Christchurch (NZ) Team
Heads out on to the streets of Christchurch usually 6 days a week to various locations.
Including Fridays in Cathedral Square from 12:30pm and in Cashel Mall after that till 3:30pm. Also Sundays in Cashel Mall 1:30pm till 3:30pm.
It was great having a week’s holiday and spending time with my family. God is so good. But this week I was back on the streets! :)
It was so good being in church this morning and listening to the preacher teach from God’s word on prayer. He used an illustration from the life of George Mueller that brought me to tears, and convicted me on my own lack of prayer and trust that God will actually answer.
Anyway, today as I made it to my regular outreach spot (cnr of Colombo and Cashel) as I set up my flipchart and sat down to pray, as per usual, I was so encouraged when God answered my prayer before I had even had the time to finish! (Maybe I should pray BEFORE putting up my flipchart! :D ) Someone was standing in front of the flipchart, and I was straight into a conversation!
Later, Susan came to join me. I was already deep in a conversation, but when it finished, I greeted her and suggested we pray… but before we did, we decided to move across the road to the sunny side (it was a warm day, but it was starting to cool down). Low and behold, one of my regulars was there, and we actually got into a gospel conversation (he has heard it plenty of times before, but God hasn’t opened his eyes to it yet). After that chat, Susan reminded me we hadn’t prayed yet! So we sat down and did just that before getting into more conversations.
Soon after we prayed a young couple, who had talked to Susan before, turned up. They were relativists, and were using it as a basis to make themselves god (so grievous). It was mostly a friendly chat, but became very intense as I showed them how an absolute God must be real and the basis for the shared reality we are in. They said the most absurd things (1+1=3 in my reality), and then would instantly contradict themselves (there is no right or wrong, but you are wrong). In the end, they admitted they held their position so they can live as they like. Sadly, the guy started to get angry with me. When I calmly said there is no need to get angry, it only made him more angry, but he had to contain it, because it contradicted his argument for a world without anger! It was frustrating and it was time for the chat to end. They were polite as they left, but I was still feeling the sparks of battle. Susan and I prayed for those 2 kids. Sadly, they didn’t get to hear the law or the gospel, but I hope they will be challenged enough to be open to a reasonable discussion in the future. God have mercy!
So many other great conversations today. The last one was with a ‘Christian’ who was clearly pointing to his good deeds as the reason he was going to heaven. I was able to gently, but pointedly show him that he is not currently a Christian, and explain the good news of how to become one! I also had a full gospel chat with a young guy who identified himself as pagan.
Moving back in time, sadly, I wasn’t able to make it out to Riccarton on Saturday, but Roger and I were in the city on Friday. It was a new public holiday in New Zealand, and there were LOTS of people on the streets that wouldn’t otherwise have been. For some reason, I was feeling exhausted; I didn’t have the energy to get conversations started (like I did today). So I just did my best to hand out gospel tracts to the people flowing past. When Roger arrived it was great to see him enthusiastically engaging people (pictured). At least one of us was able to!
On a whim, I decided to go for a walk and headed towards Cathedral Square. It was providential, because I ended up encountering three kids at preacher's corner and having a wonderful chat with them. Two of the three of them engaged really well, and we had a long gospel chat.
On Tuesday, Roger and I were at Riccarton. This outreach was so long ago now that I can barely remember the details. I’m sure I had some chats! But I remember 2 things: 1) It was cold and got dark early (we have now passed the shortest day), and 2) Roger was having heaps of good chats! (I tried to take some snaps, attached to this report).
I’m so grateful for the privilege of being able to focus on this work for the Lord’s glory. Thank you for enabling me to do it, and please remember to keep us in prayer! :D
I’ve just finished 3 days of street outreach. Roger, Daniel, Andy and I were in the city on Friday afternoon. I was in Riccarton, Saturday lunch time, and then Binu and I were in the City on a cold, wet, and windy Sunday afternoon… It was so worth facing the conditions for, God is so good!
The Friday outreach seems so long ago as I write this on Sunday. It was a busy outreach, with little down time; plenty of gospel opportunities! I set up my flipchart, before heading over to approach someone who seemed to have the time for a chat. Indeed they did! I asked them what they thought would happen after they die. She looked at me and said, “I’m probably going to hell, because I’m gay”. Starting from there I was able to share the bad news and the good news with her, and her friend who joined her. I was able to communicate 2 things clearly: 1) there is indeed hope for them to go to heaven and 2) that homosexuality is a sin. They heard the gospel, but sadly there wasn’t real engagement from them at this stage. Yet, they were happy to leave with tracts. It was a friendly chat, and I enjoyed it.
