Saturday, 3 May, 2008
I was still rather excited about the conversion of my niece as I made my way to the city. Another cool thing about tonight was that we had a few new people come out on the streets. It is always encouraging to see new people come out to share the gospel.
Tonight was also a night in which we got to field test our new Operation 513 tracts, and it soon became clear that they all were going to be a great success. After we set up the Bible table, and got the team ready for the first open air, the thought struck me just how fortunate we are to have the freedom in Australia to declare the gospel of Christ. Even though over the past few months there have been multiple reports of preachers being arrested nationwide, we still had the freedom in Brisbane to preach, and we also have good relations with the fine men and women of the Queensland Police.
Ralph was the first preacher up for the night, and it soon became clear that it was going to be a long slow night. Ralph is coming along really well in his training to be a preacher, he has good voice projection, but the only thing he needs to realise that hecklers will try to keep him quiet. But the skill of handling hecklers only comes with experience. Ralph preached for near about thirty minutes, and during this time only a few people stopped to listen. Some people and ministries would be disappointed with the fact that a large crowd did not gather, but we were thankful that God allowed us to share the gospel with at least one soul.
At the start of the night I sent a four man team under the leadership of Dan Kent down to a busy intersection to hand out tracts, but after an hour of them being away I had to send someone to go fetch them back, as many people were stopping at the Bible table asking questions. Many great one to ones occurred during this time, it was encouraging to see so many people interested in learning more about the claims of Jesus Christ.
After a while I began to preach, and not long into my preaching a few hecklers arrived. The problem was that these guys were bad hecklers, one of them who was drunk was cursing and claiming to be a Christian. So I rebuked him for his hypocrisy, and pointed out that he was not a Christian. This began to get the crowd fired up, and a few people began to throw out questions like "What about paedophiles?" "What about those preachers that want your money!" "What about evolution?" I did my best to answer all these questions from the Bible, and I must say it was good to see "Mr. Dawkins Man" back even though he was sick.
There was one man who kept standing right up in my face screaming and cursing. Multiple times I told him to step back and stop touching me. He refused, and eventually Hsusy began to distract him. Unfortunately the man decided to continue to stand right in front of me and yell at Andrew. The crowd went from listening to me to listening to this demonic drunk man yell. A few people formed up on my right and began to ask questions, so I did my best to answer them. This was done more in a one to one setting, but before I realised it a crowd and stopped to listen. By now the crazed yelling man had gone, so I began to address the crowd. One asked about the Roman Catholic priests that molest children. I answered his questions, but while I was talking to him the police came and took him away for fighting earlier in the night.
While the police were there the crazed yelling man returned. He was calm while the police were there, then as they left he watched them walk down the mall. As soon as he thought they were far enough away he swung at me and slapped me across the face. Before he had a chance to respond I put my arm out to block any future shots, and also to restrain him. The police which were a fair way down the mall heard the sound of the slap so they came running back to arrest the man. While this was happening I was thinking "What a waste of time, the open air just got wrecked!" But God used this to open up some of those in the crowds with hard hearts. Some were shocked that we kept on witnessing even though I was assaulted, this led to many great one to ones. Many of those witnessed to took Bibles after that.
The rest of the night was spent in one to ones and tract work.
Praise God that He is in full control!
Soli Deo Gloria!