This will just be a quick report to let you know what is happening:
We started our outreach at 8pm and I got up to preach at our usual location in the middle of Cavill Mall. There were quite a lot of hecklers, and I was having a good discussion with them. But after preaching for about 30 minutes, a busker then began setting up his stuff about 5 metres away from me. Then a guy in an Elvis suit (a different person) started playing his music next me, but I just kept preaching. This Elvis guy attracted more and more of a crowd to hear the gospel, which was good.
He stopped playing and then immediately two undercover police officers came up to him, asking him what he was doing. He said that he wanted to listen to this other busker and said that I was preventing him doing that.
The undercover officers then told me to stop preaching and talk with them, saying "Bring your stuff, you won't be coming back." Without even discussing with me at all, they had made up their mind that they were going to move me on.
The police officers were very angry right off the bat and were not interested in discussion. I asked them why I was being moved on and they said that someone had complained that I was stopping someone enjoying someone else's lawful activity. So I asked, "Is what I was doing, unlawful?" They responded, "No, it's not."
This raises the interesting question of: 'Why does that other person's lawful activity have higher priority over mine? Especially since I was there first doing that activity, and secondly the vast majority of people that were there wanted to listen to me rather than the Busker.' It seems like, since one of the lawful activities that were happening that night was preaching, it immediately has the lowest priority out of any other activity.
So I had to move on, but the rest of the team kept going. Blake and David Richardson preached later for quite a while, and did not get stopped. Later in the night, 8-10 police officers came swarming the group, informing them that they could no longer hand out gospel tracts since it says on one of the tracts "the wages of sin is death", they said the tracts are offensive. At this time, David Richardson was preaching and they police went around to the crowd asking them whether they didn't like the preaching, so they could shut him down. Thankfully, none of them didn't like the preaching, so Dave kept going.
Please keep us in prayer that we don't have any more hassles from the police in the coming weeks and months.
Gold Coast Team (QLD)
Meets 7:15-10pm every Friday night at Surfers Paradise on Cavill Avenue.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.