I went back to my flipchart and tried to get conversations started with it. There were 3 girls walking past at a distance, and I was very surprised to see one of the girls go out of her way to disengage from her friends to make a bee line for the flipchart, she wanted to know what the good person test was all about! Her friends followed and I was able to have a marvellous gospel conversation with them. They all seemed to be in different places. The initial girl was chatty, the middle one was silent, but the subtle expressions of comprehension on the third girl's face filled me with joy. It was such a great chat, and they all left with tracts. In thinking on that chat, I would guess the 3rd girl would most likely become a Christian. But, I have no idea, the gospel is the power of God for salvation, and only God saves. Maybe the silent girl will become a Christian? Maybe they all will? Maybe none of them? I’ll never know - but that’s okay. Our job is to sow the gospel seed and pray. God brings the increase. Either way, God will be glorified!
As soon as the chat with the girls ended, a guy came over who wanted to know what the flipchat was about. I’ve talked to him before, in fact, he has listened to our open air preaching before. He “was” a Christian in the past, but is not currently. He only had 5 minutes, but he ended up staying a lot longer than that. We never actually went through the flipchart, he just hit me both barrels with the hard questions, esp. Why does God allow suffering and evil? I patiently answered his questions as best as I could. The answers are simple, they can just be hard to process sometimes. He eventually had to go, and we parted on good terms. He seemed to appreciate the chat and left with a tract as well.
It was so awesome to see the rest of the team busy in gospel conversations as well. I mixed up the rest of my time with walk up conversations and tract distribution. I had at least 2 other solid conversations. Glory to God alone!
Saturday was a bit slow initially, nice sunny day, and plenty of people going past, but no one was taking the bait. In those situations, just be patient and polite.
A guy came and sat in the seats behind my flipchart, waiting for some friends. I asked if he wanted to try it out - nope. Did he want a takeaway version? - nope. All good. I kept trying to start conversations with those going past, and trying to hand out tracts. It was funny, because the guy eventually either became curious or had pity on me! HAHA :) He asked my name, and then wanted to know what it was all about. He accepted a tract and we started chatting. But, when it rains, it pours! Just at that moment, a lady who had walked past me earlier came back, walked right up to my flipchart and said, “I want to know all about it”! The guy's friends came, and he left with the tract, so I was able to focus on sharing the gospel with the lady. We ended up sitting on the seats and never used the flipchart. She was very open, and we had a full gospel conversation, where she often interrupted with really good questions. By the end of the chat, she effectively said “I’m in”, yet I got her to consider the cost of accepting the gift. She was very keen to take a tract, and she said she would check out the needGod.net socials.
So after this chat I got into another solid chat with an American astrophysicist. He was on the fence in regards to God (actually, there is no fence, but you know what I mean). He had a Catholic background and a significant memory from that background was that he wasn’t allowed to ask questions, which he said made him angry. Well, we certainly had a good time discussing questions and answers, and he also heard the gospel that good deeds are NOT required to get to heaven, because of Jesus!
So, coming to today’s outreach. Looking at the weather, I nearly decided to cancel and just do online work instead. But I decided to go, and turned the car around. I rugged up warm against the elements, and just prayed that God would be glorified in my feeble effort. I was so encouraged to see Binu turn up as well! But just as he did, it started to rain quite hard. We prayed together, and then found the driest spots we could. I was amazed that I had such a busy outreach, I wasn’t counting, and it was a bit of a blurr, but I’d say I had at least 7 solid gospel interactions, not including all the tracts that were distributed! God is so good! One of those conversations in particular was really special. It’s hard to describe. It was just special. A God moment. At the very least, he seemed to gain much gospel clarity (thank you check questions).
I left that outreach tired, and cold, but inside I was warm and happy! I just don’t understand why more Christians don’t join me. You are missing out! :)
To God alone be all the glory!
We have moved into winter in Christchurch. The Summer of special outreaches has finished, and we are planning for the next summer at the moment! But in the meantime, we continue to plod in our daily job of gospel ploughing and sowing. What a privilege it is to serve the Lord in this way. And I’m so thankful for all you who are working alongside us in prayer!
I’m going to give an update on the last week on the street, which included five outreaches across three locations: Central, Riccarton and Upper Riccarton.
But first, I found something I wrote recently that I want to share. It was obviously after a good chat I had, probably online:
Sometimes we get so used to what we do, that we forget the significance of what we are doing. The gospel really is the power of God for salvation. It's so amazing we get this privilege to tell people about him. I'm so overjoyed after that chat. Those kids were soaking in the gospel and asking so many wonderful questions. But I can't save them. God, please change their hearts for your glory alone!!!!!!
