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SOS Monthly Newsletter - May 2003
Thank you for saving Union Square!
Dear Christian friends,
I first met John Land over 20 years ago when he pastored a church in Santa Cruz that witnessed with us in San Francisco. John, his wife Lois, and sons now live in the Sierra foothills, about three hours from San Francisco. Despite the distance, they have been witnessing with us regularly. Both are gifted evangelists. John recently returned from a three-month mission trip to Africa and Europe. Below is a report he wrote on our March 15 outreach:
Our time witnessing and preaching Saturday at Union Square was fruitful and exciting. We obtain permits for these outreaches weeks in advance at various places throughout the city. With the permits we can set up a generator and sound system (often right on the sidewalk at Market and Powell). March 15 was a day of big demonstrations against the war. The protesters were supposed to come right to Union Square. (Police said they had word the violent part of the march was going to wreck Union Square.)
The police had actually come up and talked to Paul to warn us to get up against the wall with our instruments for our protection. They asked if they could use our sound equipment to help speak to the crowd.
As I preached we noticed a great commotion coming down the street. It turned out to be a squad of riot police with face shields and clubs marching in formation and turning right into Union Square. In front of me was a group of police on horseback, prepared to turn back the protesters. You could sense the electricity in the air. People were milling around trying to see what was going on.
As I preached I could feel the presence of the Lord and a strong anointing. Hundreds of people listened to the message. The top of Macy's department store had dozens of people on the balcony many stories above the street. They could hear the preaching clearly. Some were waving at us. Others in the plaza sat quietly, listening to the preaching of the Word. The helicopters were circling overhead. While everyone waited for the protesters, we prayed. After the message, Paul and Noreen Coca (awesome worship leaders and street preachers) began singing Amazing Grace without instruments. It was electric. As they sang the helicopters moved from over the plaza to the south. The police got into their cruisers and left. The horse police moved on. Soon it was quiet. Before they left, Lois went and talked to the riot police and said that she was praying for their safety. They sincerely thanked her.
Lois had talked to several Christians in the park. A Filipino couple who loved the Lord and lived just a few blocks down the street had come to pray for protection on the plaza and their neighborhood. They told Lois that our team being in the Square that day was a divine appointment and that the Lord had used the SOS team to bring peace and divert the crowd through prayer.
Usually the people in charge of the Square (the workers and security guards) are not kind to SOS, but Saturday their whole attitude changed when they saw the Lord actually turn the crowd and move them south for no apparent reason. One of the Union Square employees actually made the comment, "Thank you for saving Union Square." This statement came from a non-believer! It was a great and exciting day on the streets of San Francisco. The Lord is good and His mercies endure forever.
I spent most of March helping our lawyer Russell Davis write a Closing Brief as part of our Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit against the city of San Francisco. Both of us read a 1600 page transcript of our December trial. I prepared charts detailing the various times we were arrested, threatened with arrest, and denied loudspeaker permits. Russell wrote a 32 page brief, in which we referred to over 700 pages of the transcript and dozens of videotapes and other documents we had presented at trial. We also prepared a proposed order, which we are asking the judge to issue. Among other things, we are asking her to order the city to issue loudspeaker permits to us at Powell and Market (for more than 1 hour), 4th and Market, and Fisherman's Wharf. We are also asking that the police be required to issue a written warning before they can cite or arrest us.
The city will be responding to our Brief in April. We will write our final brief in May. Judge Chesney will probably issue her ruling in June or July. Our lawyer thinks the matter will probably be appealed (for the third time) to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which would take another two years.
I will be helping our lawyer prepare his final brief in May. However, most of my work on the lawsuit is now over. I can now focus my efforts on reaching the lost. Already, the lawsuit has helped prevent arrests. We haven't received any citations for almost five years. Please pray that we will receive some help in getting permits at Fisherman's Wharf and permits for more than one hour at Powell and Market. Please pray for wisdom for our lawyer and me as we complete our work, and that Judge Chesney will grant us the relief we have requested. We welcome you to attend the oral arguments and pray quietly--Mon. June 2 from 2-4 PM, 450 Golden Gate Ave. 19th Floor, courtroom 7, SF (Bring your driver's license.) "The king's [and judge's] heart is in the hand of the Lord; as the rivers of water, he turns it wherever he pleases" (Prov. 21:1).
