It was a privilege and an honour to be enabled to be on the streets of Christchurch this week to proclaim the gospel. Thank you for your prayer support.
I ended up not heading to the streets today (Sunday). I forgot my jacket, and it was cold! I decided to work online instead. But all the other usual outreaches went ahead: Tuesday afternoon in Riccarton with Roger. Friday afternoon in the city with Andy, Greg and John, and then Saturday lunch time period on my own.
I’m going to have to start taking notes for Tuesday, because I can’t remember any of the specific details now! (Oh, I found a picture I took - Roger had a long chat with that person).
Friday’s outreach was interesting. Andy had a divine appointment to talk with John’s son to start with! And so, John and I decided to pair up for ‘walk up’, while Greg would go with Andy.
As John and I went down Cashel Mall, we encountered a group of teens - about 12. I had plenty of energy, so I decided to engage them. They took the bait, but I had to work hard to keep their attention. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to keep it up, and so my law and gospel message was brief. I was also able to answer a few questions. They left with many of them receiving follow up tracts.
Next we were able to have a brief conversation with a young man who was obviously very resistant but trying to be polite. I’d love to know what the deeper issue is, but he didn’t stick around for long. I was then able to briefly share with an African man, who had a Christian background, but was trusting in his works (prayer and church).
After that, I experienced a lot of false start chats with people who didn’t really want to talk. By this stage, we were back at the Bridge of Remembrance and John and I split up.
I finally got a decent chat going, with a man sitting on a bench. He was happy to talk. Sadly, his friend had just committed suicide - so sad. I started out by doing a lot of listening. But, as the chat progressed, I learned he was an atheist who never did anything wrong. He had never been angry with anyone. And yet, amazingly, just after I raised the issue of anger with him, he started using bad language and talking about politicians in very unsavoury ways. He was justifying all his sin and therefore declaring himself good. He was very blind to any kind of reason. I made sure to summarise the law and the gospel, using myself as an example, because he was so closed. And then we parted ways on good terms.
Saturday’s outreach was very interesting. Partly encouraging, and partly sad.
I turned up to the outreach, thinking on how useless prayer and evangelism can seem, and yet how powerful we know they are. I was thinking about how foolish I looked, standing on the corner of the street, trying to engage people to share Christ.
I hadn’t talked to anyone yet, when one of my ‘regulars’ came past (I actually hadn’t seen him for a long time). I asked him how he was. And then he teared up. We sat down, and he was willing to open up about a crisis he was having in his life. I felt honoured that he was willing to talk with a foolish street preacher like me! I did a lot of listening, and I instinctively knew I couldn’t push the conversation to the law or the gospel. (I’ve shared it with him before anyway.) I’m glad I didn’t push, because I ended up learning things about him that I don’t think I would have learned otherwise. To my surprise, he used to be part of a local church, and he used to do street evangelism! But now, he barely believes that God is real! He was able to talk about some of his fears of death (not the process, but the loneliness of it). In the end, I gave him my contact details on a church card and told him, if his crisis eventuated, and he was going to die, I would come and sit with him so he didn’t have to be alone. Later in the day, he messaged me to thank me for the talk. I’ll be praying for him, and hope to see him again. That he would gain true understanding of the gospel, and that God would have mercy and save him.
Later, I ended up talking to 2 young lads. A gentleman joined the conversation - and I initially thought it was the Father, but they weren’t related. The lads moved on, and I was able to focus on the man. It turns out he had a familiarity with the Bible, and yet he was thinking his works would save him. Nothing registered when I clarified the gospel. And then, sadly, I found out he had been involved with the cult: World Mission Society Church of God. At this point, a 3rd person joined the conversation. I initially asked if they could wait till I had finished the chat with the man. They listened for a while, but they couldn’t hold back. They wanted to ‘preach’. He wasn’t abrupt, but he liked to talk. My honest evaluation was that he was mentally unsound. He thought God was talking to him, but what he was saying contradicted scripture. Sadly, the 2 guys seemed to get on well together. I ended up having a 4th person join the conversation! Actually, he just wanted to talk to me, I had talked to him a few weeks prior - and by God’s grace, I was able to remember details from that previous conversation. Sadly, this 4th guy hadn’t remembered the gospel, and so I briefly shared it again, before he moved on.
By this stage, the outreach was over. When you are deep in conversations, time goes fast!
Well, that covers the week on the streets. The online work is as busy as ever. God bless you as you seek to make Christ known to those around you. All glory to God alone.
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).