We wanted to write you and fill you guys in on what happened to our team here in San Francisco last night. This is what happened from Daniel’s point of view and gives a pretty good overview of the night.
I went to the Castro (the homosexual district of San Francisco) with JHOPSF (I have been with the Justice House of Prayer San Francisco since April 2008.) like we usually do on Friday nights. Normally, we sit on 18th and Castro, and someone plays the guitar, and we all worship God. Often times people will be drawn to us, even if only for curiosity of what we’re doing, so we get to talk to them, and tell them about the Love of Jesus Christ. On rare occasions, when the Holy Spirit clearly guides one of us (Usually a leader, probably Roger), one person will open-air preach for a little bit.
Sometimes a person will yell at us, or maybe a few. Sometimes people will ignore us. Sometimes people will let us pray with them. We get different responses from different people each time, but the Lord always meets us there.
This time was not a normal night. It was the first time we’d been back in the Castro to do our normal outreach since California Proposition 8, which defined marriage as “one man with one woman” was passed. Apparently, previously, someone at a no on 8 rally singled out Promised Land Fellowship (The church that we attend), and specifically the team they send out to the Castro on Friday nights (Us) as being affiliated with the yes on 8 campaign (Which is partially true. All the individuals involved with the Castro Outreach were involved with the yes on 8 campaign, but mostly in prayer. However, the Castro Outreach isn’t about Gay marriage, or politics – it’s about Jesus Christ.).
We played the guitar and sang together and worshiped the Lord. Nobody preached. Nobody even really talked to anyone except for a little bit near the beginning. After just singing and worshiping God for a while, Roger decided that we should all hold hands in a circle and continue singing. So we did.
Someone (Actually a person who came up and hugged and kissed some of us who he knew from the past and was asking us how we were doing) convinced some people that we were there to protest against the no on 8 campaign. Then some guy who was dressed up like one of the sisters (The sisters of perpetual indulgence is a group of men who dress up in drag like nuns and call themselves the spiritual authority of the Castro.) took a curtain-type thing (Which I think they use to curse people) and wrapped it around us.
Then a crowd started gathering. We began to sing “Amazing Grace”, and basically sang that song the whole night. (At some points we also sang “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” and “Oh the Blood of Jesus”.)
At first, they just shouted at us, using crude, rude, and foul language and calling us names like “haters” and “bigots”. Since it was a long night, I can’t even begin to remember all of the things that were shouted and/or chanted at us.
Then, they started throwing hot coffee, some people got it in their faces, soda and alcohol on us and spitting (and maybe even peeing) on us. Then, a group of guys surrounded us with whistles, and blasted them inches away from our ears continually.
Then, they started getting violent and started shoving us. We just gathered in as tight as we could together and worshiped singing Amazing Grace. At one point a man tried to steal one of our Bibles. Chrisdene noticed, so she walked up to him and said “Hey, that’s not yours, can you please give it back?”. He responded by hitting her on the head with the Bible, shoving her to the ground, and kicking her. I called the cops, and when they got there, they pulled her out of the circle and asked her if she wanted to press charges. She said “No, tell him I forgive him.” Afterwards, she didn’t rejoin us in the circle, but she made friends with one of the people in the crowd, and really connected heart to heart.
Roger got death threats. As the leader of our group, people looked him in the eyes and said “I am going to kill you.”, and they were serious. A cop heard one of them, and confronted him.
(This part is kinda graphic, so you should skip the paragraph if you don’t want to be offended.) It wasn’t long before the violence turned to perversion. They were touching and grabbing me, and trying to shove things in my butt, and even trying to take off my pants – basically trying to molest me. I used one hand to hold my pants up, while I used the other arm to hold one of the girls. The guys huddled around all the girls, and protected them.
Soon after, the cops came and stood between us and the mob. When it was getting more heated, the cops were like “You guys should leave.” because it was getting harder to protect us. and Roger said “We want to stay.” Then he said if you want to get out you have to get out now.
Someone tried to steal my backpack, but I tapped a cop on the shoulder, and said “Hey, that’s my bag.” and he got it from him and gave it to me. Others weren’t so lucky. Probably half our team got their jackets stolen.
Eventually, as the crowd was getting more and more uncontrollable, the cops were afraid for our lives, so they escorted us to our van. (The cops were very nice to us from start to finish.) Our van was parked pretty far because it was hard to find parking that day. As the cops escorted us, the mob followed us, until the cops formed a line, and held off the people so we could drive away. We took the long way home, just in case anyone tried to follow us.
When we got home, we prayed and sang more, and then prayed over each-other.The whole experience made me love, and brought me closer to God, and my friends, and the people in the Castro, as well as the church in general, and the lost in general.
Please know my heart. All of what we do is for the Love of Jesus Christ, and the love for those in the Castro. The Bible says to love God, and then love people. We can only love because He loved us first. We can’t hate the people because they are just broken and blinded by the spirit of this age. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against Principalities and Powers. It’s not a political thing, we just love the people. We don’t want to convert gays to straight people. We want them to know the Love of Jesus Christ. Even if someone never becomes attracted to the other sex, they can still love Jesus Christ with all their heart, mind, and soul.
As the mob raged, all I could pray was “God have mercy.”. It really is all about God’s mercy. He desires mercy over judgment. He desires for all to be saved.
One of the things that I remember them chanting was “Shame on you.”. One of our girls later pointed out how, in some weird way, it’s a privilege for us, because we know that Jesus bore all our shame, and all our transgressions on the cross, so it’s kinda like taking on their shame, so we can cast it onto Jesus.
This is the raw footage of the walk from 18th and Castro Street to our car. It was only the very tail end of the night and says that we were all about prop8… when in reality we had nothing to do with prop 8 this night.
May the Holy Lord God Almighty, Who Was, Who Is, and Who Is To Come, be glorified, now and forevermore. Amen. -Daniel-
Thank you for praying for us, and more for this people in the Castro. We have found ourselves even more broken over them. We love you!