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.
Tuesday and Wednesday were very hot days in Christchurch (NZ) - 36 degrees Celsius.
Yet, the temperature seemed quite pleasant when I set up my flip chart in Riccarton on Tuesday afternoon. As usual, Roger joined me.
I started out with a difficult conversation with two guys from Christ College - a prestigious boarding school - enjoying the last days of school holidays I assume. They were both quite resistant to start with. So we sparred with apologetics to start with. One of them softened, but the other hardened. I was able to touch on God’s law during the conversation. One of them shook my hand, shared his first name, and took a tract. The other refused all three. The conversation ended when I said, “well, I’m not holding you here”.
The next conversation would have to be one of the hardest I’ve had in a long time. Harder than with the gospel + abortion outreach - in that case you can expect it. I think it was harder than the couple of times the Police have been called.
So, five late teen girls come past. Four of them are very interested in the flip chart, and we fall into an easy discussion. The other goes and sits down some distance away. During the conversation, they say they are Christians, and as I’m learning what that means to them, they declare that they are gay - interesting. So I ask if I can back up and explain what I understand Christianity to mean. We start working through that when we start discussing the logic of hell - one of the girls didn’t believe in hell - no problem so far. But at this point, one of the girls leaves the conversation to go talk to her friend sitting some distance away.
She comes back and says that they need to go - apparently I’d upset the fifth girl a month ago. I was surprised, but didn’t have any problem with them leaving - but I just confirmed, “do I look like someone who would aim to upset?”. One of them agreed with me, and they moved on.
Well, a few minutes later, the fifth girl comes back, in tears and starts giving me an emotional filled verbal assault worse than I’ve experienced in as long as I can remember. I decided the best approach was to say nothing - I let her say what she wanted to say. Apparently I’d told her: she was going to hell, she had been in deep pain for the last month, this stuff deeply impacts people, and you shouldn’t be out here talking about it, I’ve had to talk to my boyfriend about it, etc. Then she started cursing and calling me foul names. It was this point that she crossed a line into hypocrisy. Sadly, my listening just enraged her more - I guess she was expecting me to fight back. She then questioned the way I was looking at her. So I dropped my eyes to the ground. By this stage, one of her friends was with her. Well, me looking down didn’t help - she just got worse and then claimed I was ignoring her, so I looked up and said, as gently as I could, “I’m hearing you”.
Eventually a lady who worked in the bank came out and asked the girl to calm down. “Everyone in the bank can hear you.” That didn’t help. Roger had finished his conversation, and he came over to help. I told him not to say anything - and he wisely ignored me. He stood in front of her to talk. Soon she was yelling at him to step back. He ignored her. She said something about me not letting her go. Roger denied that, and said, “you are free to leave”.
I turned to the lady from the bank and said, “I’ll pack up and move” - anything to get this girl to stop and calm down. The lady from the bank asked if I was okay. I said I was, but I don’t think I was. Outwardly I was calm and analytical. Inside I was a blubbering mess. There was a huge disconnection between the two. I packed up and moved across the street. Soon after Roger was with me.
Roger wanted to take me to get an iced coffee, but I felt obligated to finish the outreach as best as I could. Roger soon fell into another chat, and I noticed a homeless guy sitting not far from us, so I decided to go and talk with him. He asked how my day was, I smiled and said it wasn’t the best. But then I swung the conversation to him. I found out his name and started to learn about why he was on the street when a friend came past. Suddenly I was in two conversations.
I managed to start sharing with my friend about the experience I had just been through - the homeless guy listened in. Part way through, the homeless guy said: “wow, you really do have problems!” So he packed up and moved on (after a handshake). In hindsight, I found that quite comical - there is no way my problems are worse than his!
Eventually, the outreach came to an end, and I went with Roger for an Iced Chocolate. It was then that my emotions started to kick in. I was a bit of a wreak for a few hours after that. I couldn’t do online outreach. I reached out to some people as a way of processing my emotions - that really helped.
And writing this report has helped. That girl was emotional & irrational. Obviously in a lot of pain or under conviction of sin - or both. She made a lot of false accusations. I have no recollection of talking to her before (I don’t deny that I did - I just don’t remember it).
I am always very careful in how I present the law, and talk about hell so that it doesn’t come across as me judging. Not to say that I don’t make many mistakes - I’m sure.
I was feeling okay by the evening. And I was back to work on Wednesday. Many wonderful chats online.