On Friday, Roger, Andy and myself were in central Christchurch. First street outreach of the winter, and It was cold! I was glad to be wearing thermals and all my other layers! :)
Andy told me later that he had a follow up with a guy he had previously witnessed to at the bus stops. They went into a coffee shop where it was warm for a follow up gospel conversation. :)
Roger faithfully manned his flipchart near the bridge of remembrance. He said he had at least 3 solid conversations.
I decided to roam. And I spent most of the two hours of the outreach in three solid conversations. They were awesome!
The first was on Cashel Mall, with two brothers with Catholic backgrounds. They came to understand the gospel, and one of them even asked which church I was at - he said I might see him there on Sunday. Sadly, he didn’t turn up. Yet God was glorified in my obedience to share. And the gospel is still the power of God for salvation!
I moved on to Cathedral Square where I asked two passers by what they thought happened after life. Well, that conversation went long. One of them was a Biochemist and leaning heavily towards Atheism. It was one of the few times that I relied heavily on my knowledge of creation apologetics. It was a very stimulating conversation, where the law and the gospel was shared. By the end of the chat, there was no noticeable shift in the position of the Biochemist (you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink), but the other guy seemed impacted, and he carefully accepted a tract and slipped it into his bag.
Moving on through Cathedral Square, I handed out tracts, and was surprised at how many were accepted.
I ended up back at the bridge of remembrance where I got into my third and final chat. It was with a couple I wasn’t expecting to stop. The girl played devil's advocate - no problem with me, because, when you are relying on the truth, the answers always stack up. They both left accepting tracts.
On Saturday, I was in Riccarton at lunch time and then in Upper Riccarton in the evening to test a new outreach location with Mike and John.
It was a bit slow in Riccarton and then I suddenly hit a stretch of three conversations, each rolling into the other!
The second one was a follow up chat with a guy I hadn’t seen for a long time! It was so good to see him. He is still articulating the gospel, but, sadly, I’m not seeing any fruit of salvation in his life. I gave him my contact # and hope to see him again soon to be able to continue labouring with him in the gospel.
The third one was also a follow up - with a young man who is now professing faith, and he even said he has almost finished reading John in the Bible. Sadly his work schedule stops him from being able to come to either the foundations Bible study my church runs, nor our regular Sunday gatherings. I continue to pray for him.
One of the final encounters of the outreach was with a lady who seems to have become mixed up with some conspiracies. She was using biblical lingo, but completely missing the gospel. She just wanted to rage against the culture and was even thinking about what happens after life.
In Upper Riccarton, on Saturday evening, I had an opportunity to engage three young guys with the gospel. Sadly, one of the guys claimed to be a Christian, and yet, he didn’t understand the gospel at all. The conversation didn’t flow too well, because they guys kept getting distracted. But, I made the most of the opportunity, and they all left with tracts.
Sunday I was back at Cashel / Colombo corner with Susan and Binu. It’s cold enough now that Susan gets me to set up the flipchart on the eastern side of Colombo Street - in the sun! :)
I was so encouraged to see Susan running the flipchart with a group of young guys at one point. Yet, I was so busy in my own gospel conversations.
Firstly, and had a great chat with two young Indian ladies, who followed along the gospel presentation flawlessly, and came to grasp the great significance of Jesus: our only hope for salvation from our sin and hell.
I then moved into a long chat with a young man who wasn’t interested in a tract, but decided to answer my question: ‘what do you think happens after you die?’ He didn’t seem very engaged, and yet, he stayed. He was fairly hard soil, and so I laboured, for the glory of God alone.
Tuesday (yesterday), I was in Riccarton. Two chats stand out in my mind. The first was with a young man who loved history. He knew about Viking gods, and Egyptian gods. But he didn’t understand the gospel. It was my privilege to share it with him. Later, another guy stopped, he heard the gospel and seemed really impressed. He asked about my church and accepted a contact card. He said he needed time to process what he had heard - which is fair. But he also understood that the message was simple enough. I pleaded with him to trust in Christ, after counting the cost of doing so.
This only covers the work on the streets. I’ve also been busy sharing the gospel online, and planning the next summer of outreach. Again, I feel so privileged to be able to serve the Lord in this capacity. Long may it last. Thank you so much to all those that donate to enable us to continue in this ministry the Lord has put in front of us. We ultimately trust him along for all our provision. All glory to Him!
Praise God! Over Easter weekend, there were 2 outreaches in central Christchurch where over a 1000 gospel tracts, with chocolate Easter eggs were given away. But even more encouraging, were the amount of Christians representing many local churches that got involved!
Saturday had lovely weather, and I was shocked at the amount of people in Cashel Mall. It felt pre covid. We had bought 500 eggs to give away over both outreaches, but in just over an hour, we had pretty much given away all 500! It was so awesome watching and listening to people’s stoked reactions at getting the gift.
