West Country (UK) Team
Meets almost every fortnight on Saturday for outreaches on the streets of Plymouth, Exeter or Truro.
Every 2 to 3 weeks, the team meets also on Friday nights at the Plymouth University.
On Wednesday 16th I traveled down to Newquay with my Auntie, friend and her son for them to visit Newquay Zoo while I met with Josh and three others from his Church to do outreach from 12.30-2.30pm. It was great to see Josh again and hear about all the feedback he has been getting since the LGBT Cornwall Pride comments hit the media in a big way. It was tangibly the signs and the tracts offered to them, and quite hard work to get anyone to take a tract or stop to chat. There were however some memorable conversations, with one man taking a million pound note tract, then coming back moments later asking if he could have a few more!
One especially good chat was with 3 lads from Cardiff University that had traveled down to Newquay to surf for a few days. They were interested in what the intelligence test questions were all about, which led to a really good conversation for about 15 minutes with them. They listened intently and apparently had not thought too much about what may happen to them after they died, but the Law was used to show them their desperate need for a Saviour. They were very enthused at the end and understood why they needed to be saved from hell, and why Jesus was the only person who could save them, and they gratefully took some gospel tracts and gave firm, positive handshakes and said they needed to think about this today.
I also managed to talk to a lady that stopped to read the sign who happened to be an NHS Nurse with her elderly parents and her Daughter who were out for the day, and we had a good conversation and they took some tracts and information about where Josh's Church Newquay Baptist was based. While this was going on, Josh and another member of his Church had been having a long conversation with man for an hour that had been against Josh and pro LGBT movement posting comments on Facebook, but later that day Josh said had reposted to say that his 'unfair perception of Josh had changed, and hopefully Josh's of him too, that had been spun and fueled by the media.' Josh had lots of people walk past refusing tracts as they said they knew who Josh was and therefore what he stood for, and so was really encouraging at least this man heard the truth of the gospel and what we stood for.
While packing up and loading the car, a couple walked past in the car park, spotted the sign in the car boot and read it, asking questions about what it was. It turned out they too were Christians that lived in Bath, which led to a good conversation about Evangelism and what we had been out doing that day, and they took some tracts and websites to look at.
Our team also traveled to Exeter on Saturday, with Simon, Laurie and me hoping to meet up with Steven the Pastor we had met in Plymouth and a couple of others he had been in contact with called Ron and Harry. The City Centre was very busy again, and as we were setting up the signs a young man had stopped to look at the signs. It turned out this man was 20 and called Damian, he said he was currently homeless, being forced to move down to Exeter with his Dad after a family break up, he had not seen his Mum in over 5 years and fairly recently had run away from Dads and was living in a tent. He wanted to do the good person test, and we had a really good chat and were able to listen to his sad and difficult story. We offered to get him something to eat at the end of the outreach but he never returned, but did take a Bible and some tracts to read.
We all prayed and was good to have 6 of us there that day, but it felt a hard slog, with many people wearing masks walking past and refusing to acknowledge us or take tracts. Laurie and Steven long chat with two 18 year olds called Jack who was an Atheist and Ben who was an Agnostic for quite a long time, as well as two new University theology students and a 65 year old Atheist for around 10 minutes.
Later I preached on Boris Johnson's command to us all about 'Hands, Face, Space' that is being given out through the media at present. I preached on James 4- 'Wash your hands you sinners and purify your hearts... for your sins have separated you from God. Adam and Eve tried to distance them selves from God and cover themselves up, but God had to cover their sin, and why being religious or good works cant help us, but God must intervene in our lives. There were 3 unusual men that had stopped to listen that were sitting on a bench nearby- they were dressed as Women but were visibly men, and listened for a while before walking off.
Laurie and Ron also spoke to 4 teenagers dressed in make up and gothic clothes who had stopped to listen. They had quite a lot of hostility and anger, swearing, but underneath some searching questions, they were feeling judged by some of the scriptures on the boards, so in a way were already wrestling with the bad news (1 Corinthians 6 v 9-11), and Ron made sure they all understood they needed to be washed spiritually in order to begin to approach a Holy God, and spoke of the parable of the prodigal Son and the amazing Father with his hands outstretched waiting for the Son to return home.
Ron also spoke with a couple from Dorset took a tract, spoke to a Hindu man and his son how the God at the top of the mountain (to which all roads are said to lead) is not the God we know who is a loving heavenly father unlike many of the Hindu Gods and whose Son's life, death and resurrection are verifiable historic events (Unlike Mohammed's cave or the Buddha's Bo tree)
Near the end of outreach while Steven was preaching and we were starting to pack up, 2 Police officers came along and started asking questions about our 1 Corinthians 6 v 9-11 sign. This is the whole verse,
'Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were fsome of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
We said we were talking about all sins, and that Biblically marriage was between a man and a Woman and sex only right in this context. However the Police were picking out the bit that mentions 'Homosexuality' and trying to say why did we not have more loving signs that said everyone can go to Heaven?! Simon and I had a good chat with them for over 10 minutes, and they were trying to denounce what we were doing and one made a radio call to her Sergeant to see if the sign counted as hate speech. We said we were not picking out the verse about Homosexuality, but why were they? I said that if Drunkards were forgiven and stopped drinking, how much easier would their job be as Police officers and how much money the Police force spent on this on Saturday nights?
They did not want to comment, but it was obvious they were trying to use their liberal opinions and not the law to shut us down- no one had complained, they just said most people are pro Homosexuality today, which we said was not true, and that why did they not ask Muslims opinions about Homosexuality as the Koran mentions this a lot, but again they did not like this. One of them said we were trying to pick and choose which verses we were following, as why did we wear mixed fibers today etc! He did not want to listen to the explanation about the OT and covenants for the Jews etc, but they eventually left but verified how intolerant the Police force has become and trying to shut people down that do not go along with their own views and values, while not breaking the law.
