Saturday, 6 June, 2008
The weather had been threatening to rain all day, the news was reporting the possibilities of showers. For a state that is gripped in drought, it is amazing how much rain we are actually getting. Normally on a Saturday night when we want to evangelise!
Andre and I were the first team members in position, and shortly after we arrived I was joined by some of the other guys. It was good to have a time of fellowship, prayer, and Bible reading as a team. By doing this it creates a greater team unity, and it allows for us to come together on the streets and beseech the Almighty God for His blessing.
As nine o'clock neared, we headed up to the Queen Street Mall, where we were joined by Andrew and Desma. It was really good to have Desma come out on the streets with us, she is a vital part of the ministry. She has been away for awhile, which is fully understandable due to her preparing for the upcoming wedding. So, it was good to have her in Brisbane tonight.
Andrew informed me that he had a sore throat, and as a result he would not be preaching tonight, that was fine since I expected to have more than enough preachers in play. First preacher up for the evening was Ralph. Now Ralph is one we have to watch, he is a very smart boy, and has a great passion for God. While he is only new at preaching, he has been growing in leaps and bounds.
Tonight as he preached, I had complete confidence in him as a preacher, normally I am really cautious around newer preachers, but Ralph proved himself. He did a good job at proclaiming the gospel, and dealing with hecklers. He had a quite a few hecklers open fire tonight, and each one that launched an attack he did well to handle.
While Ralph was preaching, Andre was on the Bible table. This table is by far one of the best things we have put in place in the Brisbane team. We set up a simple card table with some tracts, Bibles, and Creation Ministry booklets, and then hang some signs simple saying "FREE BIBLES", it is a magnet that draws in many people for a one to one conversation.
I was watching the Bible table, and making sure everything was running alright, when I heard a woman walk up to Andre and say "Are you against gay marriage?" Andre replied "No ma'am, I am not against it, the Bible is!" The woman then said something, grabbed a bunch of the Creation Ministry booklets, and began to rip them up and throw the paper on the ground. The woman then walked away and began to abuse the preacher, she had more tracts, and booklets so she ripped them up also, and threw them into the air. She made a rather big mess in the middle of the Queen Street Mall. She then started yelling out to Ralph, "People are gay! It's not wrong!" Ralph's reply was brilliant, he said "Yes, people are gay, people also steal, lie, and lust, yet just because people do those things does not make them right!" The woman walked off, and Ralph continued to preach the gospel.
At around 9:50pm, Ralph stood down, the call then went out for Andre to prepare to preach next. Andre got up, and with Bible in hand began to expound on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not long into his message a rather vile man in a yellow shirt became very hostile and started to hurl abuse at the preacher. Andre tried to reason with the man, but he refused to listen. So Andre kept on preaching. The man then came in really close, and started to curse Andre and also God. I moved into position just it case it got violent, as I got into position the man reached out and grabbed Andre while he was preaching. Instantly Andrew and I moved in and pushed the man off, telling him to step away from the preacher. The man became more vile, and showed his hatred all the more. I noticed that some of the people he was with, were actually some of our regular hecklers. So I spoke to them, and they were reasonable about not abusing the preacher.
By now the man in the yellow shirt was screaming at our camera man, so Andrew moved into position to guard the camera. The man soon lost interest in the camera, and started to threaten Andrew. Upon seeing this, I walked over to tell the man to calm down or we would be forced to call the police. The man just cursed, and me then bent down to get something out of his backpack. As the man bent down, another man emerged from the crowd and started to abuse the man in the yellow shirt. He was screaming that he should get some respect for the preachers, and also that he should shut up. Of course that is the sanitised version of what he said. Yellow shirt then started to challenge this other man to a fight, so I stepped in and told both of them to back off and walk away. As I worked on breaking those two up, and cry was heard from the crowd. I turned and saw that a fight had erupted in front of the preacher.
Two hecklers were locked in a fight on the ground, one of them was bleeding the other was being punched in the face. As they wrestled with each other, I noticed one of them shove his fingers in his opponents eyes, and twist them. This cause the man that was punching to yell in pain. The man on the bottom then took the advantage, and spun the other guy over and started to beat him up. I tried to break it up, but they refused to listen. Then I noticed one of our regular hecklers come running in to join the fight. This was fast becoming a full on brawl. I sent two of the team members to run and get the police. The only problem was the police weren't in their usual location, so we had to wait some time before they arrived.
By now one of the men in the fight was being held down, while someone else began to kick him in the head, ribs, and stomach. The man doing the kicking had steal toe boots on, so I grabbed him, and spun him out of the fight. He was rather hard to hold back, and he got a couple of extra shots in before he backed away. While the two original fighters fought on the ground, I turned to the regular heckler who had been kicking, and gave him a good dressing down. He apologised, and then hugged me. While he was hugging me he decided to give me a few quick kisses on the side of my neck. This was truly turning out to be a strange night!
By now there was a massive crowd watching the fight, security guards were present but they did nothing but watch on. The fighters must have realized that the police were coming, because they stopped fighting and ran. Since the crowd stood there in stunned silence, I decided to jump up and preach a quick two minute message to them. While I was preaching all I could see was a sea of blue police uniforms running up the mall. Quickly I gave the order to the team to tract everyone up, so the team set about tracting everyone in the crowd.
About fifteen police responded to the brawl and arrested all parties involved. Some of the fighters wouldn't learn, they say in hand cuffs abusing the police, and threatening them. Pray for the police, they have a tough job but they do it well!
This incident took about an hour out of our time, as the police wanted to talk to a few of us, and to also review our video that we caught of the fight.
After the police left I stood up and preached for about 30 minutes. And after that excitement of a fight, the night went a bit more slower. I had very few hecklers, and I did my best to make known the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When I had finished preaching, I was informed that the man sitting to my left was a Jehovah's Witness, so I went across and began to talk to him. The man was very unfriendly, and called me a paedophile since I attended a Baptist church, he then started to talk about how the Baptist church was founded by Satanists, and the Illuminati. The man eventually got out of "conspiracy theory" mode, and we began to talk about the deity of Christ, and if Jesus Christ arose bodily. His arguments were standard Watchtower Arguments, he didn't know why he believed, except for the fact that he was told to believe. After awhile, I got Andre to deal with him, as Andre is well versed in Jehovah Witness apologetics.
By now it was nearing midnight, so we began to pack up. Ryan was busy dealing with a man who was rambling on about something to do with animals having souls the same as humans. So Andre after finishing with the JW decided to wade into the apologetic debate. Then Andrew decided to join in, the man just kept going in circles, so they wished him good night and left. As we were preparing to leave the man came back, and this time wanted to talk to me, within minutes the man admitted that he chose to rebel against the Bible because he loved his sin. He said he did want to repent, even though he knew the gospel was true, because that would mean giving up his sin. I hit him with the gospel, and the man left promising to email me.
Overall the night was rather interesting! Praise God that His Gospel went forth!
Soli Deo Gloria!