Week 2 of the England Tour
Saturday, 26 January, 2008
The day began nice and early, the alarm sounded at 5am, and then for the next hour a mad rush followed, as we tried to get everything together for our train trip from London to Sheffield.
We got onto the train with about five minutes to spare, and I thought the trip on the train would be uneventful, as usual I was wrong…
About one hour out of London the train came to halt in the middle of nowhere, we sat there for about 45 minutes, and then we were informed that the fire alarms were sounding in the train so we couldn’t proceed with our journey since it was unsafe. At the next station we transferred to another train, and I thought that this was all going bad, but looking back now I can see the sovereignty of God all over this incident. Since during our time of transfer a young lady approached us since she had heard us joking, and it turned out that she was heading up to Manchester for an audition.
She sat with us on the new train, Dave and Anna saw this as an opportunity to share the gospel, so they set about to explain the full gospel to her. She sat and listened for some time, and then decided that it was time to leave, so she got up and went to another carriage. Please pray for her.
That afternoon we went out to the Fargate mall in Sheffield, the mall was packed full of people, since it was a clear and sunny day. As we walked up to the mall it was cool to see Paradise square, which is the square in which John Wesley preached to his largest weekday crowd. Sadly, today the square is nothing more than a car park, with a small sign talking about Wesley.
As I walked through Fargate I handed out tracts, and I was surprised at how many people readily accepted them, since in London there had been times when it was hard to hand out tracts. While I was handing out tracts I ended up getting into a good conversation with a young man who was advertising a band in the mall. It turned out that he was a son of a minister, but he had turned his back on Christianity and rejected it outright. So I explained to him the full gospel, as I spoke his body language changed, he went from being hard and anti-gospel to being convicted of sin. Before I could give him grace a friend of his interrupted and told me that it would be a sin for us not to do what comes natural, which is sin. I pointed out to him the errors in his view point, and then quickly returned to the first man I was speaking to. It was great to be able to minister grace to him. Please pray that God would grant him repentance.
By now I was suffering from the effects of the cold, and I was finding it hard to concentrate on the mission at hand. It was then that Anna Gee stood up and began to open air preach. She did a brilliant job as she dealt with hecklers and then pointed them to the cross of Christ. After about an hour she tagged me in to deal with a bunch of youth that had surrounded her, so I dealt with their questions quickly, and then gave them all in-depth gospel tracts.
This concluded my first day in Northern England.
Monday, 28 January, 2008
Today we made the two hour drive north to Newcastle for a day of outreach. Four of us left Sheffield and then joined forces with some brothers and a sister in Christ upon arrival. It was good to meet up with Jimbo from Living Waters Europe, and to be able to chat with him for a little while before we headed into town. It was also great to meet with Dale and his friends who had driven across for the day.
We made our way into the centre of Newcastle, and as we walked we handed out tracts. What struck me immediately was how easy it was to hand out tracts here, so many people took them, and others came up and asked for tracts. It would be nice if we had this kind of openness at home in Australia!
While handing out tracts in the mall I was able to engage to young men, they both were open to the gospel, and came under conv iction as they realised the justice of God, and how He must punish sin. Once they realised their state before a holy God I was able to point them to the cross of Christ in which God show mercy towards a sinful humanity.
Some of the guys did open air preaching after this, I just watched, and then once they finished I made my way into a shop to get some warm food. I was finding it hard to cope in the cold weather, but after having something warm to eat I was ready to go again.
I was the first preacher up after lunch, so I stood not far from the British Army recruitment stand and began to declare the gospel. Instantly I could feel my voice starting to give out, it wasn’t handling well after a week of preaching and being in the cold. But I decided to push on and finish the message. A few people stopped to listen, and the music shop opposite to me decided to turn up the music louder in order that I may not be heard.
While I was preaching I noticed that a bunch of soldiers stopped to listen, I found this encouraging since they are engaged in a dangerous job. And often times the fighting men are harder to reach due to the fact of them being trained to be hard.
