The Battle Log is the place where reports from each of the Operation 513 evangelism teams are posted.
It gives you a brief idea about what occurred during the outreach and some of the highlights.
Even though there is not a report from each team on the Battle Log every week, all these teams do meet according to the schedule (usually weekly).
So please keep them in prayer and consider joining one if it is in your area.
I’ve had a couple of weeks of holiday, which were great. But so good to be back to my regular beat. A normal week of street outreach. It was great to have John from down south join me in Riccarton on Tuesday afternoon. Joel, Roger and John (another John!) were with me in the city on Friday afternoon. I had a good solo outreach on Saturday lunch time in Riccarton, and then Andy, Mark and Susan were with me in the city on Sunday afternoon, after church gathering.
In Riccarton on Tuesday, John and I decided to split up early - on either side of Rotherham Street. I was quickly into chats, and when I glanced over my shoulder between chats, I could see John was busy too! The details of those chats are getting fuzzy in my mind now. I’ve only really got glimpses. I remember seeing a ‘regular’ I hadn’t seen for a long time. She remembered my name! She is an atheist, and didn’t feel like continuing the conversation at this stage. I pray that the law and the gospel continues to be active in her life bringing conviction and conversion - that she will come to a point where she is willing to chat again, either with me or another Christian.
Friday was hot! And the buskers were out in full force, so I moved down the mall a bit - setting up my flip chart. Roger set up on the other side. Joel joined me and John did ‘walk up’. I had an interesting engagement with a couple of exclusive brethren guys, but the highlight chat was one with a couple of couples from the UK. They walked up to the flipchart curious as to what it was about, and we fell into a really good gospel discussion. It was also a good opportunity for Joel to see how the flip chart worked. To end the outreach, Joel and I ditched the flip chart and switched to ‘walk up’. I managed to get a chat started, but the guy, although friendly enough, was very resistant, and didn’t really allow any opportunity for meaningful engagement.
Saturday I had a number of interesting conversations. One guy showed up wanting to do the flip chart, but it was a bit of a set up - he was just there to argue and became absurdly resistant to the existence of God. “You can’t know for sure that that chair didn’t appear from nowhere”. I politely shut him down quickly - I didn’t want to waste time with absurdity. Very interestingly, about 30 minutes later, one of my ‘regulars’ came past. He said, “hey you just talked to my flatmate”! We had a nice catch up chat, but he is also currently holding to his absurdity - for now, God, have mercy!
I was able to catch up with Sanjay (another of my ‘regulars’), I often see him on Saturday. He’s a lovely guy. Hindu. Each time I see him, I gently labour the law and the gospel. Sadly, I popped him a quick check question and he instantly went to his goodness for salvation, but I kept labouring. Praying for him; praying that I see him again next Saturday, or at least a Saturday soon and that he will start grasping the serious nature of sin and that the only logical solution is Jesus.
Talking of sin being serious. I had a guy stop and take a tract, and I was able to engage him in conversation. I could tell he had a bit of a Christian background, but he wasn’t being clear on how we are saved. So, as I probed, I took him through the law, and this dredged up some questions for him, like: why is hell so terrible, and why is it forever? Anyway, he eventually said, “I know what you are going to say, Jesus died on the cross, yada, yada, yada” as though it was something trivial and unimportant. I felt shocked and offended, and maybe I lacked some patience. I responded with, “how can you say it like that? Jesus dying on the cross to pay our sin is amazing!”. This was revealing a very low view of the serious nature of sin, and the incredible cost of the gift to save us. We continued talking, with me trying to alleviate this. Maybe I was being too forceful, or maybe I wasn’t, but eventually he said: “I’m feeling uncomfortable”. That pretty much killed the conversation, we parted with a handshake, and he mumbled something. I asked what he was going to say, and he responded with, “it wasn’t anything you said that made me uncomfortable”. We parted ways then. I really hope that his discomfort came out of conviction and not me being too abrupt! God help!