Note: Outreaches are subject to change. Call (510) 541-3147 (cell phone) to confirm outreaches or for more information.
Friday May 2, 9, 16, June 12 7:30-10 PM Witnessing in San Francisco neighborhoods. (Call for location).
Sat. May 3 12-1 PM Powell and Market St. 2-5 PM UN Plaza (7th St. and Market). SF
May 9-11 Whole Earth Festival Outreach, Davis, CA.
Sat. May 17 12-1 PM Powell and Market St. 2:30-4:30 PM Union Square, Powell and Geary St. SF
SOS-San Francisco June 20-28
SOS-San Francisco is almost here. We are excited about this opportunity to reach many people in San Francisco and Berkeley with the gospel. We hope you are excited about this opportunity as well, and are planning to join us. Christians in many nations risk prison and even death when they tell people about Jesus. In this country, we still have freedom of speech and religion. The time may come when we will have less freedom to preach the gospel in the U.S. We should not be complacent, but seek to reach as many people as possible for Jesus, while we can.
Once again, our friend Chuck Girard will be ministering through music on the streets. SOS founder and veteran evangelist Scott Crawford will be teaching evangelism and preaching on the streets. We have teams scheduled to join us from Calvary Chapel, Reno, NV, and from Berean School of the Bible in McMinnville, OR.
Evangelism training will be provided throughout the week. Free housing is available during the outreach. We will be serving breakfast and lunch from June 23 - 28. Youth under 18 need adult supervision. This outreach is an opportunity to bring the love of Jesus Christ to people who desperately need to know Him. It is truly a life-changing experience.
We have printed thousands of full-color cards to let people know about this outreach. Please help us get this literature to churches, Christian bookstores and Christian schools in your area. Please encourage your Christian friends to get involved. Set aside the week of June 20 - 28 to attend the SOS outreach and bring a friend.
All meetings held at Temple Baptist Church, 3355 19th Ave. (near Ocean), San Francisco. Call (510) 541-3147 or 333-5509 to confirm outreaches or for more information.
Fri. June 20 6-8 PM Registration, evangelism training. 9-11 PM Outreach
Sat. June 21 9-11 AM Evangelism training. 12-1 PM Powell and Market, 2:30-4:30 PM Union Square (Powell and Geary) 6-7 PM Meeting 7:30-10 PM Outreach.
Sun. June 22 Free day.
Mon. June 23 to Fri. June 27 9-10:30 AM Evangelism training, worship, testimonies. 12-4 PM Outreach 6-7 PM Meeting 7:30-10 PM Outreach.
Weekday afternoon outreaches: Mon. June 23 12-4 PM 24th St. and Mission; Tues. June 24 12-4 PM Telegraph and Haste St. Berkeley; Wed. June 25 12-4 PM Haight and Masonic St.; Thurs. June 26 12-4 PM Telegraph and Haste St. Berkeley; Fri. June 27 12-1 PM Justin Herman Plaza (Market and Embarcadero) 2-4 PM Financial district.
Sat. June 28 9-11 AM Meeting 12-1 PM Powell and Market 2:30-4:30 PM Washington Square (Columbus & Union St.) 6 PM church cleanup.
Ministry News and Needs
Thank you again for your prayers and financial support for this ministry. Our 1973 van, which we have used for many years to bring our sound system and workers to outreaches, broke down this past month. It needs a new transmission, but isn't worth fixing. We need a newer van in good mechanical condition before the SOS outreach on June 20. We are looking for a van that is 1995 or later. We still need to print 100,000 more tracts for this summer's outreach. Please set aside the week of June 20 - 28 to attend this year's SOS-San Francisco outreach. Please pray for us as we prepare for this important outreach. Pray that God will provide our needs, guide us in planning the outreach, and bring many laborers to help in the harvest field during SOS week. Please pray for those who have written us this month in response to tracts, including Jamie (Berkeley), Veronica (Hayward), and John (Bakersfield).
Our Tape of the Month is Witnessing to Jews by Efraim Goldstein of Jews for Jesus. "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).
Right now, most of us are focused on the war in Iraq. But there is a much more important war going on. It is a war over the eternal souls of men, women, and children. God has called all of us to be soldiers in His army. Let us not go AWOL (absent without leave) but "fight the good fight," tearing down the gates of Hell that hold people in bondage to Satan.
Yours in His love,
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