Friday, July 3, 2009

PB&J the sequal (Police Bringing Justice)

So remember my HWY 20 blog (2 blog posts below), and the Power, Boldness & Joy that Tim encouraged to share the gospel with? Well the SPG's decided to take that and roll with it and go out into some of the lesser canvased areas of our community, mainly the areas that even the Thursday night summer outreaches don't get to. In a smaller group, such as ours, it's easier to go in unobtrusively. The idea was sparked by Alyssa's sweet spirit, mirrored by the rest of us, for her desire to reach out to her neighbors. . .on the NASWI base.

If you read my previous post on base security, you know that I have a knack for encountering them at the most inopportune times. Let me assure you that last night was no different. Without any foreknowledge of whether or not we could spread the gospel within the confines of base housing, we decided to take the chance and let the Lord bring us as far as we could go.

We met at the Alyssa's house around 7, after most peoples dinner and still light enough outside so as to reach many houses. I was on time and actually beat out by the arrival of Anna, and the rest of the SPG gang trickled in soon after. Alyssa lives on a street that is primarily made up of security personnel so we decided to start there first, if there was a problem we figured they would surely let us know. Security is really good like that, knowing the Navy regs that they do...right. Well we made it all the way down the block and no one said anything negative to us. With my pairing, Anna and I experienced much of the same thing that we usually do, which will consist of a polite we're not interested statement or people willing to take the tracts, but don't want to engage in spiritual discussions. Alyssa and Kali had some pleasant people to talk to though, which we took as a positive sign. However, other blocks were not as receptive.

Around the block from where we started there were a couple houses that declined, with fervor, at the inquiries into their spiritual status. Most considered us Solicitors, because there is no soliciting allowed on base, but beyond wanting to share the gospel with people, we were not trying to entice people into purchasing anything, donating, or doing something that they would otherwise be uncomfortable with as the definition of solicit, according to Websters 1828 dictionary would dictate. We're not sure which house it was, we all have different ideas about who it could have been, but no sooner had Alyssa and Josh left the home of one unhappy resident did the base police roll up on us (specifically Joel, Chris, Anna and myself).

They weren't quite as agressive as Ponch and John had been, but they moved with purpose, swift to action like a pointer called to the hunt. Little did they know that rather than catching a group of sinister civilians ready to take down the base, they would catch the solicitors of a lifetime. Anna and I were leaving the porch of a home when I saw the navy blue Explorers in the distance. Their lights weren't flashing, but they looked as if they were trying to find their way to our 20 (location) I poked Anna in the arm and said "Looks like their coming our way". As we made our way to the next door Anna and I realized that out fatigue from a long days work was starting to catch up with us. Taking a moment to pray our tiredness away was all it took for the patrolman to roll up on us. After praying we both looked up to find patrolman Ocho walking in our direction and asking us for our ID's.

Digging through my purse I pulled out my wallet and gave him my drivers license, as it turned out only Chris, Josh H., Joel, and myself had our ID's on our person (the rest of the girls didn't feel like carrying their purses and left them at Alyssa's house). However, because of the latter we soon found out that they were in violation of WA state law for not having identification on them at all times, so Alyssa had to go home to get the ID's. I found out later that evening that she had made that trip with tears, whether they came from frustration over the thwarting of our evangelistic efforts or because of the emotions already running high it was definitely a testimony to the sincerity of her heart. Never fear Alyssa, just remember the promise from Psalm 126:6...

He that goeth forth and weepeth , bearing
precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. ~ Psalm 126:6

We stood there for quite some time, surmising the events that had just taken place. They had to separate the ID'd people from the non-ID'd, which meant that I was once again the only girl with a group of guys (so to speak). I remember though from my security days that you should always have a piece of ID on your person, at all times. The chatter of the rest of the girls was humorous and as we stood across from each other my thoughts started to form for this post. Finger moving across my chin I stared into space trying to form the words. Maggie looked across at me, wondering what was taking place, when Kali whispered to her that I was probably doing just as I described. Finally catching their eyes Mags mouthed the very same to me to which I nodded and giggled. Chris looked down at me and asked what we were giggling over and I whispered that I was forming the blog in my head and the girls figured that out. LOL, he chuckled too.

