Things rarely went smoothly at open-air meetings! One evening, a young man tried to get me ruffled by calling out, "Do you think you are in the grace of God? You've got another think coming!" Fortunately for me, I remembered a situation during the trial of the saintly Joan of Arc (1412 - 1431 AD) nicknamed "the Maid of Orleans." The Bishops had put a similar question to her, before burning her at the stake and she replied, "If I am in the grace of God, I praise Him for it! If not, I pray He will put me into it!" The disgruntled heckler, lost for words, pushed his way out of the crowd at the open-air meeting and disappeared.✞
A request for different open-air meetings came from the other side of New York City. It was a hot summer evening, as Ed and I strolled from the subway to the Puerto Rican church. The dilapidated streets were alive with screaming children and wives calling to one another from upstairs windows.
A sultry breeze smacked our faces. "We have a captive audience, here," I told Ed. After prayers at the church, we set out. The ornate processional cross led the way with a flag on either side in support. Behind us, two strong men puffed and heaved an elaborate wooden pulpit specially made for this event. Sweat poured from their temples as they labored on.✞