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.


Thursday 2 December 2021

Posted by Posted 2 December 2021, 6:34 AM by Glen Richards. Permalink

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.
 


Wednesday 20 October 2021

Posted by Posted 20 October 2021, 11:48 AM by Glen Richards. Permalink

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
 


Monday 26 July 2021

Posted by Posted 26 July 2021, 6:24 AM by Glen Richards. Permalink

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.
 


Friday 25 June 2021

Posted by Posted 26 June 2021, 7:30 AM by Glen Richards. Permalink

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!
 


Wednesday 16 June 2021

Posted by Posted 16 June 2021, 5:43 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Tuesdays Stats:

4 hours online - 6 chats for a total witnessing time of 2 hours and 59 mins & a total time in decent chats of 2 hours 36 mins - an average of 26 mins per chat.  All but one of those chats was with people in the USA - the other guy was in Colombia.

1 hour 45 mins outreach in Riccarton with Roger (pictured).

Wednesdays Stats:

5 hours online - 15 online chats for a total witnessing time of 3 hours 43 mins & a total time in decent chats of 2 hours 54 mins - an average of 11 mins per chat.

Conversation Summary / Highlights:

I had a completely non standard, yet fascinating 5 min chat with a Muslim guy who instantly picked up on the fact that I was a Christian.  He asked great questions which quickly got to the heart of the differences between our worldviews.  My answers revealed the gospel to him - although I have no idea if it was taking hold because he had a customer walk into his shop and he had to go.

A follow up chat occurred with a guy I had talked to a month ago (for 8 mins), and who Kiera had talked to 18 days ago (for 2 mins).  He must spend a lot of time here like us.  He is a DJ (pictured) and also a paramedic.  He had a Catholic background and stubbornly held to his self righteousness as I laboured with him.  Yet this time he lingered in the conversation - we chatted for 25 mins this time.

The chat with the guy from Colombia was one of the longest I’ve had, 1 min shy of 1 and a half hours!  A Catholic background, which he is rejecting - yet he can’t deny a creator.  He seems to be searching and so he very much appreciated the conversation.  Multiple times it would seem that he had grasped the gospel, and then checking questions of one kind or another would raise doubt in my mind.  By the end of the conversation I couldn’t be sure he was grasping it.  What was making the conversation longer / harder was that his English was at about 95%.  I sometimes had to engage Google Translate to clarify things.  I was absolutely exhausted after this chat.

My mind is blanking on who I talked to in Riccarton.  The one thing I remember clearly is 3 guys going past and stopping to engage for a few seconds before 2 of them decided to move on, taking tracts.  As the 3rd guy took the tract, he stopped and wanted to talk.  Questions were in his eyes.  Sadly, he looked back and saw his friends waiting across the street for him - he had to go.  I told him to read the tract - he said he would.

I remember, now, my first conversation was with two high school students who were Chinese.  I was impacted by the fact that one of them had never heard about Jesus.  I was struck by the reality of how secular our society is becoming for that to happen.  Sadly, they heard the gospel for the first time from me.

I know Roger was busy across the street.  At one point he had a large group of high school students surrounding his flip chat - 9 of them?

I was feeling very unusually tired on Wednesday.  I really had to fight to be able to maintain conversations with people.  At one point I just couldn’t muster the energy to engage, skip after skip started occurring.  I reached out to Matt and let him know how I was feeling.  I could tell he was praying for me, because my very next chat was different.  I felt like I was back to my usual self.  After that chat I asked Matt if he had prayed for me.  Indeed he had.  I feel like I’ve got a lot to learn about effective prayer.

Anyway, I ended the outreach with 2 long chats: 22 mins, then 45 mins.

The 22 min one was with a kid with a Catholic background who now called himself an Atheist, yet the very first thing he said, when he read the question on my wall: “What happens after we die?” was, “that is a great question”.  He opened up to the logic of the gospel, and then became resistant as he understood the implications.  Yet it was a great chat.  I had to rush the gospel at the end, as his mum had a limit on his WiFi access which was running out.

