When you head off to an outreach, you never know what to expect. This is what makes street evangelism both nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. The last three months have given our Toowoomba team plenty of practice in expecting the unexpected, as well as seeing God use ordinary people to make a simple difference in our city.
For example, two of our team members (Adro and Tim) had an encounter with J-, a young man who walked up to Adro and Tim and asked them to pray for him. J- began to explain his story and shared how he had faced a number of significant relational and financial challenges in the last couple of months. A tradie by profession, J- had been struggling with work and also in his relationship with his partner.
He had a Church background and was quite upset and so, at his request, Tim and Adro prayed together with him on that bustling street. After some significant pastoral conversation, the three of them parted on good terms and J- is still very much our prayers as he navigates the road ahead. We genuinely hope to see him again sometime and journey with him further.
Another encounter we had was with a different J- and his partner C-. These two (and their cat) were sleeping on Margaret street and had taken up shelter in the doorway of a building. To the best of my knowledge, all of their possessions were in that doorway, including mattresses, blankets and pillows.
C- was heavily pregnant and only had 8 weeks before their child was due. J- and C- were worried that if their baby came before they had permanent accommodation then they would have their child taken from them by the Department of Child Services. Tim and I (Doug) spoke to them and spoke to them about a number of services available in Toowoomba for people who were living on the streets. Both C- and J- seemed quite familiar with these services but, as their circumstances are unique, these services were only of limited value to them.
After purchasing a food voucher for them from the local Woolies, we left J- and C- with the promise that we would keep our eyes open for accommodation that would suit their growing family.
If you, dear reader, know of anyone who would be willing to help house this couple, please contact me through Facebook or through the contact details listed on this website.
Along with our “usual” ministry of handing out Gospel tracts and striking up conversations with people, we have begun building relationships with the Jehovah’s Witnesses who man an information booth each Saturday in the CBD. This well-known cult often put Christians to shame with their zeal and dedication, yet the fact remains that their destructive message must be engaged by Christians committed to loving these people in the long-term and sharing the Gospel with them.
Over the last few months we have met a number of their group who have been rostered on to a particular Saturday. Many of them are older and we have focussed on sharing the foundational Christian truth that justification (being declared righteous by God) is through faith alone and through a process of trial and error I’ve chosen my “go-to” text as Romans 4:1-11 and the example of Abraham. I’m looking forward to walking some of our JW acquaintances through the text and ask them what they think it means in the next outreach.
None of the discussion above is designed to be done as a “once-off”. People are people and tend to discuss issues best in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect over an extended period of time. Thus we are seeking to build our friendship and discuss these crucial issues with people in general and our JW friends in particular. Regardless of the outcome (because people aren’t projects) we want to continue loving and caring for every person we meet, regardless of whether or not they agree with us.
So that’s the wraps for the last three months of outreach in Toowoomba. Many more encounters have occurred and a number of other interesting dialogues have taken place through the team’s ministry, but, as usual, we only have so much time to write reports and share with you all.
Please keep us in prayer as we enter into the second half of 2019!
Toowoomba Team (QLD)
Meets the 3rd Saturday of each month at 11am at the Margaret St McDonalds. The team also meets the 1st Thursday night of each month for prayer.
Contact Doug Espie for more information.