Sunnybank Team (QLD)
Meets 2-5pm every Thursday afternoon at the Sunnybank bus stop on Mains Road.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
At Sunnybank the cloud cover provided some respite from the last few days of scorching heat but as always despite the weather, the Gospel goes forth!
The first conversation was with a gentleman who said he knows God exists and was willing to talk briefly but was trusting in his own goodness to get himself to Heaven. Just as he was being shown the law, his bus arrived and the conversation came to a close. He took a tract and was encouraged to read it.
A young lady named Abby was approached and after a few early questions where she didn't give very clear answers it turns out that she had been speaking with the JW's. She then went on to say that she has lots of questions to ask them but they don't seem to be able to answer them. As she started to raise some of the questions related to the Gospel her bus arrived and she too, took a tract and left.
Soon two similar conversations took place with George then Matt. They were both unsure about what comes after death, where shown how we know God exists, why we often don't want God to exist and the desperate position our sin has placed us in, on the path to Hell. Both were stressed with the seriousness of judgement, the unpredictability of when it will occur and were given a tract sharing the solution as they hopped on their respective buses.
An interesting double conversation took place with a construction worker on his way home, which was then taken over by a man who often engages with the team. This builder was shown how we know God exists and his only argument was, "I don't believe that". When shown again that disbelieving in something so clear was unwise, especially when it wasn't done out of a desire for truth but out of a desire to obscure to truth in order to numb ones conscience and an attempt to avoid judgement, the only person it was hurting was himself.
He was shown God's law which revealed his sin and the conversation here got tough as he just more vehemently tried to avoid his guilt by attempting to suppress the truth of God's existence. It was at this time with a man who often comes past, who had been listening in and trying to join in the conversation with some snarky comments pushed in with his argument, "Well if you say that everything that is created needs a Creator, who created God?" to which the response was given, "God doesn't have a beginning, He wasn't created, therefore He doesn't need a creator".
This began a conversation that showed incredible irony and the willful and continual attempts of this man to suppress the truth at all costs. Every time an attempt to share God's law and the Gospel was made he would try and derail it with an unrelated objection. Sometimes the objection was addressed other times it was ignored. The issue though wasn't that this man had a lot of legitimate questions, rather he had a sin fueled desire to avoid the truth about God.
At one stage when this was pointed out in conversation he said, "Well what is it that I have done so wrong that I deserve Hell?" To which he was asked, "Have you ever told a lie?" with the response, "Yes many times". At first he tried to contain the guilt by responding, "But lying isn't that bad". "It is according to the God vehemently loves truth" was the response. Followed by, "Have you ever stolen anything?" "No."
"You've never taken something that wasn't yours, never pirated movies or tv shows," He was asked. "Well yes, but it wasn't much," He responded. But at this point seeing his guilt, it was conversation over and he almost perfectly did what was pointed out that he was doing. He did everything he could to try and suppress the truth. He declared that the team had simply been batting off the things he said as untrue without any reason. When in reality the polar opposite had taken place.
He then said, "Because all you've been doing is dissmissing me, I am going to dismiss you". He then marched off to the other end of the bus stop and threw a couple of profanities back on his way.
As you have read this, it is our hope and prayer that you do not view this man as the enemy. He is rather a desperately lost soul that is believing any lie that enables him to suppress the knowledge of God's existence and his own guilt. It is our prayer that you too will begin to pray for this man, every Thursday morning, that God would use the teams witness to him to shake him out of his sinful rebellion and that he will come to be a child of the living God, where he once was so opposed to God that he would turn around and become an ambassador for Christ!
The afternoon actually had many more conversations but one worth noting was with a young man named Tony. He at first said he wasn't interested in thinking about God. Was shown how we know God exists and why it matters. And was taken through God's law and shown to be desperately guilty like the rest of us. But he still was unmoved. It turns out that he has his own human court date in a few weeks where he is in quite serious trouble and said that is all he could think about.
With this information, it was pointed out to him that in this human court he may be found guilty and will be in quite serious trouble but the penalty in comparison to God's sentence will be infinitely less. He has a more important court date, when he will stand before the Creator of this world and he will be found guilty and sentenced to eternal Hell unless someone else has paid his Hell punishment. It was even pointed out that he may stand before God before the court date on this earth comes. He seemed to take this seriously and took a tract.
