September Recap (2017)

September has officially come and gone. The PIE Team had its ups and downs, but we were still blessed to be able to talk to a lot of people and hand out some tracts. Due to being talked to several times by the same security guard we haven’t been able to pass out as many tracts at the mall. It might be time to find a new fishing hole, even if it is just for a few months, until the mall gets back to being free and open for conversation and tract distribution. Please pray about that for us.

As for the people we spoke with they came from all sorts of different backgrounds. Sue talked to a young man who quickly told her that he was an atheist, but by the end of the conversation seemed like he was open to the Gospel whereas he wasn’t open at all at the beginning of the conversation. We missed Stan and Frank for a few of the weeks due to health problems (please lift them up in prayer). Overall though, it was a good month.

Here is a list of people who I was able to speak with this month. This by no means is all of the people that the PIE team spoke with this month. Judy, Sue, and Frank have talked to lots of people and have even seen a few people profess faith in Christ. While those people remain nameless on this blog post, God knows each and every one of them. Christian, Shelly, Yesenia, Katrina, Angel, Nikia, Alberto, Mauricio, Dylan, Victor, Elsa, Danny, Anthony, Sabrina, Oscar, crying teen (never caught his name), Porter, Louie, Chris, and Betty (took Bible).

I wanted to write specifically about two meaningful conversations that happened this month. The first one was with an older man named Oscar. I noticed that he was standing against the railing upstairs staring straight off into the distance. After introducing myself and asking him if we could talk (he said yes) I shared the Gospel with him. He sounded like he had been a church going fellow at one point in his past, but had since walked away from it. When we got to the end of the conversation I asked him if I could pray for him (he seemed like he needed prayer). When we opened our eyes at the end of the prayer he was in tears and gave me a giant bear hug and said “thank you.” I think in all of the years that I’ve done PIE that is the first hug I’ve received. I’ve gotten lots of handshakes, seen lots of tears, but I don’t know that I’ve ever been hugged. In any case, please pray for Oscar. He has a lot going on in his life and needs God.

The other conversation I wanted to write about was with Dylan. We only talked with Dylan because his friend Benny was wearing a shirt that said “sinner” on it. We were basically done for the night, but I wanted to walk over and see if Benny was wearing the shirt for any specific reason. Turned out that Benny was a believer (which is what I assumed), but his friend Dylan was not a believer. Dylan was very open to hearing the Gospel and seemed like he understood everything that we talked about. Please pray that Benny would also share with him and that Dylan would become born again through repentance and faith in the Gospel.

Thank you for reading and praying!

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August Recap (2017)

August is the beginning of the end of summer. Slowly throughout the month you can see the smaller crowd sizes at the mall. The big crowds were good while they lasted, but they’ll be back in a few months for the Christmas season. We were still blessed with the opportunities to share with loads of people this month. People who came out with the PIE team this month to share the Gospel were Stan, Judy, Sue, and Frank (along with myself). We may not be the most well spoken but we were willing to go and share. I hope that as you read this you are lead to pray and to go share the gospel with someone.

Hector, Alex, Megan, Felipe, Luz, Enrique, Sydney, Ivan, and Joey were people who we spoke with from Catholic backgrounds. Whenever someone comes from a religious background it is both a good and a bad thing. Good because they believe in God and are able to commit to a faith/religion. Bad because people are very reticent to acknowledge any shortcomings in their belief system or leave that faith system. These people all understood why they needed Christ by the end of our talks but brought up their Catholic heritage at the end of the conversations. Almost as if that is good enough to get them to heaven. Stan was brought up in a Catholic home and he frequently tells people “They never told me that I had to personally come to faith in Christ; it was a personal decision.” Pray for these people to not trust their church affiliation for salvation, but that they would put their trust in Christ for salvation.

Gene, Karl, Steven, Angel, Christian, and Daniel were people from an agnostic or atheistic background. In fact, Angel had a guy next to him get up and leave the conversation because he didn’t like what he was hearing. Often people of these belief types will try to intimidate you as if you are the person with a lesser intelligence. So when you stand firm on your faith, the Word of God, and basic common sense it can be unsettling to them. You don’t get paintings without painters, you don’t get buildings without builders, and you certainly don’t get a planet full of life without a planet/life maker. Stan had a particularly good conversation with Christian and Daniel. He remarked afterward that they seemed like they were not far off from believing in Christ – “They understood.” Reports like that are encouraging while hearing that Steven left the conversation practically unchanged and unfazed by what he’d heard is discouraging. In any case, please pray for all of these people that they might come to Christ.

