BRIAN O'CONNELL'S NEWSLETTER

Newsletter 7-99


Brian C. O’Connell,
7655 W. Gulf to Lake Hwy #3, Crystal River, FL 34429
email crossbearer@juno.com
Send attachments to crossbearer83@hotmail.com

 

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ who always gives us the victory!

After leaving New Orleans following Mardi Gras, Mike, Lance, Brian, their families and I traveled to Lockport, Louisiana. We camped out at Victory Life and walked the bayou, harvesting souls into the Kingdom of God.
After Mike and Brian had left, Lance and I remained there until Easter. The four days prior to Easter, Lance and I wore torn robes, put on bruise makeup, and spilt fake blood all over ourselves. I wore a wig and we wore a crown of thorns and walked the towns of Thibodaux, Raceland and Houma.
The day we walked Thibodaux, when finished, we quickly gathered up the crosses and headed for Raceland, where we hoped to finish the day walking the crosses all covered with blood. Lance and his family pulled into a gas station to get coffee, while I pressed on towards Raceland with Abel in my van. I noticed a police car begin to follow us and hoped that he would not pull me over since I could not fasten my seatbelt without making everything a mess, not to mention that I looked like I had been nearly beaten to death (as Jesus was the day of His crucifixion).
The Police cruiser drew closer and finally, yes, his lights went on and my heart jumped to my throat. “Explain this one to the officer” I thought. I quickly jumped out of the van so he would not know I didn’t have my belt on, covered in blood and as I approached the cruiser, the officer spoke over his loudspeaker “Praise the Lord!” It was Doug, a beloved brother in Christ. He, Abel and I rejoiced together.

After leaving Lockport, we traveled to Morgan city, where we walked for a few days before I left alone to the North of Louisiana, not knowing where I was going to go, and stopped in Jonesboro. The people at the 1st Assembly of God church there were a wonderful blessing to me. I spent a week there, walking the city and fellowshipping with the saints at this church. At this time, I heard of the shootings in Colorado and although my desire was to travel there and carry the cross, it simply seemed to be too far (but after the shooting in Conyers, Mike and I traveled to Conyers to preach). Traveling alone is difficult for me, so I decided to hook up with Mike again and headed East to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Brian Chamberlin was there too and we all got to work together in the harvest fields. Together we preached at the drunken city wide parties of River Roast and River Bend.
At River Bend, one angry sinner, being convicted as Mike preached and apparently his sins were being exposed, punched Michael in the nose. Praise the Lord, it drew no blood as Mike continued to preach unhindered. From the first night until the last, the organizers of River Bend tried to get rid of us. The first night we were told we could not stand outside of the gates of the city party which draws hundreds of thousands of people. One publication compared it with Mardi Gras (their boasting falls far short, but it seems their intent is to one day make this party as wicked as Mardi Gras).
Please realize that this party is on the city streets in the middle of town by the river. We were NOT inside the gates, but outside, and yet we were not far enough away. Now, one block down the road, we returned the third day to our previous location to find a group of police waiting for us. We were forced to move another block away from the party.
After several nights of preaching with the loudspeaker, the police came and instructed us to turn it off. Of course they have a sound ordinance, but the music from the city party was so loud you could hear it at Michael’s house which was several miles away. Our preaching could be heard about half a city block and WE were breaking the sound ordinance. Mike challenged the officer and so he brought out the city ordinance papers and we reviewed them together and proved we had the right to preach with sound equipment up to 150 Feet. The officer compromised with us saying we had to shut it off at 11PM. Donna Sommers
, the Eagles and other rock groups pounded the airwaves until midnight.


