Sun, sand, surf and sin... that is what makes up the Gold Coast each year when the Indy carnival roles into town. For the past few years I have gone down to witness on the Gold Coast during this time, and have found it to be a good place to tell of the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.
While the atmosphere is talk and the hearts of men evil, I have found that the light of the gospel shines all the brighter when surrounded by the love of sin. This year people were upset on the Gold Coast, for a tradition has been that women would flash their breasts at people, however, the government has cracked down on this and made it illegal. Many people at Indy were upset that they wouldn't get their yearly dose of lust.
Ryan, Kyosti and I arrived at Surfers Paradise at 5pm, after meeting up with Josh Mitchell, David and Warren we headed out to hand out tracts and talk to people. It was very easy to hand out tracts here, many people took them and many stopped to talk some more about what was written on the back.
At 7:30pm the Indy Street parade started, this parade is billed as a family event however, it is nothing more than a flesh-fest. But, there was one interesting float in the parade, one of the lead floats was done up in an Indian theme and on the back of the float there were people pretending to be different Hindu deities, I wounder how Gold City Council explains that since they have made a push to stop Christian open air preachers.
As I saw what was going on with the parade and on the Gold Coast in general, I really began to understand how Paul must have felt when he entered Athens all those years ago (see Acts 17:16). This city was dedicated to the worship of flesh and materialism. Everywhere we looked people were talking about sex, or pretending to do sexual actions on people. I even saw a bunch of young men grab some random woman and start to feel her up, instead of this woman screaming for help she laughed and encouraged them.
This is a city that has thrown off any Christian values and have turned instead to following the course of this world, and as a city it enjoys the pleasure of sin for a season, but I cannot help but wonder, how long will God put up wit this? How long will God's wrath build upon this nation before He unleashes His judgment? We deserve the wrath of God now, but in His mercy He is holding back.
Throughout the night we were able to witness to many people, and thousands of gospel tracts were handed out. One witnessing encounter really stands out to me. As we were restocking ourselves with more tracts, I noticed a group of young islander men standing under the Surfers Paradise sign. So I walked over to them, and gave them all a tract, then I asked them this question, "If you were to die tonight, what would your last words be?"
The men stopped and thought about the question, one of them said "I love you" but the other said, "It would be God forgive me". I asked him why he would ask God to forgive him, and the man said because he had done much wrong in his life.
This then led into a witnessing conversation, I spoke to the man named John while his friends listened. We walked through the Law of God, and I showed him that God demands perfection, but we aren't perfect. I then showed how we have fallen very short of the standard that God has placed upon us. Once John realised his sin, and his need to be saved, I pointed him to the cross of Christ, and showed John that God became a man to suffered and die for sinners just like him. John and his friends couldn't move, they stood and listened to every word that was said. After this I described how Jesus is no longer dead, but rather God raised Him from the dead, and now we can be forgiven if we would repent and trust in Christ.
Upon hearing this John said, "I have been to church but never heard this, wow, God is coming after me tonight!" I then went into explaining how we must receive Christ by faith, and if we reject the free gift of salvation then we will damned to hell for all eternity.
I then left John with this verse: "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." (John 3:36). After reading that verse to him, I asked "Are you prepared to go home tonight, lay your head on your pillow knowing that God's wrath is upon you?" John went pale and said, "No, I am not prepared to do that, I need forgiveness, I need Jesus to save me!" He then grabbed my hands and as he shook in fear he said, "Please pray for me, I don't want to go to hell, I need Jesus to save me." So there on the street corner I prayed that God would grant John salvation, as I said "amen" one of Johns friends grabbed me and begged me to pray for him as well. So once again I was praying that God would grant salvation to this young man.
All the group took tracts, and before I left I had the privilege of being able to pray for four of the group and also at their request pray for their unsaved relatives. Before I left, I must have been hugged upwards of ten times, these young men were really thankful to hear the good news, so once again I reminded them to repent and trust in Christ alone. As they walked off they all waved and called out "Thank you!"
It is such a joy to see a Sovereign God awaken sinners, I can only pray that God will grant those young men repentance, and I ask that you as you read this will stop and pray for them.
The rest of the evening was spent handing out tracts and talking to people. As a group we were able to have some great conversations. About two hours later after witnessing to John and his friends, I ran into them in Cavil Ave. John came running across the street grabbed me in a hug and said, "All I have to do is repent and trust in Christ, right?" I explained that all he has to do, is turn from his sin, and trust that Jesus died and rose again for his sin. John once again thanked me and left.
Praise God for His loving kindness and salvation!
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.