Woodridge Team (QLD)
Meets 2-5pm every Tuesday afternoon at the Woodridge train-bus interchange on Station Rd.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
This afternoon at Woodridge there was a great distraction that bought many people to the area, stopped trains running but also kept conversations short as many people wanted to see what was taking place.
As the afternoon began, conversations went ahead as normal and the team were excited to see a number of people responding positively to the Gospel. An early conversation was with Marley, who had quite messed up ideas due to years of drug use and the irony of some of the things she said was plain.
She argued that people get what they deserve, that the world the way it is and the things we receive in this world are because of the way that we act. Then later she went on to argue that she doesn't deserve her life the way it is.
By the end of the conversation she saw the universal guilt of humanity, the penalty our sin deserves and the only hope for us, Jesus Christ's perfect life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. She was also recommended to a local Church in her area!
An interesting conversation later was with Joanne. As the conversation first started her partner didn't want to listen and she kept encouraging him to. Sadly as the law was used to reveal sin he got frustrated and left. Joanne on the other hand came to understand the Gospel. She had been to Church a number of times but never understood the Gospel. Thankfully she was on the ball. She was asking good questions, understandings things and following up with responses that made sense.
It was very encouraging to see. She too was recommended to a Church. Please be praying for these two that God would use these two conversations to draw these ladies to Himself. That they would come to trust in the great God who provides salvation to the lost!
One other conversation that took place late in the afternoon was with a young man who once went to Church and said that one day he would "repent" and that God would let him into Heaven. When asked what he meant by "repent" he talked about changing his life and trying to live the right way. It was pointed out that this is not repentance, rather repentance is simply a change of mind about sin, which will result in trusting in Christ and what He alone has done to save, which together will lead to a life lived for God, not for sin.
It was important to point out that it is trusting in Christ that saves and the resultant turning from sin is just that, a natural response to salvation, rather than a requirement to be saved. He was challenged to consider it seriously because none of us know when we will die and stand before God. He didn't seem overly moved but was left with the strong warning that unless one trusts in Christ, they will pay for their own sin in Hell.
On Tuesday at Woodridge, there were a team of six out during the afternoon's outreach. Praise God for raising up labourers and allowing more people to hear the Gospel! The afternoon was filled with some exciting conversations!
An early one was with a young man named Matthew, who knew of Christianity but didn't know the Gospel. He said he hoped he was going to Heaven because of all the good things he has done and because he has tried not to do the wrong things. He was shown that this couldn't be the case, firstly because he had done many wrong things and secondly because good deeds don't remove the history of sin. He understood this and realised the trouble he is in. Then he heard the Gospel and understood it! He said he will have to consider it and took a tract as he hopped on his bus!
Next a conversation with a Muslim lady took place. She was very humble and listened. She would share what she was taught and engage with the challenges placed before her. As the conversation continued she agreed with the criticisms of the proposed method of salvation in Islam.
She saw that it was without justice, that is painted God as a liar and made the promise of Heaven one of selfish gain and full of sin. Instead she was shown that through the Gospel, God is just, sin is punished as God promised and yet the guilty can be pardoned at the expense of Christ. Therefore, Heaven isn't a "reward" for the righteous, allowing them to indulge all their desires but it is a gift for the guilty, with the ultimate gift being with God Himself.
The conversation covered much more but Helua was challenged by what she heard, took a tract and she too said she would consider what was said.
Thirdly there was a conversation with Jay. He at first was hesitant to talk and said, "Are you just trying to get me to come to your Church?" to which the answer was given, "Unless you live in the same suburb, I will probably recommend you to another one. This seemed to appease his fear and what followed was a forty five minute conversation which focused on the Gospel and how a sinner can be made right before God all the while addressing different side questions that were raised.
It was a glorious conversation where God took someone who at first seemed hard and had turned down conversations in previous weeks and instead open his eyes to the truth and beauty of the Gospel!
