San Diego Trip

On a Thursday Sept. 10th, Joan and I traveled to San Diego to see our daughter, Laura Michelle, her husband Joe and our fourth grandbaby, Joshua. I also included four visits to churches to do the “one minute bible studies” seminars. This trip also coincided with a Starbucks Dash for the Stars so we can enjoy our Starbucks opportunities (none in Sparta) and get rewarded with some freebies.
A cancelled Southwest flight gave us a better flight that got us into San Diego in time for Joan to go with Laura Michelle to Joshua’s checkup. I went with Joe as he charged up his electric car, a Leaf, and then breakfast together. San Diego living is just cool.
Friday, I hiked the mountain behind their house. On the other side of the mountain you look on a high tech area where Joe works. I hiked this in May when Joshua was born, but it was a lot hotter today. Joe Rice used to live in this area and he said he walked this every day he could. On my last walk I hiked with a man named Mat, owner of phone stores in Dallas, living in San Diego and concerned about his son Sean. This time I walked alone and it was hot.
I made it down in time to have a Rita’s gelato before Joan and I borrowed their car and headed off to Winchester to work with Mike Stamper’s church. Originally this was going to be a missionary get together with the Stampers, us and Richard Brooks. As it was we stayed with the Stampers only. They had a guest room set up for us and fed us at the house and we had a great time together. They have been missionaries in Kenya and Nepal. They are both talented and high energy people. They have taken over a church that just released their pastor to be a missionary in Madagascar.
That evening I gave a short evangelism sermon followed by a thirty minute outreach. We did around 25 bible studies with people and had two people pray. I spent most of the time talking with one man named Mike on break from his Home Depot job. He was church knowledgeable listing his positions and ministries. He wanted to have the spiritual talk about revelation and the rapture, but a zeal he might have once had was suppressed as he smoked his cigarette and waited to go back to work. Pastor Stamper would be the perfect man to reach into the mysteries of bible life with him; and I told him as much before we parted our ways. While at the church I saw some stats from their California Conquests. These are targeted outreaches where all of the area churches converge upon a single church to outreach. The numbers are impressive; 250 saved, 300 saved; I was impressed. Pastor Richard Cox is the coordinator of these outreaches. This last conference he preached about the need for follow up ministry. What good are 300 convert cards if all they do is sit in a desk?
The next morning we shared a nice breakfast with the Stampers and Mike’s Mom. We got their dating story (always fun to hear) and Mom’s perspectives on life (she is quite the lady). The night of ministry was augmented to the fullest by the fellowship Mike and Yolanda offered to us. We made our way back to San Diego where we would do Sushi with Joe and Laura Michelle enjoying the day together.
Sunday would be spent in Spring Valley at Cris Lloyd’s church. It is nice when a church can give me a full Sunday. I do my science slide show for Sunday School, evangelism sermon for morning service and for the evening service we go out for the 30 minute outreach. This was my first use of two extra slides: one with Bruce Jenner on the box of Wheaties and one of Bruce Jenner on Vanity Fair. The point: DNA determines sex, and there is nothing you can do to change it and you determine sexuality. I precede this with a study done in Minnesota that found homosexual youths were five times more likely to impregnate girls than straight youths. It also found that Lesbian youths were five times for likely to be impregnated than straight youths. I follow this with the Proverb: “As a man thinks in his heart so he is” with the idea being that if you read cookbooks you will want to try and cook and if you read and think about sexual orientation you will tend to try and figure it out with actions. They had a great group of teen agers that were soaking up the science presentation.
I preached my evangelism sermon getting everyone set up to use their phones for our “one minute bible study” outreach that night. Cris and Lori took us out to a Mexican restaurant, something I look forward to anytime I can get out of Sparta. Joan and I camped out at a Starbucks taking care of business until the evening service. The prayer room seemed electric to me, but Cris said it was normal. Wow! The gang went out and did over 50 bible studies and prayed with 15 people that night. The first guy I tried to talk to couldn’t because he was heading to a bus stop. Well as the outreach unfolded I found him again on the bus bench. Dominic did a “one minute bible study” with me. He had travelled two hours by bus across town to see his ex-girlfriend and their two year old daughter. Guilt, no guilt, right, wrong and everything happens like it is supposed to so why bother, but yet he is bothering. God, no God, maybe God. Yet, he feels a responsibility to be a good father. A seed planted waiting for some water of the word to counter the confusion that the world brings. We return to the church where there is victory in the camp.
We shared a desert with Cris and Lori that night. It had been a long day for Cris, yet he gave me the impression they would use the “one minute bible studies” in their future outreaches. I hope so. It was a great outreach as far as I could tell.