Please be praying for those who heard the law or the Gospel today that God will, by His spirit, change hearts and cause people to trust in Him. Please be praying that others that were spoken to who brushed the matter off as unimportant would come to see how serious eternity is and will be prepared and willing to talk next time they are offered a chance to hear what God has done to save sinners.
On Thursday the team headed to Sunnybank and although some members were away, seven labourers still came out. As usual this enabled many conversations to occur over the course of the afternoon. The afternoon due to the bus schedule was mostly shorter introductory conversations.
First was with Ohanlina. She said she believed God exists and that God will judge each person but then went on to declare that God is so good, so he won't have to punish. It was shown that it is actually God's goodness that means He must punish evil.
Next conversation was with Nancy. She was pretty sure she'd be going to Heaven because she said she'd never done anything wrong. She was asked if she'd ever told a lie and admitted that she had but without a moments hesitation she then proceeded to explain why the lies she had told were required and not that bad.
Later a conversation was had with a Sikh couple. The lady did most of the talking and said she too was good and deserved Heaven. She was shown her guilt via the law and then proceeded to say, "I don't think you will be helping us by keeping on talking, we're not at a stage in life to consider this".
In response the absolute seriousness of death and the reality of its possible timing was stressed and they were left with the challenge, "How will you be made right before God?"
A more encouraging conversation was had with Ben. At first he was hesitant to chat but then what ensued was an almost twenty minute discussion where Ben came to understand much of Christianity and instead of being dismissive and not listening he happily engaged and was willing to be challenged. He saw God's Holiness, his own sin, the penalty his sin deserves and the only hope for sinners. He didn't get to be challenged fully as his bus arrived at the end but praise God that a man who originally was dismissive and uninterested was willing to talk and be challenged.
A short conversation was also had with Anna who was willing to chat and saw that God must exist, that He will hold us accountable for how we have lived and therefore that each person is in trouble as long as they are trusting in themselves to get to Heaven. Then her bus arrived.
Lastly the afternoon was finished off with a sad conversation. A young Chinese man was being lead through the Gospel and after hearing a simple apologetic for God's existence was being shown God's law. As the law was being used as a mirror another man who had tried to interrupt earlier made a stronger attempt to stop the conversation and then began to slander the team member. His efforts successfully stopped this other man from hearing the Gospel.
Sadly this man, went on to share how he was a "Christian" but it turned out that he believed baptism and speaking in tongues were required to be saved. He proclaimed to be an evangelist himself but had not only stopped a Gospel conversation from taking place and thwarting a persons opportunity to hear, said that he preferred to just "heal" people and let God do the rest. He was very sternly warned, that as long as he continues to trust in his "good works" to save him, he will be held accountable for wrong deed he has ever done and that happened to include stopping a man from hearing the Gospel.
Please be praying for those who today had the opportunity to hear the Gospel. Please be praying that God would use these tracts, the short conversations had or the questions asked to bring some into His family! Please also pray for this false teacher, that he would either come to know God truly or that God would remove his opportunity and influence. Praise God that he is sovereign and that no events occur that are apart from His plan!
On Thursday at Sunnybank the weather was nice and cool meaning conversations didn't only have to be confined to the shade. This afternoon's conversations were mostly short introductions to the Gospel without much more than that. When conversations are cut short it is often bitter sweet, knowing that so much more could be said but also okay, knowing that God is in control.
Today Janet, a lady who goes to a local church was challenged on the doctrine of justification by faith alone. She at first said it was praying a prayer and asking for forgiveness that saved someone. She was shown how this didn't align with scripture and came to agree, saying she would be more careful when talking about how someone is saved in the future.
Next a short conversation took place with Michael. At first he said it wasn't important and heard why what happens after death is the most important thing to consider, simply because, it will certainly happen, we don't know when it will occur and humans can take nothing from this world with them, the only question to answer is, "Where will we go"? Michael then went on to say that God would only be valuable to him if He made this life better in some way. Sadly his bus arrived and this idea was unable to be discussed.
