Wednesday, 24 December 2008
After months of planning and a lot of prayer the time had finally arrived for me to fly out to the United Kingdom. As I packed my bags and as I prepared to leave, there was a sense of sadness as I knew that I would be away for a couple of months. Which is something I am not overly keen on, however, my comfort and desires come second to that of preaching the gospel.
As I checked in for my flight I was delighted to find out that my flight was half empty, which meant that I would get to have a whole row to myself, which would make it easier for me to get some sleep. While waiting for departure I walked around Brisbane airport handing out a few tracts and wishing my fellow travellers a Happy Christmas, I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to engage in any one to one conversations, but nevertheless I was still happy that people were taking gospel tracts.
Thursday, 25 December 2008 - Singapore
After a seven and a half hour flight we landed at Singapore airport, upon arrival we were told that we had forty-five minutes in which to stretch out legs before departing. As I walked out into the airport I was struck by how many Christmas decorations there were those who worked at the airport were extremely friendly and walked around greeting everyone with "Merry Christmas". This friendliness provided me with great opportunities to hand out tracts to all the security, police and cleaners at the airport. It was a real blessing to see all these people reading about the true message of Christmas on Christmas Day.
After forty-five minutes of handing out tracts I re-boarded my aircraft, I was once again disappointed that I didn't have a chance to get into any one to one conversations. As I sat down in my seat I prayed, "Lord, please let me get into a conversation about you. Amen." Then, within seconds of praying that prayer the young man who had been sitting behind me on the flight from Brisbane tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I had gotten any sleep. I replied that I hadn't slept as yet, but was planning to sleep during the next leg of the flight. We chatted for a few minutes about general things, it turned out that this young man was going home to Bahrain to surprise his family for Christmas. He had been studying in Australia at Griffith University on the Gold Coast, and now had finally gotten some time to go home. As we sat on the tarmac in Singapore I began to swing the conversation around to the spiritual realm. I found out the young man I was talking to was a Muslim, and that he was still very strict in his submission to the teachings of Islam.
Achmed told me about how in Islam he has to do the five pillars in order for Allah to consider him for Paradise. This was quite interesting, so I asked him about how did he know if he had done enough good in order to merit Paradise, he replied that he didn't know, but rather he had to trust that Allah was merciful. This then led me into a discussion about how a Just Judge must punish wrongdoing, and how no matter what we do we can not ever do enough good deeds to outweigh our bad. Achmed agreed with me, but then stated that he wasn't that bad, so he didn't have too much to worry about. This statement didn't surprise me, as it is very common for people to think that they aren't overly bad. In order to show Achmed that he was indeed a sinner in the sight of God I took him to the Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments. And as we sat in the aircraft that was preparing for take off I should him from the Law of God that he was a sinner. Achmed's mouth was stopped, he had nothing to say, he realized that his sin demanded punishment, and he realized that a Just Judge would never let him go free. Then, I spoke about how as a Christian I know that my sins are forgiven, and how I am assured of heaven. Achmed was hungry to find out how he to could also have assurance of forgiveness. So then, as the aeroplane began to lift off I spoke to Him about Christmas, and how God Himself came down in the form of a man in order to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). I spoke to Achmed about the cross and about how even though we sinned against God, and how we all deserved to go to hell, God loves the world so much in that He sent Jesus to pay our fine if we would repent and trust in Him. Achmed was stunned, he had never heard that before, he was excited about the idea of assurance of salvation. As I wrapped up the conversation Achmed said, "You have given me much to think about, Thank you". Please pray that God would grant repentance and faith to him.
The rest of the flight to Dubai was really quiet and I slept most of the way.
Thursday, 25 December 2008 - Dubai
I was awoken by the announcement that we were about to land in Dubai. Slowly waking up I looked out my window and saw below me lights everywhere, the cool thing was we were over the water, and all those lights were row upon rows of ships waiting to get into the Persian Gulf.
