“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people.”
As we proclaimed the gospel on the campus of the Community College of Philadelphia, a large crowd gathered as three Muslim students began to oppose our message. For over four hours our team was engaged in numerous conversations as Jesus became the main conversation. This day was not without opposition as campus security tried to remove us from campus and even some of the faculty came out to get us off topic by explaining that students were skipping classes to listen to us. One angry young man reminded me that he had been in prison once in his attempt to intimidate me -- but the Lord gave us strength to preach Christ on this day.
The next day, we were at the Bridge and Pratt Transportation Center, when I was approached by a young man who needed $2 to take the subway into Center City to go to classes. I asked him which school he attended and he said, “I go to the community college.” I replied, “I was preaching on the campus yesterday.” He responded, “I saw you there and figured if anyone would help me it would be you.” I was then able to share Jesus with a young man who had walked away from the church as he has gotten older. It was one of those times when the Lord lets you see that he is in control and all we have to do is to be faithful.
Sometimes, it is hard to get a crowd on campus, especially if you continue to visit every week. In a way you become common in the eyes of the students and they ignore you; being faithful can open opportunities for building relationships. On a slow day at The College of New Jersey, I sat down and shared the gospel with James for over an hour. He considers himself to be an atheist, but realizes that it is possible that God could exist. With his knowledge of the Bible, I was able to answer some of his questions. As we parted, he said, “I don’t think that you will change my views.” That’s alright, because I know that God can, and our conversation was not in vain. A few days later at Delaware County Community College, a young lady asked me how I came to be a follower of Jesus. I was able to share my testimony with her and her two friends. As the campuses are now in finals, we look forward to going back in the spring to share the light of the gospel in these dark places.
In cooperation with Jeff Rose and Dave Griffin, we have been working in Camden, NJ on a weekly basis in a city park, by the transportation center. Each week, we preach Jesus, give out tracts and talk to people. A lot of the folk are bound in drugs, alcohol, crime, and poverty, so we bring food, water, clothes, blankets, gloves and coats to help with some of the folks needs. Just last week on a chilly 42 degree day a man who had been just let out of prison walked up to us wearing a T-shirt. He had made a commitment to Christ while he was in prison and we were able to provide him with a nice warm overcoat. His face lit up with a smile as he was able to see that the Lord will take care of him. In the time that we have been ministering there, we are starting to build friendships with a number of people who hang out with us each week. For trust to develop, the people must see that you are in it for the duration, because they have been burned in the past, as others have let them down.
One day in between our preaching, Sally Thomas was singing a hymn when a tall young man stopped to listen. He told her, “You sing like an angel.” Jason was on his way to buy crack, when the Lord grabbed his heart. He was counseled by our team and left with a Bible in hand. In time, we will see if his commitment was real, but the Lord gave him a second chance as he had been recently let out of jail on a technicality after he had killed a man in a fight. Keep our work in Camden in your prayers as we seek the Lord’s direction for its future.
We are especially grateful for all the help with our Christmas stocking outreach. Because of your generosity, we have about 1000 stockings to give out. The number is fewer now since we had our first outreach this past weekend in two North Philly neighborhoods where our good friend Rev. Ivy ministers. The weather was cold, drizzly and damp, but the Lord brought out over 180 people to hear the gospel and to be blessed with a gift. It was especially a big help to have some of our friends from Faith EC Church of Lancaster, PA here to assist us. Pray for many lives to be changed as we bring them the good news of Jesus.
Thanks for your generous support and prayers. We are blessed to have you as a part of our team. God Bless You.
Joseph Toy, Jr
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16
Over the years, we have seen more and more opposition from the police as we have shared the gospel at events and recently in Philly. On a warm summer night, I headed out to South St. to witness and preach the gospel with some of my friends. I was giving out lots of tracts, when I saw a store owner come out to oppose us. He then proceeded to involve the police as we continued to proclaim the gospel. As five policemen converged on our area and watched, a woman came up to Mike Stockwell as he declared God’s word and exposed herself. This was the end of our night as Mike was cited for disorderly conduct. Supposedly, it is ok to walk around topless, but it is not ok to preach God’s word. The officers were just looking for a reason to shut our ministry down. It makes you wonder, “How much freedom to we really have in our country?”
