Woodridge Team (QLD)
Meets 2-5pm every Tuesday afternoon at the Woodridge train-bus interchange on Station Rd.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
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.
On Tuesday afternoon at Woodridge the team covered the area well and were able to engage with many people for the sake of the Gospel. Early on one couple walked past and took tracts. They were then asked, "Do you think you will read it tonight?", to which the guy responded, "Probably not". The girl was a little embarrassed by this answer.
The response was given, "Thanks for being honest, but please consider the seriousness of the message, you may never have another opportunity to hear how you can be made right with God. You may not have tomorrow."
To which the guy responded, "I am going to read it right now!"
One lady who spoke to the team early on was named Malvey. She had some understanding of the Gospel and happily listened. She didn't have any arguments and even asked a few questions and as her bus arrived took a tract and said she would consider what was said.
Another lady Carrie, said she had been looking for God and was attending a local church. She sadly still thought that it was her goodness that was getting her to Heaven and the conversation was cut just short of the final explanation of the Gospel, as her bus arrived. Please be praying that Carrie reads the tract and that there is a local member of the church she is attending that will be able to speak with her and share with her the truth of the Gospel.
A young man Taava, said he had spoken to the team before and said he was trusting in Jesus. He did seem to know the Gospel but he said he wasn't really reading his Bible. Taava was encouraged to consider that those who know the love God has for them in Christ Jesus, will want nothing more than to find out who God is. Please be praying that Taava is trusting in Jesus and is just yet to grow in his discipline and obedience to God.
A sad conversation was with Brad. He had gone to church for six years, around a decade earlier but had been seriously hurt by the Church, had since watched a movie about how the Bible is completely made up and as a result has completely rejected God. Brad's arguments were founded on nothing apart from what seemed to be emotional trauma from the past. A short conversation was had with him as he was encouraged to read the Bible.
It was clear from the things he was saying that he had never really read much of the Bible, especially not with the intention of understanding what the authors meant when they wrote it. Brad wasn't really interested in doing so but please pray that God would change his heart.
One final conversation was had with Dan and Candice. At first this couple said they were hoping for reincarnation but as they heard the Gospel they began asking questions, wanting to know more and even expressed that they were really grateful for the conversation.
The came to understand sin and the condemnation of the law. The understood why many lives couple be of no help because we can never live perfect on our own. They came to understand how pervasive sin is and why the world is as we see it today. They then were also pointed to the only solution, someone else taking the penalty for our actions, justifying us with their life and giving us a new heart with new desires.
Dan and Candice said it made a lot of sense. They had spoken to the team a number of times before but please be praying that today would be their day of salvation!
Please raise up before God the others who heard the Good News, those who took tracts and even those who were hostile to the Gospel. Please be praying that God would use any interaction to bring people to salvation!
Tuesday at Woodridge as always was filled with conversations as well as being an opportunity to hand out hundreds of tracts. The conversations were mixed as always with the ultimate shine through of each being that God alone can save. The same sentence can be shared with two people and polar opposite reactions will occur.
An early conversation was with a man who had traveled from Africa and had only been in Australia four months. There was a language barrier but from the conversation had it seemed as if he was trusting in his goodness to get him to Heaven. The gospel was explained a number of ways, with emphasis on the work of Christ as the only reason we are right before God. Even despite trying to explain it a number of ways he didn't seem to understand.
Please be praying for Ikalo that he would understand the tract as it explains it again and that he would seek God and find the truth of salvation in the Bible.
A conversation soon after this was had with a Muslim lady. The problem was, she was extremely proud. She wanted to declare all the things she thought and she knew and couldn't seem to understand despite speaking with two different team members that the conversation wasn't about 'discussing different ideas', rather it was about comparing what we think and how we live, to who God is and what He has said.
She had many ideas and many beliefs, one of the scariest was her belief that John 14:26 refers to Mohammad. She had no desire to actually read the verse, in English or Greek, all she wanted to do was use it for her own argument, completely stripped of its clearly intended meaning.
Please be praying for this lady, that she would consider the challenge she was given that the primary reason she wanted to reject Jesus was because she thought she was good enough to get to Heaven.
An interesting conversation was also had with a young lady. She was a Muslim and was happy to talk and engage with the team. She took and tract and was asked a range of questions about what she believed and why she believed it. What was interesting was that a man named John who had been asked a question earlier was so angry that he actually came over, interrupted the conversation with the intention to have a go at the team member.
He asked a lot of questions in an accusing fashion but was actually stopped in his tracts quite quickly when he started asking about Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen and the Catholic Church. His questions were met with very clear and simple answers, these people are charlatans, abusing the name of God for their own gain and they will suffer the eternal consequences from God for their wicked deception.
It seemed as if he was expecting them to be defended. This was the moment that was taken to point it back at him. It was stated that they aren't the only rebels against God, they aren't the only selfish people on the planet, in fact all of humanity is desperately wicked and has lived their entire lives in direct rebellion against God.
At this moment John's bus arrived and the Muslim lady was also hopping on the same bus. Please be praying that these two will be able to have future conversations with the team about God's offer of salvation.
A number of other conversations were had with various people who were recommended to head along to local churches or were simply challenged in their current incredulity toward God.
Please be praying for all those who heard the word of truth that they would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
On Tuesday at Woodridge the team was out again and able to engage in conversation with a range of different people regarding their eternity.
As usual there were some specifically angry people who responded such even after a single question but on the other hand there were many people who were keen and interested to talk.
One other funny point was that the first couple who walked through in the afternoon took two "Good Person Test" tract. Where you are to place your thumb on the square for five seconds and if the square turns orange you're a good person. The point is that the square will never turn orange because no one is good. The couple then walked back past right at the end of the outreach and were asked, "Did you read the cards" and they responded, "We tried them and they didn't work!"
They were encouraged to read the back as they headed off. How common it is that almost every Australian thinks they are a good person. It is rare to find a realistic Australian who know they're not.
Please be praying that God has used this simple tract to open this couples mind to the truth, that they aren't good people headed for Heaven but bad people headed for Hell and that God alone can save them!
The team also have the privilege to speak with a Mauri guy. He professed that he went to church occasionally, read his bible sometimes but thought that he was trust in Jesus to pay for his sin and then trusting in himself to earn Heaven. Over the course of a number of Bible passages he came to understand that Jesus provides the sacrifice for sin and the righteousness so that all who trust in Him are justified in the sight of God!
This bought him joy and peace and he said it was the first time he had ever heard that! Please be praying for this man that on Tuesday he did for the first time understand the Good News, that He is made right entirely by what Christ has done! It was also explained that trusting in Christ will always result in a righteous life and good living (not entirely perfectly) but Christ regenerates and sends the Spirit that we can be able to and desire to honour Him.
Praise God for soft hearts and the work he does through the Gospel! Please be praying for this man, that he would swim in the Bible everyday, spending time in God's Word of Truth and grow in his knowledge and understanding of the Saviour.
The team on the other hand spoke with a man in a similar position named Josh, who was holding quite firmly to justification by baptism. A decent amount of time was spent engaging with the scriptures in the area of the role baptism plays in salvation and Josh said he would spend some time reading a few different passages and would come back and discuss it again the next week.
It was good that he was open to engage, willing to be challenged and serious about finding what the scriptures say but it was worrying that the place he is receiving teaching is strongly supporting the idea of baptismal regeneration.
Please be praying for Josh that he too would leave this current position of justification by works and trust in the work of Christ alone.