Upon landing in Dubai I made my way through the security where sadly my watch got dropped and was smashed. Being hungry I made my way to the food court where I found a MacDonald's. As I sat in this foreign country I noticed that a young Asian man sitting next to me was reading a book, the book he was reading is called "The Shack". (For those who don't know, "The Shack" is a heretical book that teaches that God is a woman, Jesus is a bumbling middle eastern man, and that the Holy Spirit is an Asian. It also teaches the heresy of Modalism, which basically says that the Father is the Son etc. And denies the Trinity. Even though this book is heresy it is sold at Christian bookstores.) As I watched this man at the other table I thought perhaps he was a Christian, that had just bought the book since it is a ‘bestseller'. The man got up to leave his table so I called him over to me, and asked "Are you a Christian?" The man shook his head, "No, I'm not a Christian." So I asked about the book and it turns out that he had bought it at Dubai airport. Which shocked me as they won't allow Christianity to advance in that country, but they will allow a false Christian message to spread.
I was limited to what I could do in Dubai due to the fact that it is illegal to witness to a Muslim, and their was literally security everywhere. This place is so enslaved to Islam, and it will only be the light of the gospel that will set this nation free. We must pray for the middle east, we must beg of God to open doors to allow the gospel to be advanced in these countries.
Thursday, 25 December, 2008 - London
Finally after about 30 hours in transit I landed at London Gatwick airport. The first thing that struck me was the freezing cold weather. It was bitterly cold, but I was still excited to be here and was keen to get out and start witnessing. The airport was nearly empty know one was around. This was good in one sense as it meant I would clear border security really quickly, but it was also bad as it meant that I couldn't witness to anyone. However, I did manage to hand out a few tracts.
After waiting for awhile Peter Webber arrived to pick me up from the airport. It was good to be back with Peter, it is a real honour to work alongside him and to witness with him. Once he had picked me up we made our way across to London Heathrow airport to pick up Melissa and Fredee from the USA.
Once we met up as a team we caught a taxi to where we are staying in Tooting, and then we started to make arrangements about having dinner. Since it was Christmas day many places were closed, but we still found plenty of people out walking around the streets, so as we looked for somewhere to eat we handed out many tracts. The outreach was off to a great start.
Friday, 26 December 2008 - London
Today we decided to spend a bit of time resting from our journey and to also take in some of the sights in London. Of course all our sightseeing was accompanied by the handing out of tracts. When we arrived at Buckingham Palace we found out that it was a changing of the guard ceremony, which meant that there would be many people there. This was good as it meant that we would be able to hand out many tracts. We had a great time playing tourist and also witnessing to people.
In the evening we met up with the Operation 513- London team, and joined them for outreach in Leicester Square. It was going to be a hard night of preaching as there was a carnival set up in the middle of the square. This mad a lot of noise and made it hard to preach. After setting up for the night Rob Hughes preached first, he stood up and began to expound on the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has really improved as a preacher and I was quite impressed with his preaching. He preached for about thirty minutes and a few people stopped to listen to him proclaim Christ crucified. One young man was really interested, so Rob dialogued with him, and afterwards I was able to give him a gospel of John.
Once Rob finished preaching it was my turn to get up and preach. Due to the cold my voice wasn't fully ready to preach so I was only able to last about twenty minutes, but during that time God was kind and He brought a few people in to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
One thing I noticed about the night was how awesome the London team is, they work together well, and they are all passionate about the gospel. Rob Hughes has done a good job in building this team. And, it is an honour to serve alongside him.
The rest of the night for us was spent in handing out tracts and talking to people about how Christ can forgive all their sins if they would repent and trust in Him.
