Miami, the largest city in Florida, is known internationally not only as a city of miracle weather, tropical beauty, and abundant wealth but also as a city of paradoxes. It is a city that knows both virtue and vice, truth as well as error, the gospel as well as "good times."
But during recent months God worked miracles through the Holy Spirit, divine providence, and His Word upon the hearts of men and women in this great metropolis in the southernmost part of the United States.
The first of many miracles God performed during this past summer of 1962 was the miracle of divine grace upon the hearts of the leading men of government in this metropolitan city. The city commission, the metro judge, the building department heads, and the fire department chiefs not only granted a variance to city code but permitted a canvas tent to be erected within the city limits of Miami for the first time in nearly a decade. Similar requests by other organizations had been repeatedly denied. But we preached the gospel publicly under a canvas canopy among the teeming thousands of Negroes who live in the congested concrete jungles of downtown Miami. This was accomplished neither by trick, clique, nor inside pull, but by a real intervention by God in behalf of His program and to His own glory. C. B. Rock, superintendent of the greater Miami Regional district, was the leading agent used by God to present our request before the governing bodies of this city.
The second miracle was that from one thousand to thirteen hundred persons attended the opening services and continued to come throughout the presentation of testing truths. They attended services from April through September, even on Sabbath mornings when the temperature ranged at 100 degrees, and possibly higher, under the canvas ceiling of the gospel tent. Under these conditions 300 persons presented themselves for baptism (305 at this writing), with a potential score or more who will be baptized later. It might be mentioned that twenty-eight were rebaptized.
The third miracle was that no one was hit by gunfire when two rival teen-age gangs "shot it out" in front of the big tent one Sunday night last July, and four bullets were fired into a crowd of nearly twelve hundred persons as they were leaving the services that evening. Seven of the gang members came back the following week to receive Bible studies and copies of sermons.
The fourth miracle was that of the weather. God seemed to hold in check the winds of hurricane destruction that developed just southeast of Miami, and did not permit one of the four storms that headed for the city to reach even the mainland of Southeastern United States.
The fifth miracle was a composite group of miracles worked by the Spirit of God in the lives of men, women, and youth who were willing to step forward to added light and to accept absolute truth—the baptized conjure specialist, the man who fell eleven stories down an elevator shaft and lived to tell the story and to be baptized with his wife, husbands baptized for whom wives had prayed for over a quarter of a century, lifelong illness healed immediately after being baptized, the stories and testimonies of hundreds of changed lives and enlightened minds, which space defies relating.
There were many people who worked hard to make this program a success—the youth, laymen, and literature evangelists, along with the conference workers who spent thousands of hours and walked hundreds of miles from door to door to make the preaching of the Word effective. Organists, pianists, and soloists gave willingly of their services, and strong financial support was given by many.
There are now three Regional churches in the Greater Miami area. E. J. Lewis is the minister of the newly organized Trinity Temple downtown Miami church with 174 members. The remaining members are divided among the churches in the Miami district under C. B. Rock in Liberty City and the Brownville area.
The prayers of God's people everywhere will be appreciated for the work of the gospel in this portion of the Master's vineyard.