The 45 min chat was great.  I highly suspect I was talking to a false convert and the chat ended up focusing around precisely how we go to heaven.  He really engaged, and admitted his Dad was concerned about his ‘faith’.  I told him that his Dad was probably praying for him, and that it was no coincidence that we had paired for this chat.  He is now articulating how we are saved well.  I encouraged him to start reading his Bible daily and to engage in his local church.  It was a great chat to finish the day!

I’ve now survived writing this report and am ready for bed.  Please keep praying for stamina in this gospel work.  SDG
 


Sunday 13 June 2021

Posted by Posted 15 June 2021, 8:44 AM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Ended up with a team of six in Cashel Mall on Sunday afternoon.  We had a flip chart set up, tracts were distributed and walk up conversations were had.  I spent my time during the outreach pairing up with different members of the team.

I spoke with a guy dressed in a suit and bow tie.  He was familiar with biblical concepts, but he wasn’t able to clearly articulate why he would be getting to heaven.  He danced around various terms, but missed the center of the gospel: Jesus.  Later when I asked if he had to do good deeds to go to heaven, he hesitated for a while and then said, “It’s part of the package”.  I clarified that works are NOT required for salvation, but will follow.  It turns out he is a modalist (denying the trinity of God).  He heard why it is essential to understand who God is, as it impacts our understanding of the gospel.

I approached a young couple, who stopped to listen.  Reading their body language, I didn’t think they were interested in the conversation - and I gave them an option to leave.  I was wrong.  The guy esp. was keen to keep talking.  They heard the gospel.  It turns out they had Christian backgrounds, but weren’t part of any local church.  I encouraged them to change that.  The guy thanked me for the chat as we parted ways.

I had other good opportunities to interact with people - but for various reasons, the gospel wasn’t delivered.  But tracts were taken.  Seeds were sown.
 


Friday 11 June 2021

Posted by Posted 12 June 2021, 7:47 AM by Glen Richards. Permalink

My brain is overloaded with interesting things to write about the last two days of outreach, I hope I’ll be able to get to them all and describe them well.  Eight hours of outreach per day, made up of online work, as well as a first venture to the local university campus on Thursday and our usual city outreach on Friday.

Firstly, an amazing conversation occurred online.  Once the rest of the team had joined me, I was first up for the live stream.  I got into a conversation with a construction worker from Utah, USA.  I was able to explain how we know God exists, and I had taken him through the law.  I was just about to move into the good news when he disconnected!  I was really disappointed to have him leave with just the bad news.  Yet God is sovereign.  While on live stream, I prayed that he would have an opportunity to hear the gospel, and then went to start my next conversation.

At that moment, I glanced at the rest of the team, and I noticed that Ryan had a re-connect.  This doesn’t happen very often, so I looked deeper.  It was a reconnect with someone I had talked with before, and then I was stunned.  It said I had talked to this person 38 seconds ago.  The guy I had been talking to had disconnected from me, and had immediately connected with Ryan.  I told Ryan to unmute, which he did, and the live stream was able to listen to Ryan continue the conversation with him!  God answered my prayer!  GOD IS SOVEREIGN!  Sadly, the guy didn’t stay with Ryan for long, but he was able to start hearing the gospel, and it was super encouraging for me.  If you would like to watch this unique encounter, you can watch it here.  But be warned the guy I was talking to uses some bad language.

After I had finished my stint of live streaming, I headed to Canterbury University to join Andy and a student, Ezra, for a few hours of outreach there.  As this is the first time I’ve done outreach there, and wanting to be respectful of etiquette, I put my tracts in my back pocket.  I approached people respectfully, was very open about who I was and what I was doing, and gave them lots of opportunity to get out of the conversation if they wanted to (many of whom took that opportunity).  But in spite of this, I had a wonderful time discussing the gospel with people.

The first guy was a fourth year civil engineering student - I didn’t get past the discussion of how we know God exists.  He fought against it.  He finished his lunch and said he had to get back to his studies.

I then approached two guys who came from Ethiopia.  One was a Christian and was keen for me to share the gospel with his friend, which I did.  It was a great chat.