Afterwards, Mike and I traveled towards Ohio. On the way, the brakes on Mikes bus died and when he tried to stop the bus by downshifting, the driveshaft jumped out. So we repaired the driveshaft and pulled into Athens, Tennessee and spent the night after working throughout the day going from one junk yard to another and finally found another brake booster.
We arrived in Circleville, Ohio and again parked at the hardware store “Circleville Builders Supply.” Last year Mike and I received permission to paint in giant letters “JESUS CHRIST IS THE LORD” with a giant red cross in the middle, on the side of one of the buildings. This giant hardware store, 11 buildings long, has “TO GOD BE THE GLORY” painted everywhere, Scripture verses hanging on the walls, Christian music playing all day over the loudspeakers, and the employees have every freedom to minister the gospel to the customers. They have Bible studies each morning, and a part of the building has been made into a church sanctuary. My the Lord bless this business for their boldness to speak God’s word.
King Edward joined us here, having worked with us for about a week in Tennessee at River Bend, and together with Mike and I, we hit Broad Street in Columbus and over 1/2 million people came to the “Red, White and Boom” fireworks display. Mike, Edward and I stationed on the bridge for much of the day as the crowed started from a small gathering to the 1/2 million spectators, all having to pass us. When the fireworks began, some trees blocked the way near us, so the spectators all fled from our location to watch the fireworks, leaving 3 men wearing white robes and holding crosses in the middle of the street on the bridge, in the center of a large, cleared out circle. It was like the Lord had cleared a view for the whole city to see His cross and servants. After the fireworks ended, Mike began to preach over the loudspeakers. The crowed acted like the Mardi Gras crowd as they mocked us. One man wearing lighted red devils horns, while I was preaching, acted like he was a bull, and would run into my back with his horns. Though it did not hurt, he persisted for a while which made it difficult to concentrate on preaching the message of Christ. He himself was persistanly saying “Satan!”

The following are some excerpts of daily testimonies:


Store encounter in Larose
3/17/99 Wed.
6 saved. Walked Galliano. I prayed with one while we walked the crosses today. At the very beginning of the walk, a Catholic girl that Lance and I had ministered to 2 years ago stopped and said “I know that you guys are of God, but can I ask you, are you still preaching against the Catholic Church?” She wanted to defend her faith in the Catholic doctrines and so Lance stayed with her for the next few hours answering her questions and showing her from the Bible what the Lord says about the false teachings of the Church. Mike and I walked leaving Lance with her.
Tonight, after visiting the Christian Fellowship Church in Larose, Lance, Brian and I stopped at the local service station for some Cappaccino. I handed a man a tract in the store and stepped outside with Brian. The man came over to me and asked “Why do you hand out these pamphlets?” I told him that Jesus commanded us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation...” He said he was Catholic and said that we should not preach to anyone, that we should preach through our actions without saying a word. (Incidentally, I remember a dear brother in Christ answering a similar question once. He told the man “I lived it for 10 years but I had NOT led one soul to Christ in those ten years. Now that I preach God’s word, I have seen many people come to Christ.” ) He had the false idea that everyone has Jesus inside of them, but I replied that Jesus said in John 3:3 that we must be Born Again and in Romans 9:5 that “those who are in the flesh, these are NOT the children of God.”
So as Weldon (this Catholic man) disputed with me for the next 40 minutes as to whether we should preach the gospel to people, Lance and Brian prayed with 5 people in the parking lot to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, including the two women that worked at the store. God is so good! He didn’t even notice that his argument was being clearly defeated by the Lord and even right before his eyes. Those who will not search the scriptures will never know the power of God’s foolishness that confounds the wise .

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (1Cor. 1:21)

At the end, I had some good fruit with Weldon. He, like many Catholics, had discounted God’s Holy Word to a mere book. But as I led him through the scriptures, showing him the powerful truth of God’s word, his thirst for truth began to grow. When he left, I gave him my teaching I had written on the false doctrines found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and prayed with him that he might understand the Word of God. He said he would read it. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ! If anyone should desire a copy of this study, please let me know.
(click on the blue letters)

