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 a team of six were out again this afternoon and the results were conversations on both sides of the road, quite consistently over the course of the afternoon. It is really exciting to see that even in a location where it can often be hard to start conversations the team is still able to find people to chat with.
One stand out conversation was with Kaitlyn who had attended a Catholic school and knew a little of God but couldn't really formulate it. Over the course of a short fifteen minute conversation she came to understand the simple message of how a sinner can be forgiven and how that free gift of forgiveness will always result in a sinner wanting to honour Christ with their life.
There was also a young couple who were approached and the guy started to chat while his girlfriend took selfies. Sadly he was sure this his obedience would be required for his entrance into Heaven. He was shown that a gift cannot be accepted by works but by faith alone. He came to understand what Jesus had taught and was even able to explain it back but was adamant that he was going to be earning in part his entrance into Heaven. He was warned of the foolishness of believing in something different to what Jesus has to teach.
There were two final conversations with Alan and Andy who both came to understand the gospel. Andy was defiant saying that he wasn't willing to trust in Jesus because his family doesn't. He was challenged to consider the seriousness of this decision.
On the other hand Alan was very interested and accepted a gospel of John saying he would read it this week and that he wanted to trust in Christ today.
Please keep those who heard in your prayers.
On Thursday in Sunnybank there was a team of eight that came out. It is exciting to see a team that once was so small, regularly being one of the biggest teams! This means that over the course of an afternoon many people come to hear of the good news of Jesus. Others are reminded of it, some are challenged as to why they haven't yet trusted in Christ and others are encouraged to continue on in their faith!
There was a conversation that took place with a young couple, Thomas and Sissy. Sissy said she was an agnostic and Thomas said he was a Christian. When asked why God should let him into Heaven though, he declared, "Because I am good enough". He was shown God's law and his guilt was revealed to which he responded, "God doesn't desire us to be perfect only to try". He was shown two things, both that he hasn't tried rather he has consistently and regularly chosen to disobey and secondly that Jesus is adamant that we must be perfect. Thomas was warned of his current destiny and the pair took tracts as their bus arrived.
A following conversation was with Brett. He said he had a "god" who was purely for personal comfort. There was no judgement, no afterlife just a nice big grandpa in the sky that look over things, so that at the end of each day it could be said, "A great time was had by all".
Not only was Brett's view of the world unrealistic, he had fashioned in his own image a god who doesn't exist. He was shown that God's goodness means He must punish sin and therefore we are all on the chopping block. Anyone being judged based on how they have lived will be found guilty and sent to Hell.
At this point Brett's bus arrived so he took a tract and said he would have a read.
There were a scattering of other conversations that took place, including with Oliver, who at first she that he never thinks about it and then as the chat went on he suddenly changed his tune and said he thinks about it all the time and will be going to Heaven because he attends Church every Sunday.
He was then taken through God's law, starting with asking if he'd ever lied, as he had just minutes earlier and he said he had. He was guilty by God's law but sadly was still thinking his own goodness would be enough for him to enter Heaven.
A final conversation of the afternoon was with Kevin a young man who has spoken to the team before. This week he was reminded of the gospel, which he was able to repeat back and was able to answer questions regarding the way to Heaven correctly and after it all said that he would trust in Jesus today!
It was encouraging to hear and he was shown a good place to read in the Bible and recommended a local Church. At the end of the conversation even after talking about the life change and obedience to God, Kevin was still able to articulate the obedience is a result of faith not a requirement to be forgiven.
Please keep all those who heard the gospel in your prayers, also those who were challenged in simple things such as their own goodness.
On Sunnybank the first conversation of the afternoon was with a man and woman. When approached the man at first wasn't paying attention but it turned out that the lady was a Christian over in Australia visiting her sister (and her husband). This was encouraging to hear so the conversation was turned toward the man.
