As I’ve been doing online evangelism with the team, there has always been at least one person dedicated to responding to direct messages on Instagram.
Well, on Thursday, I was introduced to helping with this task. It was a real eye opener. As I write this (Saturday morning) there are 107 unread messages, and 17 new message requests (that’s a lot).
I spent most of my Friday dealing with these messages. What we are doing is: sharing / clarifying the gospel, answering questions, pointing people to their bible and a local church.
So, why are so many people contacting us? Well, every day, we are sharing the gospel, one to one, with strangers on various online video chat platforms - so follow up messages come from that.
And then there is TikTok where regular short videos, taken from some of the online chats, are posted. By the grace of God, this has really gained traction. And so a lot of messages come from people who have seen these videos.
How did this happen? Well it certainly wasn’t planned! It started with Christians with a passion for the great commission, deciding to do something. Getting out on the streets to talk to people about Christ. And then Covid happens, and lock down is suddenly a thing. Well, we can’t go to the streets, so let's go online. Through trial and error, we discover online chat platforms. But there is a lot of bad stuff there, so we (actually, Ryan) build tools to shield us. And it grows from there. All glory to God!
So, based on my first day of dealing with these messages, I have a fresh appreciation for the wonderful work that Pastors do, shepherding the flock. Many Christians are messaging in asking good questions. We clarify the gospel with them, try to answer their questions, and point them back to the bible and their local church (because we are not their pastors). But I’ve also dealt with questions from people who don’t believe God exists. It’s a real mix!
What a privilege and responsibility it is to represent Christ to all these people. We certainly don’t take it lightly.
Since starting to write this post, there are now 109 unread messages and 18 new message requests. I’m going to finish this report now, and get to work responding. Please continue to pray for us!
Operation 513 Battle Log for Sunnybank on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 from 1300-1500
What a glorious day of Street Evangelism augmented by God. Our prayer for more gospel warriors has been answered so prominently today that a team of three from the Rock Church nearby i.e. Pastor Shu He David Zhang, wife Zhen Zhen, and member Linda turned up to day. Meantime, Hai Yue the graduate of the 6th Online Kairos also came for the 2nd time on her rest day of the busy rooster duty schedule of an Intern Doctor of the Royal Brisbane Hospital. So together with Gary, Johnny and Hung, God has raised up a big team of 7 persons to serve and partner with God. We spread out to two spots, one being the foot of the pedestrian bridge outside the Pharmacy Warehouse and the other at the bus stop. Actually, Haiyue who arrived a bit late served without boundary but all over the place as God led her to get hold of people between the aforementioned two spots.
It was so obvious that the Spirit was with us all the time empowering all of us to get many divine appointments to share gospel to many people of different nationality. Most were first encounter but some were reunion with persons having a chat before for us to do follow up and giving away encouragement and blessing for them to get a step closer to receiving Christ.
1) Mr Zhou 周 from Mainland China 大陸 came to Australia to do primary school 小學 as such he is more or less a fully integrated Australian. He is now doing first year 大一 at QUT as such he appeared more open to gospel message than other Mainlanders. Thanks God I had enough time to share the full gospel before the bus came just falling short of a final wrap up to seek for his instant response. But God certainly will follow up on him through his apparent receptiveness to the gospel message.
2) Then I shared with two local Aussie young ladies. They look like the modern generation with stylist dress code. Yes , they also appeared very humble and a good listener. They also were able to respond and interact to show their understanding of the sinful human nature that we are all good but not perfect that still need the salvation of Jesus. So they left with a more positive indication to accept Jesus in God’s timing.
3) Then I had a long chat with a middle age lady from Hong Kong referred to me by Johnny. I share a bit of my background to identify with her as Hongkonger. But she has a lot of superstition biased mindset derived from Buddhism. 佛教，she refused to admit that she is a sinner but kept insisting she has done her best not to sin. And she certainly will be saved through cumulating her life account with good deeds. I challenged her with the analogy of speed fine to a good driver breaking no law for 10 year but would she be waived with the fine by a good past driving record. She could not argue but then turn irrational insisting that what she is practicing to gain credit by good deeds is the right way for her to conduct her life without regret or worry of eternal judgment by God. Despite of the unfavourable final response, I still have faith in God to soften her heart and turn around her bias mind one day.
