An interesting week! My first trip away of the season. I headed to Wellington to attend an OAC conference. It was really good, well worth the time - I think. Although I was dreading going. I hate routine change. And, being the first trip of the season, it was a reminder of how quickly time is passing. I really enjoy the routine of winter outreach!
Believe it or not, they let me run a workshop at the conference (the theme was ‘worldview’). My brief was to talk about the innocence / guilt worldview. Now, I’m not sure how well I did in running a workshop, because what I ended up doing was just preaching! (Sorry about that!) I’m so passionate about this, that I couldn’t stop myself. But I learned how to run workshops by watching Jeremy do his thing (great stuff). One of my goals was to communicate the importance of checking questions in gospel chats. And I think I succeeded in that goal, as attendees talked about how they applied that in their chats during the street outreach that occurred later in the week.
It was awesome being able to spend time with like minded people, get to know them better, and compare notes.
The street outreach (on Thursday) was amazing. We gathered at various spots on Cuba Street in Wellington. One group had a Noah’s Ark display up. There were two tables running doing surveys (for chocolate bars) and using that as a launching board for gospel conversations. There were sketch board open airs happening - one which was accompanied by musicians.
I had a couple of guys who were keen to pair up with me for walk up conversations to glean new techniques - esp. in regards to checking questions. I was happy to oblige. My, the people on Cuba Street were certainly diverse. From all walks of life! I had a fantastic time in the 2 hours we were there. Made me think about moving to Wellington! ;)
I got a rejection initially, but I just moved on, and managed to get into a great chat with a young man who worked in one of the stores (he was on a break). Most of the discussion was centred on discussing, “who is God?” - but I was able to go through the law and touch on the gospel. He had to go back to work before I could get into check questions.
So, I tried again, and got into a wonderful chat with a young man. He seemed impacted by the simplicity of the gospel, and this time I was able to work through all the check questions. He ended up taking a gospel of John - he loved the graphics on the cover.
We moved up to the intersection and I had a number of great chats there. A young couple came to understand the gospel (again, check questions were deployed). And then I approached an Asian couple. They were moving from Christchurch to Auckland, and happened to bump into me in Wellington. The main speaker was from China, but had moved to NZ because it was more accepting of LGBT (they were gay). I ignored that, and just took her through my standard questions. It was interesting, because it was like she had never considered the logic I was giving her before. She was genuinely stunned (jaw dropping) as she had to admit what I was saying made sense. I had just moved to the law, asking if she had ever lied, when a passer by who heard the question came and interrupted. He was a philosopher and wanted to engage. Sadly, it killed the conversation I was having. I left the interrupter with the Christian I was paired with, and went to quickly finish the chat with the Chinese couple (go through the law, explain about Jesus, and offer tracts, which were accepted).
I then went back to the Interrupter. He tried to use his philosophical magic, but I wouldn’t let him, I would answer what he was saying, and then go back to what is important: the gospel! It ended up being a great chat, even if he was rejecting the gospel.
I had a number of other chats. So many people, so much opportunity. My brain was buzzing by the end of the outreach. God is so good to involve us in his mission in this world, to bring glory to himself through his justice and his mercy! His patience is amazing.
The conference finished on Friday and I hopped on a train back to Wellington. I made it to the city by lunch time, and was able to join Craig for 30 minutes of outreach on the waterfront. So many fish! We handed out tracts, and we both got into conversations (pictured). I actually had time to have two chats. The first is pictured, and then another one. They both went well in the fact that the people were happy to talk and came to hear the gospel.
At the airport, I was able to spend some time in online outreach before catching a plane back home to Christchurch.
On Saturday I also worked online. I had a great chat with a young lady from the UK, who grew up in Moldova. When I was taking her through the law, she defended her goodness quite strongly, and I expected her to quit the conversation. But she didn’t, and we ended up talking for over 45 minutes. By the end of the chat, she was understanding the gospel, and she had made a profession of faith. I pointed her to her Bible and a good local church in her area (and not an Orthodox one that she had grown up with).
On Sunday afternoon I went to the streets after church gathering. It was really cold! But I had my puffer jacket and Beanie on. In 1 hour and 15 minutes I had 3 wonderful gospel conversations, in spite of the cold. The first was with a young couple, who came to grasp the gospel, but not willing to commit at this stage. The 2nd was a fantastic chat with a young man who has recently moved down from Nelson. He had a Christian background, but was sadly articulating works for salvation. He is looking for a church, and so I encouraged him to consider the church I’m a part of. He left with a tract and a contact card, I really hope to see him again. Finally, I had a follow up chat. The kid had not remembered the gospel from our first chat, but I could see why: he is not interested, because he loves his sin. I was able to show him this, and then plead with him again on the gospel. He accepted tracts. I hope to see him again, God willing.
Looking forward to a standard week of outreach next week! Just over 3 weeks and I’ll be heading to the Philippines again. I can’t believe it. Time is going so fast! Next thing you’ll know, we will be in eternity. Giving account for our talents, and enjoying God forever. Are you ready?
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).