When asked what he though would happen after we die he abruptly responded, "Nothing". When asked why he simply said, "Because I believe it". Over the next short discussion it came to light that he didn't believe in God or an afterlife and he didn't actually have evidence or argument to support such claims. He was then shown how we know God exists and why this has bearing on our lives as God has given rules to live by. He was shown the seriousness of his choice but sadly the bus arrived before the law could be used to reveal sin.
There was a following conversation with three young men. They professed to be Christian but was absolutely ashamed of talking about Christ or really engaging in the conversation. It was sad to see that people who proclaimed to love the same Saviour were so scared of publicly talking about Him! They were challenged to read the book of Acts and come face to face with how the first Christians acted in light of the good news of salvation.
There were a few quick chats scattered throughout the afternoon, a young Asian couple, a young lady, Randall, Banksoon who all in about two minutes, were shown God's existence, saw their guilt in the mirror of God's law and came to understand the desperate reality of their current eternity. Each when asked about the way to Heaven had guesses which were along the lines of "be better" or "stop doing bad". At this moment for all of them their buses arrived and they took tracts and headed off.
There was a scary conversation with Jerry and man who had been spoken to before who remembered the gospel quite clearly and hadn't trusted in Christ. He had in his hands the very offer of eternal life and currently had traded it for the pleasures of this world. He was challenged strongly to not just intellectually understand the gospel but to respond to Christ, trusting in Him to pay for his sin. Some examples were given stressing the seriousness of this decision and the foolishness of trading Christ for the pleasures of this world and Jerry said he would consider it tonight.
Overall it was another successful outreach, where people who didn't know who God is or what He had done were exposed to the reality of sin, death and judgement and the beauty of God's gift of forgiveness for those who believe. Please be praying for those who heard in part or in whole the message of salvation.
On Thursday at Sunnybank there was a team of eight members at the outreach and this enabled as usual good converage of the area along both sides of the road. This meant that over the course of the afternoon many people heard of Christ and how they can be forgiven.
An early short conversation was with Mutrich who had a Muslim background and thought he would be fine on the day of judgement, then was shown God's law and realised that he was guilty but said that he'd be able to fix that by living a good life from now on. This was a conversation that lasted less than a minute until his bus arrived but it was a good reminder of the desperate state of the human heart as the day began.
Soon there was a guy named Gary who approached with his friend. His friend instantly said, "I don't want to talk, I'm a Methodist" but Gary happily engaged. He saw that God exists and therefore that we are guilty. He wanted a God who didn't judge and then a God who judged only the really bad people and then a God who would just forgive everyone despite them being bad. But Gary was trying every card he could to avoid his Hell punishment except look to the Saviour. Sadly he remained this way and rejected any offer of hope in the gospel. It wasn't a lengthy conversation either but he ended up leaving with a tract and encouraged to read it and reconsider.
There was an exciting conversation with Rick who had a JW family and had a few struggles to understand because of what his family has said but over the course of a conversation he seemed to understand the simple gospel. He did struggle a bit with its simplicity as he kept trying to add works to it. He too had to leave and was encouraged to read the tract and his Bible.
This was followed by a lengthy conversation with a man named James. To begin at the ending, James said, "I don't want to give up the life I'm living, I don't want to do it God's way". The conversation took almost an hour. James understood the gospel in the first fifteen minutes and it was reminded and reiterated over the course of the chat.
He at some stages was being silly. Willfully trying to misunderstand things that were being said. He was trying to defend his actions with simple arguments about freedom and how he should be able to live his way, instead of God's way. The conversation went on and he was warned seriously many times that to know the offer of forgiveness but to choose to reject Christ out of a desire to continue just to live however you want is the most foolish thing a person can do.
James heard and understood the warnings and at the end of the conversation was still firmly deciding to live in rebellion against the most powerful being in the universe.
Another brief yet valuable conversation was with Jonathan. He at first said, "Whatever you believe will happen to you after death". This was briefly challenged and he saw quickly that cannot be the case. Instead he then professed to be a Christian but thought it was his goodness that would be gaining him access to Heaven.
