started up St. Peter towards Rampart and the girl asked if she could carry the cross. So she carried my cross for several blocks withstanding the mockers who continually spoke very unkind words towards her. It was a fruitful night in Christ Jesus, proclaiming the gospel to a lost and dying world.
Michael's cross towers over the crowd on Bourbon Street.
Michael and other soldiers for Jesus Christ before walking to Bourbon Street.
The young girl that came home with us last night was baptized today. She glowed from the glory of the Lord. She then returned to meet up with her friends at the hotel.
We were headed out in the morning to meet up at Mel Rolls camp for worship. In the parking lot here at the church, a woman walked past us so I opened the window and called out, “Hey, can I give you a tract to read about Jesus?” She came over and took it. It was clear that she was downcast so I took her hand and prayed for her. Tears began to stream down her face. She then walked away again. Lance said “We can't leave her like this!” and jumped out to embrace her and comfort her. She cried. Cindy also embraced her and comforted her. After a time of ministry, she came with us to the worship rally at Mel's camp. The worship was deep and I believe that she was very much ministered to by the worship time. She is a crack cocaine addict and her family had left her. She prayed asking the Lord for help.
We made it to the streets of the French Quarter for the praise rally at night across from Jackson Square. It was awesome as nearly 2,000 Christian gathered in one spot to worship the Lord in the midst of this decadence. It started to rain which was a concern as the musicians had electrical power for the equipment. But God was good and the rain subsided.
As we headed for Bourbon Street, I met up with a young man who wanted to argue with me. Some half hour later he started to calm down and simply asked questions and gave me liberty to answer them. Another young man came and listened. The first fellow, although he was not yet a believer, but clearly a seeker, let me pray for him. Then he left. The second fellow, an attorney from Michigan, complimented me and claimed to be Christian. I confronted him on his friendship with the world which is enmity with God and he received my rebuke. I counseled him about which kind of churches he should look for as he was Anglican, not much different from Catholic, which is dead religion. I then headed for Bourbon Street but a sore throat was coming on me and I could hardly talk or swallow. So I decided to head to the car. On the way home, I met a lesbian and ministered to her. The Lord gave me grace to kindly rebuke her lifestyle and point her to Jesus. She let me pray for her and I believe that she heard me and took it to heart.