Departure of the Summer of 2012
Our last beach outreach of the summer was at Rehoboth Beach, DE. Mark Johnson and I were joined by our friend Darrel Davis and his son Jeremy. It was a good week of preaching the gospel and handing out tracts. We ended our time by traveling to Ocean City, MD to hit the boardwalk with Frank Robertson and preached to large crowds at the sand sculptures while handing out a thousand tracts. I can remember two Catholic girls asking, “So how can I know whether I will go to heaven?” It was a blessing to share the gospel with them and point them to Jesus and not the Catholic Church as the means of salvation. One hour later, I opened up Isaiah 53 to share the Messiah with two Jewish ladies who were finishing their ice cream as the heard the gospel, while sitting on a bench next to us. On a warm afternoon at Seaside Heights, NJ, I was holding my cross, when a young man and his buddy said, “Are you ready for what?” They had been reading my cross, which states, “Are you ready?’ I was able to share Jesus with them and leave them a tract called, “This is your Life”. It is such a blessing to be able to share Jesus on the boardwalks of NJ, DE, and MD.
In the middle of August, my Dad traded time for eternity. Wendy and I traveled to NC to help my mom bring him home to Reading, PA from the beach house never thinking that my Dad would go to heaven that night. My dad struggled with Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years, and now is whole again and worshiping Jesus. My dad was a big help to me over the years and I will never forget the verse of scripture that he shared with me as I struggled with the call to ministry. Come, Follow Me and I will make you a fisher of men. If Jesus could make me a fisher of men, who was I to argue with him. For the last 28 years, I have trying to fulfill that calling from God. Thanks Dad for your encouragement and support. I miss you.
I am so grateful to all of you who helped us with school supplies this year. We had three large outreaches in the Logan and North Philly sections of the city. We were also able to supply a first grade classroom taught by one of our friends and to partner with our friend Pastor Ken Rozier for a community outreach next door to his church. Many moms, dads and kids heard about Jesus and their need to be saved.
Arrival of the Fall of 2012
Every fall is back to school time for our family. Adam is in his last year of high school, so for us it soccer season as we put on our soccer mom and dad hats. Wendy is back teaching this year after a year off and is teaching high school environmental science and tutoring kindergarten, first grade and second grade at two different private schools. It keeps her super busy. In my case, it’s back to the college campus to share the gospel with the students. We have had two new additions to our family this fall. Seth and Suzy were blessed with their third child, Joseph Alexander, (our third grandchild.) Just this past weekend, Jared married Crystal Sarah on Emerald Isle, NC, so we have added our second daughter in-law. It was a beautiful beach wedding on a beautiful fall day, but more importantly, it was a God honoring ceremony.
On a cool drizzly day, I headed to Kutztown University to meet Mark Johnson. The crowds are usually large on this campus with much interaction. It started out slow as the students did not want to stand out in the Drizzle to hear the word of God. As I paused from preaching between classes, I saw a familiar looking young man named Dan. Dan and I met at Delaware County Community College and now he is a student at Kutztown. Dan, who is an atheist, hung around all day and was talking to Mark when I heard him say, “Hey Joe, should I start reading the New Testament at the gospel of John.” Another student handed him a Gideon’s New Testament and said, “Take my Bible. I have another one.” We have had some good crowds at each college, even the tougher ones such as the University of Penn and the University of Delaware.
At Penn, it was hard plowing one day and then a large crowd developed with great interaction and all of a sudden the campus police dispersed the crowd. I was engaged in a conversation with a female student and all of a sudden I had a policeman on both sides of me. They smiled and nodded their heads as I continued to share the gospel with her. A few days later, we headed to the “cemetery”, which is my nickname for the University of Delaware. The crowds were small until Mike Stockwell joined us and two lesbians decided to make a sport of mocking us, which drew a large crowd. We ended the day with two hours of interaction with questions and answers. So far this fall, we have been to Temple, West Chester, Kutztown, Delaware, Penn, Penn State-Berks, Delaware County Community College and have been blessed to work with some other brethren who have stopped to help us as they tour the country. If our country’s future is to change, this generation must be reached with the gospel, because changed hearts will lead to a changed nation.