Then you have guys like Marzell who claim to be Christians, but when you start talking to them you figure out pretty quickly that they are all over the place with their beliefs. At first I took him for his word, but as he described how to get to heaven (good works and praying) and that he never had made a personal commitment to Christ both Stan and I thought he needed to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. He had never repented and believed the Gospel for his salvation. In all probability Marzell had gone to a wonky church in the past that never told him what he must do to be saved like Peter did in his sermon on the day of Pentecost. Pray for the Marzell’s of the world who are genuinely seeking God, but have been given a bill of false goods.

Frank, Judy, and Sue usually are very active downstairs in the mall talking with whoever will listen. Both Judy and Sue have reported talking to Israeli men and women who are here on 6 month visas to work. Please pray for these Jewish people to study their own scriptures and come to the realization that their Messiah has already come and that they can have forgiveness of sins and the 2nd birth through this crucified, buried, and resurrected Yeshua.

Thanks for reading and praying. Until next time, go serve your King!

~The PIE Team

July Recap (2017)

The month of July was a bit hit and miss for the PIE team. Due to circumstances beyond our control and a personal vacation we only met 2 of the 4 Friday’s available. Nevertheless we were able to share the Gospel with quite a few people during those two Friday’s. The harvest is truly plentiful. The Lord only asks us to go into His harvest field to share with our fellow humans.

Here is a list of the names of all of the people who we spoke with on those two Friday’s in July.

Marcello, Christian, Gabriella, Rick, Kris, Cassidy, Juan, Charles, Edith, Manny, Cesar, Jaime, Jesus, Estephanie, Ruby, Roger, Anthony, Perla, Steven, and Enrique.

In addition to those names there are numerous people who spoke with Frank, Judy, and Sue. I don’t have their names on hand, but God knows each and every person who they spoke with during those two Friday’s.

It’s always interesting when you talk with someone and let them explain their worldview to you. Many times the people who are sharing with us seem to be making it up on the spot. That hits the nail on the head for the sin of idolatry. Idolatry is the creation of a “god” in the image of that person. They create a god in their mind who is okay with most (if not all) of what they are doing and may or may not be concerned about what other people are doing. In olden times they would carve a statue, be it made of stone or wood. Today we are much more clever. We turn God into a cosmic genie or a benevolent Santa Clause type figure who is waiting to shower us with His gifts and goodness.

I don’t mean to sound rude or arrogant about the beliefs of other people. That’s not my purpose. I myself have held to many wrong ideas and beliefs during my life. In my early 20s I had the “I’m saved – I’m good for eternity” mentality mixed with the worldly, relativistic thought pattern that people could believe whatever they wanted. I knew I needed Jesus. I wasn’t 100 percent sure why everyone else needed Jesus. Thankfully God changed my thinking and made the Scriptures clear to me through great teaching. So when I hear a guy like Marcello say that he is a good person and that God won’t send him to hell because “a loving God would never do that”, I empathize because I too once thought incorrect things about God. I shared the truth of the Scriptures with Marcello though and hope that God will do a miracle in his heart and mind.

Christian, Gabriella, Kris, and Cassidy came from a Catholic background. While Stan was sharing with them he shared his experiences growing up in the Catholic church. He made sure to emphasize to them that a religious system alone can’t save you. Only Jesus Christ can save. He told them that they needed to personally receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Their grandparents, parents, and church affiliation couldn’t do it for them. Stan has a great way of letting people know that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” while he speaks with them.

Please join me in praying for all of the people, named and unnamed, who heard or read the Gospel in the month of July as a result of the outreach of the PIE team. Pray for repentance, faith, and truth to reign in their lives!

Thanks for reading AND praying!

~The PIE Team

June Recap (2017)

The month of June was extremely busy and for falling behind with the weekly updates ISpurgeon Quote apologize. The month was filled with the return of loved ones, adventures, mishaps, and harassment by mall cops. I hope you are edified and led to pray for the precious people we encountered this month.

