Saturday, 19 January, 2008
Reluctantly I opened by eyes as the aeroplane shuddered with turbulence, as I regained consciousness I noticed a flight attendant, so I called out and asked him, “How long till we land?” His reply informed me that we were one hour from landing at London's Heathrow airport. As I looked around the darkened cabin, I saw that the turbulence had awoken many of the passengers, as I worked out the time, I realised that I had been sleeping for about eleven hours, so I stood up to stretch and to also to fill me pockets with tracts.
As I packed my pockets with a variety of gospel literature, including the last of my Australian million dollar tracts, I saw that the Asian man who boarded at Hong Kong was paying very close attention. Throughout the flight this man was rather rude and not interested in talking, but now as the novelty million was in my hand, I had his undivided attention. I found this situation rather amusing, since wherever I moved the tract his eyes would follow. After making him follow my hand for a few seconds I extended my hand, and offered him the million dollar tract, he gratefully accepted it, and then sat back to read the gospel message on the back of the tract.
The flight was now descending into London, so I buckled in and sat back with an excitement at the thought of the coming England adventure.
I quickly cleared security and customs, and as I exited the airport I saw my old mate Peter Shliahov, and also a new mate Robert Hughes waiting for me. This was a major blessing since I did not expect to be met at the airport at 5am in the morning.
The drive back to Rob's place at Walton-on-Thames was uneventful, and I enjoyed seeing the sights of Britain. We had to stop to get fuel, so I saw this as the first chance to share the gospel with a person in England, so I went into the service station and gave my last Australian million to the service attendant.
Later in the morning, we were joined by David and Anna Gee from the Operation 513 European ministry. It was a good time of reunion, and then we headed out to get some lunch. Of course this was also a time of being able to hand out tracts to the people of England. My first thoughts were that it was rather easy to hand out tracts to the English, but as one of the guys informed me, at this stage I was still in the outer suburbs, and when I get to central London, then it will be hard.
After lunch, we headed into central London to do a bit of sightseeing before the outreach started, but when you are involved in evangelism, every outing is an evangelistic endeavour. The first point of call was to Wesley's Chapel on City road, sadly it was closed, so the team took me on the hot and smelly underground to Tower Hill. On the tube ride there I decided it would be nice to preach on the London underground, so I stepped up and introduced myself to those in the carriage, and then went on to present a short gospel message. I spoke about how the English have a patriotic song called “Land of Hope and Glory” which calls upon God to make England great again, yet as a nation they have rejected God and rebelled against Him. All those within the carriage stopped to listen, and then as we pulled into the station a lot of the people listening took a gospel tract.
We then climbed out of the underground, and as we emerged I saw the remains of a Roman wall which had been standing out of the landscape of the city for 2000 years. This was a photo moments, I began to take pictures of the wall, and also pictures of the Tower of London, which was just across the road. David Gee informed me that this hill was where they executed all the traitors to the monarch, that knowledge created a strange feeling within me, as I thought about how we are traitors to the supreme monarch King Jesus.
While I was taking pictures, I heard the words “Good evening people of London!” Instantly, I knew that Rob Hughes was preaching. I grabbed some in-depth tracts out of my pocket, knowing that once a crowd gathered tracts would be needed. Rob explored the depths of human depravity while he preached, and it was good to see a small crowd gather. After he preached sin, he revealed the precious truth of the glorious gospel. The crowd listened as Rob preached, and when he finished we were able to hand out many in-depth tracts. One of the people listening, was a young lady from Germany, she was really excited about the preaching. It turned out she was a Christian, but all her friends were not. We were able to encourage her in the work of the ministry, and she left thanking us for declaring the gospel of Christ to her unsaved friends.
We then made our way over to the area near the Tower of London, where David Gee began to preach. After about five minutes of preaching, one of the famed Beef Eaters came out from the Tower, and told Dave to stop preaching. After Dave questioned him a bit on why we had to stop, we stood down, and then began to make our way home.
The trip back to Walton-on-Thames was uneventful, upon arrival we had dinner, and then I got to fall into bed for a good nights sleep.
Sunday, 20 January, 2008
It was cold and windy as we approached the Metropolitan Tabernacle, as the church came into view I couldn't help but think about how just over a century ago people crowded these very streets to hear the gospel of Christ preached by Charles Spurgeon.