It was very sad they did not want to give us freedom of speech, and one man walked over and asked us what they had been saying. He was not a Christian but agreed we had a right to show this and not everyone is pro LGBT today.
Laurie and Harry a 4th year student that had come along with Steven had been speaking to a young man called Tom who said he was an agnostic. He had a lovely dog, was asking lots of questions but was an antagonistic agnostic, having been brought upo with one parent a Roman Catholic and one an Atheist, and now he said both parents were Atheist, and that it was wrong for parents to try and force their religion on their children but they should be able to choose what they believe themselves. We talked to him about his worldview having to borrow from the Christian one to make any sense, he took some tracts but was very skeptical and hostile.
It was a beautiful day, a bit windy blowing some of the signs down at times but a real encouragement to now have others in Exeter that are like minded and we can join up with and point to a good Church. Steven messaged me later that evening saying he had been called by young man called Edward after outreach asking questions for half an hour as to 'why does God do violence and allow suffering, why is the Bible not clear and have contradictions'. He asked about 'Matthew and the sermon on the mount vs Luke on a plain, and also don't many religions all worship the same God? Steven said he had a good chat with him and was great the young man felt convicted enough to call him from reading the details on the tract. We are planning to meet up again in a few weeks time and we prayed for the different conversations we had that day and hope we can stay for longer next time.
On Saturday Ed, Laurie and myself planned to meet in Plymouth City Centre for a couple of hours of outreach, and didn't expect to have such a packed time and were so thankful for God already preparing peoples hearts and minds that day. After dropping off the outreach stuff and then trying to find a parking space, I asked two passers by if they could watch the back of my car whilst reversing into a tight spot. I said 'than ks a million' afterwards and gave him a million pound note tract, and he was totally shocked. He said he had seen them before somewhere and wanted to use the idea in his advertising business and had been wondering where he could get one! I showed him the tract on the website and gave him an evangelism card and he was very grateful- I explained this was no coincidence but a God-incidence, of all the people walking past at that time and for him to be the one to be there was amazing.
As I was setting up the flip charts etc in town, 6 lads in their early twenties were sitting on a wall opposite eating their lunch, and looking across inquisitively at what I was doing. I told them it was an intelligence test if they fancied it, and they came across to have a go and then onto the good person test. They really listened and were engaged and for around 20 min listened to the gospel message and why they needed a Saviour. They all listened and at the end one of them asked about purgatory and people spending time there to pay off sins. I tried to explain that this was not in the Bible but made up by the Roman Catholic church a few hundred years ago as a way of scaring people into giving money to the Church to try and get dead relatives to spend less time in Hell, but that it was not in scripture and really a scam. They agreed and all took some tracts and a gave a firm handshake which was really encouraging.
Whilst this conversation had been going on, Laurie had been speaking to 2 Catholic guys from Portugal and Poland that were part of a larger group of Missionaries here from different countries. The conversation was about the role of good works and faith and salvation and knowing we are saved as supposed to hoping we will be. The guys did seem to understand what we were saying and mostly agreed, and took some gospel tracts to look at.
Laurie felt led to read a chapter of John 1 for first time and stood up to share this which was a prompting from her Dad, and she was encouraged and hops to continue to do this again. Ed was handing out gospel tracts to people and stopped to talk to a young guy that was interested in taking a Bible and some tracts which was good, as well as a DVD about Dinosaurs in the Bible and the age of the earth.
That day I had read in my J.C.Ryle devotions book Luke 17 v 26-37, where Jesus talked about Noah and the judgment of the worldwide flood, Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot and his wife, and future judgment to come before Jesus returns. I tried to show people that in these really challenging times we needed security and hope to know where we would go when we died, and the judgment that fll on people before would one day fall again finally.
I was holding a Bible in my hand, and a man stopped to listen and then started to engage with me saying we cant trust the Bible as it was written by men and had been changed lots of times and was written before he was born. He said it couldn't be trusted and was full of contradictions. I asked him to tell me when the Bible had been changed and what the contradictions were. Funnily enough he had never actually read the Bible, but attended a Catholic Church with his daughter, but didn't believe in God. This was a perfect preaching opportunity, and so I tried to show the man the foolishness of his position, how we can trust the Bible, how there are no contradictions, that its the most read and studied book ever and many people who have started off as atheists anting to discredit it, have actually ben saved from reading it and know it to be 100% accurate.
I spoke about the Dead sea scrolls, and how without God and believing in evolution and the Big Bang, people have no idea where we came from, why we are here and where we are going when we die. The gentleman continued to shout and argue, which drew a crowd of about 20 people, and a man who had stopped to listen asked the man about Shakespeare etc and if he believe he existed before he was born. The mans very strange stance was exposed and people could see his argument was non existent, and the man listened while I tried to show him he didn't want to read the Bible because of sin, and that any excuse not to believe it was being used. He put on his sunglasses and actually became quiet and listened, I offered him a Bible which he didn't accept, but he did take some tracts and the two DVDs and he shook hands before leaving.
A few of the people that had been listening stayed while I finished preaching, which led to some conversations to different people listening; a young lad took a bible and tracts, two women took bibles and tracts that Laurie said were listening intently and looked concerned. She told them it's true and its important to think about and take action on, to turn to Jesus. A man had been sat listing listening and took some tracts, and we managed to speak to the man that was a Christian that had engaged the heckler. We all had a great chat with Steven and his family that were previously from London but now pastored a Church in Exeter. He said he had come away from the Anglican Church and was now part of the Free Anglican Church, and he had been praying to meet others to go out onto streets with, he is reformed, likes Living Waters ministries and we exchanged numbers to meet in Exeter one Saturday to preach which was really encouraging for both of us.
