Christchurch (NZ) Team
Tue 3:30pm - 5:30pm - Riccarton (corner of Riccarton Rd and Rotherham St)
Fri 1:30pm - 3:30pm - City (Bridge of Remembrance)
Sat 11am - 1pm - Riccarton (corner of Riccarton Rd and Rotherham St)
Sun 1:30pm - 3:30pm - City (corner of Colombo St and Cashel St).
Contact Glen Richards or Andy Barlow for more information.
It was a privilege and an honour to be enabled to be on the streets of Christchurch this week to proclaim the gospel. Thank you for your prayer support.
I ended up not heading to the streets today (Sunday). I forgot my jacket, and it was cold! I decided to work online instead. But all the other usual outreaches went ahead: Tuesday afternoon in Riccarton with Roger. Friday afternoon in the city with Andy, Greg and John, and then Saturday lunch time period on my own.
I’m going to have to start taking notes for Tuesday, because I can’t remember any of the specific details now! (Oh, I found a picture I took - Roger had a long chat with that person).
Friday’s outreach was interesting. Andy had a divine appointment to talk with John’s son to start with! And so, John and I decided to pair up for ‘walk up’, while Greg would go with Andy.
As John and I went down Cashel Mall, we encountered a group of teens - about 12. I had plenty of energy, so I decided to engage them. They took the bait, but I had to work hard to keep their attention. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to keep it up, and so my law and gospel message was brief. I was also able to answer a few questions. They left with many of them receiving follow up tracts.
Next we were able to have a brief conversation with a young man who was obviously very resistant but trying to be polite. I’d love to know what the deeper issue is, but he didn’t stick around for long. I was then able to briefly share with an African man, who had a Christian background, but was trusting in his works (prayer and church).
After that, I experienced a lot of false start chats with people who didn’t really want to talk. By this stage, we were back at the Bridge of Remembrance and John and I split up.
I finally got a decent chat going, with a man sitting on a bench. He was happy to talk. Sadly, his friend had just committed suicide - so sad. I started out by doing a lot of listening. But, as the chat progressed, I learned he was an atheist who never did anything wrong. He had never been angry with anyone. And yet, amazingly, just after I raised the issue of anger with him, he started using bad language and talking about politicians in very unsavoury ways. He was justifying all his sin and therefore declaring himself good. He was very blind to any kind of reason. I made sure to summarise the law and the gospel, using myself as an example, because he was so closed. And then we parted ways on good terms.
Saturday’s outreach was very interesting. Partly encouraging, and partly sad.
I turned up to the outreach, thinking on how useless prayer and evangelism can seem, and yet how powerful we know they are. I was thinking about how foolish I looked, standing on the corner of the street, trying to engage people to share Christ.
I hadn’t talked to anyone yet, when one of my ‘regulars’ came past (I actually hadn’t seen him for a long time). I asked him how he was. And then he teared up. We sat down, and he was willing to open up about a crisis he was having in his life. I felt honoured that he was willing to talk with a foolish street preacher like me! I did a lot of listening, and I instinctively knew I couldn’t push the conversation to the law or the gospel. (I’ve shared it with him before anyway.) I’m glad I didn’t push, because I ended up learning things about him that I don’t think I would have learned otherwise. To my surprise, he used to be part of a local church, and he used to do street evangelism! But now, he barely believes that God is real! He was able to talk about some of his fears of death (not the process, but the loneliness of it). In the end, I gave him my contact details on a church card and told him, if his crisis eventuated, and he was going to die, I would come and sit with him so he didn’t have to be alone. Later in the day, he messaged me to thank me for the talk. I’ll be praying for him, and hope to see him again. That he would gain true understanding of the gospel, and that God would have mercy and save him.
Later, I ended up talking to 2 young lads. A gentleman joined the conversation - and I initially thought it was the Father, but they weren’t related. The lads moved on, and I was able to focus on the man. It turns out he had a familiarity with the Bible, and yet he was thinking his works would save him. Nothing registered when I clarified the gospel. And then, sadly, I found out he had been involved with the cult: World Mission Society Church of God. At this point, a 3rd person joined the conversation. I initially asked if they could wait till I had finished the chat with the man. They listened for a while, but they couldn’t hold back. They wanted to ‘preach’. He wasn’t abrupt, but he liked to talk. My honest evaluation was that he was mentally unsound. He thought God was talking to him, but what he was saying contradicted scripture. Sadly, the 2 guys seemed to get on well together. I ended up having a 4th person join the conversation! Actually, he just wanted to talk to me, I had talked to him a few weeks prior - and by God’s grace, I was able to remember details from that previous conversation. Sadly, this 4th guy hadn’t remembered the gospel, and so I briefly shared it again, before he moved on.
By this stage, the outreach was over. When you are deep in conversations, time goes fast!
Well, that covers the week on the streets. The online work is as busy as ever. God bless you as you seek to make Christ known to those around you. All glory to God alone.
A regular, yet wonderful week of street outreach this week. Roger was with me in Riccarton on Tuesday; Andy, Roger & Elena were with me in the City on Friday; I was in Riccarton on Saturday, and Tanush and Susan were with me in the City on Sunday afternoon.
I’m going to go in reverse order - hopefully that will get my memory going!
No flipcharts on Sunday. The focus was on walk-up, which seems to be Tanush’s preference. She emboldened me! We started with a chat with a young filipino - he said he only thinks about the after life sometimes, late at night. He wasn’t really engaged in the conversation. So it was good when his parents joined the conversation. His dad was more open. Turns out they come from Oamaru, which is where I grew up! Sadly I didn’t get to talk to the parents for long - they had to go, but both the Father and the son accepted tracts.