I’ll start with a praise report. We had prayed for weeks (5-6 in total) for the healing and return of our beloved Stan. He was in a dire place, but God saw fit to bring him through that trial and return him to his family (and us). I can’t express enough how much Stan means to me. He is a man with a singular vision of seeing God glorified in his own life by showing and telling others how they can be saved. He has a saying- “Our great purposes in life are to be saved and to help others be saved.” (I’m paraphrasing) I’m grateful that he has returned and that God will continue to use him to challenge people on Friday night’s (in season) and at other times in his daily life (out of season). Please continue to pray for Stan to recover his strength and health fully so that he can do all of the things for God that he desires to do.

I’m going to type a full list of the names of people we spoke to this month:

Sandra, Albert, Ruben, Yvette, Efrain, Jackie, Abel, David, Pablo, Miguel, Lisa, Anthony, Manuel, Enrique, George, Jose, Sharon, Nico, Michael, Caeser, Jose, Angel, Lanette, Juan, German, Rosales, Daniel, Wendy, Jacob, Kevin, Steven, Bridgette, Roger, Manny, Enrique, and Estephanie. In addition there were dozens of people who Judy, Sue, and Frank spoke with whose names weren’t written down by me (or lost). Though I don’t have all of the names, God knows them all!

It’s interesting to see a list of names like that and not know anything about them other than the fact that they were given the Gospel. They ranged from questioning atheistic skeptics like Yvette and Sandra to agnostics like Jackie and Abel to non-practicing Catholics like Lanette, Juan, and Enrique. They are all real people though with their own personal rebellions, their own personal tragedies, and own personal questions. One young lady recounted a tragic tale of being abused to Stan while another young lady couldn’t get past the fact that a person born in the remotest tribe could be sent to hell for failing to believe in a Christ that they had never heard about. We did our best with each person to gently, yet firmly, recount to them the glorious remedy for a fallen and broken humanity. With each person there was a period of questions and answers (getting to know each other), a period of going through God’s standards (the 10 commandments), a period of going through God’s justice and our personal accountability to Him, and a period of talking about God’s amazing love for us which was displayed through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Please pray for each of these precious people as they wrestle with whatever is holding them back from repentance and faith in Jesus Christ!

One particular night, I was confronted (for the first time in a while) with dismissal from the premises of the mall because I was talking with someone about Jesus. The mall cop was unconcerned with the teenagers throwing things off of the balcony onto the sidewalk below and was instead more preoccupied with letting me know that I was not welcome on the mall premises if I was going to talk “about that” (he refused to tell me what words, phrases, and topics I was allowed to talk about…he just kept saying “you’re not allowed to talk about that“). We were given legal information from Stan’s brother after the fact, but for that night I was consigned to places other than the mall after my first conversation. Please pray for the mall cop who was against the Gospel being shared. Pray that God would soften his heart and lead to him to a saving faith in Jesus Christ!

Thank you for reading and praying. It is truly appreciated!

~The PIE Team

 

Friday, June 2nd (2017)

This week saw all of the members from the PIE team except myself out of action for various reasons. Though I ended up being by myself, I wasn’t really by myself. I had the Holy Spirit within me and the prayers of my church supporting me. I hope you enjoy reading about all of the encounters I had on this “solo” night.

I started by running into a young man named Anthony who told me that his passion in life is soccer. We talked about what is ultimately important in life. I didn’t want to downplay soccer or make it sound like it wasn’t important, but I also wanted to mention that when we die that whether we are in heaven with God or in hell without Him will be the most important part of our existence. He took a million dollar bill and thanked me for our conversation. Please pray for Anthony.

Juan and Penny were my next conversation and it did not go well (at least not from my perspective). They were insolent towards the security guard who talked to them as I approached (should have been my warning that they would be that way toward me). They mostly mocked the idea of God yet at the same time wanted to talk with me. I struggled through the commandments to show them that they had sin (which they didn’t seem to care about) and erred on the side of the sharing the Gospel with them even though it seemed like they didn’t care. My hope in sharing and continuing through an awkward and tough conversation is that they were trying to put on a show for each other and that they were really listening. Only God knows if they were really listening. Please pray for Juan and Penny.