Laurie also had a chat with older gentleman called Edward who had asked questions about channeling spirit guides. She said that the Devil masquerades as an Angel of light, and he said that made sense. She told him the gospel and he said he believed that Jesus is the only way of salvation. Laurie gave him a bible and he said he would read Matthews gospel and digest it well! .
It was a truly amazing day and we prayed afterwards for the people we had spoken with and handed out tracts too, and were particularly encouraged to meet Steven and his family and hopefully team up together soon.
Newquay Evangelism: Gospel Advance!
I must admit today I didn’t really feel like heading out onto the streets to share the gospel. The past couple of weeks have been hectic with ministry so I am feeling rather worn down. Yet, the Lord moved in such a way today that I am so glad that I continued with the outreach.
It was just Nigel (The Faith Mission) and I out today; but despite the fact that we were few in numbers we had an extremely productive day of witnessing. The high street of Newquay was very busy with people enjoying the wonderful weather. As we walked along we realised that our normal witnessing location would be no good as there was a very loud busker nearby. As a result we headed further up the road where we found a busy, though quieter area. Here we began to hand out tracts and seek gospel conversations.
Immediately, I was struck by the willingness of people to take tracts; at times it felt like we couldn’t hand them out fast enough. But not only was literature going out, but gospel conversations were beginning to take place also.
The first conversation I had was with a 72 year old retired builder. He told me that he was an atheist as there was no proof of God’s existence. I engaged him with some basic level apologetics, which he admitted made sense. He then went onto reveal that even though he claims to be an atheist he still finds himself praying when things go wrong. I explained to this man that Romans 1 indicates that all people knows that God exists, and that he knows that God is real; the man admitted that he did know, but then said he couldn’t accept Christianity because the Bible was full of holes. I asked if he could show me one of these holes, it was then that he said that he has never actually read the Bible. We chatted a bit more, and I was able to explain the gospel fully to him. At the end of our conversation he said he enjoyed the chat and it gave him something to think about.
The next conversation I had was one of those encounters that you long to have. Two young people took a tract then came back to talk; the man was from Poland and the lady was from Italy. Both told me that they had grown up in Roman Catholic countries, but they never had anything to do with religion. The Polish man said he used to be anti-God and religion, but now he sees clearly that God exists and that He made everything, then he said, “But I don’t know who that God is!” These are the statements that every evangelist wants to hear because we can point to the true God. I explained the gospel to them, and both seemed amazed. They listened very carefully as I spoke of Jesus and how people can be forgiven. At the end of the conversation they were very thankful for the chat; they said it was their first day in Newquay as they were down on holidays from Manchester. Both took a Gospel of John, an indepth gospel booklet and an invite to Newquay Baptist Church. I wish every conversation was like this one!
There isn’t enough space to detail other conversations, but needless to say the Lord was moving today. At the end of the day the Lord really provided a special encouragement to me. As I witnessed to two young men who are doing their theology A-levels, I noticed a couple come in to listen. When I finished the conversation they introduced themselves as being Christians from Birmingham. They told me that as they walked our high street they were saying to each other how wonderful it would be to witness here, then they saw Nigel and I.
As we chatted the man said that he wanted to share a passage of Scripture with me in order to encourage me in the work and whatever else we are facing. He opened the Bible and read Jeremiah 1:17-19
“Therefore prepare yourself and arise, and speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces, lest I dismay you before them. For behold, I have made you this day a fortified city and an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land— against the kings of Judah, against its princes, against its priests, and against the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,” says the Lord, “to deliver you.”
That passage was particularly encouraging as we are facing an increase of demonic opposition in Newquay; which is only to be expected when we stand for Jesus. The battle has been hard and exhausting, so it was a great blessing to be reminded from Scripture that the Lord has not abandoned us.
At around 3pm we had to finish our outreach as we had run out of tracts. We give thanks that the Lord moved in Newquay, and we pray that all those we spoke to and who took literature would come to know and love the Lord Jesus.
How can I describe what Newquay is like during this summer months? Our normally quiet streets are overflowing with masses of humanity from all different backgrounds, contexts and beliefs. At this time of year all of the UK seems to make its way down to the Cornish Coast in order to enjoy a nice holiday. For us this means we are in a strategic location which, if evangelised well, has the potential to impact the entire United Kingdom.
Our outreach commenced with a time of prayer at Newquay Baptist Church as without prayer our evangelism will be futile. We need the Lord to show His mercy, so we asked that the Father would draw many to the Lord Jesus Christ.
At around 1pm we made our way down to the High Street and as was expected we were greeted by crowds of people. The challenge we now face was where we should set up for our open-air meeting, but the Lord had gone before us and in His providence He had arranged for a street stall to pack up and move as we approached.
As Nigel and George of the Faith Mission set up the open-air board, I commenced handing out tracts. Nearly straight away I was engaged in a conversation with a lovely older lady who professed to be a Christian. The concern for me was that she attends a liberal and pro-LGBT Church of England congregation here in Newquay; whenever I hear of someone going to a gospel-denying church I have to wonder about their conversion. As we chatted it became clear that this lady had a grasp of the gospel, but it still wasn’t clear why she attended such a church; eventually I discovered that she had been hurt by other churches, but at the Church of England she found friendship. It should rebuke us to know that the Christ-deniers seem to be friendlier than those who profess to love Jesus; may Christ forgive us for the times that we as evangelicals have failed to love one another. This lady and I had a good chat, and she took the details of our church and also a tract on true and false conversion.