I’m so dependent on God. I’m so weak. And it’s hard to be faithful to the gospel - which is so offensive. I don’t want to be the offence. God help us!
A wonderful weekend of outreach for the Christchurch (NZ) team.
A team of two on Saturday morning in Cashel Mall and Cathedral Square. The foot traffic was a bit light at the start, but it picked up as the outreach progressed. It was also unfortunate that there were windy gusts at times. The highlight chat occurred during one of these gusts, so strong it nearly knocked the flip chart over even with me holding it; and it made turning the pages hard - yet it didn’t put the three young men off hearing the law and the gospel - the oldest one was particularly engaged (whom had been involved with the Ratana church in his past).
In the afternoon, I was online for a few hours. 10 chats, including:
On Sunday afternoon I was very encouraged to be in a team of six - including two newbies. The weather was great, and there were lots of people out and about. We split into pairs to engage with the gospel - flip chart, tracts, and walk up.
My first encounter was a follow up with a young man who seems to be responding to the gospel. He can articulate the gospel, and there seems to be change in his life. Yet, there is a desperate need for discipleship. I challenged him to get knitted into a church and to actually contact me in this regard.
I had a number of great walk up opportunities. The first with a guy on a skateboard. The next one was cool: two guys - one not interested, the other was. The one that was caused the other to wait and he became engaged as well. At least twice I heard the comment: “that makes sense” as we went through the law and the gospel. And then, suddenly the conversation was over - they didn’t want to miss their movie start. Yet they went with the seed of the gospel and tracts to read later.
It was great watching Andy engage with group after group. Eventually he fell into a long conversation with a group of kids that kept changing - kids would join the conversation, then leave, while others would join and leave. There seemed to be a couple of them that were deep in the conversation and stayed for the whole time - one girl in particular seemed very engaged. The chat was still going when I left to join the team online!
It was great to see the newbies have opportunities to witness gospel conversations and be encouraged!
I made it home in time for online training Sunday. I was paired up with Javier (in California) and we had a great time watching each other's gospel chats and discussing afterwards. Javier had a long chat with a young (lonely) man. Javier did such a wonderful job in clearly explaining the gospel and working through his suite of checking questions. It’s so wonderful seeing these young ones learning to so clearly articulate the gospel. Raise up an army Lord!
My two chats were both with Muslims. One in America, the other in Jordan. They were both very open to hearing the gospel.
Praise God - all glory to God alone!
On Thursday, Andy & I were going to go to the bus stops - but due to the weather, we ended up going online instead. So my whole Thursday was spent in online outreach.
In that time I spoke to:
Stranger: Be good in life and just even at your lowest always be the best person you can be
Stranger: It’s not good to lie
Stranger: It wouldn’t be the best
Stranger: I totally agree I didn’t see it that way
Stranger: To be truthful in some sort of way or be able to speak to Jesus and not only rely on him
Stranger: Yeah that’s true
You: Jesus died for your sins
Stranger: Yeah thank you for that I didn’t see it that way but that’s really encouraged me
Stranger: To be good in life and be the best person you can be
Stranger: To be able to rely on Jesus and take the punishments we make for us to go to heaven
Stranger: Heaven because Jesus took their punishment?
Stranger: Honoured and respectful towards him
Stranger: No way
Stranger: Because I may have done bad things in life but Jesus took those punishments for me to be able to go to heaven
Stranger: Nothing I totally understand now
You: start in "John" in the second half of the Bible
Stranger: Yes but closed because of corona
Stranger: It’s a Christian one
Stranger: No I think you’ve covered it all to be honest
Stranger: Can i ask
Stranger: Do you make content??
You: insta: needgod.net7
You: Tik Tok
Stranger: Yeah I’m gonna give you a follow thanks for that I appreciate it have a good day my friend
Stranger: Hopefully see you too
You have disconnected.
Just to name a few. I had some technical troubles during the day, that sadly slowed me down a bit.
Friday was a busy day of outreach. I was in the city in the morning and into the early afternoon. It was great to have Jermaine, Roger, Gary, Mike, Steve, my Mum, and others join me at various times through the day! :)
My first chat was with someone whom I thought was a construction worker - but he turned out to be homeless. He had really good answers to my questions - he seemed familiar with the gospel. He then said he had been “anointed” a few months ago - it turns out he was talking about Baptism! Sadly, he had had a turn for the worse in his battle with sin - so I was able to encourage him with the gospel! It was a lovely chat.
