Battle Log


Auckland

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.

Contact Glen Richards or Andy Barlow for more information.


Friday 15 November 2019

Posted by Posted 17 November 2019, 2:32 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Thursday and Friday saw the final two days of the three day Canterbury A&P Show outreach.  There were no more slow starts, with many people stopping to chat keeping the team busy.

It was wonderful to have some newbies join the team on Friday.  It can be pretty daunting when you are new so some training occurred, and observation is fine.  When ready, parts of the conversation can be handled by the newbie.  But, to my delight, it was wonderful to see them all stepping up and doing full gospel presentations with the flip chart in no time!  Well done!

Early on Friday we had a mini emergency!  A young lady collapsed while doing the flip chart with one of the team.  I had to call 111 - but the sister of the lady had managed to fetch an ambulance team in short order.  Luckily she was ok.  She was eventually sitting up, and then hopped onto a mini ambulance to be taken to the first aid station for observation.  We are not sure of the reason for the collapse, but it is a reminder of the fragility of life and the urgency to share the gospel.

So many conversations occurred over the two days, it became very tiring and some pacing was required.  On Friday, all I had to do was stand next to the front flip chart for a few minutes, and someone would stop and want to know what it was all about.  One of the team described it as being like a bear fishing at the edge of a waterfall, and just opening its mouth and letting the fish jump in!  Hundreds of people will have heard the gospel!  Praise God.

A highlight from Thursday was being able to follow up with an international cricket player whom I had handed a tract to outside the hospital earlier in the year.  It actually started with his older daughter being very interested in the flip chart - another of the team talked to her, while I talked to her father about the gospel.  At the end of the day, the daughter came back, as she had been processing the gospel message she had heard, and had questions she wanted to discuss.  How wonderful!

The highlight from Friday was probably sharing with two young ladies who had a Christian background, but hadn’t heard the gospel articulated so straightforwardly.  She seemed to grasp that it is by faith in Jesus' sacrifice that saves us, and not our works.  It turns out she had gotten involved with a Mormon church - which doesn’t teach this - and she could now see the contrast.  She was asking about good churches in her area and was encouraged to get in touch so that we could help her with this.

The good thing about so many conversations is that time goes by fast.  And so before we knew it we were packing up the site and praying and giving God the glory for the opportunities we had.  Thank you Lord!

Saturday was a much needed break for me, and I’m now in Brisbane (flew over early Sunday morning) and about to head down to the Gold Coast for a week of outreach there.  Your prayer is much appreciated for the Operation 513 team.  Thank you!
 


Wednesday 13 November 2019

Posted by Posted 14 November 2019, 6:56 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Tuesday was different to usual for the Christchurch (NZ) team.  Matt and Ryan from Brisbane were with me and so we decided to make the most of the day with outreach to four locations: Eastgate bus stops, Northlands bus stops, Riccarton, and finally in Cashel Mall.  Others joined us for the last two outreaches.

All the outreaches were eventful.  Some highlights from Eastgate include: on the negative side - an elderly man raising his stick and tell me to f--- off multiple times (I turned to him after he had listened to me sharing with a couple who had just left to catch a bus).  I was actually encouraged by this - it just shows the reality of the battle we are in.  But: on the positive side - I had two wonderful conversations with mothers with young babies in prams (at different times).  One understood the gospel and responded expressing a desire to accept the gift of Christ.  The other let tears flow down her face - I asked what was going on, and she indicated it was that she was understanding the good news of the gospel.  Praise God for that!  But she is in a battle, as she currently has other influences in her life: including from the JWs.  She was so grateful when I offered her a Bible - and she accepted it.

Riccarton was fascinating.  We got into some long conversations with some high school students - including with some who had an understanding of the gospel, but were currently rejecting it.  I also had a wonderful conversation with some other high school students - including one who was a Muslim, but who seemed very interested in the gospel.  Everyone else in the team also seemed to be having good gospel conversation opportunities as well.

