Sunday, October 19, 2008

Little Five Points- Welcome to Hell! (pt. 2)

Reuben the flower peddler

The sidewalks were packed with people. They had parade floats that looked like moving cemetaries and people who looked like walking skeletons.

Then, of course, you have the obligatory homage that is always paid to “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” well represented. No festival is complete without Storm Troopers and Jengo Fett.

You cannot comprehend the noise, the crowds, the alcohol, ccontrasted by the wonderful smell of gyros and burgers being grilled by the vendors, with intermittent whiffs of cigarette, pot, and cigar smoke. At times, I felt as if I was experiencing sensory overload. There was a stage and very loud grunge-type music was being played. Little Five Points was hoppin'. Filth was everywhere.

Which begs the question: Why in the world would anyone bring small children to a place like this?
We had not eaten since Chik fil A with Cameron and Andrs so we got some burgers from one of the many street vendors. We sat down on a brick ledge to eat. Just as soon as I took my first bite, Jason from “Friday the Thirteenth” walked up and offered carnations for sale. I couldn’t understand a word he said due to his hockey mask obscuring his mouth coupled with the band blaring in the background. He sounded like the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons. Finally, he flipped up his hockey mask and tried to entice me to buy a carnation for Bill! That was a switch.

There were so many images of death around, I didn’t even need to start the conversation with a Million Dollar Bill (MDB). I found out his name was Rueben. I made some comment about how close to hell this looks and he agreed. I asked him if he believed hell existed. He said he did. I asked if he had a religious background. He said he was a Christian. I said, “Reuben, what do you have to do to be saved?” He said, “Just believe in God and try to live right.”

On a side note, I’m going to tell you something very important. Always be aware of your surroundings. I noticed before we sat down that there was a police officer leaning against his patrol car. There were several throughout the event. When I began talking to Reuben I turned my body as I was talking to him so that the officer was no longer behind me. I was now facing him and the two other people leaning against his car which was about 8-10 feet away. By now, the band had stopped playing for awhile. I needed to make sure to project my voice loud enough for those standing around to hear. You never who will be listening. Also, when you go to evangelize or street preach, be sure to take several $1 and $5 bills with you. You never know when they will come in handy.

So, since Reuben had demonstrated that he did not have a correct understanding of salvation, I took him through the good person test, the law, the courtroom of civil law, the judge, and ultimately our judgment before God on judgment day. You could tell it made sense to him as he would nod frequently during our conversation. I also noticed that the officer and the two people leaning against his patrol car with him had stopped talking and were listening too! I gave him the good news that Christ had died for our sins and that by placing your trust in Him, confessing your sins, and repenting, you would pass from death into life.

He got very quiet and looked down. He was being convicted by the truth. Right then, the band started up again. I asked him if there was any reason he wouldn’t do that now, tonight. He said he was going to later. We were about 50 feet from a busy street corner. Right then a large bus went by. I said, “Reuben, you don’t know the day you are going to die. Don’t put this off. You could be crossing the street and have the right of way and the bus could run the light and kill you. You don’t get a second chance.” He said very quietly, “I think I need to do that. I’m going to go home now and do that.” I asked if he had a Bible. He said he did. I said, “Reuben, start reading your Bible. When you humble yourself, repent from your sins, and place your faith in Christ, this Bible will make sense to you. Read it every day and DO what it says.” He agreed he would.

I had already told him I’d buy a flower from him. I gave him $5 and he shook my hand and was more than happy to pose for a shot. I'm so glad he flipped that hockey mask up!

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