[anzac] STREET PREACHER Faces JAIL

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 14:32:00 -0500
NOTE:   My first response upon reading this was - "How can things
like this happen in the USA?" Whatever happened to "freedom of
speech", the Constitution, 'land of the free', etc? Surely they cannot
get away with it? Are the USA's basic freedoms now to be trampled
into the mud?  -By the way, I have met Jesse Morrell - a very
personable young man.
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"STREET PREACHER Faces 18 MONTHS in JAIL" - USA.
-report from Jesse Morrell.
[ www.OpenAirOutreach.com ]

PART ONE - "2 Days and 1 Night in Jail"

To the glory of God I spent two days and one night in jail ministering
to roughly sixty inmates with great success. It all started when I
went to a local Junior College area to preach the gospel. I prayed
from my home to the campus that the Lord would give me His heart
and His compassion for these people, and that my ministry would
be just as His ministry. I was planning on preaching around the
campus as the Administration of the campus said I could. I did the
smart thing and found the cops as soon as I arrived. I asked them
if they would bother me if I preach outside the campus. They made
a call and told me I can’t preach on the surrounding sidewalks, but
that I could preach from the actual streets. I thanked them very
much and started looking for a nice street to preach from.

I found one spot and thought I may be able to draw a crowd there,
but I still wanted to know if there was a better spot. I walked on a
sidewalk to another street to see if there would be more students
in that section. As soon as I stepped off the sidewalk two cop cars
came pulling up and said “That’s it, we warned you to stay on the
street, now you’re going to jail!” Apparently the public college’s
public sidewalk was not open to the public. I didn’t even get to open
my mouth once and witness to even one student and they brought
me to jail. It was quite bizarre. I never wanted to break the law but
only to preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I wasn’t able to preach to the college students that day, but I did
preach to the other inmates. I was placed in a cell with about six
other guys. I stood at the door and did as the Bible tells us to and
lifted up my voice as a trumpet, spared not, and told the inmates
their transgressions (Isaiah 58:1). “Jesus Christ is the King of Kings
and the Lord of Lords”. As soon as I started preaching down the
hallway for all the inmates to hear, six or so guards came rushing
towards me, took all the other inmates out of the cell, and slammed
the metal door on me. I was in what was called “The Drunken Cell”
that was nothing but cements walls, cement floor, and a thick metal
door with no window for me to look out of. But preaching to the door,
the other inmates were able to listen to me and I was told that when
I preached, all the inmates would stop talking and would listen.

For roughly four hours I preached “sin, righteousness and judgment
to come” and “Christ and Him crucified”. The entire hallway listened
intently as I preached. I also took a few breaks to get on my knees
and pray for the inmates and the guards and also to sing songs. The
disciples in the New Testament sang hymns when they were in jail
and sinners were converted (Acts 16:25) so I thought I would do likewise.

Eventually they processed me in and asked me if I was going to
bail out. How much is the bail I asked. They said “$500”. “I think I’ll
stay in jail” I told them. They put me in an orange jump suit and
placed me in a cell with about 20 other guys. The inmates warmly
welcomed me in and said “Are you the preacher?” “Yes I am.” “We
are the cigarette sucking sinners” they said. “Nice to meet you” I
responded. And I got to witness to them one-on-one. When I started
talking to one of them, they all would quite down and listen. They
had a respect for me and a fear of God and reverence for the
Scriptures. Their faces lit up as I told my testimony and talked
about the new-birth. After I stopped I looked around, one guy said
“wow, you can keep talking like that!” with a huge smile on his face
and a glow in his eyes. Certain inmates would sit and talk very
seriously with me about their sins, hearts, and eternal destiny.
Many seemed to be greatly impacted and disturbed.

I did not sleep much that night. It was hard because there was
nothing but a toilet, a cement floor, and a long wooden bench. But
there were so many inmates in each cell sitting on the bench, the
only place to lie would be the filthy floor.

Apparently the first shift of guards that dealt with me must not have
liked me because they put me in with what I perceived to be the
high-risk inmates. I was talking to one man who has been in jail for
16 years, and he once was on trial for capital murder. There were
two other guys who are finishing up a 5 year sentence, one man
just starting a 5 year sentence, one guy just starting a 4 year
sentence. “So what did you do, man?” “Well, I was walking on a
sidewalk trying to find a place to preach the gospel”.

I spoke to the sergeant and told her that I was only here on a
trespassing charge from the day before and would like to bail out
now. “Then why are you in that orange jump suit? Why are you in
that cell with all those other high-risk inmates?” “I don’t know. This
is where they put me yesterday!” The sergeant said “What is your
name? Hold on, let me look into this.”