A lengthy conversation was had with a Muslim lady named Harika. She saw the law and God's judgement and the whole time was trying to lessen the law and its penalties, even at one point going as far to say that any sin committed before one turns eighteen God will not punished because people didn't know better. In the end, although she heard the Gospel of God's justice and love Harika was unwilling to acknowledge that it made sense. She simply kept asserting that it wasn't true, without giving any reason as to why it didn't make sense.
She was also shown many aspects of her religion that relate to God's Holiness, Justice, Love and Mercy that were incompatible with each other and the claims each of those attributes makes. Sadly she was blind to see these things and was just brushing them off without consideration.
During the conversation there was a brief distraction with an older lady, who said she was a Christian but seemed to be just using the term. She didn't believe Jesus was the only way to God, she was unwilling to talk about how one gets right before God and ironically she declared that the team never speaks to older people, always younger ones. When asked if she would be willing to talk though she flatly rejected.
She was a proud woman, who had done things her own way and made up her own god and sadly was unwillingly to hear what the true God had to say. Thankfully her bus arrived quite quickly and the conversation with Harika was continued.
An exciting conversation was with a tourist named Jonas. He was only in Queensland for two hours and ran into the team at the bus stop. He knew there was a God, came face to face with God's law and saw his sin. He then quickly heard the Gospel before his bus arrived and was given a tract. It was pointed out that God doesn't make mistakes and that God seemed to have bought him to the right place to hear the Gospel during the few moments he would have an opportunity to listen and heed it.
There were also three conversation with Ishant and Meet, Avini and Naomi who saw God as Creator, were shown God's law but then the conversation was cut short by the arrival of their bus.
Lastly the afternoon finished with an extremely proud man who came to belittle and disrespect the team but was angered very quickly when shown God's law. He left without hesitation after admitting that he was a liar and being asked if he had stolen anything. His apparent self-righteousness and criticism of the team for being evil and cowardly was shown to be too ironic to bear when faced with God's law himself.
Please be praying for all those who heard the Gospel, the Law or even some simple apologetics as to how we know God exists. Please consider spending some time in prayer for those who seemed particularly open or closed that God would use this memorable conversation to bring about their desire to know Him more both as Lord and Saviour.
Please also pray and ask God to give you boldness to preach His Gospel in a conversation sometime in the next ten days!
Thursday afternoon was a wonderful time of outreach. Many conversations were had, a nice breeze was blowing through keeping the area cool. All around it was a great afternoon.
An exciting conversation early in the afternoon was with Coulson an Asian man. He at first declared that it was his goodness that would get him into Heaven. Through the mirror of the law he saw that he was guilty and did not possess the righteousness to get to Heaven. Then he was asked, "How can you be forgiven, so that God may let you in?" and he didn't know. The Gospel was explained using a few analogies and then the checking question was asked, "What must you do to get right with God?" and he said, "Trust in Jesus".
At this moment his bus arrived and he was left with the question, "When will you do that?"
Later a conversation was had with Breanna. She thought there probably was a God and hadn't thought much further than that. She was shown God's law which revealed her sin and in response she not only looked worried but said she knew she was in big trouble. She was asked what she though the solution was but didn't know. As the Gospel was being explained her bus arrived and she didn't get to hear it all. Thankfully she took a tract.
Please pray that Breanna will read the tract and desire to know what God has done to save her! Please also pray that she will trust in Jesus alone for her forgiveness.
Another conversation was had with Jenny who at first said she didn't think much about God or the after life but then went on to explain that she was a Buddhist. There was a little language barrier so it was a struggle at times to understand what was being said. She was pointed to the Buddhist laws as to why she would never be able to achieve forgiveness in Buddhism. At first went through the laws out loud, three of which are, "Don't lie", "Don't Steal", "Don't be sexually immoral" she said she'd never done any of them.
Then it was raised with her one by one she realised that she had and then instead she started to try and justify the times she had done the wrong thing. As her bus arrived she seemed to see the problem but wasn't ready to admit that she was guilty, nor that Buddhism couldn't offer her a solution. Thankfully she took a tract and said she would read it.
Please be praying for the people who were spoken to by the team this afternoon. Please be praying that God would be using the Gospel to lead them to Himself! Please also be praying that God would lead others who didn't hear the Gospel in person to read their tracts and that they too would come to know God!
