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Tampa

Country: United States
State or province: Florida

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Bill Brown
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Ybor City at Night – 6/22/19

August 7, 2019


For June we decided to try Ybor City but switched to the night (5:30 - 9pm) to avoid the heat and the loud, hate filled group we encountered in January.

The evening was a resounding success. The foot traffic was high and we encountered about 100 individuals, received many prayer requests and handed out many rosaries, medals and pamphlets. In the picture above I am telling the story of the miraculous medal to some non-Catholic teenagers. They loved hearing about the angel, and identified with St. Catherine as they enthusiastically placed their medals over their heads.

We also had a lengthy conversation with a Baptist preacher who emphasized literal based creationism as his way of "debunking" those who believe science over the Bible. We explained to him that as Catholics, we have no such issues since we know that the Book of Genesis was never intended to be a scientific explanation of how God created the world. We tried to avoid his "scientific" arguments for a 6,000 year old earth by pointing out our salvation has nothing to do with the age of the earth, but that's where his focus remained.

There was also a young lady who had a tiny "aha" moment. She gave the typical "I'm good" response to our offer of a rosary, and then after she had traveled 20 paces down the sidewalk, something grabbed her, made her turn around and request a rosary. She had no idea what they were, but listened to our teaching and took the instruction pamphlet. May the Holy spirit take over from there.

Please join in on the fun by emailing me at bill@brown.org.



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TAMPA RIVERWALK – 5/18/19

August 7, 2019


It was another beautiful day at the Riverwalk. Richard and Mike joined me for about 5 hours of evangelizing the busy, mostly worldly citizens of downtown Tampa.

We spoke to Omar, who wanted us to pray that he have the fortitude to return to the Catholic church. We informed him of Sacred Heart Parish downtown that has confessions everyday except Sunday.

Karen and Les were in Tampa to see if they’d like to move there. What’s interesting was their criteria was finding a Parish they liked that had the Tridentine Mass.

Many others asked for prayers of health and clarity. All in all it was a wonderful day.

Come join us by e-mailing bill@brown.org.



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Tampa Chapter at Yankee Spring Training Game – 3/16/19

August 7, 2019


We had another successful day evangelizing on the 3rd Saturday in March. We set up in the parking area servicing the Yankee’s Spring Training Game against the Blue Jays. It was a split squad game, so it had good attendance, which for us made a lot of traffic. We did have many good encounters, but the people were mostly interested in getting to their seats, so second level conversations were few.

What worked good was using the METU (Mobile Evangelical Tactical Unit) instead of setting up the table. We parked it by a homeless artist, “Zebra”, selling pictures of Yankee players. He took a rosary and spoke to us at length about God, not so much Jesus.

I neglected to take pictures, sorry about that.



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Tampa Riverwalk 2/16/19

August 7, 2019


Oh what a beautiful day! In Tampa, FL God blesses us with beautiful 70 degree sunny weather in February. What better to do than get outside and spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is so pleasant on the Riverwalk. Everyone is in a good mood, so many people stopped by. We must have given out 100 rosaries/medals and had many meaningful conversations. Seeds were planted. We had two new evangelists, George (originally from Lebanon) and Shohreh (originally from Iraq)  join our regulars, Mike, Richard, Reuben and I.

If you live or are visiting the Tampa area, please consider joining us. We usually do something the third Saturday each month. E-mail me at bill@brown.org to get added to our list. I only send out two e-mails a month:

  1. First e-mail for us to decide where to go this month.
  2. Second e-mail announces the decision and logistics on where and when.


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Ybor City 1/19/19

August 7, 2019


Ybor City is kind of like the Bourbon Street of Tampa; however, it’s a great place to evangelize. There is always a lot of foot traffic, and the people are usually not too busy to stop and talk. So that’s where we chose to set up at our last outing. We always set up at a great spot in front of a vacant lot.

There was a wonderful start to the day. A young woman, named Danielle, stopped by. She said she was a protestant who attended her first Catholic Mass this past Christmas. She admitted it was beautiful and her curiosity about becoming Catholic has started. We discussed RCIA but before I could get into the specifics she started to cry. She sobbed about not deserving God’s love and more I couldn’t understand, so with trepidation, I just placed my arm around her and we prayed until she composed herself. She asked for prayers to bring her closer to God in her brokenness. She accepted a rosary and many pamphlets about becoming Catholic, Sola Scriptura and Faith Alone.