4) Two elderly were not that positive to have a chat, but I still managed to share him the nutshell of the gospel before the bus came.
5) An old man seemingly from Shanghai 老上海 was very talkative but he held the stance that he will only believe in what he can see like Thomas in the NT time. 見才信. I used many analogies to tell him that in actual life situation, there are many instances that we just believe first before we see or understand the logic or functionality of some product/ device.
6) A Filipino old lady 菲老太 claimed to be a Catholic 天主教 Christian, but she has no knowledge of the Bible and no understanding of Jesus salvation passage. She just does not bother to understand why she is saved but just blindly adopted the label as Christian given to her by her family. Her heart and mind is as hard as many non-believers so I have to let go after doing my best to clarify the real meaning of being saved by grace through faith in Christ.，
7) Two English speaking Asian looking persons reluctantly took the tract and listened to the gospel for a short while before the bus arrived.
( 8 )Then at the end , I met Vienna a local Aussie and Colene a Vietnamese origin both are high school girl of the Sunnybank State High School. Actually, Vienna recognized me and smiled at me first. I took a while to recall and ascertain I chatted with her two weeks ago. She read the tract and have no reason to have objection to the gospel message. She anyway just uses the excuse that she is not a religious person as such there is not immediate urgency for her to make up her mind. But I shared with her that no human can have full control of our life like myself having got Bladder Cancer all at a sudden out of the blue. So, it is important to treat each day as out last day of our life and to make decision critical for securing our eternal life before we pass away. I guessed my sharing touched both of them and we parted by taking a group selfie so that I will recognize them next time we met if not in this world and hopefully will certainly be in heaven in eternity.
4 hours online - 6 chats for a total witnessing time of 2 hours and 59 mins & a total time in decent chats of 2 hours 36 mins - an average of 26 mins per chat. All but one of those chats was with people in the USA - the other guy was in Colombia.
1 hour 45 mins outreach in Riccarton with Roger (pictured).
5 hours online - 15 online chats for a total witnessing time of 3 hours 43 mins & a total time in decent chats of 2 hours 54 mins - an average of 11 mins per chat.
Conversation Summary / Highlights:
I had a completely non standard, yet fascinating 5 min chat with a Muslim guy who instantly picked up on the fact that I was a Christian. He asked great questions which quickly got to the heart of the differences between our worldviews. My answers revealed the gospel to him - although I have no idea if it was taking hold because he had a customer walk into his shop and he had to go.
A follow up chat occurred with a guy I had talked to a month ago (for 8 mins), and who Kiera had talked to 18 days ago (for 2 mins). He must spend a lot of time here like us. He is a DJ (pictured) and also a paramedic. He had a Catholic background and stubbornly held to his self righteousness as I laboured with him. Yet this time he lingered in the conversation - we chatted for 25 mins this time.
The chat with the guy from Colombia was one of the longest I’ve had, 1 min shy of 1 and a half hours! A Catholic background, which he is rejecting - yet he can’t deny a creator. He seems to be searching and so he very much appreciated the conversation. Multiple times it would seem that he had grasped the gospel, and then checking questions of one kind or another would raise doubt in my mind. By the end of the conversation I couldn’t be sure he was grasping it. What was making the conversation longer / harder was that his English was at about 95%. I sometimes had to engage Google Translate to clarify things. I was absolutely exhausted after this chat.
My mind is blanking on who I talked to in Riccarton. The one thing I remember clearly is 3 guys going past and stopping to engage for a few seconds before 2 of them decided to move on, taking tracts. As the 3rd guy took the tract, he stopped and wanted to talk. Questions were in his eyes. Sadly, he looked back and saw his friends waiting across the street for him - he had to go. I told him to read the tract - he said he would.