Tanush led the next chat, it was with 2 chats, 1 of them was very resistant. She passed the convo to me, but it didn’t last long. We parted on good terms, and the non-resistant 1 took a tract.
Tanush tried again, and this time I left her to it and got into my own chats. Tanush ended up in a long chat with a guy. And I was able to have a follow up chat from last week - they had 3 others with them this time, and 1 of them seemed impacted by the law and the gospel. He accepted a copy of the gospel of John.
Susan was with us by now, and we decided to head to the sunshine nearer the bridge of remembrance (it was a nice late autumn day). I saw Tanush and Susan have 2 more conversations, and I was able to have 2 more too. My last one was great. It was with 5 young lads. They were joking around a bit, but I could tell I was getting through to them, because they were asking really good questions.
Saturday’s outreach was great. In 2 hours I had 2 conversations (plus change) for about 45 minutes each.
The first was with a man with an accent. It turns out he had German descent. He is a medical doctor working at the Hospital and for the medical school. Most of the conversation was focused on how we know God exists. I challenged his assumption that we can’t be sure - because that is clearly what he needed. He was obviously very familiar with Christian concepts, but he’s been hoodwinked away from it. I didn’t forget to make sure I shared the law and the gospel. As the law brings the knowledge of sin, and the gospel is the power of God for salvation - apologetics can’t save. He was very engaged, because part way through the conversation, he got a phone call. This often kills chats, but not this one. He took the call, and then we got straight back to our conversation!
The second was with a young man with Russian descent. He has only just arrived in the Country. He is going to study communications at UC (University of Canterbury). Previously he had been at a Catholic High School in Brisbane. But it seems like he grew up in Russia. He believed in the Nordic gods (philosophically, not literally). For him, religions were like a candy shop, he takes what pleases him. Sadly, that is idolatry. Part way through the chat, he started reacting negatively (emotionally) when I had been engaging him purely on a logical level. I could tell what I was saying was making sense to him, and he didn’t like it (he doesn’t get to make god, instead, God made him). I decided to disengage at that point, I shook his hand thinking he would move on. But to my surprise, he wanted to keep chatting, and stayed for a lot longer. I was able to finish sharing the law, share the gospel and move into check questions. We ended up shaking hands quite a few times at the end of that chat - I’m not sure why! God willing he will have many more opportunities to engage with the gospel at UC.
Friday was great! Martin from up north joined me for some outreaches during the Christmas period, and his friend, Elena, was in Christchurch - so she joined us for outreach. It was great to have her with us.
There was a climate change protest happening. I always love that, it attracts passionate young people to engage with the gospel! Elena and I ended up having a great chat with a very thoughtful young man called Luc (french descent; he wasn’t actually involved with the protest). Andy had a long chat with a young high school age girl who had been involved with the climate change protest. Roger was busy as well.
I found it interesting that when the protest actually went past, how few people seemed to be in it, compared to previous times.
And that leaves me with Tuesday’s outreach. Now, I’m sure I had some interesting chats - but I just can’t remember them. But, I do remember Roger having a conversation with 12 (I counted them) high school students at one point. They were all at different places. Some of them even came across the street to talk with me. One girl seemed genuinely stoked to have heard the gospel: she told it to me unprompted! But there was resistance in the others. Some of them were Muslim: one of them said he had talked to me before in the city - in hindsight, I remember the chat.
Anyway, they are the highlights of the week. All glory to God alone. Thank you for continuing to pray for us!
Due to rain on Friday and Saturday, I decided to do my 2nd favourite thing: share the gospel online! But, on Tuesday afternoon I was in Riccarton, and on Sunday afternoon I was in the city with Susan. So, this report will only cover those 2 outreaches.
I’ll start with Sunday’s outreach. It was a cold winter wind, but the sun was hot. I was layered up and so for the first part of the outreach, I was too hot! I was also feeling tired, and so I decided I was just going to focus on tract distribution - if a chat got started, great! But I wasn’t going to push myself. The start of the outreach was slow. Tracts were going out, but no chats.
Then I saw Mary. I hadn’t seen her for a long time. I had long chats with her partner, Michael, many times on the streets. Sadly, he was very resistant to the gospel, and yet, he seemed to enjoy engaging with me in regards to the gospel. The first thing I asked Mary was, “how is Michael?”. She said, “Oh, he passed away 2 years ago - liver failure, he was refusing treatment, because he didn’t want them to put holes in him, he was trying alternative treatments”. I felt devastated. That is the 4th person I’ve ministered the gospel to on the streets who has since passed away (that I know of). And thinking of all 4 of them, from what I could tell, they were rejecting the gospel. So sad, when God’s mercy is free. It really makes me reflect on how important it is to continue sharing the gospel, as we can. Life is so short, everyone is going to die, and they need the gospel. And yet, God is in control, and it’s not my responsibility to save anyone. I rest content, that either way, God will be glorified, either through his mercy or through his justice. God, we pray for mercy!
Anyway, eventually, after a few false starts, I was able to get into a gospel chat with 2 young ladies. As this chat was happening, Susan arrived and listened in. Immediately after this chat, I was able to get a chat rolling with 6 young lads. 3 of them instantly disengaged, but 3 of them stayed. The first was atheist. But his 2 friends were agnostic. It was such a good chat, because the building / builder analogy clicked for all 3 of them, and then I challenged the atheist to the good person test - he was keen! When I asked if he had lied, he said, “no”. And his friend instantly looked at him, “yes, you have, it’s a lie to say you’ve never lied!”. By this stage, the other 3 guys were back. This time I asked if he had ever disobeyed his parents: “Nope”. And then one of those 3 said, “yes you have!”. Haha, my point was being made clear to all! Sadly, this is where the chat broke up, the 3 guys pulled the atheist away, but the other 2 guys were keen to stay. I was able to share the good news of Jesus with them. One of them in particular seemed very interested.
