On Tuesday afternoon we headed to Woodridge train station, where there are many people who hang around and many that flow through coming or going from the train.
This is one of the most heart breaking locations, firstly because many people have very little, many of the things we'd take for granted they don't have and many are slaves to trying for fulfilment in things that don't satisfy such as alcohol or drugs.
But even more heart breaking, something that brings me to tears is that even though they are in this state, stripped of many human 'dignities', most men and women here don't want Christ, apart from being drawn by God we in our sinful state will never bow to Christ as Lord.
Yesterday we had some conversations were a range of people, most know that they are in some form of the word, sinners, that they have broken God's law but many also think that it isn't overly serious, as long as they ask forgiveness and prove they really want it by doing good things that God will forgive them. Sadly many don't know the Love of God and the call to surrender to Christ as Lord and Saviour.
But it is a privilege for us to be able to go and share this truth with them, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners!
One conversation I had was with a young man whom for years attended a local church. When I asked him if he was going to heaven said he wasn't because he was a sinner. He said this thought worried him, that he has been scared about what will happen because he could never live up to God's standard. When he was offered the saving work of Jesus Christ as a payment for His sin, he said he had never heard of it before and was very glad to hear about it. He left with the challenge to read the bible, to consider the cost of being disicple and to submit to Christ as Lord, accepting His death as payment for sin.
Though there were many others who heard the Gospel and didn't really want to turn from Sin, it was a blessing to see some fruit from conversations.
We also were able to talk with some young men who had accepted the Gospel and were struggling with some truths and what the bible said on certain things, it was a privilege to be able to encourage them and teach them as they desired to learn about God more!
Please keep all those who have heard the Gospel, taken a tract or seen our presence in prayer, knowing that God is sovereign, please ask that He may call many of them to repentance and cause many of them to be saved!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Many good conversations were had today during our outreach at Woodridge. I first spoke to a guy named Hayden, he said, "I don't believe in God, I only believe in what I can see!" I responded, "Can you see the air?" He said, "Good point!"
I then explained that just by looking at a building we know there must be a builder, even though we haven't seen him, so when we look at this universe and realise it had a beginning we know there must be a creator, even though we haven't seen Him.
He agreed and changed his mind about God's existence. So I then proceeded to talk about sin, the judgement to come, Heaven and Hell, the cross, repentance and faith. After hearing it all, he said "I have never heard it explained like that before. That actually makes sense."
Please pray that God would save him and for all the others who heard the gospel today.
The police were around on horseback for most of the afternoon nearby our outreach location. It is great having them there, people are much more well behaved.
To God be the glory for another great outreach!
It was a rainy day today, yet, despite the weather we still had our outreach in Woodridge. When we arrived today we saw that Police had a strong presence in the area, and also there was a large group of Maori Wardens (community support group). This had a positive impact in the area as it kept crime down.
Today, for the first time we set up the Bible table in Woodridge. We had free copies of the Gospel of John, colouring books for the kids, apologetic material, and other evangelistic literature. We weren't sure how the table would be received, but to our surprise people loved it. Many people came over to take resources and to chat. We were even encouraged by a Police Officer who encouraged us in our work and said it would only be the Gospel which changes this community.
Throughout the afternoon we had good conversations and many tracts were handed out. In particular, I had a great conversation with a young New Zealander who is a local drug dealer. He had never heard the Gospel before, so for the first time in his life I had the honour of telling him about Jesus. This young man acknowledge the truth of Jesus and the fact that he needed the Saviour. However, he openly said he couldn't come to Christ as that'd mean giving up his drug dealing. I stressed to this young man that sin, while it may look good for a time, will actually be the death of him. We agreed, yet he still held onto his sin. At the end of the conversation the young man couldn't stop shaking my hand and saying thank-you. Even though he wanted to continue in sin, you could see that he was seriously thinking through the issue. He took a Gospel of John and also an evangelistic leaflet. Please pray for him.
Please remember to pray for all those we spoke to today. May the Father draw many to Christ.
One of the most encouraging things from Tuesday's outreach at Woodridge was that one of people who has become a Christian because of our ministry there (and has been attending a local church for past 6 months) was keen to help us hand out gospel tracts. He joined us for several hours.
Praise be to God!
Praise be to God for a good outreach at Woodridge yesterday. We had a good size team which meant lots of gospel tracts went out.
At one stage I offered a tract to a young couple and the man refused it. But a few minutes later he returned and said he wanted to ask a question. His name was Ben.
He asked about why do bad things happen in this world. I told him about how God created the world and it was good, but then humanity said to God that they didn't want to live His way. So God basically said: "Ok, but there will be consequences. People will die, get sick, be in pain, etc. So in essence, humanity's to blame for the bad things happening in the world. Ben said, "That makes a lot of sense."
He then went on to say how he was released from prison just last week and wants to improve his life from now and was wondering whether going to church would do that for him. I explained how improving his life wouldn't get him to Heaven because God looks at our whole life and if we have sinned even once, we deserve Hell. He asked, "Is it too late then?"
I went on to explain the cross, how Jesus was so gracious to take our Hell punishment for us on the cross, and that the way we receive this is not by going to church, not by praying or improving our life, but by trusting only in what Jesus has done for us on the cross for our forgiveness. I then talked about how once we trust in Jesus, we of course want to turn from our sin because we love Jesus.
I asked a few checking questions to make sure he really did now understand the gospel, and it seemed he did. Please pray for Ben as he counts the cost of trusting in Christ.