Saturday, 27 December 2008 - London
Today we had the privilege of working alongside Rob again, this time we preached in Tooting, which isn't far from Rob's church - Trinity Road Chapel. Once we had set up Rob began to preach the gospel. Once again he did a brilliant job, as he preached we handed out tracts and were able to get into some great discussions. While Rob was preaching Peter took a few photos, but since we were outside of an underground station this brought the attention of the police. The UK police are very wary of photos being taken of public transport due to all the terrorism that is going on. Peter explained what he was doing to the police officer. While Peter was talking this man approached us and said, "This guy is having a laugh isn't he?" I replied that he was preaching the gospel, at that the man we ballistic. It turns out he is a British solider just returned from Afghanistan and he was furious that people could preach when he didn't have the freedom to stand up and abuse Islam. He was so mad that the police officer called for back up, and the man began to make threats of physical violence towards Rob.
The man moved on after ranting for awhile. We continued to minister in Tooting. After Rob finished preaching it was my turn to preach, so I spoke about being slaves to sin, and about how we are all bound in sin. A few people stopped to listen, and as I preached I noticed a few Muslims were listening to the Gospel. While it was a slower day it is my prayer that God will save all those who heard the gospel.
After I finished preaching I noticed two Mormon elders walking by, since I have done a lot of apologetics with the Latter Day Saints I decided to stop them and have a discussion. We spoke for some time in regards to salvation. The LDS teaches that you can earn salvation, and that we are only saved by God's grace after all that which we can do. This of course is opposite to what the Bible says, the Bible makes it clear that salvation is 100% of God's grace and not of any thing we do (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Mormon elders became uncomfortable and wanted to leave, so I pointed them to the gospel, and we parted ways. Although they did promise to call and arrange a time to have lunch.
Sunday, 28 December, 2008 - London
This morning we went to church at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, which is the church that Charles Spurgeon was the pastor of. It was a good service, the pastor preached good a message.
After the service we went over to the famed Hyde Park, not to preach but rather to witness and to talk watch the going on of speakers corner. As we entered the park I noticed a Christian preacher with a few atheists opening fire on him. He seemed to be a bit lost on how to answer them, so I asked him permission if I could engage the atheist, the preacher gave permission so I engaged in an apologetic showing that atheism is incorrect. The atheists seemed stunned, as one of them later told me they very rarely have preachers engage their arguments. During our discussion a palaeontologist from the USA decided to jump in to disprove Christianity. She used the argument that Dinosaurs disprove the Bible, this is a very bad argument and it actually shows that those who argue it haven't studied the Bible. I took her to the book of Job, to chapter 40 and showed her of Behemoth. I described the beast mentioned in Scripture, then asked her, "Could you explain to me how a man from thousands of years ago could see and describe something that apparently died out millions of years before?" She went silent, and wasn't sure how to answer. But, then he husband jumped in with an answer, "Well, he probably found a fossil. That is how he knew what it looked like!" At that the Palaeontologist jumped in again agreeing with her husband. The atheists in the crowd grew in excitement at this statement. Their answer wasn't a surprise to me, and in fact I actually had expected it. That is why I didn't fully describe the beast in Job 40. I said to them, "Sorry, I didn't fully describe Behemoth, the author says that this beast ate grass as an ox. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but you cannot determine from a fossil that something eats as an ox." The palaeontologist, her husband and the atheists fell silent. I continued, "So, the question still stands, how did the author describe this beast which he had seen if it had died out millions of years earlier?"
Their answer was to turn and walk away without saying a word. Many of the atheists wouldn't engage in discussion after that, but a few of them came up and said I had won their respect. Once the atheists fell silent the preacher once again opened up on the gospel.
The thing about Hyde Park is that you can go from one debate to another. Today I had to deal with Atheists, False Christians, and Muslims. The Islamic invasion is in full swing in the UK, these guys in Hyde Park were militant in their attacking of Christianity. The thing is they all use the same arguments, and none of them will listen to the answers you give. The arguments they used were fairly basic, but they were never willing to listen to the counter view points.
During the time in Hyde Park many of the Muslims threatened to kill me, beat me up, and even cut of certain parts of my antimony. Overall it was a good day in Hyde Park, we got to have many great discussions about the gospel.