I remember, now, my first conversation was with two high school students who were Chinese. I was impacted by the fact that one of them had never heard about Jesus. I was struck by the reality of how secular our society is becoming for that to happen. Sadly, they heard the gospel for the first time from me.
I know Roger was busy across the street. At one point he had a large group of high school students surrounding his flip chat - 9 of them?
I was feeling very unusually tired on Wednesday. I really had to fight to be able to maintain conversations with people. At one point I just couldn’t muster the energy to engage, skip after skip started occurring. I reached out to Matt and let him know how I was feeling. I could tell he was praying for me, because my very next chat was different. I felt like I was back to my usual self. After that chat I asked Matt if he had prayed for me. Indeed he had. I feel like I’ve got a lot to learn about effective prayer.
Anyway, I ended the outreach with 2 long chats: 22 mins, then 45 mins.
The 22 min one was with a kid with a Catholic background who now called himself an Atheist, yet the very first thing he said, when he read the question on my wall: “What happens after we die?” was, “that is a great question”. He opened up to the logic of the gospel, and then became resistant as he understood the implications. Yet it was a great chat. I had to rush the gospel at the end, as his mum had a limit on his WiFi access which was running out.
The 45 min chat was great. I highly suspect I was talking to a false convert and the chat ended up focusing around precisely how we go to heaven. He really engaged, and admitted his Dad was concerned about his ‘faith’. I told him that his Dad was probably praying for him, and that it was no coincidence that we had paired for this chat. He is now articulating how we are saved well. I encouraged him to start reading his Bible daily and to engage in his local church. It was a great chat to finish the day!
I’ve now survived writing this report and am ready for bed. Please keep praying for stamina in this gospel work. SDG
Operation 513 battle Log of Toowong on Tuesday , June 15, 2021 from 1330 - 1500
There was a big storm in the morning but the weather turned very fine in the afternoon best for Street Outreach. Today we encountered a moment of stagnation that none pf us can get a chat. So Johnny as leader called us to have a second round prayer to break the spiritual deadlock which proved working. Team work was evidenced that I provide back up for Winnie when she faced some intentional argumentative target. IN short, God let us learn once again to have patience and to persevere despite of momentary persistent rejections to keep trusting Him.
Recap below are the Battle Log of Hung and Winnie: -
1) Mimica from PNG was a fair dinkum Christian having 100% assurance of Salvation and perfect understanding of faith in Christ despite she has a father of Catholic background and a mother of the Uniting Church camp. We shared and rendered mutual edification by fellowship in Christ.
2) Dean an agnostic but disguised himself as a God fearer. Winnie approached him first but was trapped in apologetic debates diverting Winnie to discuss if Mohamad is a lesser Saint than Jesus. I intervened and took over the conversation drawing Dean back to the prime issue of the sin of all human beings though we are considered as good persons. Dean cannot denied that he is imperfect as such he also have to face the issue of Judgement by God after death for our sin. Then I introduced Jesus to show Dean the great difference of Christian faith against all other human made religion including Islamic faith that he tried to quote to degrade Christianity. Before the bus came, Dean acknowledged that only Jesus provided a solution for shouldering our sin by His planned sacrificial death. Mohamad was just a human being who was not perfect ass such could not played any role of our saviour like Jesus did. Dean conceded his argumentative attitude by accepting my tract at the end. Pray for God's continuous work harvesting his lost soul.
3) Chris is a middle age man with no religion background. But God has made him humble and behaved politely towards my invitation for a chat. He listened to the gospel with patience and interacted rationally showing great receptive at the end to the gospel message. He also changed mind to take a tract to read at home. Pray also for God's continuous work on him.
4) Finally an Indian girl getting off from the bus heading for connecting train. She was in a hurry, I anyway walked with her for a short while to convey the nutshell of the Gospel and gave her a tract.
