Half past ten in the evening. On the street - darkness pitch. But at the intersection of Foothill and Coolidge (Foothill and Coolidge) lit lanterns. Under them at this late hour every day 30-40 people are going to listen to a street preacher.
This is a black area east of Auckland. This afternoon a scary look, and at night, all is not alone. One consolation that politsiyskie machines periodically popping up from the neighboring lanes and lights shining in his face.
Preacher - a youngish man of about forty. With a short beard, wearing a cap, baseball cap, a jacket in size and not in old jeans stained with dried paint. Students - sway homeless. Almost all of them are black. I know that the name Vincent Pannitso preacher. He preached from 1998 Biblical truths homeless vagabonds. The last five years he lived on the streets with his flock. Day works where necessary. Asleep, wrapped in blankets under the trees nearby. Revenue goes to buy food and alms. And then, and another he gives homeless after his sermon.
Ten years ago, he was a different person. He studied at the graduate school of the prestigious University of Berkeley. He is going to be a professor of history. Special religious young graduate student did not differ. He married, became a father. But ...
- You see, - explained to me today, Vincent - I suddenly heard the call of the Holy Spirit.
- How is it?
- I do not know how to explain. But I realized that to live as before, I can not. According to studies, I studied the Bible in Hebrew. I was struck by the prophecies of the Old Testament, are executed in the Gospel. I just knew I had to go and preach the Word of God to the homeless people. My wife had to be very difficult. I began to pick up people on the street and bring them to spend the night in our suites. The hosts kicked us out of one apartment, then from the other. And then his wife took his son and left me. This is very painful. I love my family, but I could not do otherwise. To live like everyone else, to buy computers, DVD players and car - it was beyond my strength. The Holy Spirit filled me and called to preach. So I lost my family and become homeless preacher.
Yesterday I did not know anything about Vincent. But on Saturday morning, I wrote about him in the local newspaper «San Francisco Chronicle». Honestly, I was struck by the article. Rarely in America to learn about the people who are willing to live like this for their faith. Therefore, after the service I went to a night of Auckland to get to know that person.
In his sermon, Vincent often quoted the message of St. James that faith without works is dead. Then he spoke of "living water", quoting the Gospel of John. Surprisingly, this place was just out of this Sunday's reading about Jesus and the Samaritan woman. After the sermon the homeless get their sandwiches, and some of them a pair of dollars. One of them was completely broken festered eyes. Brother Vincent processed wound some medical solution, and then bandaged. Half-drunk or stoned patient mumbled unintelligible words of thanks.
When it was over, we moved to the corner of Vincent. There, near the barred window shop we talked for another half hour. We could chat longer, but the street is rapidly colder. Vincent was impressed very clever, intelligent and happy (!) Person. He even understood well what it means :) Finally Orthodoxy gave him an icon of the Virgin of Jerusalem. We embraced. I ran to the car to go back to the warm hearth, and he walked toward the city park ...