Finally Susan and I were able to have a time of prayer, when immediately I was approached by a Christian man I haven’t seen in a few years, I was able to have a catch up with him, and then another Christian guy came to catch up - I broke that chat off, because I want to talk to unbelievers on the street!
To finish, I want to point out the picture in this report. Note what was written on the back of his top: “Dream Big. Live Larger.”, but, underneath it says in small writing: “Pursuit of Happiness”. There is nothing wrong with being happy! But, this is the god of the age: self. It is so meaningless. I wish more people would read Ecclesiasties. God, again, I pray for mercy, have mercy upon Christchurch, New Zealand, and beyond.
Now Reflecting on Tuesday’s outreach in Riccarton. I turned up and set up my flip chart when soon after a homeless person turned up with their shopping cart and parked it directly behind me (pictured). It’s the first time I’ve ever seen them. I said hello, but they didn’t want to talk. Anyway, they stayed there behind me for the whole outreach. God willing they listened into the gospel chats I was having!
During the outreach, someone in a car was stopped, waiting for traffic, right next to where I have my flip chat. He wound down his window and started talking to me like I knew him. He told me he was moving to Melbourne. As I reflect on that now, I think I know who it is. His name escapes me at the moment, but it was a unique name. I’m pretty sure I had a few long gospel chats with him over time. From memory, at one time he was very open, but then later he became resistant as he counted the cost - if I’m remembering right. Oh well, it was nice of him to say goodbye. May he forget me, but I pray he doesn’t forget that his sin is serious and that Jesus came to save sinners! I wished him all the best as he drove off, there wasn’t time to say anything more than that.
I simply can’t remember any of the details of the other chats I had for that outreach, except I remember that it was cold! Glad I had my jacket - I even had to put my beanie on. And at the very end of the outreach, as it was getting dark, a lady came to talk to me. She is a Christian and trying to help a local homeless person. She was asking me for advice on what services are available to help. We discussed the gospel being the greatest need!
Anyway, I’ll leave my report at that. Again, I thank you for supporting this ministry through prayer!
Another week of God’s patience, another week of outreach. God is good. All the normal outreaches went ahead. I was on my own in Riccarton on Tuesday and Saturday. Roger & Andy joined me for the Friday afternoon outreach in the City. And Mike was with me for the Sunday afternoon outreach in the City.
I’m going to start with Sunday’s outreach and go backwards. I set up my flip chart down from the JWs. It was a bit of a slow start. I was able to catch up with some regulars before I had a guy approach me. He was handing out tracts (Ray Comfort)! He was feeling nervous, and so was asking for some tips, which I gladly gave. Good to know that others are out sharing the good news! Sadly, he is not connected to a church, but I decided not to push that for the time being. Mike arrived, and we started talking about making more flip chart stands, when 3 young skater lads went past - I was able to get them interested in the good person test. I gave the chat to Mike, and he was away (pictured).
I moved away and started handing out tracts when I got a great opportunity to have a conversation with a young couple. She was studying philosophy at Uni, and he is studying law. When I asked if they thought about what happens after life, she responded with, “oh, that’s deep, I think I want to be ignorant”. Starting from there, I was able to explain why this is NOT something you want to be ignorant about, and then I proceeded to explain how we know God is real, the law, and the gospel, and a few check questions. They seemed impacted, and I enjoyed the chat.
Mike had a whole lot of the King Charles Million Pound Tracts from Living Waters, and so I decided to start handing these out. They were popular! They gave many people a chuckle, at the very least (pictured).
Later, a deaf man and 2 of his children approached the flip chart. He just wanted a million pound note to read, but his kids were keen to go through the flip chart - it was a good chat, if not a short one.
As I had the Jesus page of the flip chart up, an Asian lady stopped and stared at it. We were able to engage her in conversation afterwards. She was from China, and her English wasn’t the best, but Mike had a gospel tract in Chinese on him!! Mike was able to use it as a bridge to have a conversation (pictured).
The day finished with me encountering a young man that I haven’t seen in a while. I first met him about 4 years ago, and at one point he made a profession of faith. But sadly, he went AWOL. The next time I saw him, he was in the Mother god cult. After reasoning with him on that, I eventually had to block him on Facebook due to his intensity. Well, it was good to see him again, at least he is out of the cult now, but he is still not converted, and he is still intense. In the end I wanted him to leave, and he did. But, as I was walking home from outreach, we providentially encountered each other again. He seemed to be humbling himself, and so I agreed to unblock him so we could continue talking. While we have breath, there is still hope!
Saturday’s outreach was good. I’ve got a regular there now: Kelvin. He is retired, and he enjoys chatting, but he is very resistant to spiritual things. But, I’m there to talk about spiritual things, and he knows it, so I decided to push today. He rolled with it. He wants to deny the reality of God, but he can’t. And then when I took him through the law, he resisted hard. Insisting on his innocence. A laboured the law, because he needs to hear it. I didn’t get to the gospel, and he wouldn’t take a tract, but we parted on good terms. Hopefully I’ll see him again next Saturday, God willing.
I had a long chat with a young Filipino lad. He had a Christian background, and yet the gospel wasn’t clear to him, in fact, he seemed to be subtly trusting his works. I worked through the simplicity of the gospel with him and a number of check questions. He had a number of questions that I was able to address with him. It was a good chat.