After a few false starts, I then fell into the highlight conversation of the outreach.  Three students walked past and one of them said something interesting, so I commented, this caused them to come over to me and we naturally fell into a gospel conversation.  It started with me asking if they ever think about what happens after they die.  To my amazement, one of them said, “yes, all the time, we were just talking about it”.  So I asked what they thought.  “Well, there are three options: 1) nothing, 2) reincarnation, 3) heaven or hell”.  It turned into a very long chat.  Two of their friends joined in early on too.  It was me against five.  They asked good, challenging questions.  I even touched on some presuppositional apologetics, giving one of the best summaries of it I’ve ever heard come from my mouth (where did that come from!?).  The gospel was clearly explained, and checking questions were employed.  The two that joined left (the girl was deeply resistant to the gospel), so I was back down to the original three.  They lingered, and I was able to continue exhorting them to respond to the gospel.  I was exhausted after that chat - very draining, but so wonderful.  Thank you Lord for the opportunity to represent you to them.

I woke up on Friday feeling very tired from the previous day's outreach.  But God used that.  I was online in the morning (with Andy).  I connected with an older guy called Jimmy from Ireland.  He was deeply resistant: “There is nothing after you die”.  I was too tired to engage in my usual way, and I got the impression this guy was lonely.  I let him talk and just listened.  From time to time he would slow down and leave a gap for me to interact, and, as appropriate I would gently respond to what he was saying, and do my best to beeline for the gospel (he heard it multiple times), before he would re-engage and talk while I listened.  As the conversation progressed, I watched something interesting happen: he started to soften.  We ended up talking for thirty five minutes, and he seemed really grateful for it.  He mentioned that he used Facebook a few times, so I asked if he would check out needGod.net on Facebook.  He said he would.  This conversation was a real reminder to treat people like people when sharing the gospel.  We are not there to just convince people intellectually (although we do want to reason with them).  And as great as methods and scripts are, and as much as we want to avoid rabbit trails and stick to sharing the gospel - there is a time to just go with the flow.  God is in control.

The outreach in the city went really well.  I ended up sharing the gospel with a guy who turned out to be a kid I taught in Sunday school years ago!  I only recognised him (just) when he told me his name, which was unique.

I’m out of time to write any more, so I’ll leave it at that.  Thank you so much for your support of this ministry.  All glory to God alone.
 


Sunday 6 June 2021

Posted by Posted 6 June 2021, 4:32 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

There was some rain about today, but it was clear enough to head on the streets after lunch.  A team of three.  A bit of a slow start, but it became quite a busy outreach.

I had some great opportunities to talk to groups of kids in one go - 3 groups in fact.

Interestingly, one of those groups was made of some young Muslim guys.  I wasn’t able to hold all their attention, and so they started peeling off and leaving.  I ended up with two of them, only one seemed interested - and then they had to go.  They were trusting in their good deeds for salvation.

Well, the next group was made of some young Christian guys.  Sadly, they were trusting in their good deeds for salvation (“don’t sin”).  They stayed to hear the gospel - which is great.

The third group was a mix of non-religious guys and girls.  The conversation started with only two stopping, then it was only one, but then the other guy came back, and all the girls joined in as well.  It was a wonderful gospel conversation.  Praise God.

I had some other encouragement today as well.  In my last report I mentioned a guy who heard the open air preaching on Friday, and then I was able to follow up with a one to one gospel conversation.  Well, he turned up at church today!  It was wonderful to be able to welcome him into the meeting, and sit with him.  He joined the discussion afterwards too and was invited to a weekly Bible study.  Praise God!  May he continue to respond to discipleship and bring much glory to God.

Later I was online with the team.  Here is a remembered transcript from one of those conversations:

Me: What do you think happens after you die?
Them: You really want to know what I think?
Me: Of course.
Them: (laughing) Good people become goldfish, and bad people become dogs. [!?]
Me: Ok, where do goldfish come from?
Them: Pet Shops
Me: Where do pet shops come from?
Them: Well, God made the pet shops...
Me: So you believe in God then?
Them: No!
Me: Well, you said God made pet shops.
Them: Are you trying to convert me to Christianity?
Me: Yes.
Them: Well, I’m gay.
Me: Well, there is hope for you.
Disconnect.

So it was an odd conversation, I admit.  But my heart goes