The service was a good service in which Dr. Peter Masters preached from Colossians, and how we are to do things in the 'name of Jesus'.
After the morning service Peter and I made our way across London to Hyde Park, and the famed speakers corner. The plan was just to go and watch all the people speak, but God had other plans. W stood and ate our lunch as we listened to the preachers, and the one I was listening to was talking about horses. The man then started to talk about how 'mother nature' made everything. This was interesting so I decided to play heckler. I asked the man, “Where did mother nature get the matter from to make horses?” The man speaking replied that he was a Christian, and that he believed God made the matter. This created a good discussion, since now we had two Creators. The man seemed to be stunned at this, so he looked at me, and then in an angry tone began to yell, “I have one thing to say to you! Just one thing! JESUS LOVES YOU!!” I found this a bit amusing since he sounded angry, and was pointing at me screaming about love.
So again I heckled, this time about how to get to Heaven. The man said all one had to do was been a good person, so I opened up the Ten Commandments to see if he was a good person. The man didn't want to play, so he just went silent and refused to look at me or even say a word. By now a crowd had gathered, and I found myself being heckled by atheists. So I turned and began to deal with the crowd. For the next hour we had one of the largest crowds in Hyde Park, and many people got to hear the apologetic evidence for the existence of God, and also about salvation in Christ.
After preaching in Hyde Park, we rushed back to the Metropolitan Tabernacle to see how their evangelistic Sunday school operated. This was an eye opening to tour, and it was incredible to see so many kids excited about learning the Bible.
Before the evening service at the Tabernacle, Peter and I stood out the front at the busy bus stop handing out tracts to those who walked past. It was a strange feeling in witnessing outside of the place where God used Spurgeon to bring thousands to Christ.
The night service was a good one, the sermon was on repentance and turning from sin. Hopefully God used this sermon to bring people unto Himself.
Monday, 21 January, 2008
It was decided that today I would go out and do some sightseeing. In the morning I had a meeting with Pastor Christopher Buss from the Metropolitan Tabernacle, and then after the meeting I caught the bus to West Norwood cemetery. The reason for going out to the cemetery was to see the tomb of Charles Spurgeon, after seeing the tomb we made our way into the city to go to Bunhill fields, and also to John Wesley's chapel and house.
It was cool to see the places where the greats walked and prayed. But sadly we go to see the new side of Methodism. While we were in the chapel of John Wesley, I saw a notice on the board endorsing homosexual ministers and homosexual Christians. My blood pressure went up, how could a movement that was based on holiness now become apostate? I wonder how they reply to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
That night we all met at Trinity Road Chapel in Tooting, it was good to come together as a team and get to know one another. While the week ahead was going to be a big one, it was good to know that we weren't alone in the battle. God had brought people from all around the world for this outreach, we had people from: Australia, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, Wales, and England.
Tuesday, 22 January, 2008
The battle begins... We started the day of by coming before God in prayer, and then after breakfast we hit the streets of London. Before we even arrived at our destination we had begun to witness. As we walked along the road everyone we passed got offered a tract, then when we were on the underground people started to witness.
The London underground is a hot and smelly place, it is as if its another world. No one talks and people just sit and read the paper. But things were changing because throughout the carriage you could hear the sound of the gospel being shared in one to one settings. Furthermore, nearly all in the carriage had a gospel tract in their hand.
We got off the underground at Leicester Square tube station. From there we walked around to the square. To our surprise the place was near deserted, so we started to walk across to Trafalgar Square. It was then that we spotted a long line of people standing in the cold waiting to get tickets for a show. Rob Hughes seized this opportunity and jumped up to preach the gospel to the crowd.
After Rob finished preaching, I also preached for a few minutes. I looked at how we have all sinned, yet God is still rich in mercy towards us, in that He sent Christ to die for the ungodly. A few people in the line took tracts after the open air.
We arrived in Trafalgar square shortly after, and the first thing we did was set up the ladder for an open air preach. It was decided that I should go first. I don't normally like preaching first, but since I was one of the only ones with a voice left I didn't have much choice.
I began to preach about “Rule Britannia!” and how the lyrics state that “Britons will never, never, never be slaves”. I then swung into John 8:34. It was hard going preaching the gospel here, and it appeared that very few people were listening. However, I was informed later that people we standing on the balcony behind me listening to the gospel message.