The buskers festival is on in Christchurch, so I was able to have a great follow up chat with a busker who was biding his time before his first act started. I didn’t really have an opportunity to get to the law and the gospel - there was a lot of discussion about worldview and apologetics. God willing, I’ll have yet another opportunity to talk with him.
I set up my flip chart (as did Roger). Jermaine had a gospel chat with some kids (pictured).
Later, I had a gentle chat with an older lady with a Catholic background but was leaning Bhudist. She took a tract.
Just before lunch time, I headed to the Square.
I approached a few people. Tash had been to a church, but through “being kind” would get her to heaven. She grasped the gospel very quickly.
I then talked to Tony. He said I didn’t need to talk to him, he was already a Christian. So I turned the conversation to other things. But as the conversation progressed, it became very clear that this guy was trusting in his works for salvation - he really didn’t understand the gospel. I knew I had to be very gentle and careful in communicating this - and what the gospel really was. Finally I asked him how sure he was of going to heaven. He said, 99.99%. I asked why he had 0.01% doubt? He thought about it and said: “I might sin”. So I said, “what are you trusting in to get you to heaven then?” Sadly, he erupted: “I don’t like this conversation”. He sneered and gave me the fingers when I offered him my hand to shake. I really tried to be gentle and respectful - but I love people too much to not confront them with the truth (I know I fail to do this too often).
After this I moved into open air preaching. One of our hecklers had told me he had been researching the web site of the church I’m a member of - he was ready with ammo. And yet, he seemed to misfire? He did have a few goes at me, I did my best to listen and respond appropriately and then just proceeded through my usual law and gospel presentation. Andy preached as well. There was much discussion afterwards.
In the late afternoon and early evening, I was back online. My first chat was with a guy with “a very religious family - they will be glad you’re talking to me”. He heard the law, the gospel, the reason why God has done things the way he has, and the real reason why people reject it. During my explanations I said something that “can’t have been a coincidence”. There are no coincidences - there is God.
I had an interesting live stream chat with a kid who said: “I need to believe in Jesus and stop sinning” to be saved. Going from there I clarified that it’s only the first part that saves us: Jesus paying our hell fine, and we accept that by believing he did it for us. It seemed to click for him. I was clear that, of course, we will want to stop sinning - but that does not save us. Later I asked him how sure he would be of going to heaven. He started by responding with 80% - but he stopped himself, and corrected by saying - now I’m 100% sure. Christians can have assurance of salvation - because salvation is not dependent on them!
A tiring couple of days. I’m about to head into the city for a Saturday morning outreach - Ravi is joining me. I’m feeling encouraged, because more Christians are contacting me to get involved. Long may that continue! SDG
It was an epic outreach at Riccarton on Tuesday. I love this spot, I look forward to coming here.
Yet, it was a grievous outreach as well. Why?
Well, a young man & lady came past, I recognised him from multiple chat’s I’d had with him last year at this location and said his name in hello - please to see him.
The last time I talked to him, he had approached me. He seemed to be deeply impacted by the gospel. He had explained that, against his normal nature, he had started reading the Bible. I was very encouraged, and I had started praying for him regularly.
I asked him about how things were going in his life, remembering the details he had shared with me previously. He has finished school now, and will be starting a job in February. But, sadly, he seemed dead inside. He had forgotten the gospel.
I was able to go through it with him again, but I was directing my attention mainly to the girl that was with him. She was resistant too. We discussed why there is evil in the world - at an emotional level more than an intellectual one. She had been to church in the past, but what good was God to her? I was flabbergasted at this reasoning. I gently challenged her on that.
They heard the law, and the gospel. But they just weren’t interested - they had to go. We said farewell, I was grieved, yet glad I had another opportunity to talk.
It was a windy day, I didn’t bring my flip chart, and Roger’s blew down once. Yet, Roger had a busy outreach. And so did I. After my first chat, I decided to walk down to the bus stops to see if any would be willing to talk. I told Roger that if I didn’t come back, I would be in a long deep conversation with someone.
Well, as soon as I had turned the corner leaving Roger, I sped two young people sitting on a bench on Riccarton Road. I politely approached them, and we fell into a long deep conversation, with many many questions going both ways. They seemed like senior high students or early uni students - on holiday. The conversation must have gone for about an hour and a half, it was ten minutes past the finish time of the outreach before I made it back to Roger.