UPDATE: Following the conversation with Breanna on Thursday afternoon, the team was on the Gold Coast for the Friday night outreach. As the team headed back to the car right at the end of the evening, much to our surprise, Breanna walked out of a Nightclub in front of us.
The team paused and took the moment to chat. Breanna quickly heard the Gospel, the solution to sin. That Jesus can take the penalty we deserve so that we can be forgiven and be in right relationship with God.
It was also pointed out that God doesn't make mistakes, the very fact that God would align it so that we could see her twice in two days, it was clear that God was trying to get her attention!
Please be praying that Breanna would come to trust in Christ alone for her salvation and maybe even that the team would get to see her again and encourage her once more!
On Thursday at Sunnybank the team had the wonderful opportunity to witness to locals. What made it even more exciting than usual was that twelve local Christians came out to share the Gospel! What a joy it is to see local Christians seeking to share the Gospel with the people God has placed around them!
An early conversation was had with Sonu a young lady who at first said she had never willingly done anything wrong. In response to this she was shown God's law and very quickly she came to understand that she had done many things that God must punish. She had seen her guilt. In God's timing, that was all she got to hear in person as she was given a tract as her bus arrived.
This conversation was soon followed by a catholic lady. This conversation was far harder. The catholic lady wasn't hearing the Gospel. She heard the law but when she heard the Gospel it was as if it was going through a translator. She could not comprehend that what was being explained to her was justification by faith. What was so unusual, was that she wasn't arguing against it, it was just that she couldn't understand that was being explained.
She was so caught up in her works based salvation that the Gospel was not even computing. She too took a tract. Please pray that God would use this silent evangelist to explain the gospel to her and that she may come to trust in Christ alone for her salvation.
Another conversation was with Astrey. This lady began by sharing that she didn't really believe anything. She said she had Hindu parents but wasn't really fussed about it all and therefore had no real beliefs. What was unsurprising but interesting was that she then vehemently argued that God doesn't exist, that if He does exist He isn't good, that she isn't bad, that the Bible isn't reliable, that Jesus didn't rise from the death and a few other things.
She seemed to push back at every point of the discussion, after declaring that she didn't believe anything, it instead became clear that she would believe anything that enabled her to hold onto the idea that she could live how she wanted and that there is no judgement. This was sad to see but after hearing the law and the Gospel, despite many side-tracks she took a tract. Sadly there was no time for checking questions to see if she had understood.
Please be praying that she would come to understand the Gospel and would see the foolishness of pursuing sin.
Lastly was a conversation with Kevin. He had no push backs. He said and understood what was being said and often would ask a question that followed or show that he was understanding by repeating what was said back in a different way.
Kevin saw that God must have created this world. He saw that God had expectations of His creation and that we as a part of this world would be held accountable to God. He then saw how he had failed God's standards and had willfully rebelled and saw that sin deserves Hell. When he was asked, "How can you sin be forgiven so you can go to Heaven?" his bus arrived and he took a tract.
Please be praying that he would read it and come to a saving knowledge of the truth.
You can also take this opportunity to praise God for his wonderful salvation, provided through feeble humans. Please also prayerfully consider how you can share God's Gospel with someone this week!
Sunnybank on Thursday was a collection of short, conversations whilst buses came and left.
Caleb a young Christian man from a local Church was encouraged to evangelise as he knew the Gospel.
David a man who thought there was a higher power but didn't want to believe that God would judge, was shown that because God is good He must judge.
Oliver was shown that creation shows us that there must be a Creator and therefore we are accountable to Him for the way we have lived.
Oscar said he didn't know what happened after we died and was happy to listen to the law and Gospel until his bus arrived.
Suri an Indian man tried to hold onto both the idea that there is no God whilst declaring that if God exists he is very good and definitely going to Heaven.
There was also an older gentleman who loved his own ideas, he believed many conspiracy theories, predominantly about how the "evil" Jews controlled the whole world and on this basis because Jesus was a Jew he rejected any offer of salvation that Jesus could provide.
Lastly a young man named Anthony was spoken to, he had a pretty good understanding of the Gospel but was struggling with his assurance. He heard the beautiful implications of the Gospel and why we can have full assurance of our salvation because we are saved on the basis of Christ's perfect work, not anything we can do!