The team then broke off and handed out tracts, it was a nice change to have people be polite when you offer them gospel literature. So many times in Australia people are rude and abusive when you offer them a tract, but I have found in Britain that many people will politely thank you, even if they don't want a tract.
We spent some time doing tracts, and then it came time for Rob Hughes to preach. He stood up and began to declare the gospel. Sadly his voice gave out within minutes of starting, he quickly tagged me in, and I began to preach again. A small crowd gathered, so I did a call out to a young man who was listening. It turns out that his name was Simon and he was from the USA. We engaged a bit in the open air, and then we swung into looking at how all have sinned against God. Simon seemed to be under conviction by the end of the open air. I was told later that Simon was a Jew, please be praying for this man, that God may grant him repentance.
By now it was rather cold, so we caught a bus and headed over to Marble Arch. It was here that we took a break and warmed up. After a time of defrosting, we planned to go to Tower Hill to preach, but God had other plans. As we neared Paddington station I noticed that the time was near on 5pm, and I realised that we were about to receive a call from the Way of the Master Radio in order to do some phone fishing on the streets of London. I was disappointed that we hadn't made Tower Hill, so it was decided that half the team would go on to Tower Hill, and a three man team would stay and do phone fishing.
We did phone fishing for about an hour, and during that time both Todd Friel and Ray Comfort got to have some good discussions with people on the street of London. However, the really cool thing was that while they were phone fishing, a man named Obi approached David Hayes and began to talk to him. Then on the side of a busy London street Obi broke down in tears and cried out to God for mercy. May God be praised for His mercy!
This was the perfect end to a big day!
Wednesday, 23 January, 2008
We spent today evangelising in Tooting. This was a good chance for us to minister and assist Trinity Road Chapel which had been so kind to supply us with free accommodation. Evangelising in the suburbs is different to evangelising in the city. While the message is the same, the way in which you present that message is different.
Our first point of call was the Tooting Broadway tube station. We handed out tracts, and preached outside of the station. Many people came and asked for more information about Christianity, and we were able to have plenty of really good one to ones.
That afternoon we headed out and did some door to door witnessing. We had been given over 200 pounds worth of Bibles and scripture cards from the Trinitarian Bible Society, so we made up some packs with a New Testament, a gospel tract and a church invite and then went and gave them out free of charge to those in the community. This outreach worked very well, with many people accepting the pack. Hopefully God will use this for His glory.
Later that afternoon we headed back to Tooting Broadway for some more open air preaching, and also for some more Way of the Master phone fishing. There were a lot of people at the tube station, so it was great to minister there. During the phone fishing Todd Friel got to talk to two muslim men, who were both under conviction by the time he finished. Both men accepted in-depth tracts and left thanking us.
That night as we were preparing to leave I was approached by a female police sergeant, she stopped and asked what the purpose of our ladder was. I informed her that it was so that we could preach. When she heard that we were Christian preachers she was excited, and asked us to keep coming back to preach there since the community was in desperate need of the gospel. Rob was willing to comply with this police request. The interesting thing is that this police woman was not a Christian, yet she could see the benefit of Christianity upon society. She took a tract and even posed for a photo with me!
Thursday, 24 January, 2008
Today we returned to the centre of London. We started off by heading to Tower Hill, but when we arrived we found the place deserted, so we walked across the road to the Tower of London. While I ducked off to take some photos, the rest of the team handed out tracts, and one to one witnessed. This caused security from the castle to come out and order the team to leave. We complied with their request, although it is interesting to note that before they issued a move on order the security were reading Kevin's “Wrath to Come” tract and joking about going to hell.
We went back to Tower Hill only to find it still deserted, so we made our way around to Buckingham Palace to see if the Queen was in. She wasn't in, but many people were outside the palace. So we set to work handing out tracts and having one to one conversations. It was then suggested that we preach outside the palace, this is something Kevin decided to do, we stepped back and began to film the preaching.
Within seconds of him starting to preach the guards at the entrance to the palace were on the radio, but they hadn't tried to stop us so Kev kept preaching. After he preached for about 10 minutes armed response police arrived to see what was going on. The police spoke to David Gee, and informed us that we weren't breaking any law, but could we let Scotland Yard know in future if we are going to preach.