He was shown God's law and realised the desperate position that he is in and came to grasp the seriousness of getting the main message of Christianity wrong, He could spend eternity in Hell. When he was being asked about what he thought the way is and how he could be forgiven he threw out a few ideas which were addressed and shown as unable to save but there wasn't a chance to talk any further as he too had to leave.
Please be praying for Mutrich that he would read the tract and be humbled, coming to God's saviour. Please pray for Gary that he would stop avoiding reality with foolish ideas but acknowledge that God must punish sinners and therefore seek for God's offer of mercy. Please be praying that Rick would read his Bible and come to see God for who He has shown Himself to be! Please be praying for James that God would do whatever it takes to show him the foolishness of his choice and mercifully lead him to a repentant faith in Christ. Please also pray for Jonathan that he starts to value what God has said and instead of just going with the flow of this postmodern world would instead come to trust in Christ as His Lord and Saviour.
And why not pray for love so that you may seek to preach Christ to those who are perishing?
On Thursday there were seven team members out at Sunnybank and the gospel was spread to many people. Over fifty people during the afternoon came to hear in part or whole how sinners can be forgiven. What a privilege it was to be a part of.
The afternoon started as usual with some shorter conversations but early on a longer opportunity was had with Dot and Donny. These two seemed to have some understanding of Christianity but it was quite limited. They were quickly shown the bad news, the universal guilt of humanity and therefore that God will have to send them to Hell on judgement if something isn't done. They saw what God had done and the offer of forgiveness that was extended to them and they hopped on their bus hopefully with the question, "When will you trust that Jesus paid for your sin?" ringing in their ears.
There was a lady named Yasmin who was a funny character who actually chose to miss her bus to keep listening. As a result of this extended conversation she came to understand the whole gospel. She got the checking questions easily, was challenged to count the cost, was shown some examples of what trusting Jesus may cost her and she too was left with the understanding that her eternity will be based upon her response to what Jesus has done on that cross.
The following conversation was unusual. Marko and Cliff knew the way to Heaven and had no trouble repeating it back, even before the conversation had gone far. Why? They had spoken to a team member some weeks back and remembered it. They got the checking questions correct and had no issues understanding it but then they were given the parachute analogy in a different way. They were asked if it would be wise, if they were on a plane that was crashing, someone offered them a parachute and said, "Believe in this parachute and you'll be saved?" and they took it, packed it into the luggage compartment and stayed on the plane until it crashed.
They said no it would be silly and then it was pointed out that it there current position. They know how to be saved from the wrath to come but they've just packed the solution away. They know exactly where to get it but they've decided to take the risk of leaving it for later, even though they don't know when they will be asked to give an account.
There was a man named Michael who heard the law and gospel but got stuck. He couldn't get over the fact that forgiveness is not earnt but is simply accepted by faith in Christ. He was so caught up in his desire to earn God's favour that he was blinded to the fact, not only that he could never earn it but also that it was freely offered to those who believe not earn by those who think they've done enough. Michael was caught by his own pride.
There was also an encouraging conversation with Oliver who likewise had spoken to the team before and knew the gospel but he too was hesitating to respond in faith because there were things in this world he wanted to hold onto. He was shown some glimpses of the supreme value of Christ and was left with the serious choice, to not just know the gospel but to trust in Christ.
Please be praying for those today who heard the word that they would come to trust in Christ alone that they may know everlasting life!
Thursday afternoon in Sunnybank was exciting. With a team of seven out, and many, many gospel conversations taking place it was an afternoon filled with much rejoicing! One team member even noted that they had twenty three conversations, establishing God's existence, humanities universe guilt and the beginnings of the gospel in most conversations! What a fun filled afternoon!
An early conversation took place with Raymond. He totally got it! He at first didn't think there was a God but was shown that he knows otherwise. He was then shown how God's existence means he is guilty as he has failed to live up to God's standard. Then when asked what the solution is Raymond had no idea. He was piece by piece taken through the gospel. Showing that sinners cannot earn forgiveness, nor can they earn someone else paying their debt. He was shown that rather God in his love offers it as a gift, which is received through trusting in Christ.