Monday was Mexico day. Joan and I had let our passports expire but we crossed into Mexico with Joe and Laura Michelle and baby with birth certificates and expired passports. We whizzed through the border without being stopped and made our way to a rundown resort just north of Ensenada. We set up camp and then headed out the back roads through Baja to Ensenada. We stopped for a fruit dish at a roadside stand to start the trip. Ensenada impressed me. In the distance I saw tankers and was surprised to find a bustling port city on the Baja coast. We walked around, I bought a hat, and Joan looked for her sun pottery before we settled into a little joint for some seafood tacos. The real thing in the real place, too good. We headed back to spend the rest of the afternoon on the beach and in the warm Pacific. That night we went to Charlies where all the American expatriates hang out. We ate fish and shrimp while watching Monday night football. Pretty cool.
We had a pleasant morning with Mexican coffee, Mexican hot chocolate and coconut milk and headed up the coast looking for Joan’s ceramic sun. Found one, a little pricey, but Joan was shown a video from Pueblo where the pottery is made. Audra and Jesus had just been there. A couple more stops, not much bargaining. Joe thinks that in the last major town before Tijuana we will find something. We stop for tacos, delicious, and make our way to the city market with the booths. We walk around without seeing what Joan wants…and then we find it, the man bargains and everyone comes away happy. Our own ceramic sun. Is it just coincidence that in Sunday School back home we would be examining Babylon Mystery Religion and its connection to sun worship?
We have to drive through a downpour into the outskirts of Tijuana which has traffic backed up. The kids in their Catholic school uniforms all drenched trying to make their way home. Mexico is third world, but it is a rich third world, it seems to come down to the basics of keeping things repaired and organized, something just beyond the reach of the third world mindset and pocketbook. We are inching our way to the border crossing when we find out the road we should take is closed. They are celebrating Mexican Independence are using that road to set up booths. It takes a while but we make it to the border, cross without incidence and are on our way home.
The girls would rest while Joe and I went to a revival service with Evangelist Jimmy Robinson from England. Good service. The next morning we would have a breakfast with Joe Rice, Heather, Joey and the evangelist. His son Joey is who I originally bounced ideas off of using a web site or app to do “one minute bible studies” with people. It was nice to be able to show him what I have at this point. This trip was originally set up around dates set for Joe Rice’s church but schedules collided so we were using this breakfast to give him a few points so that he could introduce it to the church at a later date. It was our Joe’s birthday also.
During this time I was thinking about outreach statistics. How many bible studies did we get done? How many people got saved? The statistics speak success, I am using them in this post to evoke success. Pastor Rich Cox preached at July conference with a touch of despair over the statistics that speak success and the reality of no follow up. That Wed. I would be going over to Oceanside to preach for Tim and Sue Moynihan. I decided to add a dimension of our “ambassadorship” for Christ into my evangelism sermon. That night we would have 40 bible studies and we prayed with 5 people. The people that prayed with those people all got phone numbers, even some people got phone numbers even though they didn’t pray. All of this was looking for a way to allow us to have some conversations with people that could go on beyond the outreach.
Thursday we would have ribs at a rib joint that was closed down at one point because of the delicious barbeque smells. This is the lore that surrounds Phil’s BBQ. It was our gang, the Rice’s and their evangelist and then Stacey Dillard and his wife Daphne. It was fun hearing Stacey, Joe and Jimmy trade English preaching stories.
That night we went to Stacey Dillard’s church where I preached my evangelism sermon with the added emphasis of our ambassadorship for Jesus. We went to the local metro station where we did 45 bible studies with 10 people praying. People got phone numbers of people they prayed with as well as just people they did a bible study with. I talked with a man who said he was alright with God. We did a bible study together. He had been through a divorce, she was now his best friend. He was making life happen. He asked me to remember the lady he is caregiver to in prayer. I went the extra step of asking him if he minded giving me his phone number so that I could stay in communication with him. He said yes. He then asked me what church I was part of. I let him know I lived in Illinois and I gave him the flyer for the Chula Vista church. I have texted him since then asking him to let me know if I should continue or not and he texted back: “Thanx brother Kevin I appreciate it”. Onward and upward.
Friday we had pancakes together. Joe went to work. I got a haircut at “Brothers Barber”. The girls did shopping while I hung out with Joshua. I listened to music while I worked on a sermon. He did quite well entertaining himself and sleeping. When he woke up we walked around until the girls came home. Easy night, and the next morning Joan and I hiked the mountain. We got organized for our trip home. Smooth sailing all the way to Sparta.

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About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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