Over the last couple of months, we have had some fantastic opportunities in our region.
Our monthly Saturday outreach continued and we were blessed by the presence of Michael, a seasoned evangelist who has returned from Brisbane and is in our neck of the woods for a few months completing his medical training. We also have had Christopher with us, possibly our youngest member of the team (he turns one this year) who tags along with Mum and Dad (Sarah and Paul) as they share the eternal Gospel on the streets of Toowoomba.
Outside of our regular ministry, we prepared for the two biggest evangelistic opportunities of the year- The Carnival of Flowers Parade and the Toowoomba Christmas Wonderland.
The Carnival of Flowers outreach was rather unusual this year. In the lead-up to the parade, there is normally thousands of people on the street in the hours before. Not this time. It was very quiet in comparision to other years. We did, however, encounter a number of national and international tourists and their families and as such, it was a joy to share the Good News with them through tracts and conversation.
The seeds of the Gospel often lay dormant for a time and travel far and wide and so we ask you to join us in praying for the salvation of these families and that they would bring the Gospel to their hometowns.
The Christmas outreach was completely different. Tens of thousands of locals eagerly flock to enjoy a stunning display of local food, culture and Christmas lights display in Queens Park.
Over three nights our team ministered outside the main event and were able to give over one thousand Christmas themed tracts to the many families in attendance. There was little time for conversation or discussion due to the busy nature of the crowd but we were blessed by the encouragement of fellow Christians who were attending the event itself when they saw us sharing the true message of Christmas with others.
In large events like these (and even in more “run of the mill” outreaches), it can be difficult to point to tangible results for God’s Kingdom. As Nik Ripkin has pointed out in his excellent book, The Insanity of God “ God [has] never promised to reward obedient sacrifice with measurable success”.
Nevertheless, our trust is in Him and in His good timing. He is perfectly faithful to us.
We are imperfectly faithful to Him...and we trust not only in His disposition of loving grace towards us day by day but also in His heart for reconciliation towards the many who we will believe in faith will soon to enter His Kingdom in our region.
How encouraging is our God and so gracious to us in our weaknesses! Lee-Anne was having a great conversation to a couple in their 20s who seemed to be receptive. A couple of us noticed this as we finished our own conversation and in one of those rare instances we prayed out loud, "Lord. Help Lee-Anne speak to their hearts." Their bus arrived and Lee-Anne comes to us saying that she wished she had longer. Look again! The couple is not allowed on that bus so Lee-Anne returned and resumed their conversation. We thank the Lord.
There was Remiole who thought he would get to heaven because he went to his R.C.church.After going through the gospel, he correctly answered the diagnostic question. Then he said that he would go to Church for His sake.
Rebecca had recently been to a friend's baptism. She has heard the truth and has a gospel of John to read.
God gave us many more conversations and perhaps a seed was planted in some of thos young lives?
Whatever the result, it is glorious because it is God's work and displays His character. To Him be all the glory, thanks and praise!
Some of the more in-depths conversations from today's outreach:
- Raman, a Muslim man who was trying to work his way to heaven was challenged with the Biblical injunction to not add to it but the Quran is a blatant attempt to be added as the latest word from God. He was shown the way of salvation by grace. He was urged to read the Bible asking God to reveal Himself to him.
- Robin has a background of various non-Biblical sources. He had reached the conclusion that we sin because of the environment. This would make a drastic revised interpretation of Gen. 1-3 necessary if it were true. He does have a Bible and now he has heard the truth - in the course of about one hour!
Most others willingly received tracts and some 'seed-planting' conversations were had with attentive teenagers.
The crew went home rejoicing and we give all the glory to God for the pleasure of serving Him and what He does with those we engaged with.
"One sows, another waters, but God gives the growth" was evident during our outreach on Thursday at Sunnybank.
We talked with a man named Lee from China who was taught in school that there is no God by the teachers. And so he had never given any thought about God until he visited Hong Kong just before he came to Australia to study a masters at university.