Battle Log of Winnie Choi: -
數日前收到醫院短信，通知檢驗眼睛须要改期，所以馬上参加 Toowong 傳福音的工作。感謝 神的帶领，今天雖然很多人不接受單張及聽福音，神賜给我遇上九人傳福音的機會。有些人願意聽，但是巴士卻來到，令他們聽不到福音。
第三及第四位，Joe & May, 中國來 UQ 學生，聽完福音及我的見証後，願意信靠主，找教會。
第五位 Jean, 澳洲少女，基督徒，解释救恩。
第六位 Bella 穆斯林，推着Baby 車，我講述基督教信仰是三一神，耶穌基督為救贖我們脱離罪 牺牲死在十字架上。只要我們信靠祂，罪得赦免。她接受我所講的及見証，會認真想想。（謝謝關牧師的教導，怎样應對穆斯林）。
第八位 Buda, 印尼男士，福音講了一半，巴士到達。
Ended up with a team of six in Cashel Mall on Sunday afternoon. We had a flip chart set up, tracts were distributed and walk up conversations were had. I spent my time during the outreach pairing up with different members of the team.
I spoke with a guy dressed in a suit and bow tie. He was familiar with biblical concepts, but he wasn’t able to clearly articulate why he would be getting to heaven. He danced around various terms, but missed the center of the gospel: Jesus. Later when I asked if he had to do good deeds to go to heaven, he hesitated for a while and then said, “It’s part of the package”. I clarified that works are NOT required for salvation, but will follow. It turns out he is a modalist (denying the trinity of God). He heard why it is essential to understand who God is, as it impacts our understanding of the gospel.
I approached a young couple, who stopped to listen. Reading their body language, I didn’t think they were interested in the conversation - and I gave them an option to leave. I was wrong. The guy esp. was keen to keep talking. They heard the gospel. It turns out they had Christian backgrounds, but weren’t part of any local church. I encouraged them to change that. The guy thanked me for the chat as we parted ways.
I had other good opportunities to interact with people - but for various reasons, the gospel wasn’t delivered. But tracts were taken. Seeds were sown.
My brain is overloaded with interesting things to write about the last two days of outreach, I hope I’ll be able to get to them all and describe them well. Eight hours of outreach per day, made up of online work, as well as a first venture to the local university campus on Thursday and our usual city outreach on Friday.
Firstly, an amazing conversation occurred online. Once the rest of the team had joined me, I was first up for the live stream. I got into a conversation with a construction worker from Utah, USA. I was able to explain how we know God exists, and I had taken him through the law. I was just about to move into the good news when he disconnected! I was really disappointed to have him leave with just the bad news. Yet God is sovereign. While on live stream, I prayed that he would have an opportunity to hear the gospel, and then went to start my next conversation.
At that moment, I glanced at the rest of the team, and I noticed that Ryan had a re-connect. This doesn’t happen very often, so I looked deeper. It was a reconnect with someone I had talked with before, and then I was stunned. It said I had talked to this person 38 seconds ago. The guy I had been talking to had disconnected from me, and had immediately connected with Ryan. I told Ryan to unmute, which he did, and the live stream was able to listen to Ryan continue the conversation with him! God answered my prayer! GOD IS SOVEREIGN! Sadly, the guy didn’t stay with Ryan for long, but he was able to start hearing the gospel, and it was super encouraging for me. If you would like to watch this unique encounter, you can watch it here. But be warned the guy I was talking to uses some bad language.
After I had finished my stint of live streaming, I headed to Canterbury University to join Andy and a student, Ezra, for a few hours of outreach there. As this is the first time I’ve done outreach there, and wanting to be respectful of etiquette, I put my tracts in my back pocket. I approached people respectfully, was very open about who I was and what I was doing, and gave them lots of opportunity to get out of the conversation if they wanted to (many of whom took that opportunity). But in spite of this, I had a wonderful time discussing the gospel with people.
The first guy was a fourth year civil engineering student - I didn’t get past the discussion of how we know God exists. He fought against it. He finished his lunch and said he had to get back to his studies.
I then approached two guys who came from Ethiopia. One was a Christian and was keen for me to share the gospel with his friend, which I did. It was a great chat.