Wednesday was the first day (of three) of the Canterbury A&P show.  Nine and a half hours of tiring but wonderful outreach for a team of seven.  It was a slow start, but eventually everyone was busy with sharing the gospel.  At one point, six sets of conversations were going on at the same time.  And even when the stalls next door had closed up for the day, we were still going strong.  So many gospel conversations, they all blur together in my memory.  God knows them all, and we leave the results in his hands!


 


Sunday 10 November 2019

Posted by Posted 12 November 2019, 6:40 AM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Saturday saw the sixth annual Tell Me Conference happen!  It was a real blessing to have people come to hear Ryan Hemelaar, Evangelist with Operation 513 in Brisbane speak on common gospel analogies he uses in witnessing conversations, Nick Clevely, Elder of Covenant Grace Baptist Church in Timaru speak on the doctrine of repentance, and Phil Johnson of Grace to You answering various questions.

After the conference, many of those who attended also joined in on an afternoon outreach in the city.  We started with an open air gospel presentation using trivia, and giving away money to draw a crowd and give an illustration of the gift of salvation found in the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins.  I was pretty nervous with all the people watching, and wanting to give a good example.  It could have gone better, but I made it through.  The lady who offered to go for the five dollar note was a good sport, in spite of the fact that she was uncomfortable.  We shook hands afterwards.

Matt also preached, and one of the attendees of the conference also had a go!

After this, we moved to Cashel Mall and spread out to share tracts, use flip charts, and pair up for one to one gospel conversations.  There were so many Christians in the mall that the people walking through were getting approached multiple times!  So wonderful to see.  Many tracts were distributed, and it was wonderful to look down the mall and see many gospel conversations happening.  For all those first timers - well done!

It was also wonderful to see my own daughters freshly inspired to share the gospel with the lost!  They paired up with others and were boldly offering tracts to passers by, in spite of their fears.

A team of eight also gathered for the Sunday afternoon outreach in Cashel Mall.  Light rain did not damper the enthusiasm of the team.  Again we paired up, those with experience mentoring those with less (my daughters!)

I was very proud to watch my youngest daughter start a gospel conversation via a flip chart for the first time (with assistance from Thomas) - pictured.  I was also very encouraged to hear that my other two daughters had also been bold enough to start gospel conversations.  Well done!

Thank you to all those involved with the Tell Me Conference.  May Christians continue to be encouraged and equipped for spreading the good news of Jesus' sacrifice for sins to all those that need to hear it (everyone!).

God bless you as you step out and faithfully and lovingly share of the hope within you wherever you are!
 


Friday 8 November 2019

Posted by Posted 10 November 2019, 5:00 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Thursday and Friday produced some very special gospel conversations.  Three in particular.

The first occurred at the Eastgate bus stops.  I had offered a tract to a man who upon reading it became very hostile.  I tried to calm and reason with this man but was unsuccessful at both.  I ended up taking his tract back and ending the conversation for this reason.

Dejectedly, I turned and saw a lady waiting for a taxi with her dog.  I assumed she had observed my exchange and therefore wouldn’t be interested in talking to me, but I approached her anyway, and offered her a tract.  To my surprise she accepted and was keen to chat.  She was waiting for a taxi that would let her dog in the car.  I was able to show her how we know God exists before a taxi came to end our conversation.  But she had become very interested, and said she would read the tract.

I moved away from the taxi’s down to a bus stop, looking for a new conversation, before heading back past the taxi’s.  I was surprised when one of the taxi drivers called me over.  To my encouragement, he had some of our tracts already!  We had handed them to him on previous outreaches.  Well he had read them, and wanted to talk.  So I hopped into the taxi and we started discussing the gospel.  But then one of his regular customers came out of the mall needing a ride - so our conversation was cut short.  But he gave me his card with his number and asked me to call him.  As he drove off, I sent him a text message so he had my number.

Ten minutes later, he called me.  He had dropped off his customer and wanted to finish the conversation.  He drove past, picked me up, and then he parked in the Eastgate car park.  He was on a thirty minute break and wanted to hear the gospel, so I pulled out my mini flip chart, and took him through it - beginning to end!  He was happy to receive a Bible!  He then drove me back around to the bus stops where we parted ways.