Due to all their questions, there was a lot of apologetics. And yet, the law and the gospel was well and truly covered, with many checking questions. They were both very intelligent, yet there was a resistance from her - wanting to go down rabbit trials, and getting the checking questions wrong; and an openness from him, wanting to get to the point and getting the checking questions right.
It was a wonderful chat, and yet a very tiring one. The Sun was blasting on my neck the whole time, it was windy, and the traffic noise was loud. I came away with a strained voice. And yet, it was worth it. May God be glorified in them coming to learn more about him - even if they reject him.
The rest of Tuesday and Wednesday I was online.
I talked to my first person from Japan! Sadly, they didn’t stay for me to even be able to talk about the law, let alone the gospel.
I talked to a girl from Brazil who was completely deadpan in regards to the serious nature of what I was talking about - sadly completely uninterested, but polite enough to stay and listen.
I had a difficult chat with a girl who had been through some very hard times. Her sister had been raped and committed suicide. She was very angry at God. With God’s help, I was able to navigate the emotions and amazingly have her come to some grasp of the law and the gospel. She seemed very appreciative of the chat.
There was a nine year old kid, who seemed more like five. He shouldn’t have been online - his parents were asleep and should have been too. But before I learned this, he heard the law and the gospel.
I talked to a couple of Muslims. One in particular was challenged and wanted to continue the conversation via Instagram.
But my highlight chat was one with a kid who wasn’t interested in his Mum’s faith in Christ. I took him through the logic of God and his justice - and it really clicked. He was open to hear the law, and his jaw opened when he came to grasp the gospel! I worked through checking questions and finally I asked him - do you have any questions? He said: “No, you actually changed my whole mind about everything”. Lord, I leave him in your hands.
I’m talking to more and more kids online, who already have a grasp of the gospel - obviously babes in the Lord, desperately in need of discipling. Where are these kids hearing the gospel?
The last chat on Saturday was with a kid who said he first heard it about a year ago… on TikTok! He couldn’t tell me who he heard it from, but he heard it from somewhere.
From what I know, TikTok is a social media platform that originated from China. And yet, God seems to be using this to spread the gospel!
There was another chat I had with a kid back on Tuesday who had reasonable gospel answers to my questions. He also had been following a TikTok channel and learning from it. I pointed him to a Bible and a local church.
There was a third recent similar chat that I’d had - I can’t remember the details now, nor can I find the recording.
And now that I think about it more, I remember getting into a conversation with two people (within the last few days) and one of them said, “I’ve already watched a video where he talks about God, skip him”.
And that reminds me of yet another conversation I had, about a week ago, where a kid said he had already watched a video with his Mum where I was sharing the gospel.
It’s starting to dawn on me the reach the gospel is having online. It has its drawbacks - no doubt. But it’s truly amazing seeing what’s happening - glory to God.
As an example, here is a sample video of a gospel chat Grace had recently. It’s really worth heading over to watch it. It’s a one minute summary clip of an online gospel chat. The power of the gospel is truly epic!
So, watch this space. Please pray that the gospel would continue to prosper online. That many would be saved, and get connected with a Bible and a local church - wherever they are!
Anyway, I’m supposed to be writing about the weekend outreaches for the Christchurch team.
I was online on Saturday for three hours. I had a lot of chats - 12 in total. One of them started with two girls asking me to wave to their TikTok followers - one had a mobile phone and was recording me. So I waved and simply asked them (and their followers) what they thought happened after they died. She kept recording as I took them through the law and the gospel - it was a great chat (pictured)!
I had a couple of tough chats too. One in particular, the guy started bucking against sound logic. I was just too tired to argue, so I simply said so and skipped him.
On Sunday afternoon, after church meeting, I headed into Cashel Mall for some street outreach. It was great to have Mike join me! I had three solid chats.
The first was with a lady and three older kids - they all had a Christian background, but she seemed a bit confused by the gospel message I was sharing where I was emphasising the fact that works DON’T save us, but only Jesus does by his sacrifice on the cross, which will lead to good works.
The next was a lovely chat with a Christian down from Auckland on holiday. He seemed impressed with what I was doing. We discussed evangelism and theology among other things. He had seen American Gospel on Netflix, and had been impacted by it.
The last chat was with a guy who had served time in prison for violent crime. We talked for a long time, where I had to do a lot of listening, and gently folded the law and the gospel into the conversation. He ended up leaving with four different types of gospel tract to read.