3-23-99 Tues.
KKK
2 saved. Mike and I walked Lockport. While Mike was ministering to a young woman, I stood the cross upright and waved at motorists. Behind me, a fellow whistled. I looked and he raised his shirt exposing a tattoo of Jesus on his chest. I walked over to him and asked if he was “Born Again.” He responded that he had never heard of it so I took him through the scriptures. I had planted some good seed as he listened until he cut me off saying something about the Ku Klux Klan. Raising his shirt again, I noticed that the tattoo of Christ hanging on the cross (on his chest) had chains attached to the arms of Christ. I told him that Jesus has NO chains. He started cursing blacks and Jews and asked what I felt about mixed marriages. I told him the scriptures do not forbid it and that I had many brothers whom I love that are blacks and Jews, but what really matters is that he must be born again or he will end up in Hell. His speech was very crude as he burst in asking what I would do if a black man wanted to marry my 15 year old daughter. Obviously he was being unreasonable since any father would not necessarily give their daughter in marriage at age 15. I told him I had many friends that were mixed marriage. His anger flared and he said something about blacks making a black Jesus. I responded and said “If Jesus was black, I would still worship Him.” His friend had been pressing him to leave, and even though I felt I was reaching him, he had to go, still full of bigotry. Lord help him.
Preachers Kid
While at a service station, a young man I had met at a Circuit Riders Christian Motorcyclists meeting stopped to talk to me. A car load of his friends stopped to talk with him and then began to depart. I quickly walked over to give them a tract before they left the parking lot and I could tell they were ignoring me and tried to leave before I could reach them. But God had other plans for one of them. I gave them all a tract and they lied to me saying they were Born Again. When I pressed in with questions, they confessed that they had lied to get rid of me and said they had somewhere important to go. Although they kept prodding the driver to leave, he wouldn’t. The three passengers, filled with pride and teenager, “cool” attitudes, joked and made fun of me. But I knew the driver was being drawn by the Lord so I focused on him and he humbled himself in the presence of his mocking friends and prayed to receive Christ. While we prayed, his friends turned up the radio loudly trying to drown out the sound of our prayer. But Carlos prevailed and won the victory in Christ. Carlos’ father is the pastor of a local church. Thank you Jesus!
As it grew dark, David, a brother in Christ, took us to his former girlfriends house. He had us stand there with the crosses outside her door and he asked her to come outside. When she came out, he introduced us all, but her heart was hardened against he Lord and she quickly receded into the trailer. Her 7 year old daughter prayed with me to receive Christ and a young man in his 20’s came out to meet us and within minutes he was praying to receive Christ. He said He felt the Lord touch him when Mike prayed with him. We ministered to him for the next hour, praying and anointing him with oil. He glowed with the glory of the Lord when we left.


CONYERS
5-25-99 Tues.
6 saved. Walked Conyers with Mike. Had a very fruitful day. Two newspapers interviewed us. Just last week, six teens from a local high school had been shot by a boy who then put the gun into his mouth but could not kill himself. This town is spiritually hungry for truth. Rita, a Catholic woman with a Catholic rosary around her neck walked up to me. I asked her if she was “born again by the Holy Spirit.” She said “maybe not the way you think of it.” I told her that she had to repent of her sins and ask Jesus to come live inside of her. Our conversation began to heat up as she tried to prove that the rosary is in the Bible and to defend her worship of Mary. I told her she was committing the sin of “Idolatry”. At this she got angry and said that I am judging her and then she left. As she left I called out, “Unless you are born again, you cannot go to heaven.”
Praise the Lord Jesus Christ forever more, God brought her back to be saved. About 45 minutes later, Rita returned. She gave me a soda pop and asked “What IS the Holy Spirit?” I told her that He is the gift God gives us when we are born again. The Holy Spirit comes and lives inside of you, and through the name of Jesus Christ and His blood, we have access to the throne of God. When you pray, the Holy Spirit prays through you and God hears your prayers. I showed her these in the Bible. She then asked, “How do I get born again?” I asked her “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He died for your sins, rose on the third day, and that if you asked Him into your heart that He would come live in your heart?” To all of these she said “Yes.” I asked her to pray with me and she repented of her sins and asked Jesus into her life as Lord and Master. Afterwards I told her “Rita, your sins are forgiven!” She glowed and said, “I feel different.” I replied, “That’s because you are now a child of God, and the Holy Spirit now lives in you.”
Mike had a man approach him, he was a “Wiccan” (another term for witch). He said “ I came because my friend (who was also a “Wiccan”) called me and said you had talked to him and you told him everything he had done in the last two months. Praise God the gift of “word of wisdom” was manifested through Mike's words to the first young man. The man trembled as Mike spoke to him and he had great fear. Mike rebuked him and said “If you think you came to me so that you could receive the power of the Holy Spirit for your own purposes, your wrong.” Mike then quoted the story of Simon the sorcerer in Acts chapter 8. He received every word Mike spoke to him.
As I stood in front of an “Express Lube” garage, 3 employees (a Lutheran, a Baptist and an Episcopalian) came to ask me what I was doing. None of them were saved and after I explained the gospel to them, all three ended up accepting Christ into their lives. It seems, that if any of these three churches in Conyers would have preached the salvation message, they would have been saved before today. What a shame that many churches fail to preach the most important message of the Holy Bible, and souls are perishing and going to hell with out Christ. Every church service should have an altar call for salvation.
At the end of the day, while Mike preached to several girls in front of a restaurant, I took his cross to put in the van, but stopped to talk to a young man leaning against his truck. He was Catholic, and soon gave his life to Christ.