In Hong Kong he encountered a man who shared with him about God and the story of Jesus, but he didn't become a Christian. Lee himself described that it was like that man planted a seed.
So when we met Lee on Thursday, he already knew there was a God and knew about what happened to Jesus (that ground work had already been laid), but he still didn't quite understand the gospel. So as we explained what Jesus' death on the cross achieved, he said, "Wow I have never thought of the story of Jesus that way before" in regards to Jesus paying our fine for us, satisfying the justice of God so that we can be saved.
He was extremely thankful and said that he would have to carefully consider trusting in Jesus for his forgiveness, for he knew it would change his life. Lee said he was returning to China in 3 days time since he has finished his study here. What amazing timing. We gave him a gospel of John to start reading, which he gratefully accepted.
Whenever we share God's truth with people, God will use it for His glory, and can send someone else who can further witness to that person to water the seed that has been sown. We are nothing, but to God alone be the glory!
Yesterday for our outreach in Brisbane city we set up our "Are you a good person?" flipchart and the very moment it was set up, a group of six teenagers said, "I'd like to try the good person test". After going through it, explaining about sin, the coming judgement and salvation through Christ alone, they were appreciative of the chat and left counting the cost of placing their faith in Christ.
Throughout the afternoon, we took dozens of groups of people through the flipchart, including atheists, agnostics and even an elderly man who belongs to the cult called "Christian Science" (which is neither Christian nor scientific). He said that his religion denies that Jesus is God, and he said that only spiritual is good, all material things are bad. Apparently we created our own body through our mind and our aim is to rid ourselves of our body.
He denied the existence of Hell, and so we spent some time showing him verses in the Bible which showed that Hell is a real place, also verses that show that Jesus is God and how Jesus came to die on the cross for our sins (which he denied too, and instead said Jesus died for our healing).
After hearing the Scriptures he said, "I am just too old to change now." We expressed that it's not too late, by the very fact that his heart was still beating.
Please pray that this man (Wallace) comes to salvation, plus all the others we spoke with or gave a gospel tract to.
To God be the glory!
Last night for New Year's Eve we had an outreach in Brisbane city. It was a great way to finish a year and begin a new one with 9000 gospel tracts going out into people's hands.
God also provided some great conversations with people, including with some people that the team had spoken to years past, and even some who we've spoken to at other outreach locations through the year. Quite a few times throughout the night, people walking by would say, "Oh I remember you spoke to me at Woodridge".
Please pray for all those who received a gospel tract or that we got to speak with. God's word never returns void. To God be all the glory!
PS: This is the tract we were using and it worked really well: http://operation513.com/happynewyear (works well throughout the whole month of January too)
This event at Leslie Park Warwick has been organised by local churches in the past but has gradually changed the focus from Jesus is the reason for the season to more about Santa... and although the event is called Carols there is mostly music that is taking away from the true meaning of Christmas.
Thankfully there were still Christmas Carols like - Away in a Manger, Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels, O Come All Yeah Faithful, The First Noel, & Little Drummer Boy! But there were more secular songs such as Jingle Bells, Six White Boomers, All I Want For Christmas, Santa Is Coming To Town, Here Comes Santa Claus, more songs I haven't mentioned were middle ground songs such as this one... Happy Christmas (War is Over) that was the last song to end the night.
On a radio announcement for this event it was said that the guest of honour would be Santa. So all the more reason why we need to go into these events to share the clear message of Salvation in Jesus, what Christmas is about. These are opportunities that we as Christians have been given to go to the crowds and share good news that will be the solution to the bad news we all face without forgiveness of sins.
We need to always be kind and compassionate as we share but never compromise the truth, if we do this with Gods Spirit we know that people will have opportunity to come to know Gods Grace. Even if we go for one person that is Gods heart to go for that lost sheep.
Praise our Lord we had a great time handing out the Christmas tracts to the people of Warwick, we had 5 workers and around 800 tracts went out.
We had two really good one on one chats and one of those we will follow up. Please pray for Robert & Ron.
We always come upon other Christians at these events and it is a blessing to receive encouragement from them.