Sunday was a wonderful outreach. It started and finished with a lovely conversation with a couple of retired American missionaries! They are visiting New Zealand on holiday. In between these chats, the team was busy handing out tracts, getting into chats via ‘walk up’ and the flip chart. I had a pair of encouraging chats. One was with a young lady who had drifted from the faith. She even agreed that if she had died today she would have gone to hell out of unbelief, but she gave me a very warm smile as she left me with some questions answered, the gospel and a challenge to accept it today. The other was with a young man who had some nominal Christian input in his life, and was shocked that good deeds were not the way of salvation. I laboured with him till he grasped it, and challenged him to respond. He left with a gospel of John, a summary tract, and a card for my church. I had a number of other good opportunities for gospel engagement, but it’s time for this report to end!
Thank you so much for continuing to support his ministry. Please continue to regularly uphold it in prayer. God bless!
I found myself dwelling on the simplicity of the gospel as I was handing out gospel tracts and talking to people today. Because, in some regards, what I do is so foolish. It’s impossible for me to change someone’s mind on something so important. I could argue and reason with people forever and they wouldn’t be convinced. It’s for this reason that I’m so glad that God speaks so clearly to us in scripture. I can’t convert, only God can. What a relief! Yet, the means he uses for that is a simple gospel message delivered by simple people like us + prayer. What is foolish to man is the wisdom of God! Apart from the power of God, everyone will ignore what’s written in those little 8 page cartoon tracts. But with the power of God - and the logic of the gospel understood, even from a simple 8 page cartoon tract - everyone who reads it or hears it can be saved. So, all the glory is God’s.
I get it, evangelism is terrifying, it’s foolish. But I want to encourage you to do it anyway. You may not be able to join me on the streets. But, in your everyday life, be bold to talk about Jesus!
Normal schedule on the streets this week, although Saturday’s outreach was rained out. And it was so good to have Mike be able to join me for a couple of outreaches before heading back to work tomorrow! God bless ya Mike. Like you said, when you understand what Jesus did for you, you are willing to be a ‘fool’ for him. Amen.
So, Mike and I were in Riccarton Tuesday afternoon. It started out as a really slow outreach. Eventually I decided to leave Mike with the flip chart, and head across the road to try my luck on the other side. Pretty much instantly, I was into a chat! And then I noticed Mike had become busy too (pictured). To my amazement, the outreach went for a whole hour extra, because we were so busy (and the last chat was really good).
The details of my chats are fuzzy now. But I remember the last one (pictured with Mike talking to the couple). I noticed they were sitting in the seats nearby while Mike was in another chat. And when Mike became free, they came over. As the chat went so long, I ended up getting involved. The couple were in different places. She was very argumentative, yet there was an openness from him. I decided to engage the guy, and let Mike handle the lady. It worked, I was able to focus on the law and the gospel with the guy where he would have otherwise been distracted.
Believe it or not, we ended up having to cut that conversation short, as I really needed to get home for dinner. But it was a great chat. God is good.
Friday was hot! I was in the city. It was interesting to see some open air preachers out. From the little bit I heard from them I was encouraged: using amplification well, gentle voice, dealing with the crowd well (polite, answering questions). I got to say g’day to one of them - they were down from Wellington.
It was too hot to hand out tracts in the sun, so I focused on ‘walk up’ chats. I had three solid opportunities.
The first was with a streetie who was the same age as me. He was keen to chat, but resistant to the good news. He listed his many sins, but he insisted on his righteousness - so sad.
The next was a great chat. It was with a young couple. He cut to the chase: why is God allowing parasites to eat the eyeballs of little children? I was able to give him the biblical answer, and then take them both through the law and the gospel. The guy was a fidgetter, and so he ended up pretty much screwing up the tract I had given him at the start. He was happy to accept a fresh one.
The last chat was with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was an interesting chat, because he was adamant that we become part of the Kingdom not by our work. Sadly, his wife kept ringing him. He wanted to stay and chat, and yet he had to go. I need to scratch up on my understanding of what JW’s believe and why.