I spent all my time of the 2 hour outreach, walking up and down the mall, making sure Christians had enough stock of both tracts and eggs, and trying to be an encouragement. I didn’t have a single gospel chat myself! But that’s okay, I have plenty of opportunities at other times. :)
After the outreach, we had to scramble to find a new supply of eggs to buy. The first shop we went to had sold out! :O But, the supermarket next door had some. So, we were all sorted for Monday
Monday wasn’t quite as busy as Saturday - the weather wasn’t quite as good. But, there were still plenty of people out and about, and a whole new team of Christians gathered to give away the gift of Jesus.
This time I did have the opportunity to get directly involved. I had a great follow up chat with one of my regulars, and at the end of the outreach I was able to power out a tray of chocolate and tracts.
Our prayer is that many will read the tracts. We leave the results in God’s hands - knowing the simple gospel message is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16).
Thanks to all those that got involved. I was very encouraged. Looking forward to doing something similar next Easter, God willing!
I collect snippets from all the text gospel conversations I have online, and I’ve just been through a few of the recent ones - very encouraging! I’ll include some of those snippets (as pictures at the end of this report).
I’ve been meaning to write this report for a few days, but I just haven’t had time. Been busy gearing up for selling the new gospel flipchart that I mentioned in my last report. We have also been able to restock our gospel tract supply. If you are in NZ, you can get those tracts for free here (just pay shipping). And, of course, we have been as busy as ever ministering the gospel on the streets of Christchurch and online.
On Sunday, the outreach was a bit slow. And it was super hot! And yet, God provided opportunities. I spoke with a Satanist. He was a lovely guy, and we had a nice friendly chat. At one point, he smiled and said he self identified as a lama!? I didn’t let that distract from my opportunity to take him through the law and gospel. I can’t remember the exact details of the conversation, but I remember I didn’t have too long with him, he needed to get somewhere. But he did accept a tract with a smile. Near the end of the outreach, a guy was attracted by the flip chart. He said he was a Christian, and even showed me a tattoo of the crown of thorns on his arm. But when I asked why he would go to heaven, sadly, he said, “because I’m good”. I was able to take him all the way through the flip chart, and then point him to a Bible. Sadly he was resistant about getting connected with a church. He has much to think on.
The Friday outreach was very interesting. It was encouraging to have a small team out.
I was showing one of the newbies how the flip chart worked when I noticed a guy approaching that I’ve had numerous opportunities to talk about the gospel with over the years. I smiled and said hello. He exploded. Profanities. I remember him using the term “Christian Satanist”. And he was loud. People all round stopped to stare. I ignored him, and suggested that the other Christians do the same. He continued down the street, swearing and cursing us. Sadly, he decided to come back, still yelling. I decided to walk off to try to draw the heat away from the rest of the team. It did the trick, he followed me, and then he ran past me and got in my face. He screamed for me to look at him - so I did. He had some spittle on his face. I looked him in the eyes as he said what he wanted to say. He was so angry, his false teeth slipped out, and then he quickly sucked them back in.
By this stage, I noticed others coming. I turned to say it was okay, but a guy, someone I’ve never seen before, who had a nice jacket on, told the guy to leave me alone. The guy started abusing him. He wasn’t phased, and just told him to leave - which he did. My saviour turned to look at me, and asked if I was okay. I smiled, and said I was fine. Then another guy, someone I’ve never seen before, came to check on me. I felt so honoured to have members of the public come to my help! Thank you so much! The angry guy continued to rage down Cashel Mall. I had to keep my distance for about 5 minutes before he finally stopped his shouting and moved off. I had the opportunity to apologise to a few bystanders who were staring down the street - I asked if they were okay.
There would have been a time when I would have been a blubbering mess after that. But on this day, I didn’t bat an eyelid, straight back to work, sharing the gospel. I’m grateful for the work God is doing in me to be able to handle this better.
And not only that, the outburst led to gospel opportunities. A guy came to talk to me, and I was able to share the gospel with him, afterwards, he mentioned that he had seen what happened.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say for now. I guess what I want to say is, you may read these reports and think of all the wonderful conversations I get to have. And I wanted to write this report to show the reality of it. It’s often slow and hard work. But, it’s such wonderful work! I get to tell people, over and over, about Jesus! I want to encourage you to get involved. Step out and share about Jesus, wherever God has planted you. Put in the hard yards, and watch God work, in his timing! Step out and share the gospel :)
Often, when doing street evangelism, you face a lot of rejection. People not stopping, dirty looks, refused tracts. And yet, God allows many opportunities for gospel ministry.