Please be praying for these short and sharp conversations, that God would use them to be another step in the process of bringing them to himself.
At Sunnybank the conversations are often short and sharp so there isn't much time to "waste". Thankfully due to the seriousness of the question people are often willing to engage.
A few quick conversations were had with Lai, an African lady and Catherine.
Lai, acknowledged after the building, builder analogy that there is a God but he said he didn't know what came after death. Sadly his bus arrived and he left with the tract.
An African lady said that she "was" a Christian back in her home country but when she came to Australia didn't want to be religious anymore so she has just started living however she wants.
Catherine an older lady believed that God exists but seemed to use her lack of knowledge of what came after as an excuse for her actions.
One extremely sad conversation was with a man named Josh, he was on some sort of drugs and was struggling to converse well. He also had a girlfriend with him who really wanted to leave. He spoke with the team for a short while about how monks, who had great control over their body proved they had "super"-natural power. Ironically, the very fact that they had achieved it by their own effort, showed that it was just natural power.
Josh was shown the mirror of the law and left with the very serious consequences of breaking it. Sadly at this point his girlfriend dragged him away.
On the other hand two Asian ladies, Eden and Maria, by accident missed two busses! Firstly at the beginning of the conversation they missed a bus and then were able to talk. Just as they heard the law and the penalty for breaking it another bus they could have hopped on, drop by without stopping and so they got to hear God's offer of hope.
It was pointed out that God had kept them at the bus stop long enough to hear the peril that they were in and the solution to it. They were thankful to hear and took tracts, hoping on their bus on the third attempt.
Please be praying for those who heard small amounts, those who had lengthy conversations and those who came to intellectually understand the Gospel for the first time. Please be praying that God would use the conversations and the tracts to save many!
On Thursday in Sunnybank the team sought to again stick to the shady areas so that they could have longer conversations with people. As the place is at a local bus stop conversations are usually kept around ten minutes due to the arrival and departure of buses. This does also mean lots of shorter conversations take place.
An early conversation was had with an Indian man, Haymanshure. He didn't believe in God but still wanted to hold onto the idea that he was a good guy. It was pointed out that good only exists, if there is a standard by which we can compare.
He then saw his sinfulness in comparison to God's law and was given a simple apologetic about God's existence. He understood the apologetic but was getting stuck on the idea of being "born in sin". He claimed that people were not that bad but it was point out through a range of examples, how clearly we can see the sinful state of humanity.
His bus arrived and he headed off. Please be praying that the law and the understanding of it will lead him to seek out the salvation that only Christ offers.
Soon after this a conversation was had with Kelly. She too didn't believe in God but karma. When asked who was in charge of karma, she said, everyone is individually. It was shown to her how foolish this was, not only because it was exactly the temptation Satan had bought to Adam and Eve but also because that would mean everyone could live however they wanted and as long as they felt okay about it, that would be rewarded.
She then went on to explain how good she was yet at the same time shared that all she wanted to do was live her way, without anyone to question her decisions.
Two more quick conversations were had with Edgar and Sam.
Edgar has spoken to another team member and was still struggling to comprehend the idea of faith alone. It was re-explained to him, with another analogy and this time it seemed to make sense.
He was asked, "If you were to stand before God on judgement day and he was to say to you, 'Why should I let you into heaven?' what would be a good answer?" He struggled with this question a bit but then when asked, "What would be a bad answer?" He said, "me and my good works".
This time he understood. It was explained once more that the difference between heaven and hell is as simple as the difference between trusting in Christ alone or ourselves. He said this made sense and hopped on his bus.
Sam, unlike everyone else was not hopping on a bus. She had hopped off and was waiting for some friends to pick her up. She didn't really believe in God but as the Gospel was preached said she it made sense. Point after point she engaged with things God has said and heard them and asked questions. But in the end she was still against believing in God.
Sadly as the conversation came to a close, she had to head off quickly. She took a tract and left. Please be praying that she will never again be the same, instead of being reserved toward God, that she would realise her sinfulness and surrender to Him, trusting in Him alone as the only reason she is forgiven.
Please also pray for Edgar, that his new understanding of grace would lead him to trust in Christ alone.
Please also pray for all those who the team were able to speak with today, that God would use these simple conversations as life changing events.