On Sunday it was good to have Mike and Susan join me. I spent the first half of the outreach in one conversation. It was with one of my recent regulars. And this was our first really in depth chat. It was great to be able to understand his worldview, and challenge it with the gospel. In the end, he couldn’t accept the idea that a criminal could be forgiven. He really wanted to think it was good work that got you to heaven (via reincarnation). I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to talk to him (and his brother) again, and continue the conversation. I’m going to add him to my prayer list.
I had one other main chat, with a group of American soldiers (in civilian clothes), they will be going down to Antarctica at some point. I was able to share the gospel with them, and give them a tract to read down on the ice.
Susan had a long chat with a lady (pictured), and Mike had a number of opportunities on the flip chart.
God is good! SDG
WHAT A BUSY night in Brisbane! Praise be to God that 2,000 tracts were able to go into people’s hands and some good gospel conversations were had.
One stand-out conversation was with a Muslim guy named Ally who didn’t respond with the usual “I want to keep relying on my good deeds”, instead he came to agree that good deeds could never pay for his sins.
And as we shared the gospel with him he saw that Jesus dying for him is the only way he could get to heaven, and he said he is now going to seriously consider this, realizing the cost it could have on his life in leaving Islam. Please pray for him that God saves him.
To God be all the glory!
Wow, what an AMAZING 2 weeks! Over these past 2 weeks, God has allowed the team to get out 31,000 gospel tracts into people’s hands in Brisbane city. Thank you for praying!
We were encouraged to see people reading the tracts and some even came back thanking us for what we were doing.
Ultimately, the results are in God’s hands, so we would appreciate it if you could be praying for those who received the gospel and that God would bring them to trust in Christ.
To God be all the glory!
I’m pretty tired, because I stayed up for the New Year last night. So, I hope this report is going to make sense!
The routine breaking holiday schedule is now complete (and I’m looking forward to getting back to my routine, starting with a day off tomorrow)!
Four street outreaches since my last report. Martin joined me on Friday in the City. I was in Riccarton on Saturday lunchtime, and then ministering at the New Years Eve event in the City. And then finally today’s outreach in the City.
Starting with Friday. It was overcast, but there were plenty of people around and about. It turns out people from a cruise ship were in town. But sadly, for some reason, it felt like a bit of a slow outreach. Although Marin and I both had good gospel opportunities. I guess I’m comparing it to the high of boxing day?
Anyway, I found out about the cruise ship through an older gentleman who approached my flip chart wondering what I was doing. His wife was in the shop across from me, and so he had been observing me for a few minutes. I was upfront, as always, but we ended up chit chatting about light hearted things for a bit. He eventually swung the conversation to the deeper things of life! It turns out he is an Atheist. He grew up in a Methodist church, and his reasoning for being Atheist was that he was cold in church as a boy, and he prayed that God would warm him up. When he didn’t warm up, he concluded God wasn’t real, and informed his parents as much. I have to assume that there was something more to it, because that doesn’t make sense. I tried to reason with him (starting with the building / builder analogy), but then his wife arrived and he had to go. We parted on very good terms, and he walked off with a “Who Made It?” tract.
I left Martin with the flip chart, and went for a wander. But had no luck in striking up a conversation. As I was coming back to Martin, I noticed he was in a conversation with 3 guys, which was great. So I went the other direction, when someone said my name.
It was one of the girls I had talked to on Boxing day, and I’ve talked to her before that in Riccarton. She is resistant, but I can tell there is an openness, because she keeps coming to talk to me, and although she disagrees, I can tell she is processing what I say. She introduced me to her sister, and we fell into gospel conversation. As we were going through the law, they brought up a situation. They were planning to lie to their parents and have a new years eve party at their place where they intended to get drunk while their parents were away. Anyway, I was able to share the gospel before they had to go.