But sometimes, an outreach will be ‘off the charts’. You have multiple people stopping at the same time(!) and wanting to talk to you, thoughtful looks, and even those you don’t expect receive a tract.
Well, today’s outreach was ‘off the charts’. It was a blur of activity to the point where my memory is struggling to put it all together. I’ll do my best!
I arrived at the usual spot (bridge of remembrance), I got there before Roger, and so I decided to hand out a few tracts in the meantime. The very first one was to a young lad - a fish that had been pre caught, gutted and filleted and just dropped on my lap! He was so open. He had been thinking about what happens after life, he already believed in God (had non practising Catholic parents) but just needed to understand the gospel. The conversation followed the script perfectly. He started professing faith, and so I got him to consider the cost and then pointed him to the Bible and a local church. He left with a tract and a way to get in touch. What a start.
By this stage Roger had arrived and we went to prayer, thanking God for the opportunity already given, and to cry out for help in what is ‘mission impossible’ otherwise. God certainly answered that prayer!
By this stage, Steve (OAC) had arrived and was keen to check out the new flip chart…
By the way, we have designed a new 6 page large flip chart that incorporates all the concepts from the 19 page mini flip chart plus more. When the first printing arrived, I was so excited about it that I posted about it on my personal Facebook page. The post generated enough interest that I decided to write about each page. You can read that series of posts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7
So, anyway, I set up the flip chart, intending to demonstrate it to Steve when a young man going past was attracted by the front page, so Steve got to watch it in action! Interestingly, one of our regulars turned up, and so Steve ended up getting into a chat with him, while I shared the gospel with the young man.
He claimed he was an unemotional thinker and so we engaged purely on logical grounds. He followed along with the logic, but when he could see the implications, he rejected it. I challenged him to fault the logic - he couldn’t at this stage, so I pleaded with him to think about it, and if he saw any flaws, to let me know - because I want the truth as well. We parted ways with a handshake, and he left with a tract and a way to get in touch.
It’s at this point it gets blurry. The flip chart was popular today, people were attracted by the front page. At one point I had 3 separate groups of people stopping to engage! I wasn’t able to hold the attention of them all, sadly. Oh, for more Christians to join me! :D
I ended up getting into a great conversation with 3 young passionate Catholics. Sadly they disengaged - but seeds were sown.
The last conversation was with 5 young guys (I think they said they went to Christ’s College). There was some banter at the start, but soon they started engaging seriously. They were all at different places in where they were at with what we were talking about - and yet, I was able to hold the attention of all of them (thank you Father). One of them sobered. One of them was asking brilliant questions that the flip chart was anticipating. I was able to take them through every page of the flip chart, and use every segment of the last page (but one). And this time, Steve was able to see the whole presentation!
As that conversation wrapped up, I pulled out my phone and it was exactly 3:30pm! Wrap up time. I was on cloud nine. Clicking my heels, so excited by the wonderful opportunities to bring glory to God and tell of him to others. Thank you Father for condescending to use us in your work! We finished up with prayer of thanks and praise.
I have the best job in the world. Thank you to those that are supporting this ministry - esp. In prayer. Thank you for enabling me to do this. Please pray that this ministry would continue to be a blessing and encouragement to the larger church, and that souls would be saved and knitted into the church - to the glory of God alone!
By the way, Andy & I have both been able to have some summer rest - which has been great! We are both back from Holiday now. Andy is pictured in the Tuesday outreach in Riccarton.
We both continue to mine the gold seam that is online evangelism. I’ve selected a few of the recent snapshots from conversations we’ve been having. I esp. like the one where they said they have started going to a Presbyterian church, even though they’d prefer to be going to a Baptist one! ;) So encouraging that they understand the importance of being part of a local church!
Christmas is in the air! How can I tell? Ballantynes department store have set up their Christmas themed display across their shop windows (pictured) and I’ve noticed a significant uptick in people in the central city coming to see it! Not only that, Ballantynes have set up a barrier around the display, which ultimately pushes people walking past further out and closer to my gospel nets! So, for the time being, I’ve switched my gospel tracts to a Christmas themed one - and I’m noticing that more are being received than usual. Please pray that they would be read, and it would lead to the salvation of souls for the glory of God alone!
Obviously I get ignored a lot while out on the streets trying to witness. I often pray, wondering if anyone will stop at all. And yet I’m often pleasantly surprised in the wonderful gospel encounters the Lord provides.
One Sunday afternoon, I had a large group of teens go past. I was able to semi engage some of them as they walked past, but they pretty much ignored me. Yet, the last young man in the group did stop to take one. He gave me about 30 seconds of his time, and I was able to challenge him on the real reason he is rejecting the God he knows exists: he wants to be his own god. I could tell he understood me - and he had never considered it before. He took a tract, thanked me and went to catch up with his group.