Also the prayers of those who can't make these outreaches are so precious, Thank you for praying, you are the backbone of the feet that go out with this work. Please pray for more feet to take the Gospel, keep praying for all things.
Jesus is our King who has come into the World to Save us sinners...All Glory, Honour and Praise be to our Lord Jesus!
We give thanks to God for the Christmas outreaches we've had over the last 2 weeks in Brisbane that concluded last night. We have calculated the total number of Christmas gospel tracts that have gone out and it came to 35,000. That is 35,000 people who will never be the same again in eternity, as they now have the words of eternal life and if they come to faith, they will be with us in glory.
Not only that, through our free Christmas resources table, 450x 'Beginner's Bible: the First Christmas' books for kids went out, 150x the Case for Christmas books went out, and 250x copies of the Gospel of John also went out (your donations make this all possible!). Each night, we were running out of these resources so we had to source more where we could.
We are thankful to God for all the labourers he raised up for each of the nights, with the team being really encouraged that most people were happy to take a gospel tract.
Thank you for praying, and we ask that you would continue to commit to prayer each of those who have received a tract this Christmas that they would come to saving faith.
To God be all the glory!
So far it has been another amazing week of evangelism in Brisbane city for Christmas. We have two nights to go (tonight and tomorrow night - Christmas eve). Please be praying for all those who will receive a gospel tract or has a chat with the team.
People are very much more open to the things of God at this time of year. We pray that many would come to salvation.
On Tuesday night, we spoke to a young woman named Nairi, who told us that she has never thought about where she is going to spend eternity if she was to die tonight. She was from Lutheran background and seemed to know about the death of our Saviour on the cross but did not fully understand the gospel message.
During the conversation, Nairi's mother dropped by and asked her to wait by our resources table until she returns back. We praise God as this just gave us more time to explain the truth of the gospel to Nairi. Before her Mum came by, we pleaded her to put her trust in Jesus Christ and gave her a copy of the Gospel of John from our free resources table which she was very thankful to receive.
The team also spoke to a Brazilian couple named Renato and Vanessa who came to enjoy the City hall lights. When we asked them the reason for celebrating Christmas, they said, "we know it has something to do with Jesus but we don't know much about him". So we happily shared the gospel with them. They seemed really attentive and Vanessa was even translating in Portuguese language for Renato who spoke very little English. Before departing, the couple thanked us for the gospel tract and said they will consider everything that has been said.
To God be all the glory!
As we approached Wellington Point, we saw multiple police and ambulance vehicles. Accidents happen quite often; some much more serious than others, cf. Lk. 13. There were relatively fewer people than usual but many took Christmas tracts. We noted these conversations for prayer and praise:
- Tom had some Bible knowledge but had a distorted understanding of e.g. "if your eye offends you, pluck it out" = there must have been many blind people in Jesus time on earth. But self-blinding will not heal the sin-diseased heart. he accepted this correction. A more grievous misunderstanding he had was that Jesus death was not sufficient for all sins.
Furthermore, he said that trusting in Jesus was too simple. Also he thought that we might have lost some books of the Bible. Answering according to his needs, about the manuscripts to verify we have all God revealed in the Bible, and explaining the law with God's standard of perfection, Jesus perfect life and death as the Righteous One, and the need to trust Him alone as the only way (Substitute) God has stipulated that one can be granted forgiveness of all his sins and receive the gift of everlasting life today, Jn. 3:36, then Tom was challenged to give serious consideration to the gospel claim: he could live in his make-believe world and enjoy his 'cup of pleasure' or repent today and know that there is a never-ending ocean of treasure awaiting him in glory (as he looked out over the bay to the horizon).
- Mark, a South Korean S.D.A. who inspired us with some missionary techniques and we trust that we encouraged him in his walk with the Lord. He has a sound grasp of salvation. He also has a niece who goes to Handong (Christian) University where we have some missionary friends.
It was the day before Christmas and like every other day, we say "Thank you Lord for using us and we ascribe all glory, honour and praise to You alone".