FAIRFIELD — The majority of the people crossing the northwest corner of the intersection at Texas and Pennsylvania streets simply walk by her, sparing her only a cautious glance as they move on. Drivers give her a look while waiting for the light to turn green.
Some stop for a moment to listen while waiting for the crosswalk light to change. A few have prayed with her before moving on with their day.
“I pray that something I have said has encouraged you,” said Jacqulene Petersen of Fairfield, asking anyone listening to “turn off the TV and hug your children” or to “allow God to use you this week” during the Christmas season.
Petersen, who is from Arkansas, has been doing her ministry on that street corner for more than a decade. She is always accompanied by a Bible, a bottle of water and a billboard, which she makes the night before that carries a message and several Scriptures.
She said she picked the location years ago after driving by and hearing God tell her that was where she was needed.
“The first time was intimidating. I just asked the Lord, ‘what is your message?’ ” Petersen said.
At first, she was on the street corner every week, her strong voice reaching across the intersection to whomever would listen.
Sometimes, she is there for an hour, sometimes for up to three hours. Her schedule is based solely on how she says the Holy Spirit moves her.
“He will have me stop for a while and I will wait on him,” Petersen said.
The words just come to her from the Holy Spirit, said Petersen, who described herself simply as a country girl trying to follow the teachings of Christ.
Petersen also visits a care home on Pennsylvania Avenue once a month and sings in the church choir at the Church of God on Empire Street.
“Overall, it has been positive and a blessing. Some people have brought me water and some have stopped to pray,” Petersen said of the reactions she has gotten from passers-by.
A few reactions have also been decidedly negative, but Petersen said that is just part of what happens when you bring God’s message to a public place like the street corner.
One of those passers-by was Amos Carter of Suisun City, who said he has seen her there several times as he drove to and from his work.
“Is that my idea of spreading the Gospel? No,” Carter said. “It does take a lot of nerve, or should I say courage and spirit, to do what she does. I have seen a few people praying with her and some that just stare at her before walking off. If she helps someone better their life, more power to her, I say.”
Miranda Ramirez, who lives not far from where Peterson preaches and has seen her while going to the market across the street, said at first she thought Peterson was crazy, “but after a while, I just see that she is just trying to tell people about Jesus and to be better Christians.”
As for Peterson’s plans for her future, she said simply that she will continue to listen to God “and do what he wants me to do.”
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.