Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mission Trip to Chippewa Street

Ty, Mike, Nora, Dru, Matt, Amanda (my youngest daughter), a couple of folks from Dru's WOTM Basic Training class, and I made a one-evening mission trip to Chippewa Street, in Sylmar (CA). The reason for the trip is shown in the above picture. More than 100 people gathered to worship in front of an apparition of a cross, in a bathroom window. (See The Chippewa Cross article for background information.)

I brought the Way of the Master video camera, hoping to film conversations with people--conversations regarding their feelings about the apparition. Initially, it appeared that we would strike out. No one wanted to be interviewed. I think part of the problem was some very real cultural barriers. (Most of the people present were Hispanic.) But we persevered and the Lord provided. By the end of the evening, the team had distributed Spanish tracts to most of the people present, and we had several good, spiritual conversations.

The first person in front of the camera was a young lady named Desiree. Her brother had told her about the cross in the window. She said that she got in her car without knowing the exact location of the house. She believed the light led her to the house on Chippewa Street. Desiree, with an almost euphoric tone in her voice, called the cross in the window a miracle.

I took Desiree through the Law and the Gospel. She was not humbled by the Law, a trend that would continue throughout the evening.

Next to be interviewed was a young lady named Paulette. Contrary to Desiree, Paulette was skeptical about the source of the cross in the window. When I transitioned the conversation from the cross in the window to her personal beliefs, she told me that she believed people come back, as a different person, after they die. When I labeled her beliefs as reincarnation, she said she didn't believe in reincarnation. Confused? So was I.

I asked Paulette how she came about her beliefs regarding the after-life. She said it was what she had been taught by her rabbi. It was when I explained to her that the Hebrew Scriptures do not teach reincarnation that she told me she was a follower of the Kabbalah religion.

Paulette and I then had a brief but interesting conversation about the name of Jesus, whom she referred to as "Yeshua." Click here to listen to my conversation with Paulette. Like Desiree, Paulette was not humbled by the Law.

My last conversation of the evening was with Frederick. Frederick was standing a noticeable distance from the activities at the house where the cross in the window was located. He held his beautiful 18-month-old daughter in his arms.

Early in the conversation, Frederick affirmed his belief in God's existence by pointing to the birth of his little girl. But that's where his biblical theology ended. Frederick had violated the second of the Ten Commandments by creating in his mind a god who would judge sin, but not too harshly. His god would not require faith in Christ alone for salvation, opening heaven's doors to "good people" who were practitioners of other religions. As was the case with the others, Frederick was not humbled by the law.

It was sad to talk to people so steeped in their religious traditions built upon self-righteousness. It was sad to watch more than a hundred people worship in front of an altar erected to the Virgin Mary, which was set up in front of the bathroom window. It was sad to see the people form a line from the front door of the house to the street, in order to take a tour of a small bathroom. It was sad to think of these sincere, religious people standing before the Lord only to hear Him say, "Depart from Me; I never knew you."

That being said, our mission trip to Chippewa Street was anything but a loss. Seeds were sown. Gospel tracts were distributed. People heard the truth spoken in love. And a small group of born-again Christians obeyed Christ's mandate to preach the gospel to a lost and dying world, while stepping into a religious and ethnic culture that was not their own.

Join us in praying for the lost people who are gathering everyday to worship beneath a luminous cross, in a bathroom window. Pray that the real Light will draw them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone, for their salvation.


Anonymous said...

I wish we were able to make it, Tony. God bless you and your team!


Anonymous said...

Awesome! I praise Jesus for His work in your hearts. Your trip is inspiring, I am humbled by your courage and obediance to the King. Be blessed in Jesus name.