The next conversation was with a guy named Eric who said “I am Catholic and I will never leave Catholicism” when I asked him “Do you have a religious background?” to start our conversation. Even though Eric was a proclaiming Catholic he admitted that he rarely goes to church and that it was “more of a family thing than a faith thing.” He also told me that he had never been born again or even heard about it (see John 3:3). After admitting to being a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart, and then admitting that he had never put his personal faith and trust in Christ for salvation(repenting and believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ) he doubled down and said “I won’t believe this because I’m Catholic. I will never not be Catholic.” I reminded him that the Catholic church, for all of its problems, does teach that Jesus was crucified, buried, and that He rose again on the 3rd day. He shrugged and dismissed it. Eric was a nice enough guy, but I left our conversation profoundly saddened. Please pray for Eric, so that he will trust in Christ rather than in a religious system to get to heaven.

I then briefly talked with a college student named Jason who quickly let me know that he was gay after I handed him a million dollar bill. He wasn’t interested in talking much further than basic introductions after I asked him the million dollar question “Will you go to heaven when you die?” I thanked him for the time that he did share with me though. Please pray for Jason to read the million dollar bill and have serious thoughts about what it says.

Sergio, Miguel, and Dylan were a trio of just graduated students who stopped to talk with me after I handed them a million dollar bill. In fact, Miguel let me know that he was soon reporting for military service (Army). They listened intently as I shared with them the hope within me. All 3 of them had never heard John 3:16 before. I was happy that our conversation went well and that they heard the truth and that they seemed receptive, but I am always saddened by how Bible and Gospel illiterate our society has become. Please pray for these young men to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ!

My last conversation of the night was my longest. I talked with a guy named Christian and his friend Daniel (Daniel mostly listened and didn’t offer any verbal input). I found out rather quickly that Christian was a Jehovah’s Witness. We went through lots of Scripture (Colossians 1, John 1, John 8, Exodus 3, Revelation 20-21, John 20:28, and several other Scriptures). In fact, I’d say we spent 80 percent of the time reading the Bible together. Though we read lots of Scriptures that directly contradicted and refuted the common JW views on Christ and eternity he reiterated that he was never going to leave his religion. Please pray for both of them. Though their hearts seem hard now, we know that God can do mighty things!

Thanks for reading and praying!

~The PIE Team (of one tonight)

Friday, May 12th (2017)

We were saddened to learn that one of our own, Stan, was in the hospital with a serious infection. After praying for Stan, reading our Bibles, and praying we headed out for the night. This night saw us go to our local fishing hole the Tyler Mall. We also had a first time participant, Sue, join us on this night!

The first conversation was with John, Alexis, and Luis. I asked them the million dollar question after handing them the million dollar bill – “Will you go to heaven when you die?” They all sat for a moment before answering “heaven.” I asked them why and they told me because “we are good people.” I then asked them if I could ask them a few questions to see if that was true of them (that they were “good”). I asked them if they had ever told a lie, stolen, looked with lust, blasphemed, been jealous or greedy, and if they had ever worshiped something/someone other than the God of the Bible. They had done all of those things. I asked them “Do you think God is letting you into heaven with all of this sin?” They said “no.” I then asked them if they wanted to know how God could forgive them and wash their sin away (in order to let them in) – they said “yes.” So I told them the greatest news ever – that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, was buried in a tomb, and rose again on the 3rd day and that this risen Jesus offers them eternal life if they repent and believe in Him for salvation. They seemed like they were listening, but when I asked them “What’s holding you back from putting your faith and trust in this Jesus?” they didn’t have much to say. Usually that means that there is a sin in their life that they love more than the idea of trusting in Christ. Nevertheless, please pray for them!