Return to “the battle at the bar”
7-9-99 Fri.
3 saved. Mike, Edward and I walked Logan, starting late around 6PM. We had gone to Columbus to get our tracts copied. Then traveled to Logan to catch the evening crowd. As we started, most every eye gawked at us from the cars. One man honked his horn and shot us an obscene sign with his middle finger. Almost immediately, our patrolman friend from last year, Michael Walton, stopped to fellowship with us. As he and Michael Siemer spoke, two teenage girls walked by so I handed them tracts and ministered to them. They both said they were not saved, but one of them, Bethany, later recanted and confessed that she had previously been saved. Bethany tried to escape our conversation saying she had to go to the bathroom and left. Heidi was held steady by the Holy Spirit and I pressed in that she pray to ask Christ Jesus into her heart. She finally surrendered and prayed. When I turned around, Officer Michael was ministering to Bethany. She had escaped me and ran into another servant of Christ. Officer Michael then received a call that we, and his patrol car were blocking the entrance way to the bowling lanes. The owner called the police dept. and I heard the woman on the radio say “He was using lots of foul language.” It was clear that officer Michael had nothing to do with the problem, and there was plenty of room for patrons to drive past us. He simply was upset that Christians were in his driveway.
Edward, who was ministering to some young men in front of McDonalds was also rejected. The manager came out and told Edward he had to leave. Edward raised his voice and said “You mean to tell me that any DOG can come onto your property and here I am, holding a cross and a Bible in my hand, preaching God’s word and you single me out that I must get off your property. Now let me ask you, is the owner of your establishment a Christian?” The manager replied “Yes!” Edward continued, “Then when your owner finds out that you threw out a Christian he is going to be very upset!” The manager surrendered and left Edward alone.
We finally made it to Sam’s bar after sunset. Last year, as I stood in front of his bar with the cross, the mouth of the owner was so foul that when he came out I ignored him, worshipping the Lord. I didn’t know that he had a baseball bat and was about to bash my head in when, suddenly, Michael yelled out “Woe to the wicked...” and as he preached, Sam ran back into the bar and called the Police. That is when we met officer Michael. This year, Edward had arrived a short time before Michael and I. Michael walked up to a man and a woman who just came out of the bar, handed them tracts and began to preach. The bouncer came out and threatened Michael to get off the property. Mike said “Your really tough, your going to beat up a man of God and that really makes you a tough guy.” The bouncer backed off. In the mean time I met two ladies who had come from the bar and they both fell in love with Jesus and asked the Lord into their lives. Two city police cruisers, the Sheriff, and State Trooper arrived, a total of about 8 officers. It looked like a bank robbery and the whole town seemed to have come out to see the disturbance. Mike stood across the street and preached “Hell’s Fire” continually towards the bar in the presence of the police force and with motorists stopping to watch the war. As I prayed with the young woman in the car to receive Christ, I felt the presence of several officers behind me. When I was finished praying, the woman officer who rejected me last year, was this time being very kind, and said “ you can continue to talk, but the bar owner wants you off his property. You can go over there and talk.” Officer Michael later told us that the lady officer was warming to the gospel since last year. After it was over, just like last year, a powerful night storm approached with high winds, black clouds that shut off the heavens from view, and lightning bolts of fire. We all climbed into the van, I turned on the loudspeaker and turned facing the bar “Jesus Christ is the Lord! Sam, one day your bar is going to burn to the ground!” I was thinking of the Day of the Lord when Jesus is going to destroy the wicked with the brightness of his coming and the breath of his mouth. (2 Thess. 2:8-12) The rain poured in torrents as we drove home rejoicing in the victory the Lord gave us.

 

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