On one of our center city outreaches, Dave Braun and I met Sally Thomas. She wandered into one of our open air meetings near the Gallery Mall and has been working with us two to three days a week ever since. Sally has a deep passion to see people come to know Jesus. She gives out hundreds of tracts each week. Recently, I received a note from a woman who repented of her sins after reading one of the tracts that Sally gave to her. Her presence is a big encouragement to both Dave and I.
The Christmas season will soon be here. If any of you are planning on helping us with our Christmas stocking outreach, we will need the stockings after Thanksgiving and no later than December 1, 2012. Thanks for your willingness to help us with this project. If you have any questions, just contact us.
As a family, we thank you for your faithful support and prayers. We are blessed by your desire to be a part of our ministry here in Philly and beyond. God Bless You.
Proclaiming Jesus as Lord,
Joseph Toy, Jr.
OPEN AIR MINISTRIES
“The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.” Mark 4:26-27
On the fourth of July, I was preaching the gospel with a group five men along the Ben Franklin Parkway as people streamed into the area for the concert and fireworks. As I declared God’s word, I heard a man say, “Hi, Joe,” as I extended my hand, I replied with, “Hi, Vinny.” Two weeks later as David Braun and I were preaching at the Gallery Mall, Vinny showed up and handed us two ice teas. My first encounter with Vinny was over two years ago near the Hard Rock Café after he had recently been left out of prison. I shared the gospel with him and gave him a Bible. Vinny reminded me of this one day when He stated, “That Bible you gave me changed my life and I know the Lord now.” Vinny has been walking with Jesus for over three years now. We sow a lot of God’s word as we travel about and Vinny is a reminder to us that God is mighty to save.
High School Senior week in Ocean City, MD
In early June, ten of us arrived in Ocean City for 5 days of intense outreach. Each day, we handed out tracts and witnessed to folks in the afternoon and preached God’s word in the evening. During the week, we gave out over 10,000 gospel tracts and talked to hundreds of young people. Our evenings were spent preaching with the paint board or using the biblical sand sculptures as our backdrop. This year, I took my cross to the boardwalk and we used it in the afternoon as we gave out tracts. On the crosspiece, it says, “Are You Ready?” This question allowed us to engage many curious teens in conversation about death and Judgment Day. One afternoon, Evangelist Mark Yoho opened up the gospel to a young man who committed his life to Jesus.
Fourth of July in Philly
What better day to talk about freedom in Christ than on the fourth. This year we tracted the parade route and preached near the Liberty Bell. We had some great conversations with some of the occupy folks who were very open to the gospel. Although, a woman dressed like Lady Liberty had a number of choice words for us. There are always challenges in ministry as we had numerous problems with our amplification equipment, but we thank God for the foresight to bring back up units. As I was preaching later in the evening, a man from the Lehigh Valley area came up to me with tears in his eyes. He stated, “I have not been living right. I need to change. I know the way. I just walked away. Pray for me.” I challenged him to repent and ask God for His mercy. I can remember seeing a woman with tears streaming down her face as she left with a Bible clutched to her chest after speaking with Mike Stockwell. Each year, I always think, “This has to be the hottest Fourth of July ever.” Who knows, but we had a blast proclaiming Jesus.
Rehoboth Beach, DE
Usually, you never know what’s going to happen when you go witnessing, but in Rehoboth Beach, you can be sure that you will have a confrontation with the police. This confrontation was short lived as we explained the law to the part time summer policemen, which they confirmed with their superiors. After dealing with the police for six years, we are very familiar with their laws and our rights to be there, even if they would like us to leave. We had six evangelists working the boardwalk each night for about five hours. Many of the young people came back each night to talk to us. One young man named Nick remembered us from last summer and heard about Jesus again. He is blinded by his own self-righteousness, which stems from his religion. Two things stand out in my mind about our three days, the first is the willingness of a crowd of 10 people being willing to listen to me in the rain as it was thundering and lightening The second was our last night when the crowds were small and I considered calling it quits. Don Karns wanted to preach and it was our largest crowd of the evening. The boardwalks are a great place to sow God’s word. One pastor was so excited to see us that he came out each night and invited us to Ohio to train his church in evangelism.
