Sunnybank Team (QLD)
Meets 2-5pm every Thursday afternoon at the Sunnybank bus stop on Mains Road.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
We had a productive afternoon in Sunnybank. Despite the very hot weather, we were able to share the Gospel with quite a number of people.
One of the biggest challenges with minister in this community is that the majority of people speak Chinese (and I don't!). To overcome this problem we set up a Free Bible and Literature table with material in their language. It is always encouraging to see people take God's Word in their own language.
Another challenge in this area is that the Mormons focus heavily on trying to deceive the Chinese speakers. Many of the LDS missionaries are trained to speak the language. Due to this, we make ever effort to reach the missionaries with the Gospel. This afternoon, I was able to have a good conversation with two 'elders.' We chatted about the history of the LDS, their claim of Joseph Smith being a prophet and also the Gospel. Using the Scripture we were able to show them that a Prophet must be 100% accurate (Joseph Smith wasn't) and that salvation isn't something we can earn (as the LDS claim).
It is always interesting that when an LDS missionary gets into a position where they can't answer, they use the excuse of, "I have an appointment; I have to go to." This is a common excuse at Sunnybank. Normally, the elder will leave, walk about fifty metres, then go back to talking to other people. It is clear that they have no problems with breaking the ninth commandment.
Please pray that the Lord would convert the Mormons and also the people of this community.
It was a rather hot and sunny afternoon of outreach in Sunnybank. I haven't been out witnessing here since before Christmas, so it was great to return to our regular location.
Sunnybank is a centre for Mormon missionaries. Within minutes of arriving two "Sisters" approached us to begin a conversation. One of them was from the US and the other from China. We chatted for awhile about the way of salvation, and how to return to Heavenly Father. They gave the standard LDS replies, and they told me that they are trying as hard as they can to keep the commandments.
Under the LDS system, in order to be forgiven you have to trust in Jesus and then do works. One of the many works is keeping the commandments. I asked the Sisters if they were keeping the commandments, they replied that they were trying. I then put a question to them, I said, "If I said to you, I tried to climb a mountain. Would that imply that I succeed or that I had failed?" They both answered that it would show that I had failed. I then asked them, "If you say you are trying to keep the commandments, does that imply you are succeeding or failing?" The point was made. They realised that they were failing in their efforts to earn salvation.
Once this point was made, I took them to Galatians 3:10 where the Apostle Paul says, "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."
I asked them, "If you are trying to keep the law, what does the Bible say about you if you don't keep all the law?" They acknowledged that they would be cursed.
From there I took them to Galatians 3:11-14: "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
There on the side of the road in Sunnybank, I stressed to the LDS Sisters that salvation isn't through law-keeping, but rather it is only through Jesus Christ who became a curse for us. I explained justification by faith alone to them, and their response was to say, "We have an appointment we must attend." With that they walked off.
Shortly after this, two Mormon Elders came by. We had the exact same conversation, and again we got the same response. It is amazing that whenever a LDS missionary can't deal with Scripture that they have an "appointment" they have to go to. One cannot help but wonder if they are breaking the ninth commandment!
For the rest of the day the LDS avoided us, but we were able to chat to many other people about the Good News.
Please pray for those that we ministered to today. Also, please pray that the Lord would deliver the Mormons from their works righteous system.
On Thursday the 22 October it was a rainy day, this pushed us into the under cover area at the bus shelter, however, this causes more people to gather and give us some great to opportunities to witness one to one.
We spoke to one man named Gordon; he has a vast range of beliefs, which included him being unsure of God's exists, yet he was adamant that he would go to Heaven. What he appeared to have done was mix various religious beliefs together. He had made a god that he was comfortable with; a god who doesn't judge sin. We able to speak to Gordon about the nature of truth, and how God reveals Himself. Gordon said this all sounded well and good but why would a 'loving' God let bad things happen to good people. We discussed the guilt of all men, that every single one of us has broken God's law, has disobeyed Him and therefore deserve the punishment for our sin.