I’m confident, God willing, that I’ll have opportunities to see him again and follow up.  A very encouraging conversation!

The second started as I was driving from Eastgate to Northlands.  A guy (that I’ve mentioned in multiple logs before) that I’ve had the opportunity to witness to multiple times since I first met him on the last Summer mission (just under a year ago) contacted me wanting to catch up.  He said he would find me the next day when I was in the city on outreach…

On Friday, we had some great conversations with people outside the Hospital during the abortion outreach, where the third conversation was had.  A guy who works at the hospital, and who I’ve talked with multiple times as well came out and wanted to chat.  It was wonderful to see how positively challenged he has been by our conversations, and also by our witness standing against abortion.  To us, it doesn’t seem like what we are doing is very effective.  But he confirmed that it actually is.  He took my contact details.  I hope to see him again.

… and now I come back to the second conversation.  It’s now Friday afternoon on Cashel Mall - and it’s hot!  Andy & I had set up a couple of flip charts when the guy who contacted me the day before turns up.  The three of us found a shady spot and sat down to talk.  And that talk went for the rest of the outreach.  This young man had previously adamantly said he would never be a Christian, because a specific sin is too precious to him to let go.  Well it was clear that he had now moved on from that position and he seems to be seriously considering Christ.  We spent the time answering his questions, trying to clear his confusion on various things, and going over the law and the gospel again.  He left with one of my last Gospel booklets - he received one previously but indicated that he hadn’t read it, and didn’t have it any more.  But he took this one with a different attitude saying he would read it this time - and I’m confident he will.  I will continue praying for this young man, and the two other men I talked about in this log entry.

I don’t know if my writing has conveyed how incredibly encouraged I am by these three conversations - so I’m explicitly saying so now.  These three men sought me out to talk, as the Holy Spirit seems to be working in their lives since they were first challenged by the truth in the gospel!  As part of my job, there is a lot of rejection, disappointment and discouragement - and so encouragement like this is extra special.  Yet no matter the result - the work is worthwhile.  Be encouraged church!  The gospel is the power of God to salvation.  Join us out in the harvest to share this amazing good news!
 


Wednesday 6 November 2019

Posted by Posted 6 November 2019, 6:09 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Today there were two outreaches - both in the central city.  It was a cold day - winters last gasp?

For the first outreach I set up my flip chart in Cathedral Square, and I had quite a few follow up conversations with various people, and a gospel conversation with two girls from Malaysia who were Bhudist.  I was also very encouraged to encounter a young Christian on exam leave who was out looking for opportunities to share the gospel: “way of the master” style.  I was very encouraged!

To end the outreach, I decided to open air preach - as there were many people hanging around speakers corner.

In the afternoon I ditched the flip chart and headed for Ara intending to have walk up conversations.  I never made it to Ara.

I had a wonderful gospel conversation on the corner of High & Hereford Streets - with a young man who grew up in a church, but wasn’t involved at present.  He seemed deeply impacted when I explained that anger was murder of the heart.  I don’t know if this is connected, but I noticed he broke into a sweat on his forehead!  He seemed to appreciate the explanation of the gospel, and gladly took a follow up tract.

Further down High Street, I shared the gospel with a young couple, and then moved over to a group of four young teens.  I recognised one of them, whom I’ve shared the gospel with before - but apparently they had all talked to me before, and said they already had tracts!  But the girl in particular wanted to talk about it, and so a very long conversation was had where I ultimetaly explained the gospel, but was also constantly answering questions about: homosexuality, suffering, and climate change (to name a few).  By the time that conversation had finished, there was only fifteen minutes left in the outreach, and I spent that time handing out tracts on my way back to the car.  One of these outreaches, it will be good to actually make it to Ara - but High street seems to be very fruitful for conversations at the moment - praise God.

Tuesday’s outreach to Riccarton was quieter than usual.  I had a few “half” conversations, some other interactions, and handed out tracts.