After a few false starts, I then fell into the highlight conversation of the outreach. Three students walked past and one of them said something interesting, so I commented, this caused them to come over to me and we naturally fell into a gospel conversation. It started with me asking if they ever think about what happens after they die. To my amazement, one of them said, “yes, all the time, we were just talking about it”. So I asked what they thought. “Well, there are three options: 1) nothing, 2) reincarnation, 3) heaven or hell”. It turned into a very long chat. Two of their friends joined in early on too. It was me against five. They asked good, challenging questions. I even touched on some presuppositional apologetics, giving one of the best summaries of it I’ve ever heard come from my mouth (where did that come from!?). The gospel was clearly explained, and checking questions were employed. The two that joined left (the girl was deeply resistant to the gospel), so I was back down to the original three. They lingered, and I was able to continue exhorting them to respond to the gospel. I was exhausted after that chat - very draining, but so wonderful. Thank you Lord for the opportunity to represent you to them.
I woke up on Friday feeling very tired from the previous day's outreach. But God used that. I was online in the morning (with Andy). I connected with an older guy called Jimmy from Ireland. He was deeply resistant: “There is nothing after you die”. I was too tired to engage in my usual way, and I got the impression this guy was lonely. I let him talk and just listened. From time to time he would slow down and leave a gap for me to interact, and, as appropriate I would gently respond to what he was saying, and do my best to beeline for the gospel (he heard it multiple times), before he would re-engage and talk while I listened. As the conversation progressed, I watched something interesting happen: he started to soften. We ended up talking for thirty five minutes, and he seemed really grateful for it. He mentioned that he used Facebook a few times, so I asked if he would check out needGod.net on Facebook. He said he would. This conversation was a real reminder to treat people like people when sharing the gospel. We are not there to just convince people intellectually (although we do want to reason with them). And as great as methods and scripts are, and as much as we want to avoid rabbit trails and stick to sharing the gospel - there is a time to just go with the flow. God is in control.
The outreach in the city went really well. I ended up sharing the gospel with a guy who turned out to be a kid I taught in Sunday school years ago! I only recognised him (just) when he told me his name, which was unique.
I’m out of time to write any more, so I’ll leave it at that. Thank you so much for your support of this ministry. All glory to God alone.
With our online outreach, we are able to easily keep track of many details of the conversations we have with people.
For a start, we know where in the world they are from (with some exceptions). But after every conversation we can record extra information.
Firstly, we can record the progress of the chat: no progress, during God’s existence, during law, during false ways (working through the ways that won’t get us to heaven), during gospel, during checking questions, complete - not professing faith, complete - professing faith, already a believer.
Then we can capture their name, and leave a comment about the conversation.
This is very helpful in a few ways:
So, for yesterday and today, I spent all my outreach time online with the team.
For yesterday I can see that I had a total of fourteen conversations, it was a harder day, where I didn’t get to share the gospel as often - only six of those conversation was I able to completely share the gospel, and only once was I able to have a complete conversation (including the checking questions)! :O
But, that conversation was marvelous. It was with a devout Muslim guy. Initially he was quite resistant as I worked through the logic of the gospel presentation and various analogies. But by the end of the conversation he had really opened up, dropping all defences and just wanting to understand my worldview, asking many questions. At one point he said the battery in his phone was about to run out, but he took the effort to go get the charger so he could continue the chat. He didn’t want to leave, and in the end, I felt like I’d exhausted all the lines of reasoning and needed to get to dinner with my family anyway. He made it clear multiple times he wouldn’t be changing away from Islam to Christianity. But the gospel is the power of God for salvation! He has my contact details if he does decide to continue the conversation. Pray for Yousef.
Today I had a total of eight conversations. But Ryan must have been praying for me, because I was able to deliver the gospel in a greater percentage of those conversations compared to yesterday. I had three complete conversations, one ended during the checking questions stage (he got the first one right), and three during the gospel sharing stage. The other one I marked as no progress - the language barrier was too great (we used Google Translate for a while) - but they did receive a link to needGod.net.
