This week we were at the Canterbury A&P Show. This would have to be one of the longest special outreaches of our year: it’s only 3 days (wed, thu, fri), but we had to have our site running for the whole day: 8am till 5:30pm - and even 7:30pm on Thursday.
And it gets really busy. We had up to 6 ‘good person test’ flipcharts actively being used at peak times. On Friday, a public holiday, we had about 12 Christians on site making it all happen. Hundreds of people will have been reached with the gospel of Jesus. Glory to God alone!
It’s a bit of a blurr for me. But I’ll do my best to dredge through the memories of the last 3 days and report on how it went.
I got an early knock back on Wednesday morning, a middle aged man and his elderly parents looked interested in giving it a go, and so I approached, and with a smile said, “we are Christians, just sharing the good news of Jesus”. The man said 2 words - I can’t remember what they were, but they were nasty, expressing a real hatred for God. It felt like a sharp punch to the guts. I was shocked. I said something like, “I’d be happy to talk about that”. But his parents were moving him along. He had one more crack before he turned to go.
I had other similar, but more subtle push backs during the morning. A real fear of man crept into my soul. It drove me to prayer, in light of my very real weakness. With God’s help, I kept trooping on.
With people here to enjoy the show, they had time to slow down and find out what we were about. But, with the demographic we were dealing with, attention spans were shorter. People wanted to move on and enjoy other things. I found myself having a lot more conversations that were shorter. Kinda like skimming a stone across the surface of depth of the gospel. Yet, it’s a simple message, and so much ploughing and sowing occurred.
I really enjoyed the opportunities to go deeper, though, and really labour with people, who wanted to engage, in regards to the reality of God’s justice and amazing mercy.
For the late night on Thursday, Greg was with me. It wasn’t as busy as the show organisers were maybe hoping it would be. Sadly, most of the other sites around us shut down. Yet, there were enough people going past to keep Greg and I busy. Often when there are less people around, people feel safer to approach us for a deep chat. Sometimes that’s with openness. But, on this evening we had a few difficult chats.
We had a Jewish lady stop to engage. She spent separate time with both Greg and I. Then 2 ladies and a guy approached. 1 was very open, but the other 2 were very closed. The issue was not intellectual, but emotional: why does God allow evil and suffering. Finally, Greg had 2 young teenage boys having a go at him. He ended up passing them to me, and we spared for about 10 minutes - rapid fire. Eventually I paused and said, “hey guys, my name is Glen, and I’m a person, and it really hurts the way you are attacking me”. One of the kids gave up at that point, he stormed off in a huff. But the other kid apologised. We shook hands, and he left with a couple of tracts.
The weather forecast wasn’t looking good for Friday, but it ended up holding off right to the end of the day, which was great! Our site was skinnier than usual this year, and so I was concerned about how we would handle the traffic without encroaching on the sites next door. Yet, glory to God, it worked out beyond my expectations! We managed to get 6 charts running and busy.
The highlight chats for me were at the very end of the day. One in particular was with 3 guys claiming to be Eastern Orthodox, but with a tinge of white supremacy coming through. What it boiled down to was a battle over salvation by works vs by faith alone. The ring leader was misunderstanding repentance. And so I was able to biblically correct that, and then later in the chat I called him to repentance. Andy ended up continuing the chat with him, while I continued with the other 2 guys – I could tell they were very challenged. It was a great chat.
By the end, most of the other sites had shut down, with the weather looming and the numbers of patrons all but dry. But our site was still cranking! (see the pic) I was overjoyed and just praising God for answering our prayers.
Thank you to all the Christians that came to help run the site. I hope you were encouraged in your evangelism. And thank you to all those praying! God loves to answer our prayers!
Well, I didn’t plan it this way, but I’m about to fly over to the Gold Coast to join the Schoolies outreach for a week. So please keep us in prayer for that too!
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).