We spoke to quite a number of other people during our outreach as well. It's never a waste of time when God's word goes out to people, regardless of their responses. Glory to God!
We had a good outreach at Woodridge. As soon as I arrived, I saw some of the high school students I shared the gospel with the week before at the same spot, and so I started talking with them again.
It wasn't long before they asked one of their friends to join the conversation. He said he was religious. I asked him why he is going to Heaven, and he replied by saying that he has been taught by his church that baptism wipes away all his sin and that is why 2 weeks ago he got baptised. Thus he thought that he was all good to go to Heaven.
I pointed out Matthew 5:48 to him, how Jesus says we must be perfect. Then I went through some of the commandments with him asking if he had kept them. Just like the rest of us, he hadn't. He began to realise that he deserved Hell, but then said he would try be better from now on. I pointed out that doing that wouldn't get rid of the history of his sin. Neither would getting baptised or asking for forgiveness - I gave him the courtroom analogy to make this clear.
When I said that the only way of forgiveness is through a perfect person taking our Hell punishment for us on our behalf, he was beginning to understand it, but his bus then turned up. He said he wanted to continue talking with me next week.
Soon after, I had two other young men come over to ask me a question. They asked, "Is there a certain day you need to go to church?" I responded by quoting Romans 14:5-6 how the day of the week that one goes to church isn't a big deal. But I immediately recognised the bigger issue, I needed to find out whether these guys understood the gospel.
Desra, the one who liked my answer to the question, thought he was going to Heaven because he is reforming his life and starting to read the Bible.
While Bernard, the one who didn't really like my answer to the question, thought his own goodness and praying saved him.
So I talked about sin, the coming judgement, Heaven, Hell, the cross, repentance and faith with them. And it took about half a dozen times of explaining the gospel over again in different ways before they came to grasp it.
I could tell Desra was clearly counting the cost, seeing whether he was prepared to repent and trust in Christ. He asked if someone could come over to his house regularly to explain the things of the Bible. I could tell they were both really open, and so I went through a few key passages with them, such as Ephesians 2:8-10, Matthew 10:32-39, and Matthew 5:27-30. Please pray for them that they will truly repent and trust in Christ. I am hoping to continue going through the Bible with them in future weeks.
Other team members began to arrive during this time, we had four of us in total.
In the attached photo, Stephen is talking with a man about the gospel, but this man said he wants to take the blame for his own sin instead of having Jesus take it for him.
Please also pray for:
• Jonathan - he said he believes in Jesus, but said he needs to do a bit of good to be saved. He was receptive to the message of salvation by grace through faith alone.
• Raw & Nimrod - heard whole message. Said they really appreciated the chat and would think seriously about the message.
All the glory goes to God!
We had one guy who was really confronted about the tract "You may not have tomorrow", and by making threats towards us he was hoping we would be intimidated by him. But he ended up softening majorly and we had a great long gospel conversation with him.
Please also pray for:
• Tour - gave gospel of John, knew already he wouldn't go to heaven because of how he has been living, heard gospel.
• Clay - Jordan had a good conversation with him, and gave him a gospel of John. He said he would count the cost.
We sow the seed, but God gives the increase. So to Him be all the glory!
The place where we evangelise is where lots of school students hang out after school. Today I had good chat with a large group of high school students, some who were Muslims, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses in the one conversation.
Please pray for all who heard the gospel including:
• Tadila - thought works saved. Heard gospel. Would consider message.
• Oscar - faith & works, came to understand gospel. Gave him gospel of John.
• Lelan - tradie, listening intently, gave him gospel of John.
Photo: Wilter is explaining the message of the cross to this gentleman.
To God be the glory!
- Ryan Hemelaar
The first conversation I had was with one of the Mormon missionaries who I met several weeks ago. He had brought in assistance from someone outside their area. This missionary too however didn't really know what the Bible taught.
They were arguing that the Bible has been changed, and the reason they gave to back this up was: "Because that is what Muslims say."
I was shocked to hear them rely on an argument like that. So I explained how we have thousands of manuscripts of Bible from all over the world in the original languages and so we can know for certain the Bible hasn't been corrupted. I then showed them in the Bible how salvation is by grace through faith, but they were very stubborn in holding on to their works. Please pray for them.
Please also pray for:
• Banjo & Beni - school kids, one thought his asking for forgiveness would save him....both came to understand the gospel and said they would repent and believe.
• Deanna - young lady, talked to her November last year after her dad passed away. Just this week, her mum had a heart attack, and was in hospital.
She said she loved her sin and knew she would be going to Hell. But the recent events regarding her parents has been making her think about God a lot. Explained gospel, urged her to come to saving faith. She said she would seriously think about it.
Photo: Jordan is speaking to a young man who didn't mind if he ended up in Hell.
There was a lady I spoke to named Jo. She said that she had just been 'prayed over' earlier in the day, and so she thought she was definitely going to Heaven. She thought that her goodness was good enough for God.
After talking about sin and the judgement to come, she saw her badness. But then I explained the message of the cross, and she came to understand the gospel. Please pray for her.
Also please pray for David. He thought it was his keeping of the commandments that would save him. But after going through some of them, he realised he hadn't actually kept them.
He too said he would repent and trust in Christ. We also recommended a good local church for him to start attending.
All glory to our marvelous God!
Photo: Stephen witnessing to a young man near the end of the outreach.