Tuesday, September 23, 2008

First time in Ybor City

This past Saturday night I had the pleasure of being invited to hit the streets of Ybor City in Tampa Florida with the Henry family and Fellowship Baptist Church. Ybor City was once known as the Cigar Capital of the World with nearly 12,000 tabaqueros (cigar-makers) employed in 200 factories. Ybor City produced an estimated 700 million cigars a year at the industry's peak. I would like to insert that in my opinion Ybor city should be called the “Strip Club capital of the world” because there is one on every corner and it is also the home of the famous Mons Venus Strip club.

I have been to Ybor in my unconverted days and remember it being packed with drunken people and half dressed women. So needless to say I was a bit nervous as the church bus dropped us off on a side street. But once there I jumped right into handing out tracts as we walked and surveyed the scenery. It wasn’t but 10 minutes in that I had my first conversation. As I handed a tract out to a woman she, her mom and a friend stopped and asked what it was. I informed them that it was a gospel tract and asked if they had any spiritual background to which they replied, “Were Wiccan.” I was intrigued because I had yet to converse with a Wiccan so I asked them to tell me about their beliefs. The youngest women, probably 24, said, "well im just learning about it and would really like to know more about what you believe!"  As she said this my mind began to reel with excitement. I have never had anyone ask that question before!!

So I answered her question by starting in the Garden of Eden with the fall of man and gave her a breif overview of redemptive history mixing the law and the gospel in as well. Her response at the end of my explanation was, “Wow, I didn’t know that!” I then spent a little while longer explaining the substitutionary atonement and imputation. It was a great conversation and they all seemed to have some interest in what I was saying. I left them with some follow up tracts and my contact info and I hope to be able to dialog some more with them.

One of the most interesting things I was able to experience was meeting the guy pictured above. His name is Larry Keffer and is a guy that I am only familiar with from watching him on YouTube. His videos are usually in the midst of a heated argument with, a strip club owner, gay pride parades, and rock concerts , ECT (Explicit content). Ive always observed his methodology with a little reservation. He has said things that come across offensive in the videos. But I must say that meeting him in real life and observing him in action in the context of the people of Ybor City I can say that his method is at least effective.  I watched as many people came to him to ask what his sign meant and this gave him plenty of opportunities to give the gospel to people. But in comparison to what im used to (view example click the third video) Im still on the fence with what little I saw, but I can tell you that he was a very nice guy who has a heart for the Lord and is only out there to call people to repentance and faith.

All in all it was a great weekend I passed out a lot of tracts and met a lot of interesting people. But best of all was being out there and fellowshiping with all the other evangelists.

Below are some more pictures.
These ladies set up this prayer request table as a tool for evangelism. They said that most people who have prayer request arnt actually Christians and this gives them an oppertunity to bring up the things of God.Their table was full of living waters gospel tracts.
My buddy Paul using Mr. Kefer's Bullhorn to preach to the people waiting  in line to enter a club.

Paul dialoging with an atheist while Mr. Kefer uses the bullhorn to inform the people that atheism is illogical.

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