Well, later in the outreach, they came back, and this time they had another friend with them, so, yet another gospel conversation started. Interestingly, the two sisters had informed me of their new plan. They were going to ask their parents if they could have the party (this would solve the lying and disobedience)! Interesting, so I posed 2 questions: 1) if their parents said no, would they still have the party? Answer: yes. 2) are you still intending on getting drunk? Answer: yes. They were fooling themselves! Yet, I’m at least encouraged that they seem to be feeling a partly conviction about their sin. Again, I went back to the real solution: Jesus. They moved on. But, if God’s patience holds, I’ve got a feeling I will see them again. Please pray that this would be so.
The Riccarton outreach on Saturday (New Years Eve) was also quiet. Not many people around. But there were enough people around to keep me busy. I remember a good chat with a young man who said he used to be an Atheist, but he admitted to softening. He was now articulating a very eastern religious way of thinking. I was able to labour on how we know God is real, and why hell is logical. I can’t remember if I share the law and the gospel - I know he had to get going to catch a bus, but he did leave with a “Who Made It?” tract. I’m racking my brain, and I just can’t remember the other chats of the outreach - oh, that’s right, I talked to 2 girls from Latin America. I can’t remember the others, if there were any!
In the afternoon, I had a couple of very encouraging conversations online, before having dinner and heading to the New Years Eve concert in the central city (Hagley Park) with my daughters. There were other families from my church there, so it was good to spend some time with them.
But, my purpose for being there was to share the gospel. I had already done 6 hours of outreach for the day, and so I guess I was feeling tired. Plus, the environment was unfamiliar to me, plus I was on my own. So, I was feeling very nervous. I didn’t have any boldness. It was a good reminder of how Christians often feel when facing evangelism! I know what it’s like! I ended up going for a walk, praying for help, smiling and greeting people, but feeling too nervous to really engage. I ended up in the city, before heading back to the park, still praying. I wondered if I would just wimp out and give up, when I noticed a guy. The situation seemed right, and so I greeted him and asked him what he thought happened after life. There was resistance, but he stuck around for a quarter of an hour for me to reason with him about the gospel. The chat went okay, and we parted ways with him receiving 2 kinds of tract: “Who Made It?” and “Says Who?”. All glory to God for helping me.
That was the extent of that outreach. Just 15 minutes, with 1 person. I leave him in God’s hands. But what encouraged me was, near the end of the evening, in among a very large gathering of people, I saw the same guy again! He was hanging out with some friends. He saw me too, and I guess I’ll describe his look as one of embarrassment - was it because I talked to him about religion? Was it conviction? Was it something else? Who knows. I just smiled at him and moved on.
Sunday’s outreach was busy. I was at my usual spot at the corner of Cashel and Colombo. Ballantynes was closed, but other shops were open, so there were people around.
I gave a tract to a guy, but just as I was doing that, I noticed four people investigating my flip chat, so I went over to engage them. They were very resistant to the idea of God being real, in spite of my reasoning, and they moved on. But, soon after, the guy I gave the tract to came over. He was encouraged to see me doing what I’m doing. His Dad used to preach in central Christchurch, and had taken him out with him. I was so encouraged to hear that! God always provides a witness. I wonder who will come after us?
But, the rest of the outreach was a conversation with a couple who have recently become Christian and are involved with a local church. It was encouraging to see the fresh enthusiasm, but at the same time there was a lack of gospel clarity. Multiple times in the conversation I was able to check and work on that clarity. By the end of the chat, I think he was starting to see how subtly we can slip back into works for salvation. I encouraged him to preach the gospel to himself, all day and everyday. I was also able to encourage him in other ways too. It seemed like a very mutually encouraging chat.
All glory to God!
You are always guaranteed to meet someone interesting on the streets of Toowoomba...and 2022 was no different.
Earlier this year, Merv and I (Doug) spoke to X, who is a well-known personality with whom we have shared the Gospel with the past. X- was absolutely livid, as some teens had recently stolen his bike. He was angry and (understandably) spoke in long paragraphs to us.