Thank you for your prayers for the team, week after week! Please keep Matthew, Helua and Jay in your prayers and raise up the team for the next outreach, that God would bring along prepared hearts for them to speak with!
In Woodridge on Tuesday it was a scorcher at almost 40 degrees but God's word continued to go out!
The first conversation of the afternoon was with a young lady named Hannah. She was asked what she thought happened after she died and said there was nothing. When asked why she believed that she had no reason. She was shown the building builder analogy saw where it was going and realised that it made sense. It was pointed out that the reason people don't want to believe in God is because are trying to avoid the guilt of their sin by saying there is no judge. As the conversation just began her bus arrived to "save" her from having to think too hard about eternity.
Soon a young man named Andrew tried to justify his sin by saying that if he was god he would have designed a world in which everyone could do what they liked. It was pointed out how utterly foolish that idea is because even with the limited freedom people have in this world, it is an absolute mess. He was shown that our selfishness that drives our actions is very much the problem and that more freedom will not remove that. He too then had to hop on the bus.
Next two guys were walking past reading a tract and one said, "I only like Satan". They were asked if they really meant that and jokingly said yes and then were asked why they would back the losing team. Jesus has already risen, Satan is defeated. Then getting a bit more serious when asked if they would go to Heaven or Hell after they died they both said Heaven.
When asked what they were trusting in their said their own goodness. They were asked if they had ever told a lie and said, "Of course, who hasn't". But it was pointed out that God's standard is perfection and even their lying will disallow them from getting into Heaven. At this their bus arrived as well and they headed off with their tracts in hand. Please be praying for these men that they would be serious about considering eternity because their current paths are heading toward and eternity of Hell.
There were two other ladies, Lee-Anne and Stacey who heard the Gospel and both were able to respond back with the correct message after hearing the Gospel. Lee-Anne didn't seem very moved but did seem to have understood. Stacey on the other hand said she would have to search it out herself as she didn't often listen to what people had said and believe it straight away. Thankfully though they were both good conversations where the Gospel was shared, the seriousness was made known and both were left with a decision to make.
Another short conversation was with a lady named Aaliyah on her way home from Tafe. She said she didn't know if there was a God but was happy to be challenged, saw that buildings have builders and in the same way, even if we don't know who built this world, someone must have because it has a beginning. As it was being pointed out why this matters her bus arrived and she took a tract, mentioning that it would be good to chat more next time.
Please be praying for those who heard the Gospel today, those who even heard a little bit about how we know God exists and keep those who will hear in the coming days in your prayers. Also please pray for those who rejected an opportunity to hear the Gospel, there were three men today who were uninterested in talking about God, some to the point of walking away as they were first asked.
May God glorify Himself by bringing many to salvation!
At Woodridge this afternoon the day was filled with a range of shorter conversations.
Early on an older couple were approached and asked questions, the lady had her own ideas about god and the husband was a Sikh. The lady was trying to stop the conversation at first by saying it was rude to try and tell someone else (even implicitly) that they're wrong by seeking to show them the truth.
Some simple explanations were given about the seriousness of getting God wrong and trusting in the wrong way to him, there literally are eternal consequences. They ended up hearing a brief gospel presentation and taking a tract but the lady Terri seemed only to listen out of politeness and the husband Malchus didn't seem moved by the seriousness.
Next a conversation was struck up with Lacey a young single mother who had no idea about God, eternity, sin or Jesus. It was actually extremely sad to see that someone has grown up in Australia a country where around one in twenty-five people are Christians and she seemed to have heard nothing more than the names of places and people. It wasn't even that she was willfully disinterested she just seemed to know nothing.
Explaining the Gospel was hard work but she seemed to understand. Sadly some friends came by and she was unable to continue the discussion as she was waiting to spend some time with them, so she headed off. She did take a tract though. Please pray that God would be working on her heart, drawing her to Himself!
