Saturday, October 25, 2008

Arizona State Fair

October usually brings the cooler weather giving us a break from the long hot summer. It also brings the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix. Last week I had a chance to check out the fishing there and although it started out pretty smoothly, it wasn’t long before I was sent packing.

The gates didn’t open until 11am, but I got there at about 10:15 and already, people were lining up at the ticket booths to get in. I was able to hand out about two hundred Million Dollar Bill tracts before I was asked to stop by security. I asked him why I wasn’t allowed to distribute tracts. “This is government property” was his response. Funny, but I thought by definition, that gave me the right to exercise my first amendment right. I wasn’t in the mood to press it, so I just asked if I could address the crowd. “I don’t care who you talk to, just don’t hand any more those out, (pointing to my tracts) you’ll have to go out to the public sidewalk to do that.” Once he left, I went out to the sidewalk about fifty yards away and handed out more tracts. While I was out there, he came out to make sure I didn’t cross over to fair property and gave me one more warning for good measure.


Right before the gates opened, I was able to open air preach to the crowd three times before they began filing into the fairgrounds. Apparently, the complaints started to roll in because shortly after that, my new friend along with another security guard and two DPS officers showed up to cordially ask me to leave. I asked what law I was breaking, but even the officers couldn't’t give me that information. One of them just pulled out a sheet of by-laws from the fair officials and read them off to me. I think “No shouting or disturbing people” was the one he pointed out to me. No leaflets either. I was disappointed, but my estimate is that around one hundred and fifty people heard the Gospel that day and even more received tracts.

The crowd begins to grow.

I’ll probably look into getting a permit to be able to preach there next year. That should be fun! Please pray for those that heard the Gospel and for both the security and DPS officers.

Security regroups after my departure.

NOTE: If you plan to record your witness encounters and open air, make sure the microphone is plugged into the right jack!