The stand out conversation of the day was with a couple of late teen girls from Ecuador. One of them did the talking while the other mainly listened. She had a Catholic background, but believed deeply in reincarnation and karma. I had to really labour against the concept of works for “salvation” with her. Finally I had a breakthrough, and I think the gospel really started to sink in. To end the conversation I asked if there were any questions. To my surprise, the other girl chimed in and took over the conversation from their side. She had a couple of very important questions. (So, bad people could get to heaven? And, what about those that don’t hear about Jesus?) The answers to these questions (esp. the first one) seemed to clear up her misunderstanding of the gospel.
Not only are we having many one to one conversations with people online, but we are streaming on YouTube and Facebook, with many regular followers who gather in the chat and also in Discord. One to one training in evangelism is occurring. Short videos are being posted on TikTok and other social media platforms that gather many views. And finally team members are often dedicated just to responding to private messages on Instagram and TikTok. It’s all very encouraging. And all these people are being pointed to the Bible and local churches. All glory to God. Please pray for the ministry and all the hard working evangelists trying to serve the Lord and others in this way - so vital, thank you so much.
Operation 513 Battle Log for Toowong on Tuesday June 8th, 2021 from 1330 - 1500
Today was a gloomy day but the three of us Johnny, Winnie and Hung by grace have a fruitful day. Johnny specially got a couple of long chat ending with a near conversion humble heart. Winnie as usual worked relentlessly catching 13 divine appointment opportunities as recap below despite she was once being swore at by a local Aussie. It was the grace of God and on the street experience that help Winnie to shake off this unfriendly insult to keep focusing on her work. As for me, God led many Christians from non-Christian country like Columbia, Syria. All of them do not have assurance of salvation that need clarification. We gave glory to God for using us to do this fruitful outreach.
1) Derick Pakistanis that I met for the 2nd time. He claimed him an atheist and non - religious who has no knowledge of afterlife. Before I had time to correct his mind, the bus came so will leave it to next time.
2) Irene a Kiwi from NZ and think it is possible for her to go to heaven but by good deeds. I could manage to give her the answer that no body unless we are perfect can go to heaven. Again the bus came so it has to wait till next time.
3) An Aussie guy just took the tract and managed to touch base on the nutshell of the gospel.
4) A Thailand young man also thought being a good person would earn him the ticket to Heaven but the Buddhist background. Again I said nobody can go until our sin is properly dealt with by accepting Jesus as our saviour. Could not have more time to dwell on the issue as the bus came.
5) Daphanie a protestant Christian from Columbia that used to be a Catholic country. Her family is catholic but she claimed herself a protestant. But she still carries the background of Catholic failing to have full assurance of salvation. Thanks God that I have enough time to clarify it before letting her go.
6) Philipus from Greek originally had no interest, but the Spirit softened his heart and we could carry on with gospel chat which however did not last long but still it was a good effort to turn his cold heart around to listen to the gospel.
7) A girl from Jei Jiang Hangzhou浙江杭州 who work at a Chinese Restaurant of Xian Cuisine.餐廳西安，Initially she reject to chat but because I can associate with his work and life background so the Spirit again softened her heart to take a tract at the end.不要聊天後,拿單張
Indian father whom I met a year ago with here daughter who now has graduated and started looking for job. So we kept a friendly chat to build a relationship for next chat.
9) An Aussie big girl getting off from the bus who had no time to chat but still got my tract with a few words of the core contents of the Gospel.
10) Donpia a Syria Christian who has no assurance. He was humble and glad for my clarification.