The afternoon also had two very similar conversations in content but very different reactions from the two guys. The first was with Mitchell the second with Will. Both responded with, "Nothing", when asked what they think happens after they die. Both men where asked why they believed this and gave simple answers that could be summarised as, "Just because". Then posed with the buildings require builders analogy both saw that the universe too must have a Creator.
Will responded positively saying that is made sense and was willing to continue talking. On the other hand Mitchell all but ran away. As he saw the point coming and realised he interrupted and said, "Actually, I don't think we should talk about this, I am not the type of person you want to talk to". He saw that he was wrong and clearly so and tried hard to suppress the truth.
He was challenged slightly and was shown his motives. He realised the implications of there being a God and wanted to as quickly as possible avoid the scary reality that after death there would be a day of judgement. He was left with the seriousness of the decision he was making. It was pointed out that whilst he may be able to leave this conversation in an attempt to avoid thinking about the reality of judgement, there would come a day when there will be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide and his only hope will be if he has taken refuge in Christ before then.
Oppositely Will heard this and acknowledged that it made sense, he was then shown that just as the owner of the building has authority over how one should act whilst in their premises that God will hold us accountable for our actions in His world. Will was shown God's law and saw his guilt and as he was posed with the question, "What is the solution?" his bus arrived and he took a tract.
Please be praying for these two that God would use these conversations, despite the different initial responses to bring these men to a saving knowledge of the truth and not to let them try and ignore reality until it is too late.
A quick check in was had with Jay-Cee who dropped past again this week and was reminded of the Gospel and with Rachel (a young man) who had spoken to the team around a month ago and was also briefly checked in with. Please be praying for these two that God may graciously work in their hearts and cause them both to trust in Him, rather than their own ideas or abilities.
On Tuesday afternoon at Woodridge the afternoon was hard work at times but rewarding. It was filled with a period of great hostility.
The first conversation was with a young man who stopped, whilst his friend walked on and engaged through the law and the Gospel. He saw his sin, in the law and was pointed to the saviour. But sadly before it could be fleshed out he said he had to head off.
What followed was a very confusing few minutes. The next conversation was started with a man sitting at the bus stop and for the first five minutes it was a normal and simple conversation. He said he didn't think there was a God, with no specific reason and was shown the building builder analogy. He acknowledged it and was taken through the law and acknowledged his guilt but then tried to start playing it down.
He was challenged on this, being reminded that because he isn't the creator or owner of this world, he doesn't get to make the rules. It was at this moment out of nowhere he just snapped and started swearing and said he was going to call the Police for harrassment. He was left alone but please be praying that God would work in his heart. It was clear that the acknowledgement of guilt lead to this outburst but please be praying that God is gracious and enables him to come to know what Christ has done to save sinners.
Next a young couple was approached near the train station and the guy was being a bit silly and was challenged on a few points but he had to leave as his train came. The Girlfriend however was engaged briefly following that but ended up walking off to the bus stop.
The next lady approached basically just ignored the attempts at a conversation and looked the other way at the few attempts to engage and then the next young man swore at the team as the member walked over. Then when asked a quick question if he wanted to chat, he threw quite a barrage of attacks. Things weren't going well but God who is sovereign knew what was going on.
This was then followed by a re-engagement with the girlfriend from earlier. At first she too was being quite hostile, mocking, not engaging and throwing some insults in but persevering through the first little bit of the conversation what followed was a wonderful hour long discussion where Jay-Cee opened up, shared about her life and past in religion and how she had come to her current conclusions, all the while hearing in responses and explanations what Christianity is really about.
She was shown that there must be a personal God because forces don't create things. People using forces do. It was even pointed out that the reason she doesn't want a personal God is because a being creating this world means there are expectations upon us whilst we live in it. At this she made a comment about her goodness, "Well, if all I have to do is be good, I have been".