As I was wrapping up my open air, I began to taste blood in my mouth. This wasn’t a good sign so I quickly finished my message. Then I began to cough up blood, I had pushed it to hard, and I was in need of a rest. David Gee quickly informed me that I was to rest my voice and not preach anymore that day.
The team preached two more times, and during Dave’s open air a large crowd gathered to listen as he engaged with hecklers. Overall the day in Newcastle was great, please pray for all those who heard the gospel proclamation!
Wednesday, 30 January, 2008
Today we headed across to Manchester to join up with Kev Williams, and also some of the guys from up north. We met at Kevin’s house where he treated us to a great breakfast that really helped to warm me up before we went out preaching.
The centre of Manchester was busy as we began to witness to people, I decided that I would probably not preach much today due to me having a bad throat, so I would concentrate on one to one and tracts.
I found a good position where I was able to hand out a few hundred tracts before it got to cold that we had to take a break to warm up. Kev decided that it would be good to show us the John Ryland’s library which contains P52, which is the oldest Greek papyri we have of the New Testament.
It was amazing to see something so old, and to see that the Bible has not changed from when that papyri was made till today. After looking at some different Greek papyri we headed back out to the streets.
The city did not seem as busy as it was before, but we still went ahead and preached the gospel. David Gee decided to put me up first, and then the plan was that he would go after me. I wasn’t very excited about this idea, since I thought my voice would only last a maximum of five minutes.
I began to preach, and immediately a crowd began to form. I was shocked since it is rare to see a crowd form so quickly in a city. People began to stop as I explained about how we all die and then it is appointed for us to face the judgment seat of God.
A young lady to my left kept laughing, so I called her out and asked how she thought one would get to heaven. She replied that she believed that one had to be good in order to get there. This is a standard reply the world over, so I opened up the Ten Commandments to see if she was a good person by that standard. After looking at the law she soon became serious as she realised that she was facing eternal hell because of her rebellion against God.
After I explained grace to her she left with a gospel tract, but I now had other hecklers starting to open fire. The heckles included issues in regards to evolution, and atheism, and also it extended to Islam and Judaism. I dealt with the questions to the best of my ability, always with the motive of pointing them back to Christ.
I preached for over an hour, and praise God my voice held out. Some in the team suggested that the crowd was between 150 - 200 people, and many of those people stayed for the whole thing. Dave nearly ran out of tracts as he handed out in-depth tracts to all those who had been listening. So praise God for His grace in drawing a crowd!
At the end of my open air I was approached by a Manchester city council worker, who informed me that someone had accused me of being a racist. He told me that he had been listening to what I was saying, and he had heard no racist comments. I was able to explain the message of salvation to that man, so hopefully he also will come unto salvation.
By now the sun had gone down, and it was really cold, so we parted ways. Kevin returned to his home, Dale and Alan returned back up north, and Dave and I made our way back to Sheffield.
Praise God for an awesome day!
Thursday, 31 January - Saturday, 2 February, 2008
From Thursday to Saturday we concentrated on outreach in Sheffield, by now my voice had gone so I was to do no more preaching during my time in England. It was nice to be able to rest, and it was also good for me to focus more on one to one witnessing, and handing out gospel tracts.
On the Saturday I was able to have a really good conversation with a man who was walking his dog. He had heard David Gee preaching a few weeks before, and he found what he said interesting. I built upon this and made the gospel personal for him, and he soon came under conviction. He saw his need for the Saviour and even stated that he wasn’t prepared to go to bed that night with God’s wrath upon him. The man willingly accepted a gospel of John, and also an invite to the local church which Dave attends.
The week in Northern England was very productive with thousands getting the gospel of Christ. Something I did notice in Northern England was the Islam is every where, coming from the outside I could see that Britain is on the verge of Islamic invasion, and many of the churches are sitting by having a snooze while the enemy is infiltrating. The church in Britain needs to awake and get out and begin to evangelise, failure to do this will result in Britain becoming an Islamic state then the freedom will be gone.
Please pray for the church in Britain that God will shake them up, and fire them up to seek His face, and to declare the gospel. Also pray for the people of that country, pray that God may grant another awakening to the land so that He might receive glory!
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.