Recap below is the Battle Log of Winnie:
第一位 Christine, 澳洲女士，基督徒，不明白救恩，我解释给她。
第六位 印度少女，Melisa, 講完福音，巴士到達。
第七位 Allison, 澳洲少女，願意信靠主，找教會。
第八位，Angela, 相片中。來自南非。基督徒，經過我解释救恩，她願意接受我给她的單張 傳福音给其他人。
第十一位，Bill, 中國來的 UQ 學生，初時不願意聽，但聖靈臨到，我用不流利的普通话傳福音给他，他聽後，願意信靠主，找教會。
第十三位，Mel, 中國男士 來自新加坡，基督徒。我測示他得救的確據，他講了很多確據，最後都能講出重點來。
願主帶领 今天願意信靠主的人士，找到適合教會，永遠跟隨主。而其他的人士，想清楚，盡快悔改歸向 神。感謝讚美主！
There was some rain about today, but it was clear enough to head on the streets after lunch. A team of three. A bit of a slow start, but it became quite a busy outreach.
I had some great opportunities to talk to groups of kids in one go - 3 groups in fact.
Interestingly, one of those groups was made of some young Muslim guys. I wasn’t able to hold all their attention, and so they started peeling off and leaving. I ended up with two of them, only one seemed interested - and then they had to go. They were trusting in their good deeds for salvation.
Well, the next group was made of some young Christian guys. Sadly, they were trusting in their good deeds for salvation (“don’t sin”). They stayed to hear the gospel - which is great.
The third group was a mix of non-religious guys and girls. The conversation started with only two stopping, then it was only one, but then the other guy came back, and all the girls joined in as well. It was a wonderful gospel conversation. Praise God.
I had some other encouragement today as well. In my last report I mentioned a guy who heard the open air preaching on Friday, and then I was able to follow up with a one to one gospel conversation. Well, he turned up at church today! It was wonderful to be able to welcome him into the meeting, and sit with him. He joined the discussion afterwards too and was invited to a weekly Bible study. Praise God! May he continue to respond to discipleship and bring much glory to God.
Later I was online with the team. Here is a remembered transcript from one of those conversations:
Me: What do you think happens after you die?
Them: You really want to know what I think?
Me: Of course.
Them: (laughing) Good people become goldfish, and bad people become dogs. [!?]
Me: Ok, where do goldfish come from?
Them: Pet Shops
Me: Where do pet shops come from?
Them: Well, God made the pet shops...
Me: So you believe in God then?
Me: Well, you said God made pet shops.
Them: Are you trying to convert me to Christianity?
Them: Well, I’m gay.
Me: Well, there is hope for you.
So it was an odd conversation, I admit. But my heart goes out to this person. I hope they will get to hear the gospel. Maybe from you? Are you ready to share the gospel? Get equipped! Talk to your Pastors to learn more, or get in touch.
Other online conversations of the weekend included:
A conversation with some young guys obviously up to no good. As soon as the one holding the phone heard my question he was instantly engaged. But another of the kids was saying, “skip him” and trying to snatch the phone so he could do so. But the kid with the phone wouldn’t let it go, and I was able to share most of the gospel with them. I made it up to the way we accept the gift: trust when the skip finally occurred. But I was able to inform them of needGod.net before it occurred.
A wonderful chat with a kid from the Philippines. He said he was going to skip me as soon as he saw me, but my question made him pause. He is now professing faith in Christ. I was able to help him download a Bible app on his phone and get him set for reading John. He is in touch via Instagram.
A chat with a kid who obviously had a Christian background (Walk by Faith sign on his wall). But who thought going to church many times would get you to heaven. He came to grasp the gospel. I pointed him to his parents to discuss further.
Thank you Lord for giving us another weekend of your patience to proclaim your mercy. Glory to you alone.
Today saw another calm gospel + abortion outreach outside Christchurch hospital. Not many conversations, but tracts were received. We had a guy walk down the line and shake all our hands. I was at the end of the line, and I asked him what he thought happened after life. It turns out he is Mormon, so I challenged him with the gospel. I knew I wouldn’t have much time, because his wife had kept walking - so I was direct to try to shock him into thought. He didn’t like it - but I love him too much not to confront him. We parted on friendly terms, and he left with both a “Life is Precious” tract and a “Who Made It?” tract.