Raymond got it. When asked some simple clarifying and checking questions it made sense to him then he was shown that those who trust in Christ will live very different lives. That out of gratefulness to God and the realisation of how desperately wicked sin is to a Holy God that they will want to turn from it and have nothing to do with it! Raymond understood and said he got a lot more than he bargained for coming to the bus stop today but he was glad that he did!
He said he has a Bible at home he will begin to read and was recommended a local Church to attend! What an exciting beginning to the afternoon!
Soon Naomi sat down and was taken through the same questions. She professed to be a Christian and said she should be okay because she was baptised. The length of the conversation was shorter as her bus arrived a little earlier but she came to understood that what she had been trusting in before this day was not the gospel and it wasn't Jesus, she was instead trusting in herself and she was encouraged this day to trust in Christ and was shown that those who trust in Christ will be forever changed, not wanting to go back to where they came from!
Two Indians girls sat down and funnily enough said they'd just been discussing it the night before! They said they thought it was reincarnation but were challenged on this because in their attempt to solve their guilt but saying they had many lives, all they were actually doing was adding more and more lifetimes worth of sin on top of this already desperately guilty one we're living now. They saw how they'd still be guilty but as they were asked what the solution would be their bus arrived. They took tracts and were encouraged to read them.
An exciting conversation was with Zach a young guy who had spoken to the team around a month ago and shared what the conversation was about and then before his bus arrived he was taken further through the gospel. It was exciting to see that unlike most people had actually remembered most of the conversation and so in the limited time the conversation was taken back up where it had been left off! He was shown the simplicity of the good news, that those who trust in Christ are forgiven on the basis of his sacrifice. But in less than three minutes his bus arrived so the conversation will be postponed until next time!
The last conversation of the afternoon was with a lady named Jawei. She seemed to get the gospel first time around and got most of the checking and clarification questions correct but then it seemed to in a moment all disappear from her mind and she was taken through the gospel again. Same thing happened. There was some disconnect. Finally on the forth time she got it and grasped it and then was challenged this day to count the cost of following Christ, to trust in Him for the forgiveness of sin and therefore turn from her sin and live for Christ.
Please be praying for all those who heard of what God has done that they will ponder it this day and will not let another day pass before they trust in Christ alone to save them. Please also pray that God is gracious that they may have another day of breath in their lungs so that they may be able to consider this most wonderful gift!
On Thursday there were five members out on the team as most of the others were scattered throughout Australia on various trips. But despite being a smaller team the usual the afternoon was a great success. The first conversation was an absolute cracker.
Mariana a Spanish speaking Brazilian was approached and she had some Christian ideas but was pretty sure God would let her into Heaven because she is good. She was shown God's goodness and then taken through His law, revealing her sin and suddenly she realised she would not be making it to Heaven as she currently stands. She was asked what she could do and suggested lots of things, all centering around her abilities to improve or earn God's favour.
But then, upon hearing the gospel for the first time, that God offers salvation as a gift to the guilty, not as a reward for the righteous Mariana came to understand that her whole life up until this point she was thinking she was a Christian but for the first time today comprehended what it really means to be one. She was excited to be challenged in this and said that she wanted to trust Jesus today. She asked if there was a Church she could attend and she was recommended one and she even said that she would start reading her Bible as she wants to know more about God!
As usual there were quite a number of short conversations, establishing God's existence and our guilt. This week there were actually twelve conversations with people which covered this and they were each left with a tract to read and their eternity to consider.
A later conversation the took a while was with Che, she was similar to Mariana. She was a a Filipino, Catholic and for the first time in her life, she came to comprehend the beauty of the gospel. She struggled at first to understand the simplicity of salvation, centered on justification by faith alone but when she understood that all the other pieces fell into place. She got the checking questions correct and was encouraged this day to trust in Christ. Her bus arrived so some simple follow up couldn't be had but please be praying for Che that God would work in her heart!
