Justin Vold is an evangelist who, along with 12 other young evangelists, spent the week before the Greater New York Billy Graham Crusade being trained by BGEA leadership, handing out Crusade invitations and telling people how they could have salvation through Jesus Christ.
The day before the Crusade, Vold and several of the other evangelists took the subway from Manhattan toward Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Somewhere between witnessing to a subway rider and transferring to another train, Vold was separated from the group. After riding for what seemed like hours, he decided to walk to the park. A fellow subway rider told him it would be a long wayÑbut Vold had had enough public transportation.
As he went down the street, he prayed for the people God was drawing to Himself. “I want this sidewalk for You,” he told the Lord. “And I don’t want to meet anyone unless they come to You. Lord, this is Your street.” Here, in his own words, is the story of his walk from the subway to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
The farther I walked, the spiritually darker it became. I got to a rough-looking area, and I realized that I stood out. I started feeling uncomfortable. As I walked I saw a fight break out–two men against several others. I crossed to the other side of the street–but it felt like I walked away from God. I reminded myself that I had claimed this sidewalk for Christ and that I should not be fearful.
I walked back–right into the middle of the fight–and pulled out a Crusade invitation. “Excuse me,” I said. “Do you guys know where Flushing Meadows Corona Park is?”
They just stared at me like, “What?” But my interruption stopped the fight, and the two guys walked off. The leader of the other group was right in my face, cussing. Spit was flying out of his mouth and onto my face.
“What are you selling?” he said. I told him that I wasn’t selling anything. Showing him the invitation, I said, “This may look like an older man, but his message is strong.”
“Why are you here?” he demanded. I told him that I believe in this man’s message.
“What’s his message?” he asked.
Soon I was engaged in conversation with him. About five of his friends gathered around me. As the leader cussed at me, I preached the Gospel. His aggression was actually empowering the Gospel–I had zero fear. I had total peace. I could feel the Holy Spirit right there.
Each time I made an appeal for him to accept Christ, he bowed his head and tried but couldn’t do it. He cussed in my face and seemed held back from making the decision even though he tried … there wasn’t much left to say. He was angry. I was face to face with him, and his eyes were full of emptiness. It seemed like he couldn’t receive salvation, even though he appeared to want it.
“Satan, you don’t belong here,” I said calmly. “You have no place in this man’s life. Be quiet and come out of him.” I had never done that before, but after I said it, the situation went from chaos to complete peace. I asked the leader, “What is it that you want?”
“I want a family,” he answered. I told him that God loved Him and that he could be adopted as God’s son through Jesus Christ. “He loves you. He’s your Father, and you can become a child of God.” Through the Holy Spirit I quoted passages about the family of God. I told him the story of the prodigal son and how the father longed for him to come home. Then I asked him if he wanted to accept Christ as his Lord and Savior.
He looked up at me as tears poured out of his eyes. Right there, in front of his friends, he asked Jesus to come into his heart. We embraced. “I’m in the family,” he said over and over. “We’re brothers.”
I said, “Welcome into the family of God.” Then I looked at the other guys and asked if they wanted to be in the family of God. They all said yes. We prayed, and they accepted Christ. Before I left them, they walked me to the edge of the street. The leader, with a glowing face and the Light in his eyes, embraced me and said, “I will never be the same. I am in the family of God.”
“Brother,” I said, “if I don’t see you again in this life, I will see you in heaven.” I left them, and before long it began to rain. Then there was a downpour. By the time I reached the park, it was almost totally vacant. I prayed that as the rain was coming down, so would God’s Spirit as people gathered the next three days for the Billy Graham Crusade.