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Into the Clearing - The Story of Gary George
By Dave Franco - August 25, 2011

He was standing in the middle of the street, yelling at the passersby. It was the wide-eyed crazy-talk that is typically heard from a homeless person in the middle of an American city. On this particular day, it was downtown San Diego.

As usual, when he began to rant, people started to walk away lest they become a target. And as so often happens, the man ranted alone—the circle of empty space around him growing ever wider with each threatening and poisonous word he hurled across the intersection.

Gary George, who was downtown with an outreach team from Impact 195, the Rock’s discipleship program, stood and watched.

“Him,” he thought. “That’s who I’m going to tell about Jesus.”

As the people cleared, Gary and the homeless man stood before each other like two gunslingers. They caught eyes. Then Gary stepped forward. As soon as Gary began to approach, the man started to cry.

“What is your name?”

“Larry,” was the reply.

“You’ve been listening to lies,” Gary told him. “I’m going to tell you about how you can become an adopted son of God.”

“How are you, Larry?” Gary asked.

“Obama’s men are after me for all the things I’ve done,” he answered.

“You’ve been listening to lies,” Gary told him. “I’m going to tell you about how you can become an adopted son of God.”

Gary started speaking truth into and over his life.  He explained to Larry that he didn't need to fear man, that he had a Father in Heaven who greatly loved him. Gary explained the cross and the Holy Spirit.

Larry listened, and as he did, Gary noticed that his eyes were becoming clearer. The fog seemed to be lifting.

“I understand,” Larry told Gary through his tears. “I understand what you’re saying.” Gary believed him. His words seemed sharp and full of purpose.

“I understand,” Larry told Gary through his tears. “I understand what you’re saying.” Gary believed him. His words seemed sharp and full of purpose.

“There is so much weight on my feet,” he said. Gary looked at the heavy pack on his back and began to pull it off. As soon as he did, the man fell to the ground and wept bitterly. Something was being lifted from him — was it the weight of his pack or the weight of the sin? Or both?

Larry told Gary, now on the ground as well, that he wanted to be saved.  And so there on 4th and E Street, Larry prayed to receive Christ.

People walked passed them now, busy in their day. The clearing had closed up. Quickly moving feet shuffled by. There was the sound of people talking on their cell phones and the din of cars and buses and humanity. Life was moving on. But for Gary and Larry, time was standing still. Gary didn’t rush the miracle moment of conversion. He just held Larry as they both cried tears of joy. At one point, Larry’s nose began to run unrestrained. Gary used his own hand to wipe it away. Larry didn’t even seem to notice—he was too busy receiving a Savior.

As they parted, Gary walked down the sidewalk filled with joy at what just happened. He stopped, turned around and looked back at Larry. Larry was standing at a trashcan throwing away most of the things in his pack.

Gary turned back around with a smile on his face and continued on his way. "He got it," Gary said to himself. "He definitely got it."