The highlight was having a lady walk past who said she had already received the tract I was offering her.  I didn’t have a chance to interact, but later she came back past, and I stopped her asking her if it was that exact tract she had received, and when / where she had received it.  It turns out it was placed in her letterbox last month.  I asked if she had read it, and she had - but it had obviously had no impact on her.  But I had an opportunity now to follow up, and briefly go over the law and the gospel with her, and bring some urgency to the message in the tract.  She said she would read it again.
 


Sunday 3 November 2019

Posted by Posted 3 November 2019, 6:19 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

How is it that I’m sitting here writing yet another log entry?  Time is going so fast.  Next thing you know we will be in eternity!

The variable spring weather seems to have passed, and we are having lovely summer days now.  It was nice on Saturday, and nice and hot on Sunday.  Both days we were in Cashel Mall.

Although on Saturday I started in Cathedral Square, but there seems to be a lot more people in Cashel Mall now on the weekends.  There were animal rights activists at the Bridge of Remembrance, Hare Krishna followers down by Colombo Street, so I planted myself in between.  Part way through the outreach, a whole lot of dogs and their owners walked through the mall.  Saturday is turning into a really interesting time to be there!

The most interesting conversation from Saturday was with one of the animal rights activists.  He loved logic and was very keen for a conversation.  But when I used logic to explain how we know God exists.  He became agitated, and then angry - I don’t think he realised how angry he was getting.  He had conceded that there must be a creator of the universe, but he was demanding to know why that creator should be the God of the Bible.  But my answers only seemed to feed his anger.  So I asked him why he was getting so angry.  He said, “you’re not answering my question”.  So I said, “well I don’t want to answer your question because you are getting angry, we seem to be stuck in a loop - maybe we should call it quits?”.  He agreed, and shook my hand before leaving - he had a tract that I gave him at the start of the conversation - and I did actually get a chance to briefly explain the hope of the gospel.

For some reason, his anger deeply impacted me.  Through experience, I’ve become used to dealing with it (it doesn’t happen often) - but from time to time it gets to me.

Sunday saw a team of four.  Jermaine had brought his two daughters out with him, and they shared tracts while Jermaine and I ran flip charts.

Early in the outreach, I offered tracts to a couple who completely ignored me.  But further down they accepted tracts from the kids, and that led them into a wonderful gospel conversation with Jermaine!

But I did have some great conversations.  One is etched into my memory.  I did a simple law and gospel presentation with a guy via the flip chart, and it seemed to be impacting him deeply.  But he was resisting.  He wasn’t convinced that it was true, so I circled back and showed him how he knew God exists and the reality of our sin dilemma.  He finally agreed that it concerned him that he would be heading to hell.  And it was then that I explained the glorious gospel - interestingly he already knew it; but the gravity of it, in context, seemed to be hitting home.  He needed to move on, but when we shook hands, he looked me in the eyes and held my hand for a moment.  He had appreciated the talk.  He accepted a tract.  I noticed some time later he came back down the mall on the other side, and received another tract from one of Jermaine’s kids.  Oh Lord, convict him of sin, and save him for your glory!  May I see him again - in your Kingdom!


 


Friday 1 November 2019

Posted by Posted 1 November 2019, 6:43 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Thursday’s bus stop outreach at Northlands became so busy, once the high school kids turned up, that we decided to just stay there, rather than head to Eastgate.  The constant gospel conversations became quite tiring, so we headed into the mall for a fifteen minute break before getting back out into the harvest.  Very encouraging indeed.

I talked to quite a few Christians, a guy who was Coptic Orthodox (from Egypt), a guy who had been at a Catholic school for a year and was now very interested in talking about the deep questions of life.  I even had a bus driver get off his bus to have a cigarette and talk to me.  I was able to challenge him briefly, before he had to go again - he left with a gospel tract. 