I made it home in time for online outreach with the team. I was paired up with Riley from the USA. He did such a wonderful job in sharing the gospel - always ready with a great analogy and always keeping the conversation on the gospel. I ended up having two conversations with Muslims. One from the Philippines, and the other from Egypt. Both were open to hear the gospel. The guy from the Philippines was very open, and seemed impressed by the gospel. But then he remembered that he was a Muslim, and he suddenly closed up tight - I lost him. Yet, the seed has been sown. When I got into the second chat, I could see the same thing happening, so I raced away from talking about Islam and back to the gospel as quick as I could. He said he would check out more online.
Evangelism is terrifying work. I understand why most Christians avoid it. Today I had to deal with a new atheist (a “new” atheist is one that says religion is bad) who started the conversation by belittling me. I hate conflict, so I want to avoid evangelism too! And yet, when I wrestle with the Bible, theology & logic and I understand what is at stake: eternal life in hell - this motivates me to push past my fears. I think of those that have gone before me: Jesus, Stephen, Paul - and I go anyway.
Evangelism is, therefore, lonely work. Very lonely. Ironically, if more Christians could push past the fear, it wouldn’t be so lonely, and it would actually become easier - we would have each other to lean on when we encounter those difficult situations - that will come!
So, from a lonely Christian to the terrified Christian - come and be terrified with me (and the few others), trust in the strength of the Lord - who knows what it’s like and will always be with us.
Thursday and Friday were long days of outreach for me. But I feel like I’ve pushed through a barrier in the amount of outreach I do. It seems like the more I do, the easier it is to do more. And this life is so short compared to eternity. I’m grateful to the Lord for provision to be able to do what I do - and I’m grateful to the Lord for those he uses to provide - thank you!
The gospel + abortion outreach is still happening, but due to the amount of counter protesters we’ve been attracting - and the hostility they bring. The ability to actually engage people with the gospel has been diminished. For this reason, this outreach will be occurring at non regular times (for the time being at least). This weeks outreach was wonderful - with many opportunities to engage people in respectful conversation about why abortion is murder, and the hope for true forgiveness found in Jesus. We had the usual support, and non-support. One lady yelled from a car window as it drove past: “Stop abusing people!” The irony was lost on her - I just shook my head and said nothing in return.
Andy and I were in Cathedral Square. Andy open air preached to a decent lunch time crowd. He attracted a heckler who he started to engage with. Sadly, others became involved and it started escalating out of control. For this reason, I decided to head over and talk directly with the heckler. It defused the escalation. Andy was able to continue preaching, and I had a great conversation with the heckler. He was obviously extremely resistant, so I didn’t have an opportunity to share the law and gospel with him - but we did exchange names and parted with a hand shake.
Before the open air preaching I had some great walk up opportunities. I engaged two construction workers, who it turns out Andy had talked to on a previous day!
But the highlight was a conversation with a couple of ladies who, sadly, it turns out were high on drugs. Yet, they came to grasp the gospel - one slower than the other as she processed the implications. At the end of the conversation, they both wanted tracts - and they were excited about how they could learn more on TikTok.
I had thirty one solid law and gospel conversations online over this period too. With people all over the world, including: the UK, South Africa, Argentina and the Dominican Republic (for the first time). I’m out of time to write about any of those chats.
Again, thanks for your prayer & support. But most importantly, be encouraged to get involved - as scary as it is. Think of the God you love, think of eternity, act out of love - no matter the cost!
On Tuesday I was back in Riccarton for a couple of hours, before joining the team in online outreach.
It just so happened that the Unicef team were in Riccarton at the same time as me. Of the three of them, I’m already familiar with one - whom I didn’t really talk to this time. But God gave me opportunities to chat to the other two - one of whom is new. The new guy had a Hindu background but wasn’t religious - he heard a brief summary of the law and the gospel and happily accepted a follow up tract.
In spite of Unicef being out there trying to talk to people as well, I had a pretty busy outreach. A young mother stopped and came to grasp the gospel - she obviously had a familiarity with Christian terms, but I don’t think she’d ever really understood the gospel (I could be wrong). She seemed impressed. She had to move on, but she put a follow up tract in her wallet.