I had a number of other opportunities on Saturday. I ended up leaving a little early, as I was feeling a little bit sick. I think I just needed some lunch, as I was fine after that.
Friday’s outreach was great. Roger and Andy are both pictured. I ended up having a follow up chat with a guy I hadn’t seen for 3 years! I had talked to him many times before the gap. He now lives in Auckland, hence why I haven’t seen him for 3 years. Sadly, he was resistant - probably the most resistant I’ve ever seen him. And yet we had a good long, but intense, chat. God in his mercy has allowed him to hear the law and the gospel again, and it’s his power for salvation. God can change the heart! We parted on very good terms. Lord, save him!
Tuesday was busy! I arrived at the outreach spot, and instantly saw a group coming past. I got out my tracts and prayed quickly, before engaging them. It was a big group, and they were all in different places. But I was able to hold the attention of 3 of them. One in particular was resistant yet engaged. I ended up talking for about 30 minutes.
I then headed down Riccarton Road and got straight into a chat with a young man. Soon, his friend joined him, and then later another. We ended up talking for 1 hour. The 2nd friend was asking all the hard questions, and before I could even finish answering, she would ask another, and then another. Whew! But after 20 minutes, she felt comfortable enough with the conversation to say she was gay. And so we discussed that for a while, me trying to hold the balance right: homosexuality is a sin, Jesus came to save sinners.
After the chat, I realised how tired I was, and ended up going home early. I did some Insta conversations to make up the time. I love the balance the online work brings to my energy levels. God is good.
Well, that’s a wrap for this week. Thanks so much for your prayer. We appreciate it so much. All glory to God alone.
A full week of street outreach this week, based on my normal schedule. I was on my own in Riccarton on Tuesday and Saturday. Andy, Roger and John were with me on Friday in the city. And Tanush joined me on Sunday in the city. Plus, plenty of wonderful gospel opportunities online.
So, let's start with Tuesday’s outreach. 2 significant conversations from that outreach stand out in my mind.
The first was a chat with a young man with Russian ancestry. It was a shorter chat. He seemed to come to a limit with the information I was giving him, and I decided it was good to stop and leave him to process it. He heard the law and the gospel.
The second chat was with a man from South America. He did say which country, but I have now forgotten that detail. He had just arrived in NZ and was going to spend some time improving his English before moving into a job in the dairy industry. But his English was actually very good. He was very engaged, and eventually he invited me to sit on the seats behind my flip chart so we could discuss in leisure! We had a long chat, where he admitted he was convinced that God was real, but when he faced the reality that God therefore gets to make the rules he all of a sudden didn’t want God to be real! I pointed this out to him, and he could see my point. He came away clearly understanding the gospel, and yet he understood the cost (his life would come into submission of God).
As I turned up to Friday’s outreach, I noticed Andy was already there and he was in a deep conversation (pictured).
Roger arrived and we set up his flip chart - instantly it attracted 2 people. Roger engaged one of them, while I engaged the other with the flip chart. We were busy for the rest of the outreach.
I moved further down the mall and started handing out tracts. I had a guy stop (he actually seemed to beeline over to me) and we fell into a chat. He was German and into the new age. He explicitly rejected rationality and the mind, over emotion and the heart. And yet, reality trumps his worldview, and I reasoned with him anyway. I was making slow progress, in spite of his resistance, when a couple of my regulars came over to break up the conversation. Adam came over and hugged me (as he usually does). Adam speaks German and started talking to the guy I had been talking to, and then the guy decided to leave - refusing a tract. Adam was gleeful that he had ruined my opportunity to share the gospel: “he didn’t want to talk to you anyway Glen, I could tell”. He was right, he was resisting what I was saying. I wasn’t disturbed, God is sovereign. Our labour is never in vain, and God’s purposes will never be stopped.
Adam noticed Andy in the distance (still in his original conversation) and decided to go and break that up too. Yet, I was glad to hear afterwards, Adam’s attempt totally failed. The lady Andy was talking to was very engaged in the conversation and wasn’t going to be put off!
On Saturday I had a number of interesting chats. One was with an older gentleman. “What is it?”, he says, “religious stuff?”. I responded in the affirmative: “it’s a Christian gospel tract”. “Ahhh, that’s a load of rubbish”, he says. I didn’t back down, and so we sparred on the street! He was fighting hard, and I didn’t flinch, responding quickly and striking back. Of course, there was mutual respect as this was happening - nothing nasty: just worldviews clashing. After a while we parted ways with a handshake. Only God knows what effect the law and the gospel had with him.
Another chat started when a lady with two of her children approached me. Her daughter wanted to do the good person test. I was up front with what it was about, and although her worldview was completely different, she seemed to want her daughter to hear the gospel. It was a bit uncomfortable, but I wasn’t going to turn up an opportunity to share good news, and I did exactly that.
Finally, I fell into a long chat with a guy who ended up wanting to judge God as evil for allowing evil. When I challenged him on his basis for judging God, he pointed to himself. Ridiculous. He came away hearing the law and the gospel.
Sunday was rainy, but not enough to stop any outreach. I had two great, separate, conversations with guys from India. The 2nd guy was keen to get in touch, and left with a gospel of John, a tract, and a contact card for my church with my contact details on it.
Later, Tanush was with me, and we had a great walk up chat with 4 girls. They went to a Christian school, but didn’t know the gospel. There were times in the conversation where you could see they were challenged in spite of resistance. They heard the law and the gospel. I was also able to have another follow up chat with one of my regulars. We ended up discussing homosexuality and why it’s sinful: because God says so.