Jay-Cee was taken through God's law and shown that there will be no salvation by the law. Each and every human being is desperately guilty with no chance of forgiveness on the basis of their actions. She then was shown what God has done to save sinners, that it was Him who instigated our salvation. He chose in love to do all that was required for sinners to be forgiven. And she was challenged strongly to place her trust in Jesus for salvation from the wrath that is to come.
A final conversation of the afternoon was with Cassidy. She was a young post modern girl talking about your truth and my truth and how contradictory things can both be true at the same time. She even went to say that people should respect others truths. She was given this analogy, imagine is there was a blind man walking toward a cliff and when you go to tell him he says, "That's just true for you". In that scenario you would do everything in your power to convince him of the cliff that you can so clearly see, that he cannot.
It is the same way with eternity because Christians can see the wrath to come and the seriousness of the judgement they want to warn others who are walking toward that reality.
This lady was then graciously challenged on why she had rejected Christianity, being shown that it was a sinfulness that lead to a suppression of God's existence. She was shown via the law her sin and its very serious consequences and just before her train arrived was strongly warned, that pretending there is no judge will not remove guilty. In the end Cassidy took a tract and was encouraged to read it on the train home.
Please be praying for Jay-Cee that should would consider the Gospel she heard and give up her life of making up her own religion herself and trust in the God who can save. Please be praying for Cassidy that she would give up on relying on her rejection of God on the basis of love for sin and come to the Saviour who loves to make the foulest clean!
And may we also together rejoice that God, despite the circumstances is in absolutely sovereign control over all events in all time, so that even if we are mocked, reviled or disrespected that it all goes according to His plan!
On Tuesday at Woodridge people didn't stick around as long due to the heat but thankfully there were some shady areas in which conversation could be had.
A sad reality and a reason that you should be praying for the people of Woodridge is that many of the people have had some level of interaction with a version of Jesus. The issue, most people have learnt about a false Jesus. Jesus that is the brother of Satan or a Jesus that is the first created being. Jesus that requires you to earn His forgiveness.
As you consider Woodridge, please keep these people in your prayers. Those who are hurting and troubled, in slavery to sin and yet are kept in that bondage by people who are proclaiming a false solution and a false saviour.
One conversation that was had along these lines was with Natalia. She said at her "church" on Sunday the sermon was about the closeness of the coming of Christ and said it had been on her mind. She also said, when the team member sat down next to her and started to ask questions, at first she thought, "I hope this isn't a Christian".
But at the end of the conversation she said she was thankful for the chat because she was challenged to see what God had to say in His word.
Natalia, believed that people get to Heaven based on their goodness and sincerity of heart. It was pointed out, both using God's law and God's Holiness that this could never be the case. It was seen that because of sin, God must punish us and that good deeds don't take away the past history of bad deeds.
This seemed to make sense but then Natalia got stuck a second time with the good deeds. She thought that she could earn Jesus' forgiveness by being good. Again this was explained as impossible. The Gospel was then explained as a gift for the guilty, not a reward for the righteous.
Her bus arrived and not knowing if she had understood the Gospel yet, she was strongly encouraged to spend some time reading Romans 3-5. She also took a tract. Please be praying that Natalia would see what God has to say about salvation, through the Apostle Paul's writings and come to a saving knowledge of the truth.
Another conversation was had with a Muslim lady named Zara. She acknowledged that Hell is eternal and that sin deserves Hell and saw through the discussion the absolute predicament humanity are in, that everyone deserves Hell.
When asked what the solution was, she had realised that in Islam there isn't one because she realised you can never be good enough to remove the wrong you have done. She even said, "I want to go to Heaven but there is no way of getting there".
At this moment her bus arrived and the Gospel wasn't shared in person but she took a tract and was given a Gospel of John to read. Please be praying for Zara that she would come to understand that there is a solution to her sin and a way of being made right with God!
Please also pray for the many who took tracts and the many other conversations that took place over the course of the afternoon!
Praise God that His word never returns void!