Then everything changed. While I was still by myself, a van pulled up with about a dozen members from the Black Hebrew Israelites. They unloaded multiple tables, a stage, and speakers. Some of their items were placed right in front of my table.
Then they started their hate speech over a very loud microphone. I’ve never really bought into the idea of hate speech thinking it was just free speech to which you disagreed. Boy was I wrong. They openly hate white people, Jews, Asians, Catholics, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. They even hate continental Africans, the current African American leaders, and Martin Luther King Jr. They do this very unabashedly and referred to silent me directly as a homosexual pedophile.

Finally, some of my brother and sister evangelists showed up. We decided we would not put up with this abuse anymore, so we moved across the street. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.

We all know that God can show us the good when we see only bad, and this is what He did. Most of the pedestrians were just as uncomfortable with the platform of the Black Hebrew Israelites as we were, and most of them did what we did. They crossed the street to get away from the hate and ended up right at our table of love. We had way more traffic than normal.

Except for the noise from across the street, the rest of the day went as good as it ever has. We evangelized from 11:30 to 6:00. I was joined by first timers Suzanne, Sharon and Betty; Paul from the Lakeland Chapter, and my stalwarts, Richard and Mike.

Then we had one of those encounters that keeps us coming back out. I noticed a young guy who looked familiar. He was a Scientologist I encountered back on November 2016, at the Ybor City Cigar Festival. Here’s what I posted about him:

The Scientologists (who had a table around the block) stopped by. They were taken aback when we offered them a rosary saying they thought Catholics hated them. We showed them love, gave them a rosary and showed them how to use it.

I noticed Paul approach this guy, so I let it play out. Here’s Paul’s report:
There was a young man who was escorting a young gal. They had walked past our booth a couple of times. They were both wearing shirts with Scientology written on them. They both stated that Scientology accepted all religions. I told them that Christ said that He was the only way, truth and life and that no man comes to the Father but through Him. The young man said that he had been attending mass. I asked him if he was confirmed, and he did not know what that was all about. So, I shared with him the importance of going to RCIA and getting the proper knowledge of the faith. I encouraged them both in the faith and to seek after the pearl of great price and to forsake all other things. She said she appreciated all that I had shared.

The seed that was planted in 2016, continues to grow, if even ever so slightly.

Another reoccurring encounter that never ceases to amaze me was the one Sharon had with Janette. Janette appeared to be homeless or at least not very well off. We gave her multiple rosaries, crucifixes and medals for her and her family. When we asked her how we could pray for her, she replied, “prayers of thanksgiving because I’m so blessed”. Sharon gave her a big hug.

Some more highlights:
• We handed out over 75 rosaries and 50 medals. The large Miraculous Medals were very popular.
• More pamphlets were taken than normal.
• We wrote down 28 prayer requests.
• We had many “second level” conversations where we get past talking about the rosary or medal and discuss that person’s faith in God (or lack thereof).
• Paul also had a chance to evangelize a Messianic Christian by encouraging him to frequent Sacred Heart Parish (downtown).
• We had many Catholics give us encouragement.

From the streets of Ybor City, the Tampa Chapter of St. Paul Street Evangelization wishes you all the Peace of Christ.
Bill Brown
bill@brown.org



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Tampa Riverwalk 9/15/18

August 7, 2019


It was another hot day in Tampa. We chose to evangelize the Riverwalk again, but in a different location. This time we chose MacDill Park. We found a beautiful spot under a tree. Foot traffic was good, but a lot of potential customers are whizzing by on bikes, skateboards, or jogging and don’t want to stop. We still gave out many rosaries and medals. We recently purchased a batch of St. Christopher medals because of the many requests for them.

We had three new evangelists with us that day, Joe, Sarah and Neil (see picture).

One women came up to us crying. She was from out of town and staying at a nearby hotel. Melissa told us that she had been a Catholic all her life. She attended Catholic grade school, high school and college, but she had fallen away from the Church. Evidently, our table made her realize her mistake. We prayed over Melissa, urging her to return to the Sacraments and Mass. I trust the Holy Spirit to see that through.

We stayed from about 10:30am to 3:30pm. With different evangelists showing up at different times. Thanks to our stalwarts: Reuben, Richard and Mike.



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Ybor City 7/20/18

August 7, 2019


Ybor City is a great place to evangelize. There is always a lot of foot traffic, and the people are usually not too busy to stop and talk. This Saturday was no different. We did the afternoon. It was hot, but the shade from the buildings made it bearable.

Most of our customers were pleasant casual conversations. Catholics were surprised to see us evangelizing in public. Baptists were glad to hear we didn’t “worship” our Blessed Mother, and when we explained the Hail Mary (first half scripture, second half asking for intercession) most were glad to take a rosary and give it a try.