It’s the end of another awesome week of gospel outreach. Another week of God’s patience. A standard week this week, although I stayed online on Friday due to rain. I’ll work backwards in my report, starting with today’s (Sunday) outreach in Cashel Mall.
It was a mini outreach revival. There was a team of 6! Binu, Mike, David, Susan, Tanush and myself.
I started out on my own in my usual spot, corner of Cashel and Colombo. They JW’s had taken my flipchat spot; so I stashed it and decided to hand out tracts close by. I got into a good chat with one of my regulars when Susan turned up. And then Tanush turned up. We grabbed the flip chart, and moved down the mall to a nice sunny spot half way down, we prayed and got into it. Tanush and Susan paired up and moved off to do ‘walk up’, while I manned the flip chart.
I was instantly into a chat with a ‘journeyman’ (he defined it as someone who travels for 3 years to learn). He was from Germany. Since he was keen to learn, I said I had something to share, and we fell into a gospel chat. It was a short one, but a good one. He started out as an atheist, but couldn’t argue with the logic I was giving him. I was able to share the law and the gospel, before he had to go.
I turned around, and David was standing by my flip chart! Oh, hello! It’s been a while! It was so good to have you join the team today David!
As we were catching up, four young ladies approached the flip chart. I sensed a setup, and I wasn’t wrong. They were nice, but it turned into an apologetics battle and the tension of it had become uncomfortable. So, I decided to defuse it and switch it to the conscience rather than the intellect. They were curious about the pages of the flip chart, and so I used that to switch to the law, and then the gospel. We parted on good terms, and all but 1 took tracts.
And lo and behold there were 2 more! Mike and Binu had arrived. I was exhausted from the tension of that chat, and so I let Mike join David on the flip chart and left Binu to hand out tracts, while I went to get some snaps. Tanush and Susan were going strong! Afterwards, Tanush told me they had 3 gospel opportunities. So good to see you growing in your passion for evangelism Tanush! Keep up the good work for the glory of God!
The outreach went long when Tanush and I had a good conversation with a young couple. And David was having a separate chat beside us (he took over my flip chart, haha). Such a good outreach!
Saturday I was on my own in Riccarton, but it was a wonderful and busy outreach. It started with a brief chat with a young Muslim. Before Matthew, who I talked to the week before, came past again. Being a Christian, we ended up discussing predestination - a difficult subject that Christians wrestle with.
The outreach ended with an interesting situation: two high school aged boys approached the flip chart - I recognised one of them, I’ve talked to him before on a Tuesday outreach. He was resistant, but his friend engaged. As I was explaining the gospel, another couple stopped and listened from a distance. These situations are difficult, because there is only 1 of me! I suspected the new couple were resistant and thought they were going to break up the conversation. I was going to wrap up my current chat and engage them. But then I realised that they were going to interrupt, so I decided to continue my first chat and labour through the checks.
Once the 2 guys had left, I was able to engage the new couple. And then I realised I recognised him. He is a good friend of a friend who used to join me in street outreach. He is a passionate Catholic! I’ve had a long chat with him before. We are Facebook friends and he had seen the link to a video I had shared the day prior of a conversation Ryan had had with a Catholic. He hadn’t watched the video, but in God’s providence, he was standing in front of me now! We got into a good chat. He loves to debate, but the outreach was ending. He was keen to take my email address so we could continue the chat. I hope he gets in touch.
On Tuesday it was a team of 3: Jermaine and Roger were with me. It was a busy outreach with all 3 of us in separate conversations at multiple times. My highlight chat was with a young lady who obviously had a religious background but had never grasped grace. As I was working through the check questions I could see it starting to click into place for her. It was so encouraging.
Later, Jermaine pulled me into a chat with a young man who already seemed to have a good grasp of the gospel, claimed to be a Christian but wasn’t in a church. He had recently immigrated to New Zealand. Both Jermaine and I invited him to our churches: I gave him my contact details.
Well, this morning (Sunday) he rang me! He was coming to church. I met him outside, and brought him in to sit with my family. Afterwards I was able to introduce to other members of the church and he was connected with a home group leader. I’m hopeful that he will continue coming and we will get to know him better!
All glory to God for this wonderful week of street outreach. The online outreach work is still going strong. We have more message requests on Instagram than we ever have. And they all lead to gospel conversations. Some of those conversations are wonderful, when people truly seem to grasp what Jesus is all about. Here are a couple of comments from one person I talked to this week:
“I literally was crying when you were breaking stuff down and this is good news and I’m soooo happy I thought I knew the full truth about Christ!!! How foolish am I. Now now now now I trust he paid for my sins I understand completely” and then, in response to the ‘2 things’ check: “no because they still didn’t accept his salvation. I get it now. The only way of true salvation is to accept the free gift of him paying the price for my sins.. past present future sins and nothing I could have done could have saved me. Spreading the gospel, feeding the poor,tithing , loving everyone,worshiping repenting daily, even in his name - nothing I could do to bring me to heaven except… accepting his true loving wonderful freeeeeeeeeeeee giiiiiiiiiftttt!!!! ?? I’m so happy my brother I’m saved”.
All glory to God alone.
Quite an interesting week of outreach this week! It ended with me needing to call the police. And thankfully that wasn’t for my safety. I’ll work backwards in this report till I get to the start of the week.
So, starting on Sunday afternoon (today) I was on the streets for a couple of hours, Susan joined me for the 2nd hour. I was feeling tired, and so I decided I would just focus on handing out tracts. But, lo and behold, I ended up having many interesting conversations.