By this stage the open-air board had been set up, so I decided to do something which I have never done before - I used George’s board to preach the gospel. This board was designed by the Open-Air Mission and it contains a magnetic backboard and tract holder; the way the board is used is that the preacher puts up quotes and Bible verses while he preaches, thus enabling people to hear and see the gospel.
My message focused on the question of “Who is Jesus?” I used Matthew 16:13 as my text, and from there I began to show how Jesus is the greatest man who ever lived, died and rose again. The open-air seems to have gone well, and this method of preaching is something I would like to try again.
Today there was a sense of a hardness in Newquay, which made the preaching and the one to ones difficult; for instance after I finished preaching, an elderly man took a tract off Nigel then ripped it up. As he walked by me I said to him, “Sir, may the Lord grant you repentance and faith for tearing up the gospel; one day you will stand before God and give an account of your actions.” The man seemed rather shocked and taken aback, I pray that this one line warning would be used by the Holy Spirit to convict the elderly man and bring him to repentance.
It now came time for George to preach; his message this week focused on “Ultimate Questions”, which included queries such as "Where did life come from?” As George preached he would put on the board what man thinks and what God says. As he did this I noticed a family listening to the preaching, the father was clearly opposed to the gospel, but his young son turned him and said, “Dad, I think the answer is what God says.” Truly the young child speaks the truth!
While all this was going on an elderly lady walked past mocking the gospel, I decided that I would challenge her on that so I asked her, “Why don’t you believe?” Well that question opened up a floodgate! The lady told me that she is a former Roman Catholic but now doesn’t believe in any religion. She went on to list all of her good works and how if God is real He would be happy to have her in Heaven because she is such a good person who never does any wrong. It was then that I said something which I don’t normally say, I said, “You are an older lady, so I will speak to you directly and with respect as I would my own grandmother, but you are self-righteous and the moment you close your eyes in death it won’t be Heaven where you are going, it will be Hell.”
The lady seemed taken aback (I must admit I was shocked I spoke so directly), but once again she began to list all her good works and deeds; again I took her back to self-righteousness and how efforts do nothing to save. This elderly lady had the false teaching of Rome jammed down her throat, and even though she had abandoned Romanism she still had the doctrine of antichrist in her thinking. The more she stressed her works, the more I stressed that her works would damn. I should make clear that this conversation even though it was direct all took place in calm and conversational tones, as I listened to this elderly lady my heart was breaking as I realised that she was in the final hours of life, yet here she was waving her fist at God.
The lady was clearly angry at Romanism (I join with her in denouncing that evil system), but instead of looking at what the Bible says, she kept holding onto the lies she had been taught. After talking for awhile she asked, “If God is loving why the world so bad?” I answered by saying God isn’t to blame for the world being the way it is, rather we are to blame because humanity sinned. When I spoke of sin she went back to her self-righteous ways by talking about how good she is and how she has been married to the same man for sixty years. I commended her for her marital faithfulness, but pointed out that won’t help her when she stood before Jesus. I explained the gospel to her, and called on her to trust in Jesus, but she refused. I asked her, “Are you saying no to God’s love and compassion today?” She looked at me and said, “I’m saying no to Jesus!”
The elderly lady told me she is 80 years old and that in her life she has never seen God do anything good. I looked at her and said, “God causes it to rain, He causes the crops to grow, He causes you to have life, He causes you to have the air within your lungs, He gave you a good husband for sixty years - every good gift comes down from our Heavenly Father. How can you say God hasn’t done anything good?” It was at this point a softening and change occurred, the lady looked at me and said, “How can I be right with God, I am too old to bow and do all the things Roman Catholicism said I have to do.” I stressed to her that God doesn’t look on the externals rather He looks upon the heart; I once again explained the gospel and called on her to repent and trust in Jesus. As I spoke to this lady I majored on the love of God for sinful people and His amazing kindness; I then asked her, “You are old enough to be my grandmother, would you take a gift from me as if I was a grandson giving you something?” She said she would, so I offered her the Gospel of John. She took the Gospel willingly saying that she had read it before and she liked that book. She assured me that she would read it so that she could understand God’s love more.
This elderly lady’s name is Shelia - I told her that I would be praying for her (and I hope you will too); she said she would appreciate all the prayers she can get. May Shelia no longer say no to Jesus, may she instead come to Him in humble repentance and faith.
While all this was happening, George had finished preaching and Ian was locked in a good conversation with a gentleman on an electric scooter. It was this point we realised the outreach time was nearly gone, so Nigel finished the day off by preaching about God’s love in the gospel.
Even though it felt hard today, we rejoice in the knowledge that our God changes hard hearts. Please join us in praying for all those we encountered.
On Saturday I met one of our team members Laurie in the City Centre again to preach and hand out tracts as was another glorious day. While walking up to our spot I passed 5 older teenagers sitting talking on a wall, and asked if they fancied doing a quick intelligence test in a few minutes if they thought they were smart enough?! They laughed and joked about who was the smartest, and thankfully after setting up the stuff they walked up to answer the questions.
It turns out they attended the same school I had over 23 years ago and knew some of the Teachers that had taught me that were still there! I said that the intelligence test dealt with their brain and intellect, but the good person test dealt with morality. I asked them if they had a conscience and if they ever listened to it? We had a very good discussion and they stayed and listened for around 20 minutes which was great, taking tracts and becoming quite somber when listening to what the gospel message entailed, especially seeing the picture of Jesus taking the wrath of God on the cross in the place of sinners, and how they could be forgiven too.