We did our best to listen to X and to help him figure out ways to get his bike back. We also got onto the topic of Christianity and X told us that he used to be part of a Christian band.
X knew a fair bit of Scripture….but he also enjoyed tangents so Merv gently yet firmly brought X back to the question of X’s current relationship with Jesus every time.
It was a challenging discussion but we appreciated X’s candor. To the best of our knowledge, he is not ready to follow Christ at this stage but we strongly encouraged him to connect with a Church community and seriously consider his soul.
This year we also met D-. He used to own a food van business and had roughly $200,000 in the bank.
Yet D- lost it all during the Covid pandemic. He hit rock bottom and he even found himself being looked after by someone he once looked after.
In this bleak time, D came to realise the importance of a relationship with God. He prayed “God if you will forgive me for my sin I will follow you for the rest of my life.”
D- is now following God and is part of a local Church. D- even asked Merv and Howard for Gospel tracts to put in the mailboxes around his place! He wants to show others who Jesus is and we were greatly encouraged by his life story and what God is presently doing in D-’s life.
During our travels, we were also able to meet a number of people who had misunderstandings about Jesus.
We had an interesting discussion with M-, who is an indigenous lady who has some background in Christianity. She had recently been experiencing visions of Jesus but had a very mixed understanding of who He is. We spoke with M- for some time and we hope that M- can sort the fact from the fiction which she had picked up in her travels.
A middle-aged bloke name K- also had a number of misunderstandings about Jesus. Merv gently corrected his misunderstanding of who Jesus was and also shared the good news about what Jesus has done.
Our conversations with M- and K- were respectful, warm discussions and we’d like to ask for prayer for both of them.
Other adventures (in brief)
-We met a big friendly atheist bloke who was waiting for his family outside a shopping centre. He happily spoke to Elisa and Merv for some time about the issues of eternity.
- We had a significant misunderstanding with a member of one of the local Jehovah's Witnesses. While we have had good relationships with 99% of the businesses and “regulars” in the CBD...it is inevitable that misunderstandings do arise occasionally in the 17 years we’ve been evangelising in Toowoomba.
While opposition is inevitable (Matt 5:11-12) our heart is to eliminate “unnecessary offense”...because the Gospel is offensive enough!
We will continue to love everyone we meet and to treat them as people...not projects.
-We met two Christian homeless men who encouraged Merv and Howard. One even traded Gospel tracts with Merv!
-Kx, who is a local middle-aged man. Kx is a Christian who is going through a rough time. Interestingly, Kx also knows people at Toowomba Northside Baptist where Merv and Elisa attend. Merv and Elisa invited him to Church the following day.
-There was that time Merv offered a tract to a woman at a bus stop. She declined and Merv went away and spoke to someone else nearby. She overheard. Afterwards she said she’d take a tract after all!
-The Carnival of Flower and the Christmas Lights Festival in Queens Park remained our biggest outreaches of the year. We were able to share the Gospel with close to 3000 people through both regular and Christmas themed tracts. We had some great conversations with Christians who either encouraged us or were looking for a Church to attend. We also had conversations with some non-Christians who wanted to discuss different sets of ideas with us.
Overall 2022 has been a big year. We are thankful for all the opportunities that Jesus gave us this year and we excited to see what is ahead in 2023!
Battle Log of Operation 513 for Sunnybank on Wednesday Dec 28th, 2022 from 1300 – 1500
Today I went solo again to do street outreach at the Sunnybank northbound bus stop. the people flow was not great. I only had a few meaningful conversations as recap below. For most of the cases, people just hurriedly passing by. By God gave me a surprise to meet up with Ann who used to do Sunnybank outreach with us on Thursday after her religious education at the Sunnybank State School. She just said farewell to her Aussie friends after possibly a lunch gathering. She was surprised to see me serving there all by myself and thought we the Operation 513 team have stopped all the street ministry. I told her she is welcome to join us now every Wednesday from 1300 to 1500. But not for the next two week as I will be setting off for a Muslim country gospel outreach from 4-20/1/2023. Pray that God will move her to re-join us after such a long break out of miscommunication.