Petty Officer Toy, the senior patrol man on scene, looked at us trying to figure us out. Completely compliant, we really had no defense for what we were doing doesn't really need one, we were straightforward in our pursuit, not lying to anyone or insulting their intelligence with condescension, nor were we out to degrade their service to our country (as others had done in the past). It is the latter that brought the concern from the patrol man. As I engaged him in conversation he shared a story with me about another religious group, or rather a cult, that had tried to do the same on base. Of course this group knows not the truth and believes that service in the military will send a person to hell and told those residents, of the houses they knocked on, just as much. This however was not our cause. We showed the patrolman the tracts that we were passing out, and taking a look at them he found nothing wrong with them but said that he still had to do what his job required of him, which was to make us stop. Of course you know I let him take those with him as well;)

Alyssa arrived soon after with the ID's, and her Dad in tow, all they wanted was the information for the report. Having written these report before and knowing all the people that were on scene with us, even though it was only 8, 8 peoples information equals a lot of typing. Not something that security personnel is fond of. Her Dad defended us with the solicitation charge since we weren't falling under the definition, but he was also rebuffed with the PO Toy's previous statement. So as any good Senior Chief would do, he asked him for the instruction. The silence Toy offered up was deafening. What a Sailor that doesn't know the instruction that he's in charge of governing? Say it ain't so. Sadly it is:( He should have had my Sr. PO's & Chiefs. Whenever I asked a question about an instruction, as a pesty Jr. Sailor, I was always met with the same statement, "Look it up". These research endeavors were almost never pleasant, because of course they wouldn't point me in the right direction I'd even have to figure that out. However, in the end it served a good learning curve. First, whenever I was challenged afterward I always knew those things for myself and usually ended up right, enjoyable for me but not for someone senior that wanted to be right simply because of his rank. Second, I now know how to do better research for school and break down the information that is important and remove everything that is extraneous.

As I said though Toy didn't know the instruction. So guess who's looked it up? Here's what I found. First of all, I couldn't find anything for the base instructions online. So I looked up what the DoD has to say on the matter of solicitation. Though there is an instruction on it, according to the referanced DoD dictionary, the term solicit isn't even in it. But I digress, after reading the instruction it is safe to say that we definitely do not fall under their identification of solicitation. However, rather than get permanently kicked off of base, and w/o reading NASWI's it's best to obey Paul's instruction in Romans 12:18 "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live
peaceably with all men". Unless of course we get a firm go ahead.Then there is this interesting prior case, circa 1943. that Tim found while heated enough to execute his pursuit of justice by way of Google. In the case the lady involved, who does not share my faith, was charged with violating a city ordinance against said doorknocking efforts with invitations to her meeting, this case was subsequently overturned for violation of the 1st & 14th ammendmends to our blessed Constitution. While I don't share the particular views that this woman holds to, it is interesting to note that such a decision can be overturned in favor of our 1st ammendment (may it always be so).

Whatever, the outcome of the evening was Toy did express the sentiment, a couple times, that he hoped that we had gotten to enough houses before his having to stop us. A secret service Christian? Maybe. Only time will tell. Dejected, we returned from whence we came, Alyssa's house, for fellowship, ice cream, and a little bit of ettiquite education from her father (which was actually a lot of fun).

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8. I can't bring myself to continue on with v.9 because I hardly call what we went through persecution, at least in light of what the forebearers of the gospel have faced; Peter being crucified upside down, Stephen being stoned to death. . .you get the idea. But will we always be so blessed? That is the question that only God knows the answer to. While the Lord still gives us the time though we should not be troubled or in despair for these types of outcome but instead count it all joy and know that the trying of our faith worketh patience like James 1:2,3 says. I always used to enjoy hear Pastor Jeremiah preach about whenever he'd meet these challenges. Not that it was any easier for him as a person, I'm sure in many ways it was harder, but there were times where I got the distinct impression that he was encouraged spiritually by them because as a Christian is makes you cling closer to the word of God, delving in to the meat that God has for you, to learn and defend why, and what, it is that you stand for.
However, let this tale stand as a testament to the fortitude of the SPG's and our willingness to meet challenges with grace, some tears, and a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. The Police may be able to Bring their Justice, but it will always be met with the Power, Boldness and Joy that the Lord generously besowes upon His children.


nene8200 said...

Definitely encouraging reading this post! Thanks for sharing it with the rest of the world. I really am glad that the officer mentioned that statement before you all left--another encouragement from the Lord! Praise God for the faithfulness of His saints!

Alyssa said...

Boy was that a fun night! One I will never forget. The Lord is good and I think He will bless our efforts despite what the military has to say about it. I look forward to the next adventure of Soliciters Pleasing God!


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