In the picture you can see Teresa selling crosses and such made from weaving palm leaves off to our left. During one of our conversations she told me she was a Native American and she believed in one God, but not necessarily the Christian God. Then when the Scientologists walked by she leaned over to me and said, “I’d rather be a Catholic than one of them”. I had to laugh to myself. Later on, I overpaid for one of her crosses and she started to cry.

Another interesting encounter occurred while I was packing up. I had laminated and placed 3 posters of famous Catholic scientists (Sr. Mary Kenneth Keller, Fr. Georges Lemaitre, Friar Gregor Mendel) that I got from Word on Fire. When I looked up, I saw three young men reading the posters. They told me they thought the Church was “against” science. It allowed me a great opening to point out faith and science are not at odds at all. They both are invaluable ways to understand the physical and metaphysical. I gave them the SPSE pamphlet on the Existence of God through Astrophysics.

If you want to evangelize your Catholic faith on the streets of Tampa, just e-mail bill@brown.org.



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Tampa Convention Center Home Show 8/19/17

August 7, 2019


We choose places where we believe there will be a lot of foot traffic and a good place to set up. The Tampa convention Center has a nice wide sidewalk in front and we figured the Home show would provide the foot traffic. Well the foot traffic was less than we hoped. Some of the vendors said there were more vendors then visitors. But that just left us more time to talk to the “customers” we did have.

Reuben, Mike and I took the METU and hung out near the entrance. We handed out about 100 rosaries and medals. Usually with a rosary pamphlet or CD. We also handed out our first “Pocket Gospel” which we got from the USCCB website.

Some highlights:

  1. A group of four Catholic mothers and their many children. I think three were studying for their first communion, so giving them a nice rosary was special. Then one of the mom’s asked for a pocket Gospel, which she gave to her daughter.
  2. One non-Catholic gentlemen asked why not just pray to Jesus. When I explained to him the Communion of Saints he accepted the rosary, pamphlet and CD with joy.
  3. A guy drove by as we were leaving and he asked me to help him get his wheelchair out of his car. As I did, I offered him a rosary. He said “not to a Jew-boy like me!” His words, not mine. So I pointed out Jesus was a Jew and he said he does pray to Jesus sometimes. Then he taught me one of his Jewish prayers, “Ah-doe-NAI ah-TA ba-ROOKH”. Which is akin to The Lord Be with You.

If you are in Tampa and would like to join us, just e-mail me at bill@brown.org



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Pigz In Z’Hills BBQ and Blues Festival 1/21/17

August 7, 2019


The Holy Spirit was alive and well at the Pigz In Z’Hills BBQ & Blues Fesival. We had a fantastic turnout. Richard & I did the early shift and Reuben, Vic and Vic’s daughter took over after that.

Some of the highlights:

  1. We handed out probably 75 rosaries and 100 medals. The miraculous medals were very popular.
  2. We wrote down 47 prayer requests.
  3. We had many conversations short and long.
  4. We prayed over two sisters whose father just got diagnosed with cancer. Very emotional.
  5. One lady declined a rosary and walked off. A half hour later she came back and told us how great her experience was at a Catholic Mass. She ended up with a rosary and a medal.
  6. An Episcopalian women was very interested in the rosary and our conversation. She said she was in our area to get some water, but after our meeting she said she was meant to see us. We made her day. Richard told her she made our day.
  7. Nothing negative happened. But we were tasked with defending the concept of a “just war” with a gentlemen who went so far as to say that a world controlled by the Nazis may have been a good thing.

We also collected a prayer request list. It has ~47 requests – perfect for an intentional rosary. This is what we promised the customers, so we printed out the list and as we say a rosary we read off one intention before we say each Hail Mary.



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Welcome to the Tampa Chapter of St. Paul Street Evangelization

July 23, 2019


My name is Bill Brown. Reuben Persaud and I are excited you are looking into this activity. If you are in the Tampa area and interested in joining us, please send an e-mail to bill@brown.org.

So far we have had great success at:

  1. Fish Hawk Fall Festival
  2. Ybor City Centennial Park (x3)
  3. Zephyrhills BBQ & Blues Festival
  4. County Bldg., downtown Tampa
  5. Brandon Westfield Mall (x5)
  6. Casting Crowns Concert @ USF
  7. Valrico Sunday Market
  8. Williams Park Saturday Market, St. Pete
  9. Ybor City sidewalk (x7)
  10. Tampa Convention Center Home Show
  11. Bikes for Christ Fundraiser, Brandon
  12. AMC 20 Theater, Brandon
  13. Riverwalk, Tampa (x3)
  14. Family Faith Fest

YBIC - Bill Brown, 815 S Kings Ave., Brandon, FL 33511, 813.335.4765 cell

To learn more about St. Paul Street Evangelization at the national level, click here.



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