After we finished ministering at the palace, we headed back to Tooting for a break. Which is something we needed when one considers that we had a big night ahead of us. We had an earlier dinner and then we headed back out to London to preach in Leicester Square.
Rob Hughes was the first preacher up for the night, and God was gracious in that He drew a crowd for His glory. Rob dealt with the heckles from the crowd and made sure everyone knew the full gospel before he got down. Many in the crowd took in-depth tracts afterwards. During this time there was a man wearing dark clothing and having a long black beard standing in the crowd. He was there for at least fifteen minutes. When Rob stood down from preaching this man approached Rob and thanked him for taking the time to preach, the man then put 50 euros in Rob's hand. Robert tried to refuse the money but the man insisted, it was easy to tell by this man's accent that he was from the USA, although we didn't realise that the man we were talking to is a member of the famous heavy met al band KORN. The man was very humble and didn't make a big thing about his fame, but rather he just told us a bit about himself, and how he appreciated the gospel message. He took a tract and then left.
It then fell to me to preach, so I stood up and began by preaching on how we all have a stalker named death. God once again was gracious and drew a crowd in for His glory. The crowd was faily quiet except for a heckler named Dave, he was an interesting character, and he was a good heckler. He would ask a question and then be kind enough to let me answer. I dealt with him for about 40 minutes, and then other hecklers began to join in. During this time we had a large crowd for the whole thing, but then I noticed two police officers circling the crowd. My immediate thought was that they would be shutting us down. However, they just stayed and listened. After about an hour of preaching I stood down, a lot of the crowd took in-depth tracts, and then I noticed the two police officers approaching. They began to chat to me about the ministry, and one of them thanked me for taking the time to preach, the other officer was different, he began talking about Christianity and how he could be saved. It was a joy to be able to share the gospel with two police officers. They both left with tracts, and they also asked us to come back and preach any time.
Friday, 25 January, 2008
We had a later start today due to the late night we had yesterday. Our first point of call for the day was Westminster, it was cool to actually witness and hand out tracts in front of Westminster abbey.
Many tourists were in the area, so a lot of tracts were given out, and a lot of one to one encounters occurred. We spent about two hours in this spot and then we moved over to Covent Gardens.
Covent gardens was jammed full of people, as we walked through the gardens I noticed many a street performer, some were really good and drew a big crowd, others were rather poor but they still had crowds. All I thought was how to we compete against this, that was me not trusting in God, but rather thinking of it in a natural mindset. God once again would show His Sovereignty in drawing a crowd for Himself.
Rob Hughes was the first preacher up, and he belted out the gospel hot and heavy. A few people gathered in to listen as he expounded on the law of God. Then after Rob finished David Gee began to preach. His opening was on the fairy tale of evolution. God again was glorifying His name by drawing people in to hear the message of hope found only in Christ Jesus.
Then it was my turn to preach, so I began by talking once again about the shortness of human life, and how our life is nothing more than a mist. It was now that I saw God working despite what I thought. He drew a crowd in, and this time He even drew in a Muslim heckler. Mohammed the Muslim heckler was a good heckler, and him and I engaged in an apologetic over Christianity versus Islam. This caused a good size crowd to gather as we went back and forth. I pulled out all I knew about Islam to disprove it from an apologetic angle, this was done not for Mohammed, but rather it was done for the crowd. The reasoning behind this is because Britain is looking down the barrel of Islamic invasion, so if I can warn and convince a few people about the errors of Islam then I have done my job, but what is the point of destroying Islam if one doesn't know the hope found in Jesus. So after the apologetic I explained the way of salvation and how we all need a Saviour.
Just as I was wrapping it up I was approached by two security guards who told me to leave as I may be offending some Muslims. This was interesting since the Muslims in the crowd actually thanked us for challenging them. We left Covent gardens since by now it was dark and cold, so we made our way back to Trinity Road Chapel.
That concludes the Operation 513 London Outreach, however, the outreach in England was just beginning for now we were headed to Northern England to preach in Sheffield, Newcastle and Manchester...
Soli Deo Gloria!
Special Outreaches (QLD, Australia)
Australia Day (26 January)
ANZAC Day (25 April)
Christmas Outreaches (December)
New Years Eve (31 December)
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.