“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!