The next conversation was with two guys named Jose and Daniel. They both were from a catholic background, but when I asked them if they had ever been born again they didn’t know what I was talking about. When I asked them if their Catholicism was “a family thing or a hardcore faith thing?” they told me that it was a “family thing.” I asked them if they had kept the 10 commandments to which they said “I’m not sure.” So we went through a few of the commandments – lying, theft, adultery of the heart, and blasphemy. They had done all 4 of those things. I asked them “Keeping in mind that you are professing liars, thieves, blasphemers, and adulterers at heart, do you think that God will let you into His heaven when you die?”  Their heads kind of sunk as the gravity of that thought hit them. The truth is that none of us has been good enough or can be good enough to get to heaven on our own. Like Jose and Daniel we all need the forgiveness and life which is only found in Christ. After sharing the good news with them they told me that they would think about what I told them. Please pray for Jose and Daniel to come to a saving faith in Christ!

Javier, Paige, and Victoria were the next conversation of the night. They were very friendly and very attentive as we talked. They all said that they believed in God, but weren’t sure why (I took a page out of the Stan playbook and asked them “why do you believe in God? After they told me that they believed in God). We went through all 10 of the commandments and it showed them that they were in trouble and in need of God’s forgiveness. Please pray for these well spoken, kind, young people.

Frank, Judy, and Sue also had numerous conversations. Please pray for all of the people who they spoke with about the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ!

Thanks for reading and praying!

~The PIE Team

Friday, May 5th (2017)

This Friday night was a great night of sharing the Gospel at our local “fishing hole” the Tyler Mall. We started out with average pepperoni pizza from Little Caesars before praying, reading the Bible, and heading out for the night. Hope you enjoy reading about our encounters from this  night!

Diana, Adriana, and Hillary were the first 3 people we spoke with tonight. They all said that they didn’t have much of a religious background but that they still believed in a “higher power.” When asked if they believed they would go to heaven when they died they all replied “yes.” When I asked them what they based that belief on they all said “Because I do good things …and because I pray.” When I asked them if I could take them through the 10 commandments to see if they were as good as they claimed to be they all said “yes.” It didn’t take long for the law to do what it does – convict. They had lied, stolen, blasphemed, been angry/hated, and coveted. When I asked them if they would be innocent or guilty they said “guilty.” However, they still thought they were going to heaven because “God forgives.” After Stan said “so you didn’t tell those lies or steal those things?” they didn’t have an answer. It was at this point that we shared the Gospel with them. They seemed to be listening, but often you can’t tell outwardly what is happening on the inside. Pray that God would continue to send Christians into their lives to share the Truth with them, that they would read the Bible, and that they would go to a Bible teaching church to be taught what the Bible says.

Gabe and Marwa were the next two people who spoke with me. Gabe wasn’t sure where he stood in regards to whether or not he believed in God. Marwa was a practicing Muslim. Muslims believe in the prophet Moses and that the 10 commandments are valid laws for them to live by. Like everyone else on this planet, Marwa (and Gabe) had broken those laws by lying, stealing, blaspheming, committing adultery of the heart, being angry/hateful, and coveting what other people have. Gabe seemed to listen more intently than Marwa while I was sharing the Gospel message that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and rose again on the 3rd day. They clearly heard that they must repent/believe in Christ for salvation. Please pray for them both!

Sometimes we have bad encounters when we approach people. Most people will either say “sure, we can talk” or “no thanks, not interested” (or something to those effects), but a guy was very put off by me approaching him and offering him a Gospel tract and asking him if we could talk. He yelled “666 mother fu–er” at me. I said “I’ll take that as a ‘no, I don’t  to talk” and went on my way. Please pray for that guy to repent and believe in Christ!

While this was happening Stan was speaking with an atheist and a professing Christian. He reported that the atheist had relented of their atheism, but was still unsure about which God was the correct one. After taking them through his worldview survey, sharing some basic facts about prophecy and archaeology, and sharing the Gospel he reported that it was a fruitful conversation. Please pray for these two people to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ!

Dylan, Derrick, Tyler, and Kayley were the last group we spoke with on this night. Stan asked them if they knew if they died tonight whether they knew if they were going to heaven or to hell. They said they weren’t sure. After going through the 10 commandments with them it became clear to them that they had need of forgiveness and saving. Stan shared the Gospel truth that forgiveness is only found in Jesus Christ. They thanked him for speaking with them about these things. They were young, but really were respectful and listened to what he had to say. I hope that they turn to Christ and that we see them in heaven!

Thanks for reading!

~The PIE Team