I went to the toilet and when I came back, Laurie was in discussion with a Deliveroo driver from the McDonalds we are normally right outside. He was a Muslim and Laurie asked if he had any assurance that he was going to Heaven as a Muslim? He said he didn't but again hoped that Allah forgave due to confessing sins and doing good. Laurie spoke with him about why a good judge can't let someone off the hook for just saying sorry or trying to outweigh the bad with good, and explained why Jesus was the only person who could pay for his sins in full as he was 100% man and 100% God. The man just believed Jesus was a prophet etc, and said he would never believe anything different about Jesus, but took some tracts to read which was good before he zoomed off for another delivery.
After handing out some more tracts, Ed from our team came along, and so patiently listened to me preach about the fear of the Corona virus, losing jobs, money etc that all of society had, and the masks that people were wearing to try and cover up their mouth to protect them. I tried to link this to man trying to cover up his sins with good works, and how all other religions fail to do this, as seen with Hindu's repeatedly washing themselves in the dirty river Ganges every year which they think makes them clean, is what our good works are like to God. I also tried to explain that stapling on apples to a dead apple true will not convince anyone that the tree is alive, and that a bad tree will always produce bad fruit, which is why although people try and do 'good things' it is always tainted with sin because we have a heart born in sin and so will always produce bad fruit.
I showed that in Adam, we are all born in sin, and we needed to be transplanted into Christ, to have a new heart with new desires and start again, instead of covering up, and that Christ offered them that fresh start and cleansing from sin today!
A few people passed by and stopped to listen, one man that sells the Big Issue walked past and commented that if God existed why did his brother die. I said it was because of sin that all of us will die, and the man exclaimed that his brother had never sinned and was a good person, and didn't like my response that we have all sinned in various ways. He walked off cussing and swearing. Later 2 PARC officers that deal with City Centre incidents before the Police arrive, stopped to listen to me preach (with a small amp on) and radioed to their superiors of what I was doing. Although I presumed it was about a complaint/ too loud, they apparently said to Ed that if I mentioned Covid 19 and if a member of the public complained then I would have to stop preaching, but fortunately no one complained and I finished without any problems.
A youngish couple had been sat on a bench listening for a while, and Laurie went across to speak with them and share. They were from Romania and listened intently as Laurie shared the gospel with them and gave some tracts. Also earlier on a man that looked like Robert Downie Junior/ Iron Man look alike sat down and listened to the preaching and had long chat with Laurie and I afterwards. He was convinced the masks were pointless and that this was all a hoax from the government and a way of controlling people. He had a Buddhist/ New Age background of sorts, and at times agreed with what we all shared, and other times didn't, but he took a Bible and some tracts that we offered him and he was very grateful and gave us a hug! He said he had seen us here before so hopefully we will bump into him again.
It was a good day, and after a bit of a slow start was very encouraging, and we prayed for the people we had spoken to that day before going for coffee and fellowship. We hope to go back to Exeter and down to Newquay soon to meet up with Josh and his team again, and were very thankful that God gave us people that were open to listen to the gospel message and we just pray they see Gods goodness in the gospel that would lead them to repentance.
Newquay Evangelism: Atheism and the Gospel
It was an absolutely gorgeous summer’s day in Newquay; as a result the high street was jammed full of people who were out enjoying the sun. Upon arrival we found a nice spot for today’s outreach; as George and I set up the open-air board and literature table, Nigel and Ian began to hand out tracts. It was encouraging to see people take the printed page in order to read of salvation in Christ alone.
Once the open-air board was set up George began to preach. As he spoke a young woman walked past and yelled out, “I am gay. God hates me!” George replied by pointing her to the love of Christ, but the woman kept walking. What appeared to be a ‘drive-by’ comment would actually be a hook that drew this young lady back to the discussion later on.
George continued to preach for several minutes and then the young woman returned with her friend. She began to heckle, but she was one of those hecklers who would say her comment then let the preacher respond. George did an excellent job in reasoning with her and pointing her to Christ. By the end of the open-air she seemed to have softened considerably.
Of course heckling begets heckling; now that a young woman started the ball rolling the big burly men decided it was their time to jump in. My role was to engage these hecklers one to one as George continued to reason with the young lady. The first man I spoke to claimed to work in the science field, but it was clear he didn’t have an understanding of basic scientific principles. His main objections centred around the question of evolution and also the philosophical question of “Where did God come from?” I answered those questions then brought it around to the biblical message of salvation; whenever we got to the issue of sin and the gospel the man would engage in mockery.
His claim was that sin didn’t exist and that the world is good; keep in mind that he said this while wearing all the safety equipment to protect him from COVID-19. I used his face-covering as an illustration showing that the world is corrupted due to sin; but he he kept on rejecting the message. Finally, I encouraged him to simply go home and watch the news, then as he watches the reports about murder, violence, war and chaos sit back and say, “This world is good; there is no sin here.” The point was made, but his response was to scoff and walk away.
The next heckler I spoke to could have almost been reading from the same playbook, he too claimed to work in science and his main objections centred around evolution and where did God come from. I said to this man, “To ask, ‘where does God come from’ would be like me saying, ‘the Sun gives light, but who lights the sun?’” The man laughed at this and said, “The sun just is!” I smiled and replied, “And God just is. He is outside of time, space and matter; He is the uncaused cause of all things.”
