THE STREET PREACHER
Who would have ever thought that a skinny, little red-headed, farm boy from Checotah, OK would ever be in a position of meeting and talking with thousands of lost and spiritually dying people searching for solutions to their life problems? Leo was a man who had been timid and bashful as a young man but as an adult found himself burdened for souls and passionately loving people of all cultures and backgrounds.
Leo was born on October 23, 1934 and was saved when he was 12 years old. When he was 15 years old and climbing a mountain near Tehachapi, California with his dog he heard God’s silent voice calling him to the ministry. He often lamented that, at that time, he had no one talk to that could counsel him about a call to the ministry. Ignoring the call, Leo entered the Air Force at age 20 and rose through the ranks working as a radar electronics instructor. His job would take him to Puerto Rico, Argentina and other parts of the world where he would later minister. When he was 28 years old, in 1962, God got his attention again through the preaching of Arthur Blessit. Finally, after 14 years of running from God, Leo answered His call and moved himself and his family to the Sunset Strip of Southern California. While ministering there, a man, who had seen him minister to the hippies and street youth, offered to pay for his seminary studies.
Good News In Action was only a idea in the mind of Leo Humphrey back in 1968 when he moved his family of four to the New Orleans area for Leo to attend the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He moved to the “City that Care Forgot” knowing little of what was ahead for him in the years to come.
Leo began his Seminary training in the fall of 1968. He knew he had a call from God on his life but didn’t fully know just what that was supposed to look like. He only knew that he was called to the Streets to be a “Street Preacher”. During his studies, he ventured to the area known as the “French Quarter of New Orleans.” There he found thousands of young people that were involved in the new “drug culture” that had seemed to follow him from the streets of Los Angeles and the area known as the “Sunset Strip”. In 1970, Good News In Action was born, being formally incorporated as a nonprofit religious organization that would be dedicated to reaching and touching thousands of souls for eternity.
This ministry was one that would eventually touch many cultures of the world. From Sunset Strip of Los Angeles, CA to the Bourbon Street of New Orleans, LA this ministry would also reach out to countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico, Hong Kong, Romania and then to Leo’s beloved El Salvador. Many lives were touched with this love of Jesus Christ by this man who loved people and wanted more than anything else, to be known as a “Street Preacher”. Good News in Action, under the direction of Leo Humphrey touched the lives of the lost all over the world.
Leo went to El Salvador for the first time in 1978 and immediately fell in love with the country and the people. He began taking mission teams to El Salvador to minister & share Jesus in all areas of the country. People all over the country came to know and love Leo and his message, THE message. It was never Leo’s desire to be known for what he did but rather what God did through this effort of winning people to Jesus. That was his aim. To simply take the Gospel Message to people that were hungry to hear the truth: Salvation comes only through the shed blood of Jesus and His atoning Grace. Thousands have come to know Jesus personally through the efforts of Good News In Action, Inc, especially in El Salvador.
Leo met his Savior face to face on March 26, 2006 at the age of 71. His entrance into that precious place prepared for him, (John 14) was one choreographed by his Savior, especially for him.
His final mission trip to El Salvador in early March 2006 was a very memorable one. One morning, as some of the men on the trip preached in the Central Park of San Salvador, Leo turned to his friend Julio Contreras, Pastor of the “Iglesia Bautista Vida Nueva Church” in San Salvador, and asked Julio: “Come with me, let’s go touch some people”. He and Julio walked on the out-skirts of the crowd; they touched, patted and smiled, as the people stood to listen to the Gospel Message being preached in the Central Park that day.
This was Leo Humphrey: The man who wanted to “touch” people with the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That “touch” of Leo Humphrey is missed.
Written by Loyce Humphrey, 2007