The last one was with a young philosophy / economics graduate from the University of Canterbury. Susan had handed him a “How we know God exists and why it matters” tract and I engaged him with my usual question: “what do you think happens after life?”. Being a philosophy student, I wasn’t surprised by his resistance to the cosmological argument. But we fell into a really good and friendly conversation that went quite long. I was able to share the law and the gospel with him - but I could see it had little effect. He liked to ponder other abstract ideas. Interestingly, he noticed that everyone in his philosophy courses (mainly non religious people) would agree with him about things. And so, he sought out Christian ministries on campus to get a different perspective! He was even at Cornerstone Church today (near the campus). Sadly, he still currently denies the reality of God, or at least says it can’t be proven. But there is hope when someone is hearing the gospel. I gave him my email address, and I hope he gets in touch to continue the conversation.
It was during this conversation that I became aware of a guy throwing something large at the glass doors of the BNZ bank! I called the Police and stayed around until he was arrested. So sad. Earlier in the outreach, he went past me and even accepted a tract. I hope he reads it while in custody.
There were at least 4 other interesting interactions from the outreach:
As I was walking into the city, I passed 3 young guys - I instinctively wanted to start a conversation with them, but I was torn - I needed to be at the outreach spot on time, in case someone else was going to join me. I decided to be at the outreach spot on time, but I prayed that I would have an opportunity to talk to them later. Well, lo and behold, during the outreach they indeed came past! I didn’t hesitate, and I approached them for a conversation. I was able to share the law and the gospel. It was a great chat!
Earlier I talked to 2 guys, who were involved with “black magic” (his words). They heard the gospel, and they seemed to understand it, but they were rejecting it for now, sadly. They left with tracts.
Two young ladies stopped to take tracts, and even stayed to talk - but I could tell they wouldn’t stay for long - with that in mind I shared the law and the gospel with them.
Finally, one of my regulars, Rob, went past. He can be a bit of a time waster, so I decided to be direct and lay the law thick. Not surprisingly he wasn’t interested in the gospel. I regularly pray for him, may God convict him and open him to the gospel!
Saturday’s outreach to Riccarton was busy and interesting too. The first thing I noticed was that the JWs had set up not far from where I usually set up (pictured)! They are becoming more active again, post Covid.
I was able to catch up with the owner of the SoYo (frozen yoghurt shop) - who I also saw on Friday in the city!
But as to gospel chats, I talked to couples: 2 guys, then 2 girls, and then a girl and a guy.
The 2 guys had Christian backgrounds (1 Anglican, the other Presbyterian) - but they were trusting their works. It was a great, full, chat with the flip chart. They really seemed to grasp and appreciate the good news, which was very encouraging.
The 2 girls had been watching me for a while on the other side of the street, before deciding to come over and engage, obviously curious about the flip chart I was using. It was a good chat, 1 believed in God the other didn’t. A standard law and gospel chat. Interestingly, during this conversation, a lady interrupted and asked the girls if they were comfortable having the conversation. They looked at her in surprise, and said, “yes”. The lady said, “oh, okay, all good”, and walked off. Because, talking to an old, religious, man on the street would make you uncomfortable - right?
The guy and the girl chat seemed to be a set up of some kind, they were mildly mocking at the start, but then they started asking all the hard questions at the end, when they realised what I was saying made sense. Oh well, they heard the law and the gospel!
Also, I had a young lady approach me. She said I had talked to her last year and I had given her a Bible. I don’t remember it. She said she had to “spread the gospel” to get to heaven, so I had to correct her on that! I gave her a card for my church (she lives in the area).
And earlier I had a guy approach me to try to give me an opened energy drink (very odd)! I tried to engage him, but he said, “I’ve already talked to you at the Ellesmere A&P Show”.
These engagements are actually encouraging. It’s good to know that people remember being approached to specifically hear the gospel!
Friday’s outreach was good, Andy and Roger were with me.
I re-encountered the trans person I talked to a few weeks earlier. This time he didn’t have the bright red lipstick or dress on. He greeted me warmly, but said he didn’t have time to stop and talk. I hope to see him again!
I spent time talking to the SoYo owner (and gave him a gospel of John), I didn’t know he had a money exchange place in the central city as well!
I also talked to a guy who knew a lot about the Bible, but was a philosophy type - interested in information and ideas, just not interested in the one who gave us the ability to think!
And finally, I want to mention the Easter Monday outreach. A cruise ship was in, I heard someone say over 4000 people were in Cashel Mall! 800 tracts were distributed + all the hot cross buns. (And 600 tracts were distributed on Easter Saturday.) I’m out of time to talk about it, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking!
Jesus is risen indeed! Death and hell are defeated. Let's preach it to ourselves, all day and every day, and proclaim it far and wide!
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! :) Happy Easter, the time when we can start a gospel chat by asking, “why do you think we call good Friday ‘good’, when we remember a man dying on a cross?”
This week, the outreach schedule was very different. With the shops closed on Friday & Sunday (today), we didn’t do street work on those days. Instead I worked online.
But on Saturday (and then again tomorrow, Monday) we ran a special Easter outreach that we call the Hot Cross Bun and Gospel Tract Outreach. Also, on Tuesday, Roger and I ran our usual afternoon outreach to Riccarton.
So, the focus of the Easter outreaches is giving tracts, along with a gift of a hot cross bun or easter mini egg. People are always blessed to receive the gift!
During the outreach on Saturday we gave away 500 buttered hot cross bun halves. We had 3 buttering stations down Cashel Mall, and trays were loaded up and taken by Christians to offer to those going past. Also, flipcharts were up and many gospel conversations were had. I’ll let the pictures do the talking! From my perspective it went really well.
