Copyright 2001-2012 Wade Street Originals. All rights reserved.
Visit our GIFT SHOP to see these and many other items close up. We are located in Historic
704-694-2191 or 800-440-2191
Christian T-shirts $10 ea. or 3 for $25
Owned and operated by Allan & Zelma
Edwards. Call us at 1-704-618-1310
"T-shirt Preacher" spreads the Word on the chest of his customers
By Carl E. Feather
Lifestyle Editor, Star Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio
Allan Edwards is blessed. Ask him any day of the week, any kind of weather, any kind of circumstance, and he'll tell you, "I'm Blessed."
"I'm blessed because I know the Lord and he watches over us and supplies all our needs," Allan says in soft, southern drawl that hints of his Charlotte, N.C., home. "We are either a blessing or a cursing. I'd much rather be a blessing."
Allan is the "T-Shirt Preacher," an evangelist who literally takes the Word to the highways and byways, to the craft shows and malls, of America. For the past 13 years, he and his .
wife Zelma have owned and operated A-Z Christian Tee's, a ministry and business that sells T-shirts and book bags imprinted with Christian messages.
"Warning: Exposure to the Son May Prevent Burning," states one of the shirts.
"People use duct tape to fix everything ... God used nails." Col.2:14," states another.
"It gets people's attention and then they get the Word," Allan says. " We all need Jesus."
The designes, nearly 100 of them, are purchased by Allan and Zelma from companies that have cleared use of the logos with copyright holders. Shoppers select the design they want and Zelma presses it onto a T-shirt or bag. The Word goes forth on bellies and chests.
Allan says browsers who don't make a purchase still read the Word of God at his booth, something a lot of people don't do these days. On at least one occasion, Allan has led a person to faith in Jesus Christ as a result of a discussion sparked by one of the T-shirt slogans.
He compares their work to passing out tracts on the street corner, except he gets paid for the tracts and people don't toss them in the trash can as they walk away. Allan, 61, and Zelma, 62, started selling the T-shirts 13 years ago as a part-time business to supplement Allan's income as a shoe store manager. The business steadily grew until it became a full time job. In June 2001, Allan left his part-time job and they made their T-shirt business / ministry a full-time work. That involves being on the road all but three weekends out of the year. While many of the shows they do are near their home, the weak economy has forced them to move into new states. Allan says they will do shows in Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida this year. Although they are on the road every week, Allan is a homebody at heart. He says their house in North Carolina is watched over by Jesus while they are on the road. Allan says they entered the work full time because they felt God was leading them in that direction. Recently, they've felt a leading to expand their territory, perhaps even purchase a trailer that would give them a home away from home. They now depend upon inexpensive motels for their accommodations.
To break the monotony of manning a booth 10 to 12 hours a day, Allan reads Christain literature and his electronic Bible. He also makes it a point to speak to every person who passes the booth. His "I'm blessed" response is a hook that many people can't resist. "I really feel that the Lord draws different people in," he says. Some people even share prayer request and burdens with the couple. Allan's outgoing way and soft response invites people to linger, talk and perhaps buy a shirt. Even if they don't walk
away with a purchase, they've read and seen the Word. "This is our living," Allan says. "If this were just for money, we'd do something else. But we are also putting out the Word."