Lastly was a conversation with Edgar which was very sad. He had attended a church for a while with his friends because they all became Christians but after a while he stopped going. He didn't understand the gospel yet but more heartbreaking was that he declared he would prefer to live his own way than to believe in any God, even if God exists.
He was shown God's existence and God's law and was shown the desperate position he is in but Edgar was resolute in his rebellion against God and desire to live for himself.
Please be praying for Mariana and Che that they would trust in Christ and start attending local Churches, reading their Bible and even telling others of the good news about what Jesus has done! Please pray for Edgar that God would humble him, show him the foolishness of his ways and cause him to trust in Christ!
When will you come on out to share God's glorious gospel? It's something any Christian can do!
The hardest part of evangelism at a bus stop is the evangelism. Actually having time to tell of the good news about what Christ has done, with the context of the bad news, the each of us has made ourselves enemies of God by our sin is tough. The more you do it though, the better you become. The added struggle is that at Sunnybank there is usually a language barrier as well and even less understanding of Christianity than normal.
Thursday's outreach started off in a whirlwind of conversations in the first ninety minutes twelve conversations took place back to back. What is exciting though is now instead of getting to the end of the law, which was the struggle, it is getting easier to get through to the gospel before the bus arrives. This afternoon two early conversations too place where the gospel was explained and it was checking question time as the bus arrived.
The first was with Sara an Indian lady who saw her guilt via the law, the judgement that was coming because reincarnation (which she at first believed) doesn't deal with justice. And then was shown that for forgiveness to be given, someone must pay and she came to comprehend what God did to pay for the sin of those who believe. Sadly there wasn't time to expound fully on what it means to believe in Christ or to check that she understood the simple message of faith alone but she took a tract and was encouraged to have a read.
Next with with Zel and Joe. Joe wasn't super keen to hear but he listened where as Zel engaged in the questions. They too were shown their guilt, the penalty sin deserves and were asked if they knew what Christ had done to save sinners. They had some idea but the good news of what Christ had does was explained and they were encouraged to rely on him alone as they didn't get to stay for checking questions before their bus arrived.
There were a mixture of other people, some who tried to defend their innocence by declaring that everyone does wrong things, others who tried to claim that God doesn't exist after the law revealed their guilt and others still who heard what God had said and how one can be forgiven and then chose to reject it on the basis of their own desire to keep living their own way. These people desperately need God to soften their heart otherwise they will never come to trust in Christ!
On the other hand there was one very exciting conversation with Joel. He attends a local church but had never understood the way to Heaven. He said he would go to Heaven when he dies because he's a pretty good guy. Over the next ten minutes Joel was taken step by step through the story of the gospel, seeing that because God is good he is in trouble, that our efforts will never get us to the standard God expects but that God in his grace provided a substitute to take our place so that anyone who accepts his gift of forgiveness by trusting in what Christ has done can go to Heaven!
Joel understood this, he was able to explain back how someone can get to Heaven and therefore said that today he would trust in Christ! He was challenged to count the cost and was shown that those who trust in Christ will turn from their sin out of love for God and was encouraged to start reading his Bible every day!
Praise God for such a wonderful afternoon filled with many opportunities to tell others of the glory and goodness of our God! Why don't you join us sometime?
On Thursday afternoon at Sunnybank the team were on fire! With twelve members coming out over the course of the afternoon, it was the equal biggest team at that location, even with a few regulars away! It is exciting to see God raising up labourers to preach His glorious gospel!
The first conversation of the afternoon was a funny one, a man named Zac who at first was a little hesitant began to talk. He said the issue was that he was sure that nothing in this world was black and white and therefore it can't be that simple. Ironically, as was pointed out, he was "black and white" about nothing being "black and white". He saw the law and was challenged by God's hatred of his sin but his bus arrived before the conversation could go too much further.
The constant challenge that is taught by outreach locations like Sunnybank is the importance of simple explanations and a serious commitment to strive to get to the gospel. In a scenario when you have less than ten minutes to take someone with little to no knowledge of Christianity to understand the essentials of the faith, it takes great discipline to not try and answer every question or objection raised but to be wise in what to say, what questions to ask and what to point out so that each person can understand what God has said is the way to Heaven.
