12/16/09 Delano, 22 and Eugene, about 25
In the plumbing section at Home Depot I walked up to two young black men and offered them million dollar bill tracts, asking about heaven and telling them I want to see them there one day. "Oh I'll be there, most definitely" Delano said enthusiastically. "How can you be sure?" "Well I haven't done anything bad that would keep me out" said Delano. He then went on to say he has been getting involved in the Nation of Islam (led by Louis Farrakhan). His friend Eugene told me "I've accepted Jesus as my personal savior." which surprised me, because he was dressed more like the Hollywood caricature of a street hustler or a pimp, with a long full-length fur coat and other accessories. After some conversation with both of them, I concluded that Delano is more of a Nation of Islam "wannabee", whose basic understanding of religion is that of earning God's favor by good works, and to him the Nation of Islam seems like the coolest way to do that. Eugene kept repeating "I've accepted Jesus as my personal savior", and I could tell that this overused phrase didn't have much meaning for him, and he lacked both understanding of what it meant and the repentance to go along with it. I focused on presenting the law to Delano, knowing that Eugene would also learn a lot from our conversation. In the end Delano (and hopefully Eugene) clearly knew that he is in need of the forgiveness that can only come through repentance and faith in Jesus, and I encouraged him to have a heart to heart talk with God before his head hit the pillow that night.