Moving into the city, I hung around Speakers Corner while eating lunch. A real little community is there now. One side has Christians wanting to engage people with the gospel, and the other side has hecklers. In the recent past I’ve felt like it was a bit of a circus, and didn’t want anything to do with it. But today I was struck with the civility shown. Both sides extend much respect to the other, in spite of strong disagreement. Long may this continue.
Steve was preaching for evolution and against creation, when a guy I’ve never seen walked into the middle of speakers corner and started getting really angry with Steve. “These people are good, stop speaking against them!” Sadly he was out of control, and both sides told him to calm down.
Steve finished speaking, and so I decided I would preach - it’s been a while. I really enjoyed it. Proclaiming the law and the glorious gospel as loudly as I could. Embarrassingly, my voice squeaked quite a few times. Oh well. The hecklers interjected quite a bit, I did my best to answer when the questions were good. When they were silly, I ignored them and just kept preaching.
There was a guy there who listened intently, he had been interacting with some of the Christians before I turned up. Well, I went to the Bridge of Remembrance to meet Roger and do some one to one outreach there. Low and behold, this guy turns up not too much longer, and starts begging on the corner - while doing this he was reading a copy of the gospel of John.
I went over and sat next to him, it turns out someone had led him in a sinners prayer! He was excited and keen, and looking forward to going to church on Sunday. I had a wonderful opportunity to make sure he understood the gospel. We chatted for about fifteen minutes where I slowly worked him through the law and the gospel, and then started walking him through checking questions (it was at this point that I realised how intently he had been listening to my preaching - he had remembered many of the analogies I had used).
My final checking question came from a different angle, and it caught him off guard. He thought for a second and then subtly fell back into salvation by works: “Well, I try, I’ve started the steps (he meant that he has “prayed the prayer”), and I am more humble now”. It was a great teaching opportunity to show him how all those things are pointing to himself and what he has done to be “saved”, rather than looking to Jesus as the only reason he is saved. I think it really started to sink in at that point.
After our chat, I went on to have many opportunities to share the gospel with people throughout the outreach. Lots of high school kids were out and about - I think there must have been a teacher only day. I had an opportunity to share the gospel with a group of eight of them at one point. Glory to God.
As Roger and I wrapped up the outreach, the guy I had talked to at the start was still there (he had been reading the gospel of John the whole time). So I went over to check that he still knew why anyone would get to heaven. He got the answer right the first time! Praise God. I’m confident he knows the gospel, I leave him in God’s hands. He has my contact details, and I know which church he intends to attend on Sunday. Lord, change his heart - for your glory, Lord, show him your mercy and grace.
Thursday is a big day of online outreach for the team. I had twenty five chats for the day.
I had a fascinating chat with a kid and his sister. He seemed to know the gospel already, giving great answers to the checking questions. But his sister wanted nothing to do with Christianity, and moaned in the background as I talked to her brother. To end the conversation she called out that “I want to go to hell where the gays are”. Sadly, she wouldn’t engage in dialogue.
My next chat was with a guy from Kenya. I talked, he typed. By the end of the conversation he was professing faith! Glory to God alone. His background is protestant. I pointed him to his Bible and a good local church.
Later in the day I had a long chat with a Catholic guy who seemed to work in academia (economics). He engaged early, and asked lots of good questions. I kept bringing the conversation back to the law and the gospel, multiple times. He had been raised thinking he had to be good to go to heaven, and I could see he was challenged by my precise explanations of the reality of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone. He was understanding, but he didn’t want to completely let go of his work for salvation (pride?) and he latched on to my explanation of the reality of repentance in the life of a believer - skewing it. Once again I challenged him, but sadly his countenance hardened and he left the conversation.
My last two chats of the day were very refreshing, both with young men from the US who were open to the logic of the gospel.
With the last chat, the video froze right at the end of the conversation, so we finished by switching to text chat. I asked him if the conversation had helped. “Yes actually thank you, I really appreciate this, I never caught your name sir”. We exchanged names, and I gave him a way of getting in touch if he desired. I’m confident he came to understand the gospel.
Lord, we leave all these people in your hands. Save your elect, in your timing, and knit them into your church. Be glorified.