1) I chose between two chatting man and woman couple and a single old lady. The natural choice of course was not to disturb the couples conversation but got connected with the old lady. She appeared friendly and receptive to the gospel. But the time I had was barely enough for me to finish the nutshell of the gospel without the follow up interaction and also not even able to get her name. Pray for God's own follow up work.
2) Then I was led to approach a disabled man with difficulty in mobility though he can walk in a lamp manner. He obviously looks a bit self-pity, but I approach him to ask for his nationally. He chose to tell me he is a local Aussie but with parents’ mom from Philippine and an Aussie Dad. I said no wonder he doesn't look a bit like Filipino but more a while Caucasian man. In view of the imminent arrival of the bus, I rushed through the gospel again finishing the nutshell and he delightfully took a tract. I trust he felt being respected a treat equally as an ordinary person. Pray also for God's follow up work.
3) Then I was urged to approach a pregnant woman who did not disclose where she is originally from. She even appeared rejective to the gospel message, but the Holy Spirit kept her still to allow me to share and finished the Gospel. She did not take the tract, but I still have full trust in God to lead me to approach a difficult and cold heart person like her.
4) There were other piece meal broken short approaches with blunt rejection or excuse to be on the run. I ended up staying only for an hour to call for the day as I purchased some frozen food that cannot last long in the car under the summer heat. So, next Wednesday will be my date of departure for mission. Will be away and be back 25/1/2023.
This report is covering the 3 days of street outreach surrounding Christmas day. Thankfully Christmas day is NOT a good day for street outreach - instead people are thinking about the birth of Jesus and spending time with their families instead.
On Friday the 23rd, there was a team of 6 out in the city. Only Roger and I were regulars, so it was great to have 4 others: Josh, Caleb, Tanushree, and Daniel. We paired up. Roger had his flipchat up in the usual spot, and Daniel joined him. Tanushree and Caleb were using my flipchart, and Josh and I did ‘walk up’.
From my perspective, the outreach was stellar. I had 2 amazing chats, plus change (and who knows, it may be one of the extra chats that God uses to save someone).
The first chat was with a young man that I thought I had talked to during a previous outreach. It was a case of mistaken identity, but it led to an opportunity for a great conversation. Unfortunately the young man thought ‘keeping the ten commandments’ would get him to heaven. He revealed that he is a PK, which made me inwardly cringe. Anyway we took a look at a few of the commandments to see how he would get on. I then had the privilege of sharing the gospel with him and working through most of the checks. I think the most powerful check was the ‘before / after conversation’ one. He was able to articulate for himself, that before the chat, since he was trusting in his works, he would have been heading to hell. But now that we had had the conversation, he now knew the right way to heaven.
He is new to Christchurch, and although he goes to a church, he was keen to know which churches Josh and I went to. I gave him a card for my church, and we even connected on Instagram (I was able to follow up with him afterwards).
Josh and I spent some time discussing evangelism practice, before we started handing out Christmas tracts.
I noticed a young lady sitting on one of the seats near us, and so I offered her a tract too. It was almost like she had been sitting there hoping I would offer. She was very keen to chat. And so I sat next to her to do just that.
For me, this was the stellar chat of the day. We covered the gamut: evil and suffering, homosexuality, dinosaurs, evolution, how we know God is real, and of course, the law and the gospel, plus many checks.
There was a God moment, where I touched on something in a general sense, and I could tell it was a very personal issue for her and was able to directly address it.
She left, not only with a Christmas tract, but a gospel of John. I was clicking my heels after that chat!
Josh had to leave at this point, but the outreach was nearly over anyway. I ended up pairing up with Tanushree for a final walk up chat. I noticed that Roger and Daniel were talking to Simon the Atheist.
As a team, we went to the cafe in Ballantynes, low and behold, Simon the Atheist was there too! He had his laptop out and was working. Simon and Roger were having an extended chat while the rest of the team debriefed in various ways over hot chocolate.