Well, low and behold, about 30 minutes later, I offer a tract to a kid in another group going by. She stopped and accepted it - she wanted to talk, and then I noticed her friends start to gather around me. And then I realised it was the same group of kids! The young man I talked to was at the back.
It was a set up! I could tell, they had come to pick on the Christian. But they didn’t get what they were expecting. They were initially friendly, but I instinctively flicked to presuppositional apologetics, wanting to challenge the basis for their worldview. It wasn’t something they had heard before, and they started to drink it in before realising the implications.
Sadly, at this point a streetie, seeing the large group I was talking to, wanted to interrupt and inserted his hatred for God - it changed the whole tone of things, and the kids picked up on the hatred of the streetie. And their issue was homosexuality. The conversation was over, sadly, and many of the kids started leaving - but one of them was gay, and wanted to have a go at me. I was faithfully in saying that homosexuality is a sin, and yet I preceded that by saying I’m not to hate anyone - in fact I love you. I love you enough to tell you the truth.
Once the kids had left, I was able to engage the streetie - I managed to calm him and challenge him before he moved on as well.
Before that, though, I had a great chat with a doctor who worked at the hospital. I think he appreciated the fact that I was wearing a mask. He heard the law and the gospel.
Susan (pictured) arrived and we decided to set up the flip chart. We moved further down the mall for this. Again, we were ignored a lot, and then a young man decided to come over and wanted to do the good person test. It was a fairly standard conversation. When we were discussing the false ways to heaven, he started talking about confession - and I flagged him as a Catholic. I was able to explain why confession wouldn’t help him get to heaven, when he flicked to his good deeds - not a surprise! I then had the joy of explaining Jesus. I could see he was deeply challenged. It was at this point that I asked if he was a Catholic - to my surprise he said he is Exclusive Brethren! Although I shouldn’t have been surprised, as when you boil down all religions except Biblical Christianity they say: “be good” (I’ve talked to Catholics that I thought were Muslim). I became very frank with this young man, trying to jolt him from the broad road he is on.
The following Friday was amazing! I arrived at the Bridge of Remembrance end of Cashel feeling quite down, and yet I prayed and set up my flip chart. A couple of other local evangelists were there, and so I was briefly talking to one of them when I suddenly turned around and saw two people intensely studying the front page of the good person test! I promptly engaged them and ended up having one of the best gospel conversations I’ve had in a very long time. They were extremely open, and it was as if God had been preparing them in advance for the chat with specific recent events. I went through all 19 pages of the flip chart with them, and the chart correctly anticipated the misunderstandings of the gospel they had and really brought insight to them. At the end of the conversation, they even hugged me! They left with tracts, and I felt bereft as they went. I wanted to wrap them up and bring them to church and disciple them! And yet, that is not to be my privilege. God must save them first, and if so, he will lead them to the church!
It was at this stage that I was able to pray with others of the team who had arrived. But as we were praying, another guy walked right up to my flip chart and started engaging! I peeled away from the prayer time to talk with him, and we ended up having a very long conversation! Pretty much to the end of the outreach (there was only 15 minutes left). This guy was different, more resistant, and yet he really wanted to talk. We didn’t go through the flip chart like I did with the previous couple - it was just a conversation, with me trying to gently plow and sow as I could. At one point, I was temporarily distracted with another person, and when I turned back, the guy I was talking to had gone… except for his shoes! (Pictured!) Haha, I knew if his shoes were still there he would be back. Low and behold, he had decided to go to the nearby river Avon to cool his feet! Judging his personality, I decided to recommend John Byan’s - Pilgrim's Progress to him - he diligently took note of this on his tablet before moving on with a Christmas tract.
A very encouraging outreach!
Thank you so much for your continued prayer for the Operation 513 team in Christchurch and beyond. We are so dependent on God, without Him, all our labour is in vain.
Well, it’s been nearly 3 months since my last report. I haven’t missed writing them! It’s been nice being on the streets and not having to think of taking pictures. And I’ve really enjoyed the extra time responding to direct messages online.
But, I’ve decided to write a quick report just so y'all know we are still busy sharing the gospel in Christchurch and online! And I actually have a few things worth mentioning. We really, really appreciate all the prayer and support.
So, since I last wrote we have been in a Covid lockdown. Sad to have Delta land on these shores. The time wasn’t wasted as I just focused all my energy into online outreach. Yet after about 4 weeks, the lockdown was eased to the point where street work was possible again.
My first outreach back was a Sunday afternoon. I came prepared with my face mask, and flip chart, giving people the option of approaching me rather than the other way round. I wondered if anyone would. Most people were wearing masks, and to my surprise the outreach was quite fruitful. I can’t remember the specifics now, but I was encouraged!
