Thursday morning I was online. I often get called grandpa on initial connect, but with the highlight conversation, where I was connected with a couple of Brits, I got called Gary Barlow (a musician in the UK) - I take that as a compliment! Once they heard my voice, they said I was an Australian - two compliments in a row! This chat started well and continued that way! They came to hear and, slowly, grasp the gospel over the period of about ten minutes.
In the afternoon, Andy and I were at Northlands bus stops and then Eastgate bus stops.
The highlight at Northlands was my very first chat. I approached a young Asian couple. The girl responded to my approach, and she said she had a long chat with one of us before. I checked to see if she understood the gospel - it was close.
The guy then became engaged and took over the conversation. To my surprise, he had a good grasp of the gospel. It turns out he grew up in a church environment. By the end of the conversation (when their bus came) he had admitted that he wasn’t a Christian. His reason: “I want to live my life my own way”. I touched on the consequence of such a position: justice, punishment, hell. As he walked off, I said: “you should be terrified”.
At Eastgate, the highlight was a catch up with a young man who we both talked to the week prior (and whom I’ve talked to a number of times previously - both at Eastgate and Northlands). He is responding very positively to the gospel. He is now saying that he believes that Jesus died on the cross for his sin. He reached out via needGod.net and in our initial email exchange I worked to dissuade him getting him to consider the reality of the cost of the gift of Jesus. I’m glad to say it hasn’t worked so far. He brought his young son to meet us. We ended up sitting down at a local coffee shop to talk more. He has downloaded a Bible onto his phone. And he continues to initiate contact. He works Sunday, but he is looking at re-organising his shifts so he can attend a church meeting. I see so much apostasy and rejection, I’m not getting my hopes up. But oh to see true conversion!
Friday started with another busy gospel + abortion outreach. Six of us, and three counter protesters. The counter protesters like to stand in front of us (pictured).
One of Jehovah's Witnesses that I regularly talk to at Northlands walked past early in the outreach. We had a brief but great catch up chat. To my surprise he accepted a “Life is Precious” tract.
Later, Andy got into a long chat with a guy who considered himself “neutral” on the abortion issue. While that was happening, I noticed three guys across the road, who were obviously very interested in the protest (they were walking back and forth while staring at us). Eventually, I decided to cross the road to go and have a chat. They didn’t have strong opinions about the abortion issue - one was religious, one was on the fence, and the other didn’t believe in God. I was able to share the gospel with all three, before heading back to the main group.
By this stage there was much tension in the air. A group who were pro choice were having a go at us, while a lady, not part of our group, who is pro life, was responding angrily to them! I walked over to engage the pro life lady, and thank her for her support, but that we were trying to run a peaceful protest and that it’s best to ignore them in this situation. She smiled and took my advice.
But then I noticed the three guys across the street were shouting at our counter protesters (and the counter protesters were shouting back). I signalled to the three guys not to do that, but one of the counter protesters accused me of trying to stop conversation. I told them conversation was something I was very keen for, just not if it’s yelling across the street. To my surprise they took my point. The shouting stopped, and one of the counter protesters went across to talk directly. Praise God.
Meanwhile, Andy’s conversation was still rolling. Andy was doing a great job, staying calm even with intense disagreement. But unfortunately the guy he was talking to was becoming angrier and angrier. Andy had to disengage the conversation.
A moment of peace finally reigned when one of the new counter protesters decided she wanted to engage me in debate, she was very pleasant and respectful, and I could tell it was going to be a genuine discussion, so I obliged. We talked about “Black Lives Matter”, and then moved into discussion about abortion. I was able to touch on the gospel. It was a wonderful, respectful two way conversation - and the other counter protesters got involved as well. I was amazed and very grateful for the positive dialogue - even though we still strongly disagree with each other.
The outreach ended with Andy having another opportunity to engage with a lady who was pro choice - it looked to be a very good dialogue as well. We parted on good terms with the counter protesters - they accepted my goodbye. In the quieter periods of the outreach I was praying for them, and I will continue to pray for them. God, bless them!
We moved to Cathedral Square for some open air preaching. There was a group there who seemed to be advocating for some kind of political change. I got into a great conversation with one of them who said she was a Christian. Sadly, the group had to move on, which cut short our conversation.
A number of guys preached, while others handed out tracts, and still others engaged people in one to one conversation.
Later, in Cashel Mall, I had a wonderful conversation with a guy who had talked to someone at Northlands a year ago about the gospel. He was very open to talk about it again. He said there was nothing stopping him from responding - even after he considered the cost. I left the ball in his court - he knows how to get in touch.
I finished the day of outreach online. The highlight conversation was with a lady with a Catholic background, leaning Atheist who believed in Science. Going from there, I explained how we know God exists, through the law, and on to the gospel. She said she had learned more from me in a couple of minutes than she ever had in religion class (glory to God alone). And yet, there was still a resistance to what I was saying. She disconnected suddenly. Lord, I leave her, and all those we talked to over these two days in your hands.
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.