Sadly he didn't want to admit that he was bad in the sight of God. We stressed the fact that all have sinned, and thus deserve judgement. We also explained clearly to him the good news, that Jesus Christ has come to rescue bad people. Please pray for Gordon. He uses a Gospel tract as a bookmark and he has talked with the team a few times before.
We also talked with Scott, a young man who professed to have done many drugs and sadly was speaking irrationally. Our discussion didn't really flow. He very adamantly denied God's existence based on his own enlightenment that a certain drug was the 'god'.
The conversation didn't go far and he directly rejected sin and the Gospel. Please keep Scott in your prayers; he is in need of the Saviour to come and rescue him.
We also had the opportunity to briefly speak with Andy, he had grown up in a Christian home and said he went to church. Yet, he never really 'believed', he heard the stories but by age eleven he had all but rejected God. We asked him why and he didn't really give much of an answer, he said it didn't seem right. We discussed the evidence for the reliability of the Bible and a few other things but sadly he had to leave. Please pray for Andy that our encounter will cause him to begin to think about the things of eternity.
Please pray for everyone we encountered today.
Soli Deo Gloria!
At Sunnybank there is always a range of people, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholics, Atheists, Muslims and some 'Spiritualists' but a serious lack of Christians.
On Thursday we were able to head out and talk to some people waiting at the Bus stop, we had a few early conversations where they would answer the question about eternity, whether it be that they were going to Heaven, or they didn't care or something similar but would very quickly lose interest.
One pair of girls, said they were going to Heaven because doesn't everyone, then they added that they don't really think about it because why consider the future, aren't they still alive.
We asked them if they knew the moment of their death and they said of course not, no one does. Then we said, why does eternity not bother them? If they are living for the now but don't know when they will face eternity, why can they with such certainty ignore thinking about it to scroll down facebook?
Soon after we talked with Rebecca, a young lady who attends a local Catholic school, she said that she was pretty sure she was going to Heaven because she has done Holy Communion and been baptised.
We asked her if those things take away sin and she said she thought they did. We used some analogies, explaining how deeds don't pay for sin and that the penalty of sin must be paid. She said that bothered her because the penalty for sin is death.
We offered her the salvation of Jesus Christ, offered only in the repentance and belief in Him and she said she would consider it because she knew her own sin.
Then we talked with a young lady named Stephanie, a Mormon girl, who professed her works as the way to Heaven, she was adamant that as long as she kept being as good as she currently was, God would have no problem letting her into Heaven.
We asked her how good she was by God's standard and she said that she had never sinned, we tested her with God's law and she admitted to having broken the law and said she didn't know what it was.
She then seemed a little worried that she wasn't as good as she thought she was. We offered the salvation of Jesus Christ, that Christ came into the world to die for sin, that anyone who believes in Him may have everlasting life.
She said it sounded too good to be true but would have to think about it. We encouraged her to read her bible when she went home.
We briefly talked with a man named Shaun who was a practicing Muslim and said as long as his goodness outweights his badness he shall get to Heaven. Sadly he had to catch the bus before we could challenge him on the 'justice' of his god.
We also talked with Kyle, the atheist, who sort of didn't know what he believed but was sure that God didn't exist. We challenged some of his presuppositions but he too had to catch a bus.
Please pray for the local Mormon missionaries, that they will realise the weightiness of their sin, how wretched we are before God and therefore admit that Christ is the only way and therefore submit to Him alone as Lord and repent and believe the Gospel for salvation and as a product desire to share the true Gospel of Christ Jesus!
Please pray for those we interacted with that they will heed the warning on the Gospel, that they will understand their dire need of a savior and turn to Jesus Christ the only way to have sin paid for.
Please praise God that we were able to proclaim the Gospel and pray that many might decide to join us in the labourers of sharing the Gospel, may Christians hearts be stirred up with compassion, desiring to warn the perishing and desiring to share with them the way of salvation!
Soli Deo Gloria!
At Sunnybank yesterday the afternoon had a low but steady number of people, we engaged a few as they walked past.