I had a couple of guys from India stop to chat. One wasn’t interested and moved on (and ended up getting into a conversation with one of the Unicef team), but the other stayed to talk further and heard the law and the gospel. Sadly, he wasn’t grasping what I was trying to say and eventually decided to move on himself.
The highlight chat was at the end with a young Irish guy with Catholic parents who wanted him to discover the truth for himself. He thought keeping the ten commandments would get him to heaven - well that set up the conversation well. He came to grasp the gospel well, and then see it in contrast to the message of works of the Catholic church. He took a tract and even followed up, posting a comment on one of the needGod.net videos: “Spoke to Glen today outside riccarton mall. Amazing stuff has really changed my way of thinking. Thank you Glen”. Don’t thank me, thank God! I’m just a messenger. But it was encouraging to hear the after thoughts of someone I recently talked to! May he truly be repentant, to the glory of God alone!
Oh, and earlier, I had an interesting follow up opportunity. The first time I encountered this guy, he had some fish’n’chips and wouldn’t stop to talk to me. I’ve seen him walk past with fish’n’chips about another 3 times since then (on different days!) - I would always say hi, and make a comment about what he was having for dinner. Well, today he walked past without fish’n’chips, but he actually stopped to chat! I was able to attempt to share the law and the gospel! Sadly, he just didn’t seem interested or open. God willing, I’ll have further opportunities to chat with him! :)
The rest of Tuesday and all of Wednesday were spent online. About ten chats per day, with all sorts of people - even skeletons and dinosaurs! May God receive glory through people coming to understand who he is: holy, just, loving & merciful - even if they reject that mercy. Lord, help us in this task.
A nice Sunday afternoon to be out sharing the gospel with people in Cashel Mall in Christchurch. Sophie joined me, and we spent a couple of hours.
It was an eventful outreach.
Three Christian teen guys stopped to chat. They recognised me from previous outreaches in the city and Eastgate. I encouraged them to get involved with the great commission.
Then a man stopped, intrigued by Sophie’s flip chart - I took the conversation which turned into a bit of an apologetics battle - I was able to drop the law and the gospel in - but he wouldn’t relent in the argument so I could really talk with him. He was nice, and interestingly he hugged me! He had to go, but I gave him a tract and asked him to get in touch so I could continue the conversation.
I then had a lovely chat with an Irishman who was trying to teach me Māori! I was able to swing the chat to what happens after life and he stayed to hear the law and the gospel but then disengaged.
I went for a walk to wave hello to Lance the busker, when I came back to my flip chart, Sophie was in a conversation on her chat, and there was a guy sitting close by who seemed interested, so I went to say g'day - it turns out he is also a Christian and was interested in what we were doing. We had a friendly chat where I was able to challenge him on some of his evangelism methodology.
The outreach ended with another apologetical exchange with two teen guys I stopped with: “what do you think happens after you die?”. We talked about how we know God exists, why bad things happen to good people (actually, the question should be: why do good things happen to bad people?). In the end, in his resistance, he started denying logic principles. I let them go - it’s hard to debate with people who aren't being logical.
We ended going overtime, which made me slightly late for the online outreach. I was paired up with Matt, and it was great listening to him share the gospel and get feedback from him on the chats I was having.
On Saturday I was also online and had 15 solid gospel conversations with people.
Lord, thank you for life, and salvation. May you save some of those talked to over this weekend for your glory alone.
Since my last report on Wednesday I did some extra online outreach on Wednesday evening (11 conversations), Thursday I was online (22 conversations), and Friday I was online in the morning (6 conversations), before spending a couple of hours in central Christchurch in the early afternoon (open air preaching & tract distribution), after which I spent more time online (12 conversations).
I don’t report this to boast - I have nothing to boast about! But that is over 50 conversations online in a period of just over 2 days. That’s 50 solid law and gospel conversations - not including all the short encounters with people who might get challenged with apologetics, or the law before they disconnect. I’m now in the habit of praying before and after every conversation. I often see a lot of resistance or indifference, so I pray that God’s word will be powerful and effective - even if I don’t see it. That the law would bring conviction and that the conscience would be activated, that God would be glorified because of the conversation, and that he may save people, in his timing, by his grace alone, through the power of the gospel. Sometimes people seem deeply impacted though, as they learn something they had never thought of before. Some are very thankful, some say there is nothing stopping them from accepting the gift of Jesus, even after considering the cost. They are pointed to avenues for follow up: the Bible, a local church, and needGod.net - where many conversations are had via Instagram direct message with the team there.
