Thursday was the last day of summer. It was really hot! And Friday was the first day of winter. Wet and cold - I even had to put my thermals on for the evening outreach, first time this year. But hot or cold, rain or shine - the gospel of Jesus needs to be shared.
Andy and I were at the Eastgate and Northlands bus stops, in the heat, on Thursday. We both had many gospel opportunities - esp. at Eastgate. I found it a bit slower than normal at Northlands, but ended up having some wonderful opportunities to share Christ.
I had an opportunity to share with a guy as he was walking past. My questions engaged him enough to keep him staying to hear the next question, but at the same time, I could see he wanted to go, so I had to go fast. I was able to share the whole law and gospel with him, and also throw a vital checking question at him before he left. Not surprisingly, his response to the question: “So, what did I say we need to do to go to heaven?” was “good deeds”. I corrected him (the answer is “trust that Jesus paid your fine”) and pleaded with him to study the tract.
I had an interesting conversation with a lovely person, who was a Goth. Apparently she had become a Christian back in December, and is going to a local church. She didn’t have much clarity around the gospel, so I tried to gently bring some.
At Northlands, I finally got into a conversation with a young man but I could tell he didn’t really want to talk. So when I got to the law, I asked if he would be willing to answer three quick questions - he declined. So I approached the guy next to him (his friend) to see if he would like to answer the three questions - he was keen. But I wound back to explain how we know God exists - and we ended up working on that question till their bus came.
Once they moved on, another guy turned up, and I ended up having a wonderful conversation with a guy who clearly wanted to live his life for himself, but who turned out to have a JW background (the clue was when he said Jesus died on a stake in response to one of my questions). I could tell that he had never heard the gospel before, had never understood the justice of God, and the incredible mercy of God. So I was really blessed to have the privilege to explain it to him. (One of the pictures shows us talking.)
Something unusual happened at Northlands. Both Andy and I noticed a young girl walking back and forth around the bus stops. Eventually Andy took the initiative to ask if she was okay. She broke into tears and said she was supposed to meet her older sister, but couldn’t find her. She didn’t have data on her phone and couldn’t contact. Andy brought the girl to me, and I turned on the hotspot on my phone so she could connect to the Internet. This solved the problem, as it turned out the sister was just around the corner! Andy was able to reunite them. And I think some very brief gospel communication occurred. What a blessing to be able to serve others both practically and spiritually! All glory to God.
I finished up the Northlands outreach with a conversation with a Christian high schooler. He had just finished writing an essay against abortion and we discussed this briefly, as well as the gospel. Very encouraging!
Firday’s outreaches started with the gospel + abortion outreach outside Christchurch hospital. I’m grateful that Marty brought his umbrella and he allowed me to share it - it got quite wet (pictured).
We then moved to Cathedral Square. It was quite empty, due to the weather, and probably due to the lack of tourists due to the closed borders because of Coronavirus. But there were enough people around for all three of us (Marty, Andy and I) to freely proclaim the gospel (no fighting with music or construction noise today). For me it was the first time I had open air preached in a while, and I really enjoyed it. We had one heckler who would ramble in the background - but wasn’t any real disturbance. I had a great, although brief, follow up opportunity after I preached (pictured). And also, one of the food stalls blessed us with some free lunch! What a blessing - thank you!
Andy and I then spent two hours on the streets of central Christchurch having walk up conversations with people, as opportunity allowed.
The highlight was a conversation with two young men. Sadly, during the evening outreach, I encountered one of them again, but he wanted to keep his distance. After thinking through the gospel - he had clearly rejected it.
The Evening outreach was difficult. Cold and wet, and with Coronavirus, I knew it was going to be a difficult two hours. I spent some time in prayer before heading out. I wasn’t wrong. Cathedral Square was completely empty. Even the bars and restaurants were very quiet.
But, all glory to God, I was still able to have four sets of gospel conversations during the outreach!
The highlights would be the gospel conversation with a Jew and a Catholic - I had to really work to get them to understand grace through faith. And the final conversation I had outside the bus exchange with a kid who had rejected religion (background: Mum - Baptist; Dad - Catholic). But he was keen to talk to me.
I thank you for your prayer and support of the Christchurch (NZ) team. Please pray for labourers. And join us out where the fish are!
Christchurch (NZ) Team
Heads out on to the streets of Christchurch usually 6 days a week to various locations.
Including Fridays in Cathedral Square from 12:30pm and in Cashel Mall after that till 3:30pm. Also Sundays in Cashel Mall 1:30pm till 3:30pm.