Raymond Rosen and Spring Garden Homes
I was reminded of the joy of working with kids who are so excited to hear about Jesus. Georgene Ivy and Tony Rizzo both asked me to help them with some kid’s outreach here in Philly. We were warmly welcomed into each community by the parents and had groups of over 30 children at each location. One father asked me if I knew of Cornerstone Church, where he used to attend. To his amazement, I know two of the pastors on staff at this church. I told him, “The Lord brought me here to tell you to get back to church and not to walk away from Jesus.” He laughed and said, “I hear yah.”
It’s hard to believe that the summer is two-thirds over. Keep us in your prayers as we have at least two more beach outreaches planned. On the last week of August, we will be back on the college campuses. If you have school supplies for us, we will need them soon. Thanks for your prayers and gifts. God Bless You!
Joseph R. Toy, Jr.
Seaside Heights, NJ Outreach-July 30 to August 1
Rehoboth Beach, DE Outreach-August 6-8
School Supplies Outreaches-August 27-31
OPEN AIR MINISTRIES-----Philadelphia
“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me”-Jesus
As I was walking along the Indy 500 parade route this past Saturday, a man handed me a business card with this message printed on the top. DZHENOU After a quick glance, I place it in my pocket and continued to pass out gospel tracts to the thousands of people lining the streets of Indianapolis. Later on, while our team took a break, I pulled out the business card to read DZHENOU. Did you figure it out? To my surprise, it was a gospel tract with a very pointed message on the back. It says, “Does He know you?” Many people claim to know Jesus, but the more important questionis; Does He know you? My good friend David Braun preaches a message entitled: Three Words That You Don’t Want To Hear. If you are married, you do not want to hear your spouse say, “It’s all over.” More importantly, when you stand before Jesus on Judgment Day, you do not want to hear Him say to you, “Depart from Me.” As Jesus continues, he states, “I never knew you; you who practice lawlessness.” We meet many people on the streets who profess Jesus as Lord, but they are fully involved in sinful practices. As Jesus stated, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father in Heaven.” Knowing the reality of Hell, we persuade men and women to turn off the road of destruction and follow Jesus.
In late April, I headed to the Island of Exuma in the Bahamas to share Jesus at the 59th Family Island Regatta at the invitation of Pastor Cedric Smith. I was joined by Mark Martin, David Cobb and Darrel Davis for 5 days of ministry proclaiming Jesus at their street festival. It seems as if all the world loves to party. Cedric told us that they begin to ship in the alcohol in February to stock it up for this event. We were also informed that nine months later a lot of regatta babies will be born. It is no surprise that drunkenness and sexual immorality go hand in hand.
Last year, the people were shocked by our presence as no one had ever witnessed at this event, but this year there was more opposition to our presence. On one night, Darrel and I were harassed and stalked by a drunken man. Pastor Cedric was verbally harassed and threatened to the point that we had to bring a police officer over to remove the man. As brother David said, “Last year we surprised the devil. This year he was ready for us.” Through the week, we gave out over 7,000 tracts and talked to countless people. It was a rough outreach with much spiritual warfare. The music was deafening and it pounded your body like a boxer. A few times, I had to move on, because it was giving me a headache. I even had a touch of food poisoning one night, but pressed on as best that I could by the grace of God. Pray for the Lord to bring revival on this island. There is a great battle going on for the souls of the people. The island has a great Christian heritage that is quickly slipping away as the people pursue the world and forsake Jesus. The church also needs to be consumed with an intense desire to fulfill the great commission.
On Memorial Day weekend, Frank Robertson and I traveled to Indianapolis to meet up with Mark Yoho and Marshall Kellet to share Jesus with the thousands of race fans that descend on this city for the Indy 500. Each year, we hand out tracts and witness before and after the Friday noon time ceremony to honor our countries fallen veterans. It was encouraging to hear a mother testify how the Lord has helped her through the struggle of losing her son in combat. Previously, Governor Mitch Daniels talked about the influence of his pastor on his family’s life as he honored the passing on of this member of the greatest generation our World War II Veterans. In a culture that continues to push the biblical God’s existence out of everyday life, I’m always amazed by God’s grace and mercy to give us as a nation a continuing revelation of His presence. God truly has an amazing Love. To paraphrase a quote from John Newton, “We are great sinners, but Jesus is a great savior.”