I guess with this report, I’ll try to touch on some of the highlights over the last two days.
I’m going to start with my time offline - in central Christchurch. The weather wasn’t the best, rain. But I decided to go in anyway. I’m glad I did. I had a unique opportunity to touch on the law and the gospel with 3 Pakistan cricket players who were walking through Cathedral Square. I’ve been to Pakistan to watch cricket (in 2003) so I used that as a way to start a conversation with them. I quickly swung the conversation from the natural to the spiritual - maybe too quickly. One of them, Shaheen Afridi was instantly put off and disengaged. The conversation petered out after that. But one of them took a gospel tract from me. Oh for the days when there were many tourists coming to Christchurch to hear the gospel! In the meantime, I’ll do my best to take the opportunities that come.
Before this, I open air preached in speakers corner to the people passing by. Not many people were there due to the weather - but there were enough. No hecklers, so I was able to freely work through the law and the gospel without interruption.
Later, Binu joined me for tract distribution in Cashel Mall.
Ok, now for the highlights of my time online.
A lady who wanted to be a Christian, but was subtly self righteous - seemed to agree with the gospel, but bucked against the law and disconnected. A Hindu guy who spoke Telugu, Hindi & English (pictured). The concepts I was explaining were very foreign to his thinking, and he was very resistant. I was lovingly honest with him, he couldn’t take it and disconnected.
I then had a string of four wonderful conversations. The first was with a “Christian” lady who was trusting her good deeds to save her. She was super appreciative of the conversation - having come to grasp the good news of grace. The second was with a couple of girls, one of whom said that from today she is believing that Jesus died on the cross for her sins! I then had a very effective three minute conversation with a lady who said her goodness would get her to heaven. I took her through the law, and she responded with “you’re making me cry”. I then explained the gospel, and she started to grasp it when she suddenly disconnected. The last one was with a Christian guy, whom I encouraged to join us in sharing the gospel.
Of the 22 conversations on Thursday, the one I’ll mention is the one I had with a guy in Pakistan. I think my first (online) conversation with someone from there. He was surprisingly open, expressing that he had never heard such news before. I pointed him to needGod.net. Oh, this was interesting, I had a chat with a girl who had a Ukraine / English Bible - sadly she didn’t understand the gospel, I was able to labour with her for some time.
Oh, and another highlight from Thursday was a chat with an Asian looking girl, who sounded American, but was actually German. She had all the right answers initially, but as the conversation progressed it became evident that she was actually looking at her good deeds to save her. I confronted her to start trusting alone in Christ alone to save her. It turns out she is a Baptist PK and leads worship. She opened up about the pressure she feels to perform. She came to tears as I encouraged her. I challenged her to confront the hypocrisy in her environment - as hard as that will be. I pleaded with her to reach out to some of the girls on the needGod.net team via Instagram. It was a wonderful chat.
On Friday morning, a long chat with a guy who had a Hiindu / Bhuddist kind of belief, yet a Muslim father and a mother who had maybe become Christian? He had a lot of apologetical questions to ask after coming to understand the gospel. An interesting chat with two girls sitting in a car - I think from the USA. One of them in particular became engrossed in the conversation. They heard the law and the gospel. Oh, and then a wonderful chat with two ladies who spoke spanish and a touch of English. In a 12 minute conversation, with the assistance of translation tools on both ends, they came to hear the law and gospel!
On Friday afternoon, first up was a chat with a Muslim from Morocco via Arabic translation. He was pretty resistant, but he connected the needGod.net team via Instagram. A wonderful chat with a Catholic kid. He was so appreciative of the conversation, declaring that he was going to skip, but he was so glad he didn’t. “This is amazing”. Later, another wonderful chat with a Catholic guy from Nigeria but living in the USA. He had a lot of good Christian lingo, often going on about grace, but it was obvious that he was trusting in his works. I was pretty stern with this guy as he tried to resist and fight, but he relented seeming to understand that I was doing it in love for him. He has much to process. Lord, save him!
The 2nd to last chat of the day was with a young man who considered what I shared very seriously. Another wonderful chat. And the final chat of the day was with a young man who gave stellar answers to my initial questions. I was surprised, because he didn’t have a Christian background. It turns out he had become interested due to various reasons - including friends, and had obtained a copy of the Bible and started reading it! It seemed like he had become a Christian, and was in need of discipling! He wasn’t part of a church, so I pointed him to one. It was a very encouraging chat, showing the power of God’s word in someone’s life.