But the highlight conversation was one that was interrupted - but in a good way.  I was sharing with a young lady, when a big group of students showed up.  One of them heard me sharing with her, and he was instantly interested.  He was so excited that I was sharing the gospel with her, that he interrupted me to talk about the amazing sacrifice of Jesus.  It was actually kinda awkward for the girl I was sharing with - but I was so blown away by how unashamed the guy was in talking about the amazing love of Jesus!  He didn’t care about the cost.  And what I mean by that is that he moved away to get on a bus that had just arrived, and he didn’t overhear a slightly disrespectful thing one of his schoolmates said about him.  I’m sure this brave young man gets a hard time.  I was so encouraged.  This is the attitude we should all have!  I was able to finish up the conversation with the young lady, and she also left with a follow up tract.

Andy also had many conversations, but the highlight was one with a young man who had apparently talked to me about the gospel a couple of months ago in the city.  Andy was able to take him through the gospel again, aspects of which he had obviously been pondering.  He then said he was keen to read a Bible and wondered where he could get one.  He was blown away when Andy pulled out a Bible to give him!

Friday saw a team of seven for the Gospel / Abortion outreach in the morning, and then a team of four in Cashel Mall in the afternoon (after Andy preached in the Square).

The afternoon outreach was busy: Binu handed out tracts.  Andy spent the whole outreach talking with one man (pictured talking over caramel popcorn)!  Roger had a busy run on his flip chart - including one interesting looking conversation with a large group of guys.  And I had two main conversations: one with three Catholic girls, and one with a young muslim man.

I had actually talked to this muslim man before - he had requested and taken a Bible, but couldn’t stay to talk that time.  But he had time today and wanted to sit down with me.  He had so many questions, so I needed to focus so I could get him to understand the gospel before I circled back to try to tackle his questions.  But we ended up spending the whole time talking about the gospel.  To keep him focused, I pulled out my detailed mini flip chart that I used when in Myanmar last.  And it worked a treat.  I focused on getting him to understand the important concept of justification by faith alone.  I used an analogy to explain it - and he rebelled against the concept!  He stood up and threatened to leave accusing me of saying people can trust Jesus and then do whatever they want!  I got him to sit down again and used another analogy to explain the result of our faith and a changed heart: obedience.  I managed to get this guy to work through all my checking questions with an understanding of the gospel.  I was very encouraged.  I challenged him to respond.  He left was my contact details (he still wants to ask those questions), multiple tracts, and one of my last gospel booklets.  He said he was neither Sunni nor Shai, but something else - and wanted to investigate the things that I had shared with him.  Oh God, I’ve done my best to share the gospel with him - I can’t save him.  Only you can!  Show him how serious his sin is, and how amazing your grace is.  Change his heart Lord, for your glory alone.  Lord, save all these people from their sin and hell, have mercy on our city and land.
 


Tuesday 29 October 2019

Posted by Posted 30 October 2019, 5:45 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

The usual team of two were in Riccarton on Tuesday.  The outreach started with some nice summer heat.  And it wasn’t long before I was into my first gospel conversation.

It was with two muslim ladies from Sudan.  I started by asking them questions about what they thought happens after life.  And it wasn’t long before they were saying that their good deeds would get them to heaven.  I used an analogy to explain why good deeds don’t take away bad deeds - it made sense to them, and so they moved to the idea of having “regret” and “being sorry” would save them.  So I again used another analogy to explain why that wouldn’t help either.  This nicely moved the conversation into a discussion about how serious sin is in the eyes of God, and the hope of the good news of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross to pay our sin debt - by faith alone.  Being muslims, they became resistant to this idea.  But I just kept gently confronting them with the problem of sin and justice - and asking them how they can solve that dilemma apart from the sacrifice of Jesus.  We also talked about the fact that, although salvation is a gift, the cost is incredibly great - esp. for many muslims considering converting.  They became very thoughtful.  They said they would read the tracts I had given them before we parted ways.