It was a hot weekend of outreach, as it seemed more like the Fourth of July than Memorial Day. It was even stuffy and humid in the evening with no breeze. We were so grateful to the Christian family who let us park in their yard at no cost. This blessing allowed us to refresh ourselves with cool water from the cooler in my truck. I was surprised by the receptivity to our tracts on the streets at night by the race track, as it’s been tough going the past few years. A former U.S. marine who was drunk and bitter harassed me for twenty minutes as to where was God during the war. I spent most of my time praying for this young man and keeping a slight distance away as he seemed close to violence. In God’s providence, a group of four men came by and took him away. A few minutes later, a man who had been standing nearby watching came up and took a tract stating, “Let me see what you’re about.”
Many people walk by us who profess Christ and some even stop to converse with us. They try to be nice to us, but are really in opposition as they state, “What’s wrong with having a little bit of fun?” What a powerful witness our brothers from No Greater Love ministry bring to the streets as they witness on the corners, parking lots and march up Georgetown Ave. with their cross and banners. The presence of a hundred Godly men spoils the fun of the party crowd as the Lord convicts them of their sin as they walk in darkness. I’m sure that those who worshiped the true God with their golden calf and revelry had fun until Moses showed up with God’s law and impending judgment. God‘s will is for people to be saved and then to be conformed to the image of Christ. The question is; “Am I glorifying God with my actions, not can I have fun?” At the end of the night, Jeremy approached me. Every time that I pointed out his sin, he would respond by saying, “What’s wrong with a little fun?” He was under great conviction, but on this night alcohol was his god. If only he knew the joy of knowing Jesus.
Earlier in the day, I met Page at the parade as I was holding Frank’s banner. She professed to be an atheist, but she was not too strong in her position. Like most atheists, her position is one of convenience as it allows her to live in sin. We talked for an hour about the gospel, even though her boyfriend tried to pull her away. As she finally parted, she stated, “You have not changed my mind.” That’s ok with me, because only God can convince her. I left her with the good seed of the gospel which can bring salvation into her life.
As our college campus ministry is over until the fall, we have been hard at work sowing the gospel seed in Philly. Dave Braun and I have been faithfully preaching by the Gallery Mall each week. It was sad to hear a couple of our friends who we have been ministering to share how they have slipped back into drugs. We encouraged them to confess and forsake their sin and press on in pursuing Jesus. Sam and another man told us how grateful that they were for the Bibles that they received and how their lives have changed. I was approached by another young man who reached out and said, “You spoke to me by the Dunkin Dounuts two years ago. The Lord has changed my life. Thanks so much and do not stop.”
Dave and I were at a bus top in Camden, NJ one day, when a young lady looked at me and asked, “What does it mean, when it says, ‘You fool, Today your souls is required of you?’” She had been reading a tract that I handed her called: This Was Your Life. As I took my time in sharing the gospel, she finally put herself phone away and with tears streaming down her face said, “I need this.” It’s not often that you see this kind of brokenness when you share the gospel. Her lifestyle of drugs had her living in a shelter and lost her the custody of her son. Although she has been clean for six months, she now has Jesus to walk with her through this life. Although we sow a lot of gospel seed, there are still those lost sheep out there waiting to be rescued. Jesus is a Great Savior!
High School Senior outreach
Ocean City, MD
June 11-16 20112
OPEN AIR MINISTRIES-----Philadelphia
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? “ Romans 10:14-15
As John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus Christ, it seems that God in His providence sent the Miami police into Liberty Square homes in Miami to prepare the area for a week of evangelism. I picked up a copy of the Miami Herald one afternoon to read the following: “Undercover officers made 31 narcotics arrests, 14 gambling arrests and four prostitutions arrests last Tuesday through Saturday in Liberty Square apartments in what was called Operation Perseverance. “ We began our first of six days of ministry in Liberty Square on Sunday afternoon. Each day approximately 60 adults and children heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. As our week came to an end, eight children made commitments to trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior. As I pondered our week of ministry in this housing development, I was reminded of how dangerous the inner city can be. This neighborhood had encountered 13 shootings in the past two months. I was also grateful for the protection of God over me as I have worked in many such neighborhoods over the last 28 years in Philly and other cities. D L Moody once said: “If we reach the cities, we will reach the nation. But if we fail in the cities, they will become a cesspool that will infect the entire country.”
