'Jesus Hi-Way Man' works to deliver souls to God with his mobile message of faith, hope and repentance.

MESSENGER SERVICE

July 31, 1998|By CARL SCHOETTLER | CARL SCHOETTLER,SUN STAFF Sun photographer Amy Davis contributed to this story.

Jesus Hi-Way Man" is on the road again in his Chevy 1500, homemade trailer in tow, the whole rig plastered with Bible verses, evangelical aphorisms and admonitions to repent.

"We have to work because the night is coming," warns Jesus Hi-Way Man, whose off-road identity is the evangelist Allen Fulwood, an elder in the Love of God Apostolic Faith Church, where founder and pastor Bishop Chapell Petersen ordained him as a preacher.

"God's Word on the Hi-Way" is delivered in black letters on neat white plaques like the nameplates of home improvement contractors.

"Find Jesus Christ Before the Undertaker Finds You."

"Peace is a 5-letter Word Spelled Jesus."

"In Hell There Is No Water, No Mercy, No Repentance, No Fire Escape."

"If Life is Puzzle for You Jesus Christ Is Your Missing Piece."

"Our job and our duty is to get the sinner man to repent," the elder says. "This is my reason for the decoration of the truck.

"See, there are so many people who do not get to church. But with me passing through they can read the Word. There have been people drawn to the church from seeing and reading the signs. This is our duty to get the sinner man."

He puts signs on the truck as directed by the Holy Spirit.

"There have been times I have been sleeping and when I woke up there was on my mind a sign that should be written," he explains.

Today Elder Fulwood's mission is to get a new transformer that will improve the quality of the amplification of his message when he preaches on the streets and parking lots of Baltimore.

He pulls into a lot off Belvedere Avenue just east of Reisterstown Road. He's swings out of his truck, passing out religious tracts as soon as he hits the pavement.

"We must do what we can today!" he likes to say. "Because tomorrow is promised to no man."

Striding west on Belvedere in a gait at once brisk and heavy-footed, his black robe billowing, Fulwood looks like a pilgrim en route to the Holy Land. He's a tall, spare man with a scraggly black mustache accenting a strong, determined face, mapped with lines and folds earned over his 70 years. His hands are large and extraordinarily expressive when he preaches.

Be ready

"I'm warning the people," he says, handing out his tracts at a bus stop. "We must be ready when He comes."

Cookie Boyd, a young woman in white pedal pushers, brown patterned blouse, with gold-colored finger- and toenails, comes over shyly to say hello. The spirit moves him to work these streets fairly often and he knows her.

"How is Mama doing?" he asks.

"She's back in the hospital," Boyd says.

He hands her a couple of bills from his wallet.

"Give her this," he says. "This will help her.

"Her mother's not well," he explains. "And this is what we have to do. We don't lose anything. The Lord always gives it back to us."

Along with his black robe, unwittingly worn inside out this day, he wears a black baseball cap emblazoned with a cross and the words "Jesus Hi-Way Man," black jeans, shirt and Nike walkers with a cross at his neck and another like a side arm in a woolly holster at his waist. The holstered cross is decorated with a crystal jewel, reflective metal foil and a metal coquille St. Jacques, the scallop shell emblematic of the pilgrim.

"This cross has a miracle," he says. "I was at a flea market when I saw it. I had spent out. But something said: 'Buy it.' I said, 'This must be God talking.'

"I said, 'Madame, I don't have any money but what are you asking for this beautiful cross?'

"She replied: 'Is 50 cents too much?'

"When God says move and you move, you work a miracle," Fulwood says. Now he carries the cross everywhere. "When I go to bed now it takes the place on the pillow where my wife slept."

His wife of 39 years and his partner in his street evangelism, Edith Sara Rosalee Burroughs Fulwood, passed away in April.

"We all have to go," he says. "Man was born to decease. And we have never understood it that the Bible lets us know we should rejoice when one go out and mourn when one come in. After all, if we leave this world and we leave it right, all our troubles will be over."

He's sure his wife left this world right.

The evangelist proceeds up Reisterstown Road with his long-legged lope, gently pressing his message on everyone he sees. He climbs up onto a porch to bring the word to a trio of carpenters.

"You have some people let you know flat out they want no part of what you are doing," he says. "We got to go on. When Christ was on the Earth, some wouldn't accept him. We got to go on, nevertheless."

He keeps up a running conversation while he walks, but he never forgets to attend to his primary mission. He passes out tracts like a politician shaking hands on Election Day.

He's been on the road as an evangelist for about seven years.

"This is a thing that has been appointed by the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ," he says later, reflecting on his ministry at his comfortable home in Morgan Park.

Tomorrow may not come

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