Would you like to learn powerful analogies for explaining important gospel related concepts with people in your life?  We have a free conference coming up in Christchurch (NZ) on Saturday, November 9th where one of the sessions will be on this very subject.  Come along, it’s free: https://tellmechristchurch.org.nz/conference/

By the time Roger turned up, the weather was turning to rain, and the temperature had dropped significantly.  I asked Roger to guard my flip chart, while I ran back to my car to get my jacket.  I thought that, by the time I got back, Roger would be cold and wondering why we were standing in the rain!  But when I got back, Roger was in a deep conversation with two guys (pictured).  I could tell it was a good conversation - and it was!  One of them left, but the other stayed for a long chat (pictured).  He came to tears and shared some deep struggles in his life.  He was very interested in the gospel.  Roger exchanged contact details with him.

Roger ended up having a wonderful run of gospel conversations in the few hours we were on the street corner.  Another one was with a young lady (pictured) who needed to get away from some issues at home and so went for a walk and crossed paths with Roger to hear the gospel.  She was a deep thinker, and gladly received a free copy of the new testament (plus Psalms and Proverbs; pictured).

We both had many other opportunities to share the love of Christ.  Roger with a couple of Indian guys, and a high school student.  Myself with a homeless guy, a guy smoking a cigarette, and a wonderful follow up with a Christian who seems very challenged to get involved with the great commission.

And by the time the outreach had finished, the sun was out again! :)

Two Christians, spending a couple of hours on a street corner, can bring the gospel to so many.  How many more could we reach if you joined in also?  Be encouraged to get involved!  Get in touch. :)
 


Sunday 27 October 2019

Posted by Posted 27 October 2019, 5:06 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Saturday and Sunday provided good sunny weather for outreach in Christchurch (NZ).  There was an outreach on both days: in Cashel Mall.

Saturday’s outreach started by scouting out the best place to base.  There was a lot happening: an Indian cultural festival in Cathedral Square, and big bands were playing all over the place: even on one of the trams!  There were many people out and about.

During the scouting, I ended up having a walk up conversation with a guy who had only just landed in Christchurch, from the UK, the night before.  He was reserved, but interested, and was willing to give me the time to share the gospel with plenty of context.  He accepted multiple tracts from me before heading off.

I ended up setting up my flip chart on Cashel Mall more towards the Bridge of Remembrance.  There were many people walking past, but not many were taking tracts, and it was difficult to get any conversations started.

But eventually God provided opportunities to interact with people.  Another young man from the UK, who was heading down to help with one of the big bands, came passed and stopped.  He said he didn’t have long, and wanted the thirty second overview of the gospel (not ideal).  So with warning, I proceeded to do that.  Interestingly it hooked him, and we ended up sitting down and talking further.  He ended up staying for about fifteen minutes.  He was a deep thinker, but sadly very resistant.  He had made up his mind on his current path of life - and he wasn’t going to let me distract him.

I was also very encouraged when a guy engaged me suddenly.  It turns out he is a religious education teacher at a Catholic high school, just down from the Northlands bus stops.  The team has many opportunities to share the gospel with students from that school - some even refer to the RE teachers in conversations.  In our short discussion, we agreed that, although we agree on the Trinity, we disagree on justification by faith alone.  Sadly, his wife turned up at that point and he had to go - but I asked him to get in touch so we could talk further.

One of the last interactions was with one of Jehovah’s witnesses - he had just changed guard from their stand down from me.  He wanted to know what I was doing.  I normally don’t make much ground with the JWs I talk to, but I was pleased to be able to explain why all the major differences between our beliefs were critical to his eternal destiny: If God is just, there must be a Hell; our good works will not get us into the Kingdom of God (I pointed him to Matthew 5:21 & 22); and Jesus must be God to atone for sin.

Sunday was very windy - not ideal flip chatting weather!  So the team focused on tract distribution and also walk up conversations.  I had three conversations.

The first was with a teen couple, who said that they were born again Christians, but when I asked them why they would be going to heaven, they said that it was because they were obeying the commandments!  Wrong answer.  So I proceeded to show them some of the ten commandments to see how they did, and I was then able to explain that it was only a repentant faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that would make them born again.