The above quote makes me wonder whether we have failed as the Church of Jesus Christ in our inner cities as crime and poverty and other social ills prevail throughout our nation. In mid March, it was our privilege to work with a few
OAC evangelists in the city of Miami with Liberty University students who gave up their spring break vacation to serve Jesus. Each day, we worked in Liberty Square Village and then in the evenings it was off to reach out to the night life crowds enjoying the shops and restaurants of Lincoln Mall on South Beach. One of the cool things about being on the streets of Lincoln Mall is all of the international tourists that you are able to share the gospel with. I can remember sharing the gospel with folks from Germany, Argentina, Columbia and Saudi Arabia. Throughout our six days of ministry, we conducted 10 open air children’s meeting with 100 kids in attendance. Also, in the evenings, we conducted 49 open air meetings with about 1,100 people in attendance. It was an awesome week of proclaiming the gospel. The Lord blessed us with an awesome group of students who aggressively shared their faith each day.
We have spent a great deal of our time on college campuses this spring. On a recent day, Mark Johnson and I went to West Chester University and it started to rain. On days like this, you look at each other and say; “Now what?” Since we were already on campus, we grabbed our umbrellas and went out any way. At the least, we could speak to the students as they walked by. As I have seen numerous times in my life, the rain stopped and the Lord gave us great crowds and I was able to spend an hour sharing the gospel with a young man named Billy, along with a number of other people. On this particular day, a professor stopped by with the intent of embarrassing us in front of the students. He did not engage us in any rational dialog, but instead used various stereotypical terms to mock us. It is amazing to me in our present culture that if you mock someone and get a laugh or applause you somehow win the debate.
We traveled to Trenton, NJ one day to work with some of our fellow evangelists at The College of New Jersey. Unknown to us, there was a high school technological competition on on campus. The Lord used these students to build us large crowds all day. At one point it began to rain, and we moved our conversations underneath a roof by the student center and continued on sharing the gospel. Most of us had groups of three to four students who we dialoged with by answering their questions and transitioning into the gospel. I can still hear one man who stated in the beginning that he was an atheist say: “There has to be something out there.” Our secular educational system has a done a good job of pushing the anti-God theory of evolution on this generation. What a blessing it is to challenge this generation with the reality of God and How one can know Him through Jesus Christ.
About a week ago, Mark Johnson and I traveled to Kutztown University. The Lord blessed us with great interaction all day. It started off slow and the crowds built as the day progressed and the lord used the gay community. It seemed their plan to mock and harass us brought more and more people to listen to us. One gay young man got upset with me as I told him in the midst of our conversation that he would have to be willing to give up his lifestyle to have relationship with God. He later came back to defend me before his peers as the crowd began to get a little testy. He stated, “This man is a nice guy. Hear him out.” As we began to leave the campus, a police officer approached us and stated, “I appreciate how you try to interact with the students. Others come and they just yell at them.” Because of this encounter, we were able to share our testimony with this man. You never know who is watching you out there. Praise God for a witness above reproach on this day, which provided this Divine encounter.
Well, I’m off to a missions conference in Western PA. Thanks for being a part of our faithful prayer and support team. May God Continue to draw you closer to Jesus. God Bless You.
Outreach in Exuma at the National Regatta-April 24-28
February 2012 Newsletter
On our last day of the Super Bowl outreach, Frank Robertson, Darrel Davis and I stood on South Meridian St. in the flow of the pedestrian traffic as thousands of football fans headed to the NFL village and the stadium for the big game. As we passed out tracts and preached the gospel, one Patriots fan yelled out, “We don’t need God, we have Tom Brady.” This is the attitude of many Americans as they trust in their various idols to bring them pleasure and significance. But in the end, their idols will disappoint them, like Tom Brady did as the Patriots lost to the Giants. Can you imagine the shock of disappoint and terror on Judgment Day, when all the nations stand before the Lord of all creation, Jesus Christ, and hear, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” As Frank and I watched the Patriots lose, he said to me, “I’d give a $100 to see that man and ask him ‘How did that work out for you?’” There is no time like the present to stand in the midst of our lost culture and proclaim Jesus is Lord.
