Dear Friends in Christ,
Many of you may receive Stan Goebel’s weekly account on his street evangelism in the western side of Birmingham, mainly in Fairfield. In his update from March 9 he shared, “….I walked to one car a man was standing real close to the drivers side window so I had to lean around him and in close to hand the driver a tract. He had ear plugs in his ears for his music, so I don’t know if he could hear me, tattoos all over his face and neck, and when I looked down, saw a 9mm pistol laying in his lap. I was handing him the tract and telling him what it was about…but he wasn’t budging. Well, I didn’t either…I just stood there with my arm in his car holding ‘my’ weapon…the tract that’s the Word of God. He didn’t move his head, just slowly rolled his eyes my way. I still don’t know if he could hear me, but I said, ‘This message, about this person, The LORD Jesus Christ, can change your life…if you’re looking for change.’ He just kept looking at me, then slowly looked at the tract and took it from my hand. I thanked him, handed out a few more, and walked off thanking The LORD I’d made it through another situation.”
Within one week the city of Birmingham saw one student killed and one injured at Huffman High School. Then two were killed, with another wounded at UAB Highlands Hospital. What Stan experienced was indeed God’s protection. As part of the volunteer chaplains for the Birmingham Police Department, we were asked to be present at Huffman after the tragic shooting. Along with counselors and clergy we saw students on March 9 coming back to the school with much fear. I saw twenty students in one room with heads bowed and one pastor leading them in prayer. No one said that day you cannot pray in public schools! It takes these tragedies for us to realize our need for the Lord.
The chaplain corps were requested to be present at another school after this shooting. All of the students met in the auditorium, where the chaplains shared Scripture and had prayer with the student body. Upon finishing the program, the students gave the chaplains a standing ovation!
The following Tuesday I attended role call at one precinct to have prayer with the officers as they began their afternoon shift. After our brief time together, one officer approached me and asked if he could talk with me. He shared not about the stress of the job, but about losing a family member to cancer about a month ago. We sometimes forget these men and women, who put themselves in harm’s way, may also have heartaches from their personal and family lives.
Bill and Lil Stroup continue their work to the Japanese who live in the Birmingham area. Lil teaches English to the women and Bill teaches some of these same ladies golf. His hope and prayer is that God would continue to open doors for him to meet the husbands, play golf with them and share the gospel. Please pray also for their daughter, Alethia, who had a blood clot on the brain. She had surgery to remove the clot, which was successful and miraculously had little side effects.
We continue to ask for your prayers and support as we move forward.
In Christ Our Life,
Jay & Cindy Jackson