I didn’t have many gospel chats myself, as I spent my time, during the 2 hour outreach, going from station to station to make sure everything was going well.
Down one end, we had the JW’s across the road, and then the Hare Kristina's turned up and set up on the other side of us. It wasn’t a problem, we just kept to our own tasks.
I offered hot cross buns to the JW’s. And at the end of the outreach, one of the Hare Krishna's came over to chat with me. I’ve actually talked to him a few times before, I had some in depth chats with him years ago. But today he approached me and told me he was a bad Catholic! I found that odd, but we fell into conversation, and it turns out that, as a child, he never got satisfactory answers to questions from the Catholic church. So, I did my best to address those questions and was able to share the law and the gospel with him (again) in the process. I hope to be able to see him, and some of the other Hare Krishna's that I’m getting to know, again to be able to continue the conversation.
I love the photo I took at Riccarton on Tuesday, the autumn colours in the trees are lovely - with Roger in conversation below their canopy.
He seemed to be having a good conversation with the ladies in that photo, but then a group of high school kids came and started interrupting it. I took the initiative, and went to engage the school kids. Eventually I was able to get them to come across the street to my flip chart. They were rowdy! I couldn’t engage them as a group, and so I tried to focus on individuals. The girl of the group seemed to be the most resistant - asking me hard questions initially. But to my surprise, she was the one that stayed to hear the gospel (all of her friends left her and went to the mall). It ended up being a good conversation with her. It turns out she has Muslim influences in her life, and she wanted to go and get her brother to talk to me. Sadly, I would have left the area by the time she got back, but I told her to get her brother to contact me.
Well, 1 more special outreach tomorrow: 11 am in Cashel Mall, central Christchurch - giving away the gospel + hot cross buns. The weather forecast is not looking the best - but God will get us through! Please come and get involved! And please pray that it will go well: that God will be glorified!
Another busy week for the Christchurch team! Mainly because of the Oxford A&P Show outreach on Saturday. But we were out on the streets in the city on Friday and Sunday as well. For the 2nd week in a row, Tuesday’s outreach in Riccarton was a wash out! But that time was well spent online. It’s almost a full time job keeping up with the messages we receive on Instagram - at one point we had 256 unread messages! :O Such a good problem to have, because each thread is a gospel conversation! Very grateful for the opportunity we have to work online sharing the gospel there!
But let me start with Friday’s outreach. It was a hard day! I spent the morning sharing the gospel on Instagram, before having a difficult video chat on the YouTube live stream. The girl I was talking to was very resistant, and had a deep hatred for God: that he would allow the world to be the way it was. My heart was really pumping through that chat - because I found it so difficult to stay calm in the face of such hostility.
Roger joined me on the street. He had his flip chart up. I decided to work without a flip chart. I was busy, but pretty much all my chats were difficult. First up was a young man with a Sri Lankan background - he was intelligent, and willing to talk, but was resistant to the idea of God being real. We sparred for a while, before he said he had to go.
The next chat was probably the hardest of the day. A guy wearing bright red lipstick and a dress came past. As always, I smiled and offered a tract. He looked at my eyes, and he stopped to accept it. I smiled and said, “it comes with a question: if you have a moment; what do you think happens afterlife?”. He contemplated for a few seconds and said, “I guess I have some time”. So, we fell into a law and gospel conversation. As I took him through the law, it was obvious that he was uncomfortable with the conversation. From time to time, his eyes would dart around, instead of look at me. Yet, I was giving him the respect I would give any person.
Part way through the chat, a lady approached us, and then asked him if he was okay. We were both surprised, and there was an awkward pause. Then he said, “it’s okay, we are just having a conversation”. The implication was obvious, and I actually felt very hurt by the insinuation that I was doing something wrong. But I smiled and shook her hand as I politely included her in the conversation. But once she realised “all was well”, she moved on, and I could continue the conversation.
The issue of homosexuality was raised and discussed. And I didn’t shy away from saying what it is: sin. And it’s not okay to stay in sin. But, that God’s forgiveness is totally a free gift. It was obvious he didn’t like the answer. But the truth is the truth.
He wanted to know what church I was part of, he even wrote it down, just before his phone ran out of battery life.
The way our culture is going, the biblical position on sin and sexuality is not going to be tolerated. I know there will be consequences for this. But I will continue preaching the gospel in love. If I go to prison, I will preach to the other prisoners. And if they kill me, I will preach to my persecutors and pray for them before I expire and go to heaven. God, have mercy.
I then moved into another difficult chat. With a guy who was obviously struggling with the reality of evil and suffering. Again, the guy's subtle anger towards God was evident. And my emotions couldn’t take it. I told him I’d had a hard day, and I wasn’t up for a fight. He was happy to take a tract as he left.
My last chat of the day was with a young university student. Again, deep resistance, but he was friendly and happy to chat. I was able to work with him for a long while. The outreach even went long as a result. There was a focus on apologetics, but I was able to share the law and the gospel.
The Oxford A&P Show outreach was a long and busy day of outreach. A bit slow at the start, and at the end, but really busy in the middle. A good solid team of Christians ran the site, I think exclusively made up of members or prospective members of Redemption Church.
Again, my daughter Dani joined me, and also Haley. I know Julia was keen, but she has a new job now and had to work!
It was so encouraging seeing the church getting involved with the great commission: struggling with the realities of life with people and sharing the hope of Jesus with them!
Haley found herself in a difficult conversation with a Hindu man, and she said she really needed my help - but I wasn’t available. But in the end she had enjoyed the conversation and had learned a lot! Well done Haley!