As some of the team were heading back onto the streets of Australia for the first time since the Myanmar trip it was very exciting to see how many Burmese people were around!
Woodridge is known for being a hub for peoples from all over the world. What was funny was that, the first four people spoken to by the team were all Burmese! Sadly due to the small amount of English they knew these were short conversations but the team did have some resources in Burmese that they could share!
Other conversations included a man who was raised Catholic but had since started worshiping the Nordic gods. A man who said he had never broken the ten commandments but he had done a lot of sin. A Muslim lady who graciously listened and engaged as the Gospel was shared. A man who stopped and went through the good person test before hopping on his bus.
It was a day that had quite a range of conversations with people from very different ideas. Kurt, the past Catholic was challenged when he said he had changed religions. It was pointed out that in the procedures and rituals there was difference but the heart of what he believed had really changed, it was just easier now. He originally thought he was trying to be good enough to go to Heaven with all the baggage that the Catholics had asked him to uphold. Now he was trying to be good enough to get his reward, simply by trying his best to be good.
It was shown that this is still completely unattainable because we have no ability within ourselves to be good. Kurt seemed to understand this but had to leave before he could hear the Gospel.
Soon Nick walked past, boldly declaring his law keeping. Ironically, he broke the 9th commandment (Don't lie), in declaring that he hadn't broken any of the commandments. It was sad to see someone so assured of his righteousness whilst being dead on the inside. He didn't want to talk and walked off quite quickly.
Sareha a Muslim lady listened and engaged as she heard the Gospel. It was exciting to see that she wasn't dismissive or proud in her response but was willing to discuss, to listen and to engage with what was being said. She heard the Gospel and was left with the challenge to count the cost of trusting in Christ.
Lastly a man named Frederick, who had quite shocking language, stopped to do the flip chart. It was weird. He seemed to have a decent knowledge of Christianity but didn't seem moved by it. He was using quite foul language and admitted to breaking each one of God's laws listed but just seemed unmoved by the Gospel.
Please be praying for these people, that God would use the small encounters today to change their lives from being ones destined for Hell, to being on the way to Heaven! Praise God that He is in the business of saving, even the foulest of sinners!
On Tuesday at Woodridge it was a hot afternoon. The Australian sun made it very warm out and as a result there were even less people around than normal.
The first conversation was had with Matt, a man who had little religious background and listened to a quick presentation of the law and Gospel before he had to run off to his train.
Soon after a lady named Herodia stopped by to talk. She said she wasn't sinful and was confused as to why people thought she was. Then she also admitted that she had sinned and didn't seem to comprehend the Gospel as it was explained.
Caleb said his whole family is Christian but he had absolutely no idea of the Gospel. He then heard through the law and the Gospel and was seriously challenged to consider what God has said.
A young french lady named Anna said she was very good. She was taken through the law but instead of acknowledging her failure to keep it instead she was trying to say that the she had done weren't wrong. Sadly her bus arrived before the conversation could progress any further but it was sad to see her denial.
Mirachi another young lady said she had spoken to a team member before but when asked what she was trusting in to get her to Heaven she said her own intuition and efforts. She then heard the law and the Gospel and was challenged to take God at his word and to count the cost of trusting Christ.
The last conversation of the afternoon was a very encouraging one. A father and son, who were not from Australia were pausing to have a smoke break before hopping on their train. The father spoke very little English but the son spoke it quite well.
So through the entire Gospel conversation the son would hear the question and then translate for his father then give both his and his fathers answer in response. Through this means they both heard the Gospel just in time for their train.
They also took tracts and were encouraged to read them.
Please keep those spoken to in your prayers. Please pray for Matt that he will heed the Gospel. For Caleb that he wouldn't be apathetic to God any longer. For Anna that she would be convicted of her sin. For Mirachi that she would realise that God is trying to get her attention and for Amin and Pierre that they would heed the Gospel that they heard and read the tracts that they may together be saved.