She looked into it and came and pulled me out of that cell really
fast! “I don’t know why you were in that cell. Why aren’t you in your
normal clothing, why are you in that orange jump suit?” “I don’t
know, this is what they put me in yesterday.” “Make your phone call
and bail yourself out.” I called the Christian Ministry Bail Bondsmen
and they said they will bail me out for $140 and all I need is a
co-signer. I called a local preacher friend who willingly came and
co-signed me out.

This is from the article I wrote called 'Power in Preaching: Unveiling
the Fire': “Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, if there is going to be
power in our preaching, then there is going to be persecution in our
lives. When you assault the devil's territory he will retaliate hastily
against you. That is to be expected if we go the way of our Lord.

This much I know, the gospel must be preached. Not only must we
preach the gospel because we would be in direct disobedience to
God if we didn’t and that is sin, but because the world is dying and
going to hell and we have the message that can save them for all
eternity. This mission is of the utmost importance! Any obstacle must
be overcome. Any fear must be forgotten. Any desire to preserve our
own lives must be entirely abandoned. If you are not willing to die
for the gospel, I would dare to say you know nothing about the gospel.
Brethren, those of you who love God and love your neighbor,
PREACH the gospel to every creature!!"

PART TWO - "Now Facing 18 MONTHS IN JAIL"
[-the follow-up Court Case - July 8.]

Court today wasn't very smooth. I spoke with the prosecutor who
said he wanted to go ahead and prosecute this case. He gave me
three options:

1) 30 days in Jail starting today. When I'd be released it would be
on my perminant record, but no probation. The problem with this is
that having it on my record my give me trouble when leaving the
country on a preaching trip.

2) 1 year probation, a $2,000 fine, roughly 100 hours community
service, and monthly probation check ins, and then after a year it
will be cleared from my record. The problem with this is that I don't
have the money, it's hard to travel when on probation, and if I get in
more trouble for preaching with the police it could be I violate my
probation and will go to jail.

3) I could plead not guilty and go to trial. The problem with this is
that on one of my encounters with a police on this public campus
they said "We're letting you go on a warning. Sign here. It's an
acknowledgement that we gave you a warning." So I signed it and
thought nothing of it. But seeing that paper again it court, it says
that I understood that if I came back to the campus I'd be arrested
for trespass.

So those are the options I was faced with today in court. I has first
told the prosecutor that I was pleading not guilty, then waited about
5 minutes and told them I wanted to change it. I almost signed the
paper that said 30 days in jail, but then I realized it was wrong and
had him correct it to the 1 year probation.

Then I went before the judge. I tried to explain to him that all I tried
to do was go to a public area and use my free speach to preach the
Lord Jesus Christ and therefore asked that he dismiss it, but he said
if I wanted to debate it I would have to take it to trial. Then he asked
"How do you plead" I couldn't say "Guilty" in order to recieve the
probation. Though that would be the easier way out, and trial would
be the harder way, I see the harder way as the honorable way. I
thought about it and said "Your Honor, I'd be lying if I said 'guilty'."
So he said "How do you plead?" and I felt my conscience forced me
to say "not guilty your Honor". I'd rather have my tongue cut out then
to have it say "guilty" in order to get the easy way out. The only thing
I'm guilty of is going to a public campus to use my right of freedom of speech.

A problem for them is that the administration already said it's ok to
talk to people on campus, and to give out Bibles. They allow the
Gideons to do that. But if I wanted to preach it would have to be off
campus. So what the cops are saying and what the administration
is saying is two different things!! And the campus cops had admitted
"this is a public school".

So I'm taking it to trial. The only problem is the paper I felt forced to
sign which says if I returned I'd be arrested. If I didn't sign that paper
then, I would have been arrested then. My hope is that we can get
that paper I signed thrown out and not recognized as a legal document
because it's unconstitutional. It's like signing a paper that says if you
go to a public park you'd be arrested for trespass. You should never
have to sign a paper like that, or be forced to jail.

I'm still trying to understand why am I in this situation. All I tried to
do was go to a public area and use my freedom of speach rights.
And I didn't even get to preach! Why did I get a warning to stay
away from a public area? Why was I forced to sign that paper or
else I would have been arrested? Why am I now facing up to a year
and a half in jail? This simply doesn't add up legally though
spiritually it is another story.

No matter if I am found guilty or not in the court of man, I know that
I am justified in the court of God!

I feel the Lord is saying "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall
drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized
with?" (Mt 20:22).

And I feel that I am saying "O my Father, if it be possible, let this
cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Mt 26:39).

~Jesse Morrell
<jessewm218@...> - contact him!
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