It is a place that has many different people, from Buddhists, to Muslims, to Catholics, to the JW's and Mormons, as well as the skeptics and atheists.
Over all it is a 'spiritual' place, many people think they will be getting to heaven on their own achievement, many people are somehow 'earning' they way into the mercy of God.
Especially the Mormons we talked to, they use many single verses, pull them out of the Bible and use it for the defense of extra biblical doctrines, a previous spirit world, a chance for Heaven after death, baptism being apart of salvation and many other things.
They use the same words as Christians but define them to mean different things.
There are a range of groups of Mormons around and we have spent time talking to most of them on a range of issues but they still valiantly as ever deny Jesus Christ's complete work but have to also show their faithfulness to earn salvation.
I also talked with a young couple briefly about the way to Heaven, they were saying that any God who exists should see their true intentions and let them into Heaven.
I asked them what their true intentions were and they told me, to love and serve people. I looked at them and went through the Law. Then I said why would people who's intentions are good do these things?.
They had no answer, sadly they had to run off before we could finish but may they think about and dwell on that thought.
Please pray for those who heard the Gospel, for the tract takers and those who read the sign, may God use our witness to save lives.
Please pray for the labourers as we continue to evangelise that we will remember from where we came and who our God is that saved us, so that we many humbly preach the truth of God in love!
Soli Deo Gloria!
At Sunnybank on Thursday it was a beautiful afternoon, we were given a display of God's common Grace that all people were able to experience His blessing of good weather.
There was only a few of us at the outreach, but the Gospel still went out, though we were limited in some forms by numbers, God is still supreme and sovereign over who we talk to, who will hear the Gospel and who will take a tract.
I talked to a young man first who was on his way home from school, he has almost finished High School and is excited about finishing.
I asked him where he will spend eternity if he was to die tonight and he said he wasn't sure. He thought Heaven but didn't know.
We compared him to God's standard of perfection and just like me, he too had fallen completely short of God's standard.
He said this worried him and started offering ways to fix it. But after we discussed the flaws in each of his plans he started to feel a bit helpless, having no idea how he could go to heaven or have his sin paid for.
So I offered Him the Gospel, the message of Jesus Christ and His salvific work offered in Christ's perfect life, death, burial and resurrection and though he at first wasn't grasping the magnificence of it, he still wanted to earn it after a little while he understood he could not earn it at all.
That freed him a little but I explained that saving faith will change you and you will want to honour God not to earn salvation but in gratefulness for what He has done for us.
I also talked to a young boy, named Josh who correctly articulated the Gospel, he knew we were all sinners, he knew that we can't do good to get to Heaven and he knew that Jesus Christ was the only way, by asking forgiveness for sin and trusting in Jesus Christ's payment for sin we can be saved.
And surprisingly he was able to very well articulate it, may this young boy grow up and believe what he knows!
Please keep all who heard the Gospel in prayer, for the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation!
Please pray that many more may want to join us! That local churches will encourage their congregations to go out and proclaim the Good News to the lost!
Please pray for the team as we head out around the area, that we boldly proclaim Christ and Him crucified in Love, sanctifying Christ as Lord so that we can give a defense for what we believe and present the Gospel accurately and without offense in the delivery but only in the message.
Soli Deo Gloria!
This afternoon in Sunnybank we had the opportunity of having a some new team members who spoke a range of languages, which was a blessing and we had people engaging with Chinese, Thai and Korean people.
A lengthy conversation was had with a young man who we had talked with before, his name is Tom. He is a professional gamer and has quite a number of sponsors and as a highschool student is spending a large percentage of his time playing this game and is really enjoying the money it earns him. He was challenged whether he would count the cost of being a disciple of Christ and put Christ first ahead of his video gaming and he replied with 'But can't I just keep Jesus as second?'.
Please pray for this young man as he is challenged to consider what 'dying to self' truly means!