The last conversation was long, intellectual, tiring, but very rewarding.  After explaining how we know God exists, and that He is the source of our conscience, I proceeded to take them through the law.  She was instantly resistant at this point - but I was encouraged by this.  There was life in this soul!  After avoiding many rabbit trails, I was able to explain the gospel, and then circle back and deal with objections.  Although resistant to what I was saying, she seemed impacted by the fact that I would stand on the street and care enough about people to share.  She gladly took different tracts from me that went into some more details on some of the things we had talked about.  And then she gave me a hug!

The outreach was overtime by this stage, and I was tired.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to share the love and grace of God, but looking forward to rest.
 


Friday 25 October 2019

Posted by Posted 26 October 2019, 2:14 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Thursday was another day of variable spring weather.  The switch between sunny and wet occured multiple times throughout the day.  Just before the Northlands outreach was about to start, the rain was extremely heavy (even going sideways at times)!  But Andy decided to brave the weather - knowing the bus shelters provided some protection.  And he was rewarded with almost constant gospel conversations!  I guess, while waiting at a bus stop, it’s just as easy to talk on a sunny day as a wet one.

Friday saw improved weather - although there was a cold wind - and so all the outreaches were able to proceed: gospel + abortion outreach outside Christchurch hospital, open air preaching in Cathedral Square, the afternoon outreach on Cashel Mall, and finally the evening outreach in the central city.

There was a team of three for the gospel + abortion outreach.  Praise God there were many opportunities to dialog with people on top of the voice of the signs we were holding.

One of those conversations was a follow up with a young man I’ve talked to multiple times in Riccarton.  He was very supportive of what we were doing.  I was very encouraged to see that he was holding a grasp of the gospel and showing signs that he may have responded positively to it.  I invited him along to our little church.  I hope to see him again soon!

The open air preaching in Cathedral Square was wonderful, there were many people about, and no music to compete with.  Andy had written a submission for the proposed abortion law change but was not selected to give an oral submission - so he decided to share his submission in the open air instead, along with sharing the gospel.

There was a team of three sharing the gospel on Cashel Mall.  I had a busy time - the highlight conversation was with a lady who had received a tract but took the time to come back and return it due to disagreement.  I ended up having a good conversation where we discussed our differences in belief - sadly, I’m concerned about this ladies standing before God.  Interestingly, as she was heading off, she decided to accept a different gospel tract from me.  She didn’t come back to return that one!

The day’s outreaches was wrapped up with a team of two in the evening.  Cathedral Square had been set up for an Indian cultural festival the following day, and a whole lot of people were waiting around for their turn to get on stage to practice.  This of course provided opportunities for gospel conversations: I was very encouraged to see one Sikh man understanding the gravity of sin when I explained that anger is murder of the heart to God.  I shared the gospel, and afterwards he was very keen to find out more, asking about a web site he could look at.  I was happy to point him to one.

Earlier, I had an opportunity to offer a tract to a couple of English cricket players walking past (they will be playing New Zealand, in Christchurch, next week).  I wasn’t surprised that they weren’t interested as I think I had an opportunity to share tracts with other players/coaching staff on Wednesday - they all turned them down then too.  Knowing this, I decided to be bold and ask if I could as a question - they didn’t stop, but one said, “sure”.  So I asked, “do you ever think about what happens after life?”.  I was ignored and they walked on.  But a couple of seconds later, he turned around to give me a look - as if to say: “what kind of question is that???”  I know cricket players think about death, we just have to remember Phil Hughes who recently died in a cricket match when he was hit in the head by the ball.  We have no idea when it will come - and it can be sudden!

The outreach finished with a wonderful conversation outside the bus exchange.  Two girls stopped who were willing to stay and talk about the things of God.  After hearing the gospel, one of them asked a key question: “What does God think of gays?”  It was my pleasure to say that God loves gays so much that he died on the cross for them, but that it was clear that God, who writes the rules, thinks homosexuality is a sin.  He has the power to change hearts - even with this sin - by the power of the gospel.  But she said, “Well, this lesbian is going to hell” - and she blew me a kiss as she walked off.

Jesus, may you receive the reward of your suffering!  Please show these people your mercy through your sacrifice and the gift of repentance and faith in you!
 


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