Saturday - 6th June, 2009 - Gold Coast
150 years ago the State of Queensland was officially established, before that time it had been under the administration from the colony of New South Wales. Throughout the state today there were many celebrations and the weather for these celebrations was ideal. It was a beautiful sunny day with clear skies and mild temperature. While people in the state celebrated we made our way down to Surfers Paradise for our weekly outreach.
We arrived at lunch time, so we quickly ate a meal, spent some time in prayer and Bible reading then we began to witness for Christ. Many tracts were going out and many people were interested in talking to us. Ryan as usual was locked in a one to one conversation with an elderly gentleman, while Blake and Joel handed out tracts to the many people walking along the beach front.
I was to be the first preacher up for the day. Personally I don’t like being the first preacher, but sometimes it has to be done. So as I began to prepare I realized that I couldn’t think of what to preach on. Now, I knew that it would be a gospel message, but how was I to start? As I thought about the message I was about to give I remember a conversation I had a few days earlier with a friend about slavery, this was to be my starting point. Physical slavery in the world today and also spiritual slavery in the world.
I used John 8 as my text and pointed out that Jesus said we are all enslaved to sin when we commit sin. A few people gathered around to listen, but for the Gold Coast it was a really small crowd. But, God is glorified when His word goes forth, so I took heart and continued to preach about Christ and how He came in love to save a people unto Himself. The message went for about twenty minutes and afterwards there were many great conversations with people in regards to the gospel. One Christian gentleman came up to me and offered words of encouragement, then also stressed that we need to do an appeal for physical healing. I thanked him for his words, but would not issue a call for healing.
Blake was the next preacher up and shortly after beginning a man walked past screaming abuse. The man wasn’t like every other pedestrians, they all walked on the footpath, this man walked on the road with the traffic. We ignored him and Blake kept on preaching. None of us really thought much about this man, but in a few minutes he had our full attention.
For a second my attention was away from the preacher and when I looked back at Blake preaching I saw the same yelling man standing next to him. This time the man did more than just yell, he began to punch and attack Blake. Immediately I yelled for the man to back off and I advanced towards him. The man did as I expected and he ran away. This however was not the end.
I turned and put my backpack on the ground and as I turned again the man was once again approaching. This time he was yelling, “I am going to break your neck!” He was anger, his eyes full of hatred. He came charging in, so I told Blake to keep preaching. I lined up the man as he came running in, my job was to make sure he brought no harm to the preacher. The man began to dance around me yelling he was going to take me out, I called for Ryan to run and get police. Jaime was now also involved, he was apart of the blocking team. The violent man was now entangled with Jaime, so I began to preach to the crowd about how as Christians we are to love our enemies as Christ loved those who He came to save. People listened and they saw the difference between light and darkness.
As I preached the man screamed more and made more threats. He then came running up beside me and started to throw punches at my head. I was able to block all his punches and continue to preach. All up he threw around 10 - 15 punches, and by God’s grace I was able to stop them all. It would have been easy to get angry and fight back, but all I felt for the man was sorrow. Then we heard a sound approaching that made the heckler turn and flee. That sound was the wail of sirens as a patrol car sped to the incident. The police pulled up with lights flashing and then took off after the man who had attacked us. We later found out that the police actually lost him and couldn’t find the man. However, they kept an eye on us for the rest of the day. As they drove by or walked past they would give a friendly wave and keep on going. This is a marked difference from just a few months ago when they were trying to arrest us for preaching.
After this Ryan preached and so did Joel. Many people were interested in talking and we were able to have many great conversations. People seemed grateful to hear the good news, and many wanted more information. I have found that whenever the enemy advances God moves in a mightier way.
To God be the Glory!
Gold Coast Team (QLD)
Meets 7:15-10pm every Friday night at Surfers Paradise on Cavill Avenue.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.