Once we were all ready to go, I went to pay for the drinks, and I was told that Simon the Atheist had already paid for all of us! What a blessing. When I first met Simon, over a year ago now, he had a very “new” Atheist edge about him (all religions are bad). He’s changed. I continue to pray for Simon!
Saturday was Christmas Eve, and I was in my usual spot in Riccarton. It was great to have Martin from Hamilton (down on holiday) join me. I was expecting there to be a lot of foot traffic with people going to the mall to buy Christmas gifts. But there wasn’t as much as I expected. But it was still a busy outreach. I gave out a lot of tracts, as well as having a number of good chats - including 2 (separate conversations) with people who work in the area. I hope to see them again, God willing.
Today, being Boxing Day, I figured there would be lots of people out to shop for bargains, so I scheduled 2 outreaches. The first in Riccarton, and then the second in the city. Martin joined me in Riccarton again. I wasn’t wrong. There were HEAPS of people out. I focused on tracts, and we gave away so many in Riccarton, I had to head home to get more before going into the city!
People in Riccarton seemed way more open than those in the city, but I ended up giving away lots of tracts there too. I think I’ll make Boxing Day a special tract outreach for future years (God willing).
I had many good chats too. The last one of the day was with a young Catholic guy called Liam. He came back at the end of the outreach, after semi-engaging with me earlier. His mum was in Ballantynes, and so he had the time now. He wanted to discuss my earlier questions: “what do you have to do to get to heaven?”. He said that Protestants believe in “Sola Fide” (faith alone), but Catholics in Faith plus Works (and he was right). And so, this being a critical distinction, I worked to convince him why it must be Sola Fide. Great chat. He already had a tract (not received on this outreach) and he said he had it with his confessional (not sure what he meant by that, I could have heard it slightly wrong). Anyway, I pleaded with him to Trust alone in Christ alone and to get in touch to discuss further.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Battle Log of Operation 513 for Sunnybank on Wednesday Dec 21st, 2022 from 1400 – 1500
Today, I did my regular Street outreach by myself. I have to keep up with the habit to do weekly outreach to keep my spirit high ready for a mission trip to Turkey early next year in January. It will be a highly unstructured sort of random outreach by the lead of the Spirit, somewhat similar to the street outreach I am doing right now in Australia but with even higher uncertainty of the whereabout and who the Spirit will lead us to approach in a 100% strange place. The only refuge and fortress is God Himself. It was still a very interesting outreach experience for today as recap below: -
1) Rita from PNG, I used the Peace Child story of Don Richardson to attract her interest. She though born in PNG but has not heard about the tribal fighting legend story. The PNG tribes Don was serving is a cannibalistic tribe. They however welcome western white people living amongst them to elevate their status. Two neighbouring tribes fight for Don's presence in their tribes to the extent that Don threatened to leave them for a new place. Finally, the two constantly fighting tribes reached a peace treaty by sending one of their new born baby child to become hostage of the enemy tribes as such peace would prevail as long as the Peace Child is well and alive. Don Richardson realized this custom of the two enemy tribes can be used as a metaphor to Jesus Christ who was send to become a Peace Child to the human world which have effectively fallen as a enemy of God because of our sinning against God and against each other’s. Rita was amazed to hear about this PNG legendary story and understood more about the role of Jesus coming to die for our sins to save us from eternal death punishment.
2) Japanese Alluvia has already migrated to Australia with his parents, but his mindset is still of oriental Buddhist spirit looking forwards to find peace in life by reaching harmony with the environment. I anyway shared the full gospel to him which he admitted not having heard about it before. So, pray that the seed of Gospel will change this westernized Japanese’s mindset to understand the atoning grace of Jesus dying for our sins.