For three days, eight of us worked the Super Bowl crowds. We were not the only believers there as the Lord had brought an army of evangelists to infiltrate the crowds. As one policeman commented to his partner, “There are preachers on every corner.” The Lord is truly rich in mercy, not willing that anyone should perish. On the first day, we hit the streets with backpacks loaded with gospel tracts to finish the day with an empty bag. It was a different story the next day as a damp mist and rain descended on Indianapolis. We hit the streets and worked the crowds, but the crowds were less receptive.
Each night, we hit the late night party crowd from about 8:30 to 12:30 am. The Lord provided many opportunities to share the gospel and two young ladies made commitments to Christ. As a group of drunk and rowdy men walked by I can still hear a mother’s voice and see her tears as she said, ‘’That was my son. Pray for him. He is lost. He needs to be saved.” This is the reason that God sends us to these events, so that we can call the lost sheep to come home.
It can get a little bit testy out there as people get liquored up. A few times people got very angry and we had to look over our shoulders as others chose to heckle us for hours on end. One man began to push my 75 year old friend down the streets as he held has banner until a six foot four inch and 285 pound evangelist from Georgia named Mark Yoho walked over and said, “Take your hands off that man.” As you can imagine, the guy quickly disengaged and moved on. In the midst of all this darkness, Jesus was glorified as He was lifted up.
There is no darkness quiet like the spiritual darkness that is exhibited in the French Quarter of New Orleans during the Mardi Gras celebration. As you approach Bourbon St. and hear the roar of noise, it always reminds me of Moses words to Joshua, “that is not the sound of war in the camp, but the sound of revelry.” Mardi Gras truly reveals the debased nature of man as moral restraint is removed as the city of New Orleans reveals man’s love for money over and above righteousness. It is a real challenge to stand for hours on end as an evangelist in the midst of drunkenness, profanity, blaring music, nudity, rage, anger, sodomy and spiritual oppression. This year, we stood side by side with 30 godly men from various states as we joined together to proclaim Jesus. Evangelist David Cobb made sure that we were prepared to face the battle each day as he led our group of men onto the streets.
Before I move on, I want to thank you for all your prayers. They do sustain us and God does protect us. As we prayer walked our ministry locations on a Thursday afternoon, I was able to engage five college students with the gospel. As usual in a large group, three guys moved on absorbed in the allurement of Bourbon St. while the other two listened intently to the gospel. Eventually, I was left talking to a young man who was truly seeking God. As we parted, he shook my hand and thanked me for sharing the gospel with him. We had countless conversations like this throughout our six days of ministry. After walking up Bourbon St. with our banners on Fat Tuesday, we hit the streets for one last time in the evening. Frank and Michael were engaged in a conversation with a woman who repented of her sins and surrendered to Jesus. It is as if the Lord showed us ‘your labors are not in vain’.
It always amazes me that in the midst of thousands of people, that we would see people from the previous year. One man, who screamed at Mark Johnson for 15 minutes last year, began to scream, push, and spit at David Cobb until the police intervened and moved him and his wife off to the police car, where they were shown grace by the police and were let go. A few nights later a proud and angry atheist began to engage me with a condescending tone. Unbeknownst to him, my parents sent me to college, and then theological school along with reading and studying the Bible for 30 years. As I questioned him and challenged his faulty position with scripture, he stated; “I’m a millionaire who owns his own business, what have you ever done. Oh F*!*?*!U.” When light comes into the darkness there is great conviction. Many were convicted by the Lord’s people and His presence on the streets.
The warm winter has allowed us to be on a number of campuses already this year. We have shared the Gospel at Temple University, University of Delaware, The College of New Jersey, West Chester University and Delaware County Community College. At DCCC, I was engaged with a large crowd when a student brought out his drum set and did a drum roll every time that I spoke. Before you could blink, a guitarist and bass guitarist showed up and a concert had begun. I guess the devil was not too happy to hear the gospel preached. Through the technology of cell phones and Facebook, my son Adam has been informed by some of his friends at West Chester University that the professors are talking about the Jesus people who were preaching their hate speech on campus yesterday. The Lord does hate our sin so much that He slaughtered his son for our salvation. May Jesus become an unavoidable subject on this campus. Keep us in your prayers. God Bless You.
Spring Break Outreach in Miami- February 8-18, 2012
Working with OAC evangelists and students from Liberty University
Joseph Toy, Jr.