The man then began to engage in the infinite regress fallacy, which I was able to answer; so finally he said, “Prove to me that God exists!” I pointed to one of the buildings which lined the high street and asked, “How do you know that building had a builder?” The man answered, “Because it is there. It is tangible.” I followed up by pointing to a painting in a shop window, “How do you know that painting had a painter?” The man replied again by saying, “Because it is there. It is tangible.”
I then asked him if it would be idiotic to say that tangible things, such as the building and painter, had no painter or builder?” He agreed it would be; so I asked, “You are tangible, as is the world and all created things. How do we know that you and all things have a Creator?” The man paused as he saw the trap that he was in - slowly he replied, “We just happened.”
My point had been made so he was quick to change topics; he began to argue that he knew for sure that the Bible was in error since it is full of contradictions; I asked for just one contradiction but he couldn’t produce it. Finally I said to him, “Jesus tells me why you are an atheist. You love your sin, and you hate the light. You won’t acknowledge God, even though you know He is real, because the moment you do you have to accept the fact that you are accountable to Him.” At this the man mocked and walked away saying, “This is getting too freaky.”
Truly the Psalmist spoke the truth when he said, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.” (Psalm 14:1)
By this stage George had finished preaching so the hecklers disappeared back into the crowds of people. After letting the crowd move and change, I decided it was time for me to preach. Today I thought it would be good to use my flip-chart as a tool to assist in the open-air.
As I began to speak a few people began to gather to listen; I particularly enjoyed seeing a man leaning out of a pub window in order to hear the gospel. I used the flip-chart to explain that none of us are good people, and that we all need the Saviour. I had a few people make comments, but unlike George I didn’t have any good hecklers.
I am so thankful that the Lord allowed the gospel to go out clearly today in Newquay via tracts, one to one witnessing and open-air preaching. My prayer is that the Father would draw many to Jesus through these outreaches.
On Saturday Simon and I drove up in wet conditions to Exeter, praying the forecast was right that it would clear up after lunch. We were hopeful of another good day of outreach in Exeter which has a smaller population than Plymouth but the City Centre is moe condensed and so always has great numbers of people flowing through. Immediately as we were setting up a man and his wife stopped to look at the intelligence test, and after asking what the purpose of us being here was we explained we were Christians and what we were planning to do that day. This led into quite a heated discussion as he was an an 'agnostic' and said that no one can know if God exists or not, and that Science proved how we got here. His wife had been brought up in a strict Jehovah's Witness family that she had come out of, and so both of them were trying to attack the Christian worldview from different angles. We tried to show how Protestant Christianity and the teachings the JW's believed were very different, and the husband claimed we were very arrogant in saying we knew God existed and that Christianity was the right religion as it was the only one where people could have their sins completely forgiven.
They did not want to listen much and kept changing the topic and bringing up supposed new reasons why we were wrong, and didn't want to take any literature to read, and so was an interesting first start to the day! We prayed for the weather to clear up, for good conversations, for boldness to speak the truth and to be protected against the authorities and God was very gracious in answering our prayers. I also said to Simon it would be good if a big group of teenagers wanted to do the good person test to try the new board out, and again God kindly answered our prayers......
First of all Simon and I handed out tracts for about 30 minutes, and two young boys aged about 14yr old boys were up for doing the good person test. It worked really well as it was big, bold and bright, and they listened intently as I tried to show them the links between Christmas and Easter. They took some gospel tracts and said they would read them and think about what was said.
After a few more conversations with different passers byd people stopping to look at the signs, four older teenagers with masks on (as seen in Picture) came along to look at the intelligence test board and find out what we were doing. It turned out their names were Jake, Javier, Reece, Kieran. They lived near London, were staying in Cornwall with friends but had come up to Exeter for the day to shop.great questions and insights. They all listened very eagerly to everything that was said about the law, sin, judgment, hell, Gods grace, Jesus and the cross, repentance and faith, and started to ask many very deep and insightful questions. They were all aged around 17/ 18, and Javier (second on left) in particular as asking questions that a lot of Christians perhaps have never thought about, regarding homosexuality, creation, evolution, Gods attributes and heaven and hell.
I managed top share my testimony and the reason we were out that day from Plymouth is because we cared for people and even though we knew we defiantly deserved Hell and were not good people, by Gods grace we had been saved and forgiven and so were not getting the justice we deserved but Gods mercy, and that God loved them and wanted them to be reconciled to Him that day! I got quite emotional at one point and I hope they saw we were not any better than them, but just better off, and they all took lots of tracts and took pictures of the signs and websites and said they would all definitely be thinking about all that was shared today in our 30 minute or so conversation.
At 2.30pm a lady called Sandra met with us who lived in Exeter. She and I have just joined a Christian ministry called Centre for Bioethical Reform as a pro life volunteer to hopefully do silent demonstrations with big signs in .Bristol and hopefully Exeter and Plymouth, as well as training we had undertaken to defend the Pro-Life viewpoint from a Biblical and Scientific point of view. I have really felt strongly about doing more and have seen this as a good opportunity to meet with other Christians to stand for the unborn and help teach and train other Christians and use their resources as well as Living Waters '180' movie and Christian Institute facts and data to change peoples mind and lead into sharing the gospel with them.
Sheila came to listen to what we were doing and prayed with some people that came to chat who were Christians. Another group of four teenagers came along to see what the good person test was about, and a really strange thing occurred while I was sharing the gospel and how short life was and we didn't know when our date of death would be. While speaking with them, completely out of the blue, one of the teenagers suddenly went rigid like a pole, fell down and bumped his head on the floor. We were all very shocked and after a few seconds he came to, stunned and not really knowing what had happened. We sat him down and asked if he had epilepsy, if he was on any medication, if he had taken drink or drugs that day, to which he answered no to everything. It had never happened before, and although he didn't want to contact his parents his three friends said they would make sure he got home safely. It was very surreal, especially in light of the topics we had just been talking about, and I hope it served as a sharp reminder to them about the fragility of life!