On Tuesday at Woodridge the team had many conversations. It is often that when there is less traffic flow from the train stations that people are more willing to stop and chat. The first man to stop was Michael.
He was a past drug user, who had recently returned from prison and was actually quite interested in talking. He did struggle to concentrate through the conversation but chatted as we talked through the law and saw his sin. He mentioned that upon his grandmother passing a few years back his whole family (other than him) had started going to church.
This conversation turned toward explaining the Gospel as the solution to sin and its penalty but sadly he didn't get to hear it in full as his bus arrived. Please be praying that Michael wouldn't just desire to go to Church to it in with his family, but would take to heart the Gospel upon hearing it and desire to know God as a result.
Through the rest of the afternoon a range of other conversations took place. King an Aboriginal talked about how he had gone to some JW meetings but in the end had left quite quickly because he didn't think they were telling the truth. This also meant that he was very skeptical about talking with the team and didn't stay around long enough to hear the Gospel.
A conversation was also had with Matthew, a Muslim. The primary issue that he had was that he was so ingrained in his Islamic worldview that he couldn't even comprehend the Gospel. This was really hard to deal with. The team tried many different ways of explaining it, trying to use pictures, different analogies and yet he was unable to understand that we aren't saved by our good works.
Another JW and Mormon were spoken to and they both sadly said, "I don't want to believe in a God like that".
The last conversation of the afternoon began almost an hour after usual pack up time. The team were having many good conversations and so a few members had decided to stick around and keep talking. This enable a conversation with Tea.
She was a young lady who had a background in an atheistic family but had gone to a large church during her teen years but had subsequently left. She had a long and in many ways sad story through her life but the big point focused on was her leaving the Church.
She was actually really upset over it. She was moved to tears on three occasions as she reminisced on how distant she felt from God. Through the course of the conversation it came out that she had slowly drifted from God. At first she missed a few Sundays here and there and slowly became more and more distant from the Church.
There was a range of reasons that she mentioned as to why it occurred by it boiled down to a self-indulgent sin issue. Over the course of a lengthy conversation she came to understand why sin separates us from God, what the solution is and she was challenged strongly at the end to consider counting the cost of forsaking her sin and trusting in the Saviour.
Please be praying for all those who heard the Gospel or were challenged even briefly in what they believed, that God would be working in their hearts.
Please also specifically pray for Tea that she would come to know God and start attending a local Church, worshiping God in the gathering of the saints.
At Woodridge on Tuesday the afternoon was filled with as usual, a range of interesting people. The first conversation of the afternoon was an extremely sad one.
An elderly Albanian gentleman named Zem talked to the team and mentioned that he had tried to commit suicide four times and yet every time God had stopped him. He had faced some tough life situations, including losing his wife and he said he couldn't stand living anymore.
What made it even worse was that even though God had kept him alive, (through quite unexpected means), he did not want to hear how his greatest need could be solved. This was a sobering start to the outreach.
An exciting conversation was with Georgia. She had traveled all the way from New Zealand and was hanging out with her friend. As they walked past she stopped and whilst her friend went on and did some shopping she talked with the team. She said that she had stopped because she knew very little about God and actually wanted to hear what we were sharing.
Georgia heard the Gospel and said she would seriously think about it. She was also encouraged to find a local Church to attend when she made it back home.
Joe on the other hand, although he wanted to talk was much slower to understand the Gospel. He desperately wanted to hold onto the idea that his goodness would be able to save him. Using the picture on the back of the "How we know God exists" tract, Joe finally came to understand what Jesus had done and that we must trust in Him alone.
A final sad conversation was with Claire, a Mormon who couldn't understand the Gospel. She was sure she had to earn Jesus' forgiveness by her actions. After a lengthy conversation she was sent on her way with the challenge to read Romans 3-5 that evening.
Please be praying for these souls, that God may use these conversations as a vital part of them coming to understanding the Gospel and subsequently trusting in Christ for their salvation.