In the picture, the guy Andy was talking to was in church this morning. He has just moved to Christchurch from the North Island. Friday was his first day in Christchurch, and he bumps into Andy. Turns out he is staying in the same suburb as Andy. And, he first heard the gospel through a street evangelist where he used to live up north. No coincidences. How encouraging is that!
Roger was with me in Riccarton on Tuesday. Roger, John and Andy and I were at the Bridge of Remembrance on Friday. Susan joined me on a nice spring Sunday afternoon in Cashel Mall.
Let me go back to Tuesday. Ya know, the previous Tuesday’s outreach was so good, that’s all I can remember at the moment. Hold on, it’s slowly coming back to me. I remember the last chat was with a young couple, the guy was giving really good answers to my questions - he knew the gospel already. That’s right! The guy before him heard the gospel but wasn’t interested. But the guy before that, heard the gospel and seemed to be deeply impacted. Those three chats rolled one into the other. I remember that I was starting to lose my voice a bit after the second one. I had to pull my drink bottle out and cool my throat. I was tired as I saw the young couple coming past, so I half heartedly said, “would you like to try the good person test?” and pointed to my flip chart. To my surprise, they said, “yeah, why not”. There is just no lack of gospel opportunity. Who knows what will be the result. Maybe the one who wasn’t interested will come to Christ, after all the gospel is the power of God for salvation. Our job is to plough, sow, and water. God will bring the increase. All glory to him!
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I had a series of 4 stellar gospel conversations online. The last of those 3 the people I was talking to even made professions of faith. The first was from Northern Ireland (he was persuaded but said he needed time to process), second from Brazil, third from Cyprus (a couple of girls, one Catholic, and one Jewish), and finally with a young man from the Netherlands.
The street work on Friday was great, nice weather. I’ve already mentioned Andy’s encouragement at the start. I had a number of conversations: 1) A hyper charismatic (religiously) who got offended when I challenged them on the basis of their salvation. They talked about miracles and the Holy Spirit, defended their righteousness, and no mention of Jesus - till the end. 2) A young man down from Wellington, happy to chat and hear the gospel, no visible interest. 3) I got to talk with my trans friend again. He had blue lipstick this time. He wasn’t offended when I reiterated that homosexuality is a sin, and I was able to continue labouring the good news. He also asked me how I dealt with hatred and opposition. 4) A barber on a break. He didn’t like Christianity because he falsely connected it to colonial oppression (he had a Samoan background). I worked to make him realise the universal truth of oppression (sin), but didn’t have time to get to the gospel (one of those chats where you really have to labour). Although, he rejected a tract at the start of the chat, and yet he was willing to take one as he left to go back to work.
I also had encouragement. I got to talk to someone I knew from a church I was a part of years ago, down in Timaru. (He was out talking with the homeless.) He was showing me the Bibles he gives away when I noticed he had a single gospel tract (pictured). It was one that our team had shared years ago! I could tell, because the website address had been manually stamped by my family! It encouraged me, because people do keep them. They are silent missionaries. Our labour is not in vain.
I had a great online chat on Saturday afternoon. The young lady started out as an atheist. But it was emotional rather than intellectual, because as we started dealing with the truth her Christian background started to reveal itself. She ended up reading me scriptures and talking about her church. And yet, she didn’t understand the gospel. By the end of the 30 minute chat, I think the truth of the gospel was starting to become clear. It was a bit of a messy chat (non standard), but it was a good one. God save her!
Sunday’s weather was amazing! I’m going to have to start using sunscreen again. The outreach was good, but difficult and discouraging. It started out with a chat with a man who knew a lot about the Bible, but refuses to be part of a church. I gave him the benefit of the doubt to start with, but as the conversation progressed, it became clearer and clearer that he was subtly trusting in works for his justification (it was difficult because I had to decipher all the words he used – the same words I use, but he had different meanings). I ended up having to confront him in his error out of love. To my surprise he called me a calvinist, a ‘neo calvinist’ whatever that is. I was so surprised, because I wasn’t preaching Calvinism but the gospel. He even quoted John Piper positively, does he realise John Piper is a calvinist? For some reason I found this really discouraging - not sure why. I left him at that point. He talked with Susan for a bit while I went to distribute tracts to others.
Susan and I then paired for walk up chats. I got into a chat with 5 young people. A hard one, they were all in different places, and one of them kept taking control of the conversation and leading it on weird tangents. I was amazed they stayed for as long as they did. But I was able to share the gospel twice.
Had some other chats. Another week of God’s patience is complete. Thank you for keeping us in prayer.
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).