Schoolies 2019 Week 1
My last log entry covered the last two days of the Canterbury A&P Show, in Christchurch, NZ. I then had the privilege of flying to the Gold Coast to be involved with the first week of the Schoolies outreach. This log entry will detail my experience of the week.
The first thing I want to talk about is the slogan for Schoolies: Best Week of Your Life. That is wrong on so many levels. When I would ask some of these kids three things Schoolies was known for, I would get pretty much the same answer: drink, drugs, and sex. We know that those three things do not equate to the best week of your life. In fact, it’s leading to devastated lives. And if that was the best week of your life, what does that say about the rest of life? How depressing! Oh, how desperately is the hope of the gospel needed in this environment. And so, our team, ranging from about 8 to 12 Christians (depending on the day) would head out for two outreaches: afternoon and evening to share just that.
Oh, and these kids want to talk. It’s pretty much a constant stream of conversations for the whole team. Some are open, some resistant, some mock, some seem deeply impacted by the gospel. Ultimately the results are in God’s hands. But God is glorified in our obedience to bring the gospel to hundreds of these kids. It is the power of God to salvation for all who believe.
And because we were out there in the afternoon and evening for the whole week, there were many opportunities to have follow up conversations.
I remember talking to one young man in the evening, and then seeing him again during the next afternoon’s outreach. He remembered me, but not much of the content of the conversation we had. So he was given the opportunity of hearing the gospel a second time. I’m confident he understood the gospel - checking questions confirming - but, for now, he is resistant, with “meditation” being his excuse.
Another long follow up conversation with a young man revealed how he was struggling with suicide. Through a clear explanation of the gospel, and testimony of how God saw me through my own struggle with the black dog - I could see genuine hope sparking in his eyes. This young man actually hugged me. I hope he counts the cost and accepts the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus’ payment for sin.
Something that really encouraged me was the openness to logic and reason. I would often start conversations with the building / builder, universe / universe maker analogy and get responses like: “you’ve blown my mind - that makes so much sense”. This would set up a conversation so I could explain how we know right from wrong, the problem of sin, the good news of the gospel, and the cost of accepting the gift. And that cost was often too great: some would suggest that that would accept the gift after schoolies - which just shows that their heart hasn’t been regenerated. But from time to time, people would understand and even say that they would have to leave Schoolies as a result of accepting the gift of Jesus.
The week of outreach was tiring - but oh so worth it. So grieving to see these kids in such a state, night after night. But such an open harvest field! Oh to see some come to know saving faith in Christ to the glory of God alone.
I’m now back in NZ, but the team are still on the Gold Coast for Schoolies week two. Please keep them in prayer!
Special Outreaches (QLD, Australia)
Australia Day (26 January)
ANZAC Day (25 April)
Christmas Outreaches (December)
New Years Eve (31 December)
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.