I’ll let the photos do the talking for the rest of the outreach. But I do want to mention that I had some intense conversations with a large group of teens. I had a long talk in the morning - it was a bit of an apologetics battle - and they were giving as good as they were taking! :) But it was in a good way. Their worldview was challenged, and they were testing the new information they were getting. Those kids came back and talked to other members of the team throughout the day. They even came back with other friends to get them to do the “good person test”. I don’t think those kids changed their minds. But they were challenged, and had something to think through.
I’ve got a few minutes of writing time left to reflect on the Sunday afternoon outreach. It was a busy outreach. Mike and Susan were with me. A highlight was having Malachi come over to catch up. I first met Malachi about 4 years ago. At the time he was living on the street. And I had many gospel conversations with him. He got off the streets a few years ago, and I see him from time to time. Today he had a friend with him, and so I started sharing the gospel with him. And then I spent a lot of time working through check questions with them both. They agreed that if they had died before our conversation they would be going to hell. So I challenged them to respond to the gospel today. They left with tracts, a gospel of John each, and cards for my church. Lord, have mercy!
Later in the afternoon, I had a challenging chat with 2 couples on a bit of a (drinking) road trip from up north. They have a long drive home, and they have some reading material to go with them! :)
Next weekend is Easter, and we have 2 special outreaches planned: hot cross bun and gospel tract giveaways in Cashel Mall 11am till 1pm Easter Saturday, and Easter Monday. If you are in Christchurch, come join us in this fun outreach. All glory to God alone.
Well, it wasn’t a standard week this week. Heavy rain on Tuesday and so I decided to stay online rather than head to Riccarton. And on Saturday we were at the Malvern A&P Show (Sheffield, just past Darfield - inland from Christchurch). But I was able to do my regular city outreaches on Friday and Sunday afternoon.
The main event of the week was the Malvern A&P Show outreach - so I’ll start with that.
I was wondering if I wouldn’t have enough Christians to run the site earlier in the week. But it turns out we had more than enough! Sadly, the foot traffic was a lot lower than previous years. I wonder if this had something to do with us being right down the far end of where all the trade sites were situated. Oh well, at least there was some foot traffic, and so everyone on the team had an opportunity to get involved. And still managed to keep myself very busy. I had many gospel conversations. Yet, my focus was in trying to encourage the other Christians.
I was super proud of my youngest daughter Daniella, who was often busy in gospel conversations. Well done Dani! She started the last conversation of the day, with an older Hindu couple. I could tell it was a harder conversation, but I wanted her to have the experience of having to deal with it. She did well! But eventually she called me over for help. The couple were engaged, so I just rolled back to the start to recover the ground Dani had already covered, but I slowed down to address their objections as they came up. I got them all the way to assenting to a just universe maker and heaven and hell, an admission that ‘good deeds’ were the way to heaven. I took them through the law, where they resisted hard. They had never stolen anything! I gave examples of when I had stolen as a child, and they laughed along and then agreed they had done similar with their parents. And so, I asked, “so, you’ve disobeyed your parents too?”. They got the point. Suddenly, the lady started resisting the idea of a universe maker again, and so I had to roll back again. Eventually, I realised that I wasn’t making progress. They had heard the law (which brings knowledge of sin), so I decided to cut to the gospel - which is the power of God for salvation. The man now started trying to include Jesus into Hinduism!
The chat ended with the lady becoming offended. I challenged her to change her mind about her worldview. That was offensive to her, “you don’t challenge people like that”. The man smiled, he understood that I was coming from a place of love and concern. I changed the word to ‘plead’. “I’m pleading with you: the issue of the afterlife is too important”. One of the pictures shows Dani talking with this couple.
I’m going to let the pictures do the talking for the rest of the outreach, which ran from 9am till 4pm. It was so awesome seeing everyone in the team giving it ago! I was super encouraged.
On Friday, I was on my own initially, so I decided to wander around the inner city to see what gospel opportunity I could find. I ended up in Cathedral Square where a group of construction workers working on the Cathedral repair were taking a break. I approached 2 of them and started a conversation. Soon after I was interrupted by one of the other workers across the way who was listening - she had a few things to say on the matter. I engaged her till she said she didn’t want to talk about it any more. So, I went back to the original 2. But, not long after, the lady across the way decided to interject again! Quite a few of the workers got involved in the conversation - it was quite funny, but a bit disjoined. In the end I decided to hand them all tracts and move along - their break was about to end anyway. But I was encouraged, I hope I’ll have an opportunity to engage with some of them again.
Later, I was back at the Bridge of Remembrance, and John was with me. I spotted 3 Filipino kids right in front of the JW stand. Having recently been to the Philippines, I was eager to engage them. They stayed to hear the whole gospel presentation - which was so good. And I hope the couple of JWs I was standing in front of were listening too!
Sunday’s outreach was busy. I was feeling quite tired from the Malvern A&P Show outreach the day before, so I set up my flip chart and focused on tract distribution. Susan and Binu were with me.
I ended up getting into some good gospel conversations. 2 young ladies heard the gospel (one had a Christian background, but they were both agnostic). Sadly they both rejected it (for now).
And I had a great chat with another group of 5 or 6 young people. It was a difficult chat in the sense that they were all easily distracted. But one of them in particular was audibly understanding each point of the presentation. It was making so much sense to him. So I focused my attention on him and got him to the point of hearing the gospel. I decided to leave it with that, and handed them all tracts. I hope the logic of what I was explaining: the seriousness of sin, and the amazing grace of Jesus will stick with them. May God, in his timing, save them for his glory!
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