3) Then I caught up with Rita from Taiwan who was very interactive in the course of gospel sharing. After hearing the gospel, she asked if a murderer will also be saved after he had killed many people and was sentenced the capital punishment. ???????? I made us of the famous case of Chen Jin Shin, who exactly committed series of great crime of robbery, rape and murders. But after he was caught and visited by Christians including his last hostage being the ambassador of South Africa, he received Christ through their forgiving love especially the younger daughter who drew picture to ask for God forgiveness be granted to Chen while she was held hostages. It was a perfect case to illustrate the power of Christ atoning death to set us free from the bondage of sin.
4) Rejected bluntly by a lady from the Mainland ??????
5) Yet God let me catch up another lady from Hong Kong who was willing to listen, though the bus cam a bit too quick.?????
6) Last, I had a long conversation as well with Mr Zhou ??from Xian???apart from sharing the full Gospel, ?????, I was able to share my life testimony ??? to demonstrate the life changing power to a self-righteous person like me.
The street outreaches for the week were in hot summer weather. Tuesday and Saturday in Riccarton, and Friday in the City. I took Sunday off.
It was so good to have Caleb with me on Tuesday and Friday. Caleb (pictured) has applied to come on the Philippines trip in March next year and is joining me so we can get to know each other better, and to get skilled up in preparation. Roger was also with us on Tuesday.
Much of my time on the Tuesday outreach was spent in getting Caleb up to speed on the way we share the gospel on the street, via the flip chart. But, near the end of the outreach I had an opportunity to share the gospel with 3 people going past. I wanted to use the flip chart, so that Caleb would get a chance to get involved and to see how it works in action. But I could sense that these 3 people could bolt at the slightest distraction, and so I had to minister while I had their attention. At the start of the chat, one of the key reasons they didn’t believe God is real is that they couldn’t reconcile the existence of God with evil in the universe. So, I gave the biblical answer, found in Romans 9:22-23 (and elsewhere in the bible): God not only allows evil, but decrees that it will occur without ever doing evil himself so that he can demonstrate 3 things about himself for his glory. Without evil people, he can’t demonstrate his: justice, mercy and patience (in holding off justice so mercy can be received). Now, this answer has to be delivered with a large dose of compassion. But, in this situation, I could see the light of understanding come into the eyes of all 3 of them, it opened them up and I was able to clearly minister the law and the gospel into their lives, and plead with them to accept the mercy of God found only in the sacrifice of Jesus. I was really encouraged by the conversation.
Friday’s outreach was in muggy weather. It had been raining, but during the outreach the sun came out. Caleb and I set up the flip chart down Cashel Mall. It was a very busy outreach! I think lots of people were out with Christmas shopping.
People I wouldn’t normally expect were stopping to chat. Many were attracted by the flip chart.
I had a couple of guys come to argue with me on the existence of God, they didn’t seem to get what they expected, which was someone with no answers. They were challenged, but sadly doubled down on their resistance and moved on without hearing the good news.
I had a lady stop to engage. I sensed she would bolt at any moment, and yet, at the same time, she was very engaged. I started out with a summary of the law / gospel, and the longer she stayed, the deeper the explanations went. She is from Auckland, and there had been a hellfire preacher up there that had put her off. And yet, she came to talk to me knowing I’m a Christian. Maybe the hellfire preacher had pricked her conscience? I explained hell, in the context of God’s mercy.
I was keen for Caleb to get into his own chat, and so I got one started, passed it to him, and then stepped away. It was so good watching him engage, and hold the attention of the two guys. Well done Caleb!
Saturday was busy. I talked to a universalist who slid slightly by the end of the chat.
But the stand out chat in my memory was with a couple. She approached me on her own. Her husband had recently become a Christian, and she was still trying to process the world view change. Her husband came and joined the chat, and it was so encouraging to hear his explanation of the gospel! He has been studying the Bible intensely, is involved with a good local church, and is listening to good teachers. His understanding of the gospel is flawless. I was so encouraged to actually see the fruit of the Holy Spirit working in the life of a new believer! My prayer is that the Holy Spirit would illuminate the gospel in the heart of his wife. My God bless this young couple!