Monday, 29 December 2008 - London
The began fairly early today, the plan was to head into Covent Gardens and there do some outreach, however, when we arrived we found it nearly impossible to hand out tracts as many people were there handing out many different leaflets for shows and clubs. With this in mind we decided to change locations, and head to Leicester Square. Upon arriving in the square we found it to be jam packed with people, so we broke up into two groups and began to hand out tracts to as many people as possible.
While Peter and I were handing out tracts thins man in a wheelchair stopped to talk, so I knelt down on the cold pavement beside him and began to share the gospel with him. This man turned out to be a Roman Catholic who believed he had never sinned. So I explained to him that we all have sinned, and the man seemed to grasp it. But he continued to trust in his good works. I begged of him to trust in Christ alone for salvation, but sadly the man was blinded by the lies of the Roman Catholic Church that teaches that one can merit salvation by doing good deeds. It is always heart breaking when this happens, as it just shows how people would rather trust in self than God.
Later in the afternoon we were joined by Carl, who is a preacher with Operation 513 - London, he took us down to Piccadilly Circus to do preaching. It was quite a good place to preach, we set up under the Eros statue. First to preach was Carl, he did quite a good job of making the gospel of Christ known. He presented to all those who would listen why they needed a Saviour, then he showed them that Christ was that Saviour.
After Carl finished preaching, I began to preach also. I spoke about how the year was nearly over, and how in the course of the year we suffer many hardships. I also pointed out that over the course of the year we may have had someone close to us die. This then launched me into talking about how we all die one day, and one day we will all give an account for all our sins. A few people stopped to listen including a group of young males, I engaged the males in discussion, one of them seemed rather open so I took him through the gospel and explained to him the need of the Saviour.
The crowd was listening as I explained how each and everyone of us has sinned, and how we all need Jesus Christ to save us. Afterwards quite a few people took tracts. May God be glorified in the saving of their souls.
Tuesday, 30 December, 2008 - London
Today we once again returned to Piccadilly Circus. While Peter and Melissa stayed there to witness Fredee and I had to make our way down to Oxford Street. This turned out to be a very good opportunity to hand out tracts and witness to people. So many people in London are open to taking tracts, and even though this city is big and is renowned for being anti-Christian, I have found most people that I have spoken to, to be very open and friendly in regards to the gospel.
After spending some time around Oxford Street, Fredee and I headed back to Picadilly Circus, and there we re-joined the rest of the team. Once again we continued to hand out tracts and witness to many people.
Later this afternoon we had to head back down Oxford Street, since it was peak hour we decided to position ourselves either side of the footpath, since we were using million pound note tracts, I began to call out to the people walking past, "Free Million Pound Notes! Get one for New Years!" So many people swarmed around us trying to grab a tract. People from different cultures, religions, and social status all wanted one of these tracts. May God get the glory in bring these people unto Himself.
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 - London
The last day of 2008. Today we decided not to do anything during the day since we planned to be out in London witnessing at the New Year Eve celebrations. We arrived at Trafalgar Square at just after 6:30pm, since it was freeing cold we found a café to get something warm to eat. We then went out into the cold and began to witness and hand out tracts.
Melissa and I were down on a busy intersection and in no time at all we had been able to hand out thousands of tracts. The other guys throughout the square were also experiencing similar things. At one stage we were worried that we would not have enough tracts to survive the night.
Also, during this time of witnessing many one to one conversations occurred. Peter was able to talk to a group of Muslims, and Rob had several really good conversations with people who were really open to the gospel message.
At midnight we stopped to watch the fireworks of London, then the mad dash occurred as thousands of people tried to get home via the underground and buses.
The night, while it had no preaching, and only a few one to ones was a very good night. Approximately 5,000 tracts were handed out during the course of the night, which was fairly good.
One year ends, and a new one begins.
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.