Seneha, Kay, Rhianna and Charlotte all heard why we know there is a God, why that matters for people like us, the trouble our sin has placed us in and therefore that God will be our only hope. Sadly, as easy as it is as a Christian to articulate that, "Jesus has died to save sinners", people outside Christendom don't understand what that means or how it is good news. It isn't until time is taken to show what it all means that people come to comprehend the beauty of the gospel. Sadly in these four conversations, they each heard very briefly of the good news but had to hop on their respective buses with some sentences bouncing around in their head and a gospel tract.
Please be praying that those who heard part of the message would come to know what God has done, either by reading the tract and understanding it, talking to a Christian in their life or by reading a Bible and understanding what God has said! Praise God that although we may not get to complete our "plans" that He is in control of all!
Lastly was a conversation with an Asian gentleman named Johnson who was scared to mention that he was a Christian. When he finally did mention it, it was clear that he knew the gospel and was just ashamed of Christ. This was a different conversation than usual as he seemed even to be trusting in Christ but just had a moment when he failed to be a good witness. Johnson was encouraged that God is in control and that as Christians we should never be ashamed of who our God is. Rather, His love for us should leave us willing to suffer anything for His name's sake!
Please be praying that Johnson would consider the challenge he was given and that he would be willing to trust in Christ, not just for salvation but as in control and Lord over every scenario. Even more so, that he would be willing to speak openly of Christ of his own accord, not just when another asks! May you too be willing to do so as well!
On Thursday at Sunnybank again there was a team of six out. Which means there is always room for more! The afternoon was as usual filled with many shorter conversations, which is a great training ground for learning how the present the gospel quickly and clearly.
An early conversation was had with Ulwin. He has little understanding of the gospel but struggled over and over to understand grace. He talked about earning his way in at every turn. It was explained five or so times that good deeds cannot save someone. Finally it seemed that he understood it and came to grasp that it is trusting in what God has done that is the entry requirement for Heaven. All in God's perfect timing he understood this right as his bus arrived!
Later a very similar conversation took place, this time with a "Christian". When asked how someone got to Heaven he said, "Asking for forgiveness". He saw the law, his guilt, the good News and the simple response required and when asked again said, "baptism". Same process then he said, "Repenting'. By which he actually meant trying to be good. This repeated as he talked about praying, church going, communion and feeding the homeless. It seemed to take so long for him to grasp that gospel. And even at the end of it all, although he was able to answer the question correctly, "How does someone get to Heaven?" only God knows if he actually has comprehended what that means.
He was encouraged to read Romans 3-5. Please be praying that God uses the Apostle Paul's writings to show him the dire position he is in!
It wasn't too long later and a conversation was had with Bridget. She was asked what she thought happens after we die and said, "Don't worry, I'm a Catholic". This was followed by asking her, what is she trusting in to get her to Heaven? Her response, without even blinking was, "My good deeds". This time the conversation didn't get far as her bus arrived very quickly. But she was shown that by Jesus' sermon on the mount, that what Jesus has to say about the way to Heaven is that if it is by your goodness, you're in trouble because your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, in fact you must be perfect as God in Heaven is perfect!
She was then shown God's law, her guilt and the condemnation it brings but didn't get to hear the gospel as her bus arrived.
Without going into any further conversations, the point of raising these three conversations is to show how little most Australian's know about the way to Heaven! People think they know what Christianity is all about, "It's just the same as all the other religions, be a good person and you will go to Heaven". The reality is, there are very few people who actually understand the gospel. Let this be an encouragement to you, making sure to word it correctly so it makes sense, most Australian's have rejected God but not the gospel.
Why not take the opportunity in the lead up to this Easter, to share with your fellow Australian's what God has actually done. You will be surprised at how little people actually know about what Easter is about and you will get to glorify God whilst informing those you care about!