I continued the street work. People have become less concerned about face masks - but I still wear one.
There are quite a few newbies on the street team. This has given a lot of opportunities for training - which has been great!
A couple of Friday’s ago, it was school holidays, and there were swarms of people out on a warm, sunny spring day. I was pretty non stop taking people through the flip chart with lots of newbies to observe and be encouraged.
Plenty of gospel tracts are going out too.
Last Friday there weren't as many people out, in spite of the good weather. I decided to switch spots and low and behold the rest of the outreach became eventful. I had three follow up opportunities. In one of them, the guy could only remember the ‘straw’ part of the ‘trust’ analogy. He was resistant, and yet he really wanted to chat. And he had a friend with him who I haven’t talked to before - so he got to hear the gospel.
Amazingly, the guy started talking about healing. He said that his ankle had been ‘smashed’, and that his Dad had prayed for it’s healing - and it was! But do you know what he said? “It was a coincidence - it wasn’t God”. It just goes to show that John 12:37 (ESV) is true:
Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him,
His only hope is the gospel, Romans 1:16 (ESV):
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
So I continued to labour with these young men toward their understanding of the gospel, many checks were employed.
A couple of weeks ago, in Riccarton, I had shared the gospel with 3 guys from a local high school. I had to labour with them to get them to stop thinking their good deeds would get them to heaven, and realise that Jesus was their only hope. It was a great chat.
Well, yesterday, I was in Riccarton with Roger. It was windy, so I didn’t bring my flip chart. I had some great walk up opportunities. Roger did bring his flip, and every time I came back down to where he was, he had a different group of high school kids talking with him! The first time was 3 guys, the next there were about another 6 guys intently listening to him.
Eventually we were able to greet each other, before another high school kid wanted to know what the flip chat was about. I talked with him, while Roger had a chat with a lady pushing a pram (Roger gets away with talking to people who won’t stop with me! I reckon it’s his Santa look - haha - love ya Roger!).
But after the kid I was talking to left with a tract, 2 of the guys I had talked to a few weeks back came past again - they had a new friend with them (pictured).
I checked to see if they could remember the gospel - they got it right! I was super encouraged to hear one of them had been reading a Bible, and they had checked out needGod.net on Tik Tok. One of them made a comment about one of the videos he watched - he was impressed.
Interestingly, their new friend was a Christian. I checked if he understood the gospel. Sadly, he was clueless. He said he would go to heaven because he goes to church. He insisted he was ‘a good person’ multiple times. His mates wanted him to go through the flip chart, and so he agreed. But he was switched off, and his two mates had to prompt him with the answers.
Eventually he said, “I know Jesus died on the cross” - but it was an afterthought, and he wasn’t making any connections with its significance. Eventually he said he had ‘prayed the prayer’ with his Mum. It pained me to hear him say it.
He had to leave, but he took a tract. And I had an opportunity to encourage the other two kids, who seem to be grasping the gospel, in relation to getting involved with a church. I told them how they could get in touch, and left the ball in their court. I hope to see them again!
Speaking of church, it’s been encouraging seeing some of those we are talking with online getting involved with local churches (see images of chat snippets). Of course, most are rejecting the gospel, but seeing the few responding is so encouraging. And no matter what, God is glorified: in his justice being displayed, in his mercy granted, and in the obedience of those who GO with the good news.
So, I think that covers everything I wanted to touch on. If you made it this far, well done! Come and join one of the teams on the streets or online - we would love to serve you :D
I’ve never felt more content. I have no ambition, except the glory of God.
I’d be happy to go to hell. Because I know that God would receive glory by justly punishing me for my wicked sins. But I know I’m not going to hell, because of God’s glorious mercy, Jesus, in paying my hell fine in full upon the cross.
I’m truly happy, being in the background. Anonymous. Telling people about who is important: Jesus. Until I die.
The proof that God exists, is that without God, this universe we are part of couldn’t exist. The proof that God exists, is that without God you can’t prove anything (I know it’s circular, but it still makes complete sense!). So, only God deserves any glory.
Apparently there are a few of you who actually read these reports. I’ve had queries on why I’ve stopped writing them. I’m allowed three hours a week to write these reports. And because they gave me a break from constantly talking to people I made the most of this writing time for my own selfish purpose: introvert time. So, now, there are two years worth of ‘three reports per week’ gathering virtual dust. But I’ve found a new outlet for my introvert time: Instagram and TikTok direct messages. Most of my weekly time now is spent sharing the gospel that way. Long may it last, but just whatever brings God the most glory. So that is the only reason I’ve stopped writing these reports. The team is as busy as ever.