A conversation with some local mormons was had, it was quite a lengthy conversation where they were challenged on their view of the infallibilty of scripture, what it means to be 'saved by grace, through faith alone, not of works', as well as being challenged with the truth of the Gospel, with the fact that Christ's atoning sacrifice is the only 'work' needed for salvation. They were against the fact that salvation can't be with Faith + Works but were sure that salvation required works. After a long discussion these two young men left still denying the singularity of salvation by faith. One young man was hearing the points and seemed to be considering them.
This week consider 'Elder Wood' and 'Elder Zou' and may God convict their hearts of their twisting of scriptures.
Around Sunnybank there are many mormons that spend the time talking to the locals and sadly are preaching a man centred, Christ + works gospel. Please pray that these Mormons will read their bibles and come to know the power of the true Gospel!
There were some wonderful opportunities this afternoon and a decent amount of conversations were had, please keep in prayer all those that took a tract, heard a snippet of conversation, were talked to or even saw our presence, please bring these people before God in prayer that they might be convicted with their sinful lives and may surrender to Christ as Lord, through repentance and faith!
Soli Deo Gloria!
It is really exciting seeing people seriously consider the claims of Christ and say they want to start reading the Bible. That happened a couple of times yesterday at our outreach in Sunnybank.
One extensive conversation I had was with a Chinese man named Carter. He said that he had just finished his university degree in Australia and is heading back to China on Tuesday. He knew that God exists. When I asked him why he is going to Heaven, he said it was because he is a really good person.
So I went through the law of God, showing him how we aren't good enough on our own merits to save ourselves, and explained how it is only through Christ's sacrifice on the cross that we can be saved.
Carter replied, "A friend gave me a Bible when I first arrived in Australia about 4 years ago, but no one has talked to me about God since. I have been waiting to hear from God, but now I think this is God speaking to me."
After initially thinking he had to just 'try harder' from now on to be saved, he came to grasp that all of our sins - past, present and future - were atoned for on the cross if he comes to repentance and faith in Christ.
I also talked with him about the cost of coming to faith in Christ. That Christ is not a mere add-on to our life, but that He should be the centre of our lives. We should love Him more than we love anything else.
He said, "I do not want to make a quick decision here. Because this is really huge. This will change everything. I need to seriously think about this and start reading the Bible for myself."
I love seeing that he saw that this is something he needs to count the cost on first. For we don't just want 'decisions', we want people to be converted. Please pray for Carter.
Team member Johnny mentioned to me that at the same time as this conversation, he was speaking to another Chinese university student who was about to head back to China after finishing his degree, and he was very open and had lots of questions.
To the King of Kings be the glory!
We set up the Chinese Bible table and a number of people took Bibles. It was great having Johnny on the team who spoke to those who could only speak Chinese.
One really good conversation that I had was with a young man named Bobby. He comes from China and is nearly finished High School. He thought he would be going to Heaven because he respects God.
He didn't know anything about Christianity and so after explaining the message of sin, the coming Judgement and the cross, he said he wants to trust in Jesus today for his forgiveness. He came to grasp the gospel and wants to submit to Christ.
I got his number and have asked a local pastor who lives near where he lives to disciple him. Please pray for Bobby.
Glory to God!
One of the most encouraging things from today's outreach at Sunnybank was chatting again to a Chinese man whose English name is Butters.
Just over a month ago (see 11th June report), we met him at Sunnybank and on the day we met him he said that one day earlier he saw us preaching in Queen St Mall and even showed us a picture he took of us preaching. Being a university student from mainland China who had only been in Australia for several months, he said he was an atheist. After a bit of discussion, he came to acknowledge the existence of God and after hearing the gospel, said that he wanted to trust in Jesus that day.
Now a month and a half later, it was great to catch up with him and see how he was going. He said he has been reading the gospel of John that we gave him and said he wants to get the rest of the Bible too. He has a hunger for the word of God, and still has a good grasp of the gospel.
Today, I had Johnny along with me to help evangelise, and glory to God, Johnny knows Chinese! So he spent over an hour explaining to Butters further from the Bible in Chinese. Johnny commented that Butters was listening really intently to everything he was saying. We are going to continue disciple Butters in the coming weeks.
God's word never returns void!