A Muslim couple came up and had a long chat with me and Simon about various topics, the man in particular about Jesus not being God as he didn't know when he would be retuning in judgment, and so therefore he could not be God. We both tried to reason with him about Jesus submitting to the Father and giving up his rights in servitude to the Fathers will, becoming a man whilst still being God, but the man kept trying to go round in circles. In the mean time two teenage girls from Plymouth came along wanting to take the good person test, and so I stood up on the bench to preach through the sheets with them and hope other people would also stop to listen. The Muslim woman came to listen to me and went through the questions with the two girls, and kept asking other questions as we were going through them, but we just about managed to stay on course and the Muslim woman was civil and respectful. They both took som tracts in th end after staying for about 20 minutes to speak, and she had stayed to hlp when the lad head the seizure and was civil and friendly.
Simon had also been speaking to four teenage girls that had stopped while I was standing to preach, and their main issue with Christianity was homosexuality again, which Simon tried to show them that homosexuality wa sone of many sins, and that people were sinners regardless of their sexual orientation, and we all needed forgiveness and any sin could be completely forgiven by God.
Sheila stayed with us to the end, and after 5 hours all together we went home very tired but overjoyed at all that had happened that day, and prayed for the lads we had spoken to in particular, and God met with us in so many more ways than we could have expected with the many events that had happened that day. We just pray Plymouth and Torpoint where we go to Church would be that open and responsive to the gospel when we go out again!
15 July 2020
Newquay is certainly getting busier as the summer tourist season commences. For most of the year our town is small in population, but once the warmer months get here it explodes in size. This means that Newquay is a strategic town for the evangelisation of the UK; with so many tourists coming here we can impact the entire nation without leaving our community.
Just after lunch, four of us gathered at Newquay Baptist Church to pray and prepare for this afternoon’s outreach. When we arrived in the town centre we found that our regular preaching location (if one can have a regular location after a single outreach) was taken by a man who was selling driftwood art. It turns out that one of our team members, Ian, knew this man so he went to chat to him. The man very kindly offered to move his stall so that we could set up to preach. We are so thankful that the Lord’s providence allowed this man to be in the spot that we wanted and that he was willing to move.
The team began to hand out tracts while I set up my sketchboard for the open-air message. It has been over two years since I used my board so I was rather nervous as I got my paints and paper ready. My message was called, “The Way to Heaven", which looks at three wrong ways that people think will help them get to Heaven, then it looks at the one right way; the whole message uses a variety of Scripture but it is mostly based off John 14:1-6.
My nerves were rising up as I got my Bible ready to preach; if I could have, I would’ve happily let someone else take my place as preacher. Even after proclaiming Christ in the open-air for sixteen years I get nervous when it comes time to proclaim. Yet, despite my nerves I had to push forward; I needed to make much of Jesus so I began to speak, “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen…”
A small number of people stopped to listen as I painted and explained the gospel. One man named Simon asked a few good questions during the open-air which I was happy to answer. It turns out that Simon is a school teacher who teaches religion. His questions were good, but they did show a lack of understanding of what Christianity really teaches. We went back and forth for a little time over who is Jesus, and also how we got the Bible. When I asked Simon what will happen to him after death, his response was to say, “I will be worm food.” He didn’t really have any reason for this belief, it just seemed to best fit his current worldview. When Simon went to leave the open-air meeting Ian was able to chat to him and to give him literature which specifically answered the questions Simon was asking.
After my open-air it was time for George of the Faith Mission to preach. He did an excellent job preaching on “Where do we come from?” This message challenged the prevailing mindset of our culture that we are just cosmic accidents; he also clearly preached the gospel to those who would listen.
Next to preach was Nigel, also from the Faith Mission, who spoke on the love of God from Romans 5:8. It was great to hear him expound on who God is and why He loves people. It was a simple, yet clear call to trust in the Saviour.
I finished the day off by preaching from Acts 16:30-31 on the topic of “Are you asking the most important question?” My challenge was that people would consider Christ and then seek Him as the Saviour. I truly pray that many would do just that.
Overall today went very well. A number of tracts were handed out and people listened to the gospel. Please pray that many would come to faith in Christ.
On Saturday 11th July Simon, Ed and myself met in the City Centre to start up outreach again since our last one in March due to the Covid 19 restrictions that have unfortunately been placed on all of us. It was a glorious Sunny day and were thankful it was pretty busy with lots of people out shopping and enjoying the weather. We prayed for Gods protection and freedom to speak to people and for fruitful conversations and opportunities. We acknowledged that we could potentially be nervous or apprehensive of what people may say or if the authorities were called from the local shops, but God gave us strength and fortunately encountered no problems.
We spread out to hand out tracts to the many passers by, and managed to hand out quite a few million pound note and good person comic tracts without anyone complaining, making sure we had a big outstretched arm. I managed to 'apprehend' two young lads from a local school that were just out shopping, and managed to start a conversation with them using the intelligence test questions, before reading through the back of the tract I had handed them. They were age around 14 and so were a bit taken aback and listened to the gospel message, but I tried to make the conversation as interactive as possible to keep them interested so it was not just a monologue without them understanding the implications of what I was saying.
They appeared to understand and knew some things about what Christmas and Easter really stood for, and hopefully they could see the link I tried to make between the two, and why they needed a Saviour. I tried to show using different analogies that even though they were only young and had perhaps not committed major crimes or 'big' sins yet, that it was not the size of the sin that mattered, but who our crimes were against, and I believe this helped them acknowledge whey they would be guilty before God.