On Thursday afternoon at Sunnybank the team were blessed with many conversations. One noticeable mention is that often older men are scared to talk about eternal matters. Many will acknowledge that they have thought about it but rarely will they be willing to hear God's truth. They will often try and pass off the conversation, through humour, arrogance or anger. This plays out in all locations but was just noticed this past Thursday.
That being said there were some wonderful conversations. One man Frank declared that it was his adherence to the ten commandments that was getting him to Heaven. This was scary to hear as he said he went to a local Church. Frank heard the Gospel and God's real offer of salvation and was challenged to stop trying to convince himself, that he will be okay based on his own actions.
A sad conversation was had with Joan, she was an older lady who was a little hesitant to talk because she said that religion was all about power and fear. This was interesting to hear but she couldn't really explain why she thought that. Although she did say that she would never want to worship a God who had power over her. It was explained to her that God's laws aren't for the purpose of oppression rather, true freedom and liberty is found in the flourishing that God's design brings.
Her bus arrived and she had to leave. But please be praying for Joan that she is stripped of her pride, thinking she knows better than God and is bought to submission to Him.
One encouraging conversation was had with Jesse. He heard the Gospel for the first time, without any arguments and said he would consider it. Please be praying that Jesse searches out the scriptures and is bought to a knowledge of the truth.
Among other conversations Sia a lady who goes to an SDA Church and had been let into some confusion by what they taught, heard the Gospel and of imputation. It has been noted that in America, there is often a strong emphasis on repentance being a "turning from sin". Where as in Australia, this leads people often into confusion. It must be clearly stated that repentance isn't just "turning from sin... and trying to be good". Rather it is turning from sin, to trust God. And that will result in a changed life.
In Australia, legalism seems to be a far more common vice, than anti-nomianism.
Lastly an encouraging conversation was had with Stephanie. She knew about Heaven and Hell and had heard the name Jesus but that was about the limit of her understanding. God as Creator, Holy, Judge and Saviour was explained alongside sin, judgement and righteousness and she was left to ponder, would she turn and trust in Christ, or continue living in sin.
Please be praying for all those who heard the Good News, that they would repent and believe. Praise God for allowing conversations to flow and for bringing people along to hear His glorious Gospel!
On Thursday at Sunnybank, the afternoon for most team members progressed as usual. They had normal conversations and were able to engage in Gospel proclamation. On the other hand for some it was a tougher afternoon, there are just some days when you feel less bold in sharing the Gospel.
One of the team members often wears shirts with Gospel focused questions on it, for example, "Where will you spend Eternity, Heaven or Hell?" Yesterday at a number of occasions throughout the afternoon, people in passing by traffic actually called out answers as a result of reading the shirt.
Please be praying that many people will have read it, but especially pray for the few who verbally responded, that they would have to ponder the question.
A conversation was had with a man named David. He had some ideas about the afterlife but his predominant belief was that it doesn't matter. He said he was focusing on this life and that whatever happened would happen. This was scary as it was emphasised that because God is good, He will hold us accountable for our sin.
David, heard this, brushed it off and was about to respond with another point when his bus arrived. He took a tract and said he would have a read. Please be praying that David's apathetic attitude toward eternity would not last any longer but that the tract would lead him to the Saviour.
Another conversation was had with Melanie. She similarly said she didn't think there was an afterlife because she had done some "science". A small discussion was had regarding what science can tell us about the afterlife and the conclusion was come to, that it could not tell us a single thing.
Melanie then said she didn't believe in God because she didn't think there was any evidence. It was pointed out to her, that by observation we can see that everything else in this universe, that isn't nature, that has a beginning and a purpose had an intelligent designer. It was then pointed out that the most logical conclusion about nature itself, would be the same, that it too had an intelligent designer.
It was then pointed out, that the creator of an object, determines its purpose. So God, as the Creator of humans, designed us to bring Him glory by obeying Him. Melanie said that made sense and was left with the challenge, "The reason we don't want there to be a God, isn't intellectual or based on evidence rather, we know that if God exists, we are in big trouble, so we try and convince ourselves, either that we're not in trouble or that God doesn't exist."
Melanie's bus arrived at this time and she took a tract. Please be praying that this conversation will lead her away from rebellion, to surrender and trust in Jesus!