We are still doing street outreach at regular times through the week. We are still having one to one gospel conversations with people online. And training is still occurring. All to the glory of God alone.
One recent street conversation: I was standing in the cold trying to get a conversation started, but no one was taking the bait. I was so cold, I was forced to cross the street to stand in the sun for a while! I was passing out tracts when a young Chinese couple went past. I said: “it comes with a question if you have a minute”. They stopped, and we fell into a gospel conversation. Part way through the conversation the guy mentioned that he had a Bible on his phone. I was curious as to why. He said, “Well, firstly, it was free”. But then he said that they were recently in a hotel down in Invercargill and they had found a Gideon’s Bible and had read a few pages. This had obviously interested him enough to want to read more. Praise God for that! But the couple didn’t yet understand the gospel. The idea of it being a gift was so foreign to their thinking, that I had to labour with them. I could see that the guy still had questions, but I could see a light of understanding come into the eye’s and face of the lady. She was very thankful. What a joy this conversation was! They took the tract, and they have a Bible. Oh that God would save them and knit them into His church, for his glory alone!
But the most stunning recent conversation was on Saturday. Online, part of the weekly training outreach, where we all pair up to listen to each other's gospel conversations and provide feedback. I was paired with Allie, from the USA. She went first, and was instantly (no skips!) into a conversation with a young man from Azerbaijan. I was stunned. Allie is a way better evangelist than I am. She was patient in listening carefully. She knew the right thing to say at the right time. She even anticipated questions and answered them before they were asked. Later he would ask the question and then realise that he already knew the answer! You could tell he was understanding the gospel clearly in the questions that he asked. It was such a joy to watch! There were four, count them, four things I learnt from listening to Allie to help me bring gospel clarity and focus in my future conversations. Sadly, after about thirty minutes of conversation, the young man became resistant and angry. And then Allie knew the time was right to back away and end the conversation - which ended on good terms and with him receiving a follow up link to needGod.net. When it was my turn to share the gospel, and have Allie listen for feedback, I was a blubbering mess, with performance anxiety! After three starts and multiple skips, I finally connected with a young man from the USA who responded with “I think about it all the time” in response to my question “what do you think happens after you die?”. I couldn’t have made the conversation harder for myself, mucking up over and over. And yet, in spite of that, the guy started professing faith. It seemed too easy, so I spent some time making sure he was counting the cost, and that he understood repentance. But, although there was no outward spark that I could see, he held to his profession, and so was given a way of getting in touch, and pointed to a Bible and a local church. He is in God’s hands. But I just praise God that He condescends to use us, as we are, in spite of our weakness, muck ups, and theological mistakes - for His glory. Long may we strive to improve - for His glory!
So, anyway, there won’t be as many reports from me from now on. Not saying never, just whatever brings God the most glory.
Please keep praying for the team and the work we are doing! Pray for labourers for the ripe harvest fields. All glory to God alone.
On both Thursday and Friday I was in Christchurch city for outreach. I was also online, I wrote a separate report about that here.
I’ve only got 15 minutes of writing time left, and I’ve got so much to say. I’m not going to get to it all.
On Thursday afternoon, I had Craig, an evangelist from Wellington join me. Also, it was wonderful to have a local pastor join me as well! The three of us had a wonderful time of ministry.
I had a wonderful follow up opportunity with a young man (pictured with thumbs up) who I’ve talked to multiple times before (the 2nd time of which he excitedly told me how I had made him believe in God). He is clearly articulating why he would be going to heaven, but he is clearly not saved. There are zero shoots of growth spring from his life, and he is too busy to want to get involved with a church. There is zero fruit of repentance, so there can’t be any repentance. I challenged him on this. Again he took a contact card for my church, with my contact number on it. Later in the outreach, I saw him again, and he stopped to talk further. I’m going to start regularly praying for him.
Later in the outreach I stopped two young men (pictured). It was a wonderful chat. One of them, when he grasped the gospel, exclaimed, “Ohhhh, I get it now, that makes so much sense!” I then moved into my first checking question, and he got it wrong, when I explained why, he exclaimed, even more fervently, “Ohhhh, wow, …” They said there was nothing stopping them from trusting that Jesus died for them today, so I gave them contact cards for my church. Lord, save them!
On Friday, we were back outside the hospital for the gospel + abortion outreach. A team of six, and we had many wonderful opportunities to talk to people about both the gospel, and why abortion is wrong. Praise God.
A team of five were at the Bridge of Remembrance in the afternoon. Another newbie today, a look of joy was on his face as he heard testimony of the conversations, and while he was handing out tracts. So good to see! Oh Lord, continue to raise up labourers for the harvest. All glory to you alone!