They left after around 10 minutes saying they understood what they had heard and what they needed to do, and took some tracts and were pointed to some good websites to learn more about what we had discussed.
After Simon and Ed and I had been handing out tracts for around 30 minutes, I apprehensively stood up to preach, after having not done so for so long knew I would have lots of doubts and thoughts from the enemy contrary to it, but thankfully managed to preach without amplification on the huge array of things that had happened in our society these past weeks, including why Seagulls scavenging for our food on Looe beach the other day was a picture of humanity running towards sin, and Jefferey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell's love of sin, underage sex and money had led them to commit suicide and now be locked up to potentially put many famous names under the bus in what they had done, including Prince Andrew, and how sin leads all of us into wrong situations and never satisfies.
I also spoke about the apparent incoherence between BLM supporters, and their views on abortion, and how many people standing up for what they thought was right in one area of society, could not be backed up in their views of the killing of innocent lives in the womb, and why certain statues of people were taken down for their crimes in the past, however Charles Darwin and Margaret Sanger statues were still on show for all to see. Four older teenage girls had come to listen when I mentioned abortion,a nd folded their arms in disgust, along with a University student called Joseph. I tried to tell people that with the ever shifting sands of society and the instability of the News and media in what was right in life, people needed to put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the same yesterday, today and forever, and that although this virus has made people very fearful of death, there was a hope in a real Jesus that historically lived, died and rose again for the forgiveness of sins, no matter what they had done or where they were at, Jesus promised he would give rest to all that came to him in a humble repentant faith.
Unfortunately without amplification and having drunk the last of my water, rather than sound any more like Barry White, we spoke to the people that had been listening. I went to speak with the student who we found was called Joseph, but he was dismissive and so I went on to speak with the four young women while Ed and Simon spoke with him.
The girls were very adamant that the pro choice view was correct and that as a man, I had no right to say that a woman was wrong for getting rid of a 'clump of cells' in the womb, and that rape and underage pregnancy was a legitimate reason for a woman to have an abortion. I tried to show from their point of view that Biblically and Scientifically life starts from conception, a 'fetus' can have a heart beat from six weeks, that over 95% of abortions are due to 'convenience' and the rape argument they used was only a very small percentage, and even then, it ws not the babies fault of how it was conceived, it was still made in the image of God. The girls listened and we exchanged points of view, one girl walked off, the others stayed and I tried to explain the reason we were out that day and shared the gospel with them again. One girl didn't speak and was listening the whole time and they took some tracts and I tried to point them to some good pro life websites for more information, but from their body language and words I believe had already made up their mind their point of view was right.
In the mean time, I went back to listen to the conversation Simon and Ed were having with the University student who was called Joseph, and he immediately stuck out his had to shake mine, and after speaking to Simon had a great change of heart and had a conversation about his Christian upbringing and University life in Plymouth where he now lived as his parents had recently moved to Cyprus! It turns out he had been brought up in a Christian home, would have maybe aid he was a Christian, and at first when listening to me preach had a preconceived idea of what we were doing, but when he listened and understood he was right on board with what we were all doing and was very happy to be given websites and details of what Church we met at and a bit more about why we were out sharing the gospel that day. He was a real encouragement to us all and Simon gave him a gospel DVD that he had produced to watch and hopefully we hear back from him again.
It was a great day in the end after a slow start, with different people coming to listen and stop at times, others could be seen in the background waiting in the que to McDonalds or Taco Bell listening o our conversations etc. We hope to go out again every 2 weeks and to plan joining up with Josh in Newquay high street which gets very busy, as well as Exeter City Centre which is always seems to have a very positive reception.
Back into the Open Air!
After several months of lockdown, it was wonderful to once again return to the open air in order to proclaim the Lord Jesus. With the restrictions being eased in England we discovered that Newquay is becoming quite busy; since this is the case we thought it would be a good idea to carry to gospel back into the public arena. In order to ensure that we were operating safely we made sure to wear gloves while handing out tracts, and we also had hand sanitiser on our literature table.
At around 12:30pm we made our way down to the high street of Newquay in order to evangelise. The main tract we used today was Roger Carswell’s “Hope Beyond Coronavirus”, which seems to have been readily received by many in the town.
Upon arrival we started to set up the “Free Bible and Literature” table, but before we could get any material out a man stopped to ask if he could have a Bible. This man said he was interested in Christian things and that he was looking for a church to attend. We were able to share the gospel with him and also invite him to services at Newquay Baptist Church.
Since there were four of us out today, Josh Williamson, Tim, and also Nigel and George from the Faith Mission, we were able to hand out quite a number of tracts and engage in several good conversations. One such conversation was with a man named Patrick. Patrick is the kind of man who loves to talk and who has a story for every occasion. He stopped at the table to see what we were offering so we were able to engage him in a gospel conversation. What was sad is that until today Patrick had never heard of God’s love, or of what Jesus did upon the cross; here is a man who was not young, yet he lived in England and had never heard the gospel - truly this nation needs missions!
As the afternoon went on we decided that it would be good to engage in some open-air preaching, so George, Nigel and I all took turns proclaiming Christ. Every preacher was blessed with people stopping to listen to the good news. Personally, I found it quite wonderful to once again proclaim Jesus in the open-air, after I preached I understood what George Whitefield meant when he said,
“I believe I was never more acceptable to my Master than when I was standing to teach those hearers in the open fields. Some may censure me; but if I thus pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ."
I was truly wonderful to be back in the open-air! Please pray for all those we encountered today.