We ran another special outreach this week (Saturday): the Kaikoura A&P Show outreach. And we had some special people join us for outreach this week (Friday): Kane & Damo all the way from Brisbane! So good to have them with us!
But I’ll start the report with Tuesday afternoon’s outreach to Riccarton. Roger was down sick, so I got to set up my flip chart on his side of the street. :D I had 3 significant chats.
The first was with a young man down from the Hawkes’ Bay. He is starting university in Christchurch. It was a good chat in the sense that he was open to hearing the law and the gospel and going through all the check questions. He seemed to respond positively, but he hedged a bit when I got him to count the cost in this life of accepting the gift of eternal life. I can’t save him, only God can!
Next I had a long chat with a streetie. Sadly, she loved the sound of her own voice. She talked a lot! So self absorbed. I didn’t give her the gospel, she was obviously not ready for it. When I had opportunities to speak, I would gently but directly labour the law of God into her life, trying to reignite her conscience. Eventually she got tired of being challenged, and decided to move on. She did take a tract. I saw her again on Friday in the city, but I was in a chat and wasn’t able to follow up with her.
The last chat was with 3 teen girls. They accepted tracts on their initial pass, but my question of “what happens after life” was cheekily rebuffed! Yet, a minute later, they came back, they wanted to talk, and they each had a machine gun of questions to fire at me. It was a bit overwhelming! But the questions were very good ones, showing they cared deeply about life, and what happens after life. As the conversation progressed, I was of course sharing the law and the gospel. But we finally hit the two hardest questions: 1) evil and suffering and 2) homosexuality. I actually felt honoured that they trusted me enough to ask about what were obviously very sensitive questions for them. I did my best to give them answers that were: compassionate, yet faithful to the truth. It’s only the truth that sets us free! Sadly, they weren’t able to give me the time to do the subjects justice - they had to leave; I did my best. One of the girls had been twisting her tract as we were talking. She accepted another that she could read.
Friday poured with rain! Yet, we had a team of 6, and it was an awesome outreach in spite of the rain. There were heaps of people out and about, and everyone was making the most of the sheltered spots where we were able to spark up chats.
I heard a wonderful report from Roger, who had a fantastic chat with a guy who’s flight had been delayed and was wandering the city aimlessly till he encountered Roger. They guy was so impacted by the gospel conversation, that he headed back to his hotel room to start reading a Bible!
I was paired up with Damo, and he needed to go to the bathroom before we started, so I took him to where some were. As he was going in, 2 guys passed and I asked them, “hey, what do you think happens after life?” They were keen to chat, and stopped to engage. But, as I was talking to them, a streetie who knew me passed, and wanted to talk. He waited in line! Damo came back, and I passed the 2 guys to him (pictured), while I addressed the streetie.
Damo’s chat was much longer than mine, and so I ended up going to Lichfield street to see if I could get into a chat there. Four Catholic high school students went past, and I had a fantastic chat with them.
Damo and I then headed back to Cashel Mall and found a spot down by Ballantynes. We had 2 outstanding chats.
One with a guy who knew all the Christian lingo, but was subtly missing the gospel. After labouring with him, I could see a breakthrough starting. At points he seemed to almost come to tears. And he left saying we had given him something to consider.
The other was with a young couple (also going to a Catholic high school). The guy looked so happy, he said, “I’ve seen others being asked that question, but no one has ever asked me”. It turns out he was very familiar with Ryan via TikTok! He was very deep in thought throughout the chat, often with a distant look, and often taking a long time to answer questions as he processed what he was learning. It was so good. By the end of the chat, I could tell they were taking what we were sharing seriously.
Kaikoura is two and a half hours north of Christchurch, so it was an early start for the team of 5. It was so good to have Andy, Mike, Jerome and Elijah with me for the drive up. We were joined by a team coming down from Blenheim, led by Scott.
It was raining when I left home, but, although the ground was very damp, the rain held off for the whole outreach at the Kaikoura A&P Show.
This show wasn’t as busy as some of the others we attend, and yet, there were still plenty of opportunities to engage people with the good news of Jesus. I’m running out of time to talk about the details of some of those chats. But the highlight for me was having opportunities with the type of people who wouldn’t normally give me the time of day. One farmer stayed to hear the law before bailing on me (the fact that I got that far was amazing). Another elderly couple stayed to hear the gospel, but there was such a hardness that my very first check was answered with “be good”. Again, I was amazed they stayed as long as they did. I hope I left a pebble in their shoe, and that God turns it into a rock! While we have breath, there is hope, God can do what is impossible for us. They left with tracts.
Susan joined me for the Sunday afternoon outreach in central Christchurch. It was a busy outreach, and so the time went fast. Some very encouraging chats with some High School kids, who were challenged to urgently trust Christ, yet left thinking deeply while counting the cost. Also a great chat with a young man from Australia among other chats. Out of time!
A small team from Australia and New Zealand is heading to the Philippines to hopefully be an encouragement to the church there in evangelism. We leave on Tuesday for just under 2 weeks of outreach. Please keep us in prayer! I intend to keep writing reports, keep your eye out for them here or on Facebook.
Christchurch (NZ) Team
Tue 3:30pm - 5:30pm - Riccarton (corner of Riccarton Rd and Rotherham St)
Fri 1:30pm - 3:30pm - City (Bridge of Remembrance)
Sat 11am - 1pm - Riccarton (corner of Riccarton Rd and Rotherham St)
Sun 1:30pm - 3:30pm - City (corner of Colombo St and Cashel St).