Bill's first encounter
Bill had been watching and was now acclimated to this wild street scene. Now, he was ready to hand out a tract. He pulled out a MDB and I pointed to a guy on the side that I said looked like a good prospect. He was standing by one of those portable EZ-up shelters. He handed him the bill and struck up a conversation.
This is a picture of Bill’s first encounter with a stranger after handing him the tract. I stood by him and listened. He did great! He asked him the million dollar question, “Do you know where you’ll go when you die?” His name was Tomlin and he said that he thought he’d go to heaven because he tries to do the right thing. He believed there was a God and a heaven and hell. But he was like “Sarah the mouse” (see Hell pt. 1 post). He knew who Jesus was and said that if he did something wrong, he tried not to do it again. But, that was the extent of his knowledge.
Bill took him through the law and Tomlin saw very quickly that he was in trouble if he had to face God on judgment day. He said that this definitely got him thinking about heaven and hell but, due to the fact that he was three sheets to the wind, Bill said it didn’t appear to cause any deep conviction. Never doubt the effectiveness of the Gospel once the seed has been planted God brings the harvest. As he was reasoning with Tomlin, a friend of his walked up and tried to get him to go. I didn’t want Bill’s first witnessing opportunity to come to an end so I started talking to him. So, Bill relayed to me the conclusion of his encounter with Tomlin. I began conversing with his friend, Philipe so that Bill could finish with Tomlin. While Bill said that Tomlin still thought he was a pretty good person, he at least said he would give it some thought.
“Luke, may the force be with you!”
His name was Philipe and he was originally from Colombia (see next picture). Since I was standing by the cemetery float, I said something like, “With all these images of death around, it kind of makes you think, huh?” He agreed. I asked what he thought happened when you die. He said he didn’t really know.
I asked if he believed in God. He said, “No, not really.” I asked him what he believed. He said, “Well, I have my own God.” (Well, that was refreshingly honest.) I said, “Tell me about him.” He said, “Well, It’s kind of like my god is everywhere. He's really like a life force…kind of like energy…it’s in everything.” I was talking to a pantheistic Luke Skywalker. At this point, I had to establish with him that there is only one God. I used the painting/painter, building builder, can’t have Creation without a Creator analogy. He said, “I never really thought about it, I guess you’re right.” Meanwhile, Bill was still talking with Tomlin right next to us. He concluded with Tomlin only agreeing that he will give it some thought because he had never thought of this before in this manner and then he started listening to me as I talked with Philipe and got the same message all over again.
After I proved the existence of the one true God, I asked him if he thought he was a good person and if he had a minute we could find out. What happened next was hilarious! I then asked him, “Have you ever told a lie?” He jumped back and said, “THAT is really weird. Someone asked me that a couple of hours ago!” I said, “No! Really!?” He said, “Yeah, this is really weird. Someone also gave me this fake money that asked the same question you asked me about dying!” If he couldn’t figure it out, I wasn’t going to tell him I was with a group. I believe we were all being used by God.
He put his hand on the side of his head just trying to absorb what was happening. I took him through the good person test and he stopped in mid sentence and said, “Woah! I can’t believe what your shirt says!” I was wearing my favorite shirt. It says, “Warning: Plugging your ears won’t change the truth.” I stopped for a second and told him, “Maybe God is trying to tell you something. I mean, a couple of strangers ask you the same questions a few hours apart… few minutes ago, you had your own god… we’re talking… now you read my shirt. God is trying to get your attention.” He agreed. He was thirsty and wanted a drink.
Heading for deeper waters
He was spiritually awakened and I didn’t want it to end. If I was alone, I would not have gone in to a bar but Bill was with me and they still wanted to talk. We walked in and had one of the best witnessing experiences of the night with people in the bar. They got their drinks and I continued to witness to Philipe. The shirt I'm wearing is the one that really got Philipe's attention.
Bill was finished with Tomlin and had now found his groove. He struck up a conversation with a guy named Phil at the bar. He claimed he was a Satanist. But, it turns out he was more Wiccan than anything. He didn’t view the devil as bad and God as good. They were just forces that were in constant tension. This guy was totally closed but appreciated what Bill had to say and we appreciated that he didn't cast a spell on us. (Aw, come on! You know you're laughing.)
Talk about a battle ground! Remember, music is blaring, everyone is dressed like they just stepped out of hell, and alcohol was flowing. Bill and I were standing back to back as we were witnessing in the bar. As soon as we would finish with a pair, two more would be available! The fish were biting as fast as we could cast out the line!