Well, if anyone has made it this far, well done! :) Thank you for praying for this gospel ministry. May God receive all the glory alone.
It was nice to have a day of rest on Monday. Tuesday started with some online outreach before I headed to Riccarton again in the afternoon.
My very first chat of the day - the first thing said was from the other person, responding to my sign on the wall: “What happens after we die?” It was a lovely first up chat with the guy (from Greece - I think my first time talking to someone from there), with a Catholic background, hearing the law and the gospel, coming to grasp it quickly, and responding that there was nothing stopping him from trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus. I leave him in God’s hands, but I first pointed him to the Bible and a local church, and also needGod.net.
Next up was a chat who was trusting in his religiosity to save him - specifically baptism (he was also Catholic). He also came to grasp the gospel and, with a frown, he admitted that it made sense. I was working through checking questions when he decided to bail. I understand that he has much to process - changing your thinking can be hard: impossible without God.
Next up, a little kid - always grieves me that one so young is in such a place. But he needed the gospel too. I could tell he was into Spider Man, due to a picture on his wall and because of something he said - so I swung the conversation to the greatest superhero: Jesus. He heard the bad news, and the beginning of why Jesus is the greatest superhero before he disconnected. May the law activate his sin and may he start to thirst for the truth of Jesus. Lord, may he have more opportunities to hear your good news!
A guy from Finland. He didn’t give the classic “be a good person” answer to why he was going to heaven. It turns out he had a Christian background. And yet, he wasn’t a Christian - he was only 10% sure he would be getting to heaven! It was obvious he was really trusting his works to be saved - and he knew his works stunk. I laboured with him on the gospel, but he wasn’t interested - sadly he seemed inoculated away from it. In hindsight, I should have backed up and taken him through the law - something that was missed due to the unconventional start to the chat.
A guy with an Irish accent - and his girlfriend off picture. They heard the law and the gospel - but seemed deeply resistant and quickly disconnected.
Last up was another kid having a lark online - he wasn’t expecting the serious conversation he got! He heard the gospel, but it wasn’t sticking for him - I did my best to labour with him. In the end I pointed him to needGod.net which he started looking at as I left.
It was great to get out on the streets - although overcast. I ended up having a young man come over intrigued by my flip chart. It turned into a conversation that went for over an hour! He asked lots of good questions (sometimes twice). He was really processing what was said. He grasped the gospel quickly and then wrestled with the concept of repentance for a while - I helped him work through it. In the end, I was confident he was clear. We finished up talking about the cost (in this life) of the gift (for eternal life). It was a great chat, quite tiring. He didn’t really want to leave, he just wanted to ask questions - but they eventually ran dry and then he realised the time. He knows how to get in touch with me.
Later I was letterbox dropping in Riccarton when my path crossed with an elderly gentlemen with a Muslim background. We ended up having a lovely chat about the gospel and the differences between Islam and Christianity. He took a tract - but put it in a letterbox for me. So I gave him another one! I pleaded with him to read it.
On Wednesday I decided to work online. Eight solid gospel chats. A guy who didn’t want God to exist, and didn’t like having his real motives for denying him exposed - he disconnected. A great chat with a couple I couldn’t see - after initial resistance, they opened up and appreciated the chat in the end. A chat with a musician who looked like a lady, but sounded like a man. Deeply resistant to the logic of the reality of God, I didn’t even get to the law before they disconnected.
Next up I was connected with a couple of ladies. One wanted to die. All the other could say was mean things to me. No depravity vale on her! I ignored the insults and persisted through the law and on to the gospel. I can only hope in the reality that the gospel is the power of God for salvation.
A great chat with a young Muslim from Egypt. Google Translate was my friend as Arabic was easier for him. Yet sadly, he too was deeply resistant. I persisted for a while before leaving him with needGod.net.
Next up a wonderful chat with a Hindu in India. He came to grasp the gospel for the first time, and asked wonderful questions. About twenty five minutes with him - who was left counting the cost. I pointed him to the source, the Bible.
A great chat with some nominal Christians who came to grasp the gospel.
And the last chat was with a couple of teen guys who were being silly. I ignored the silliness, and eventually they stopped. I was able to share the law and the gospel with both.
Thank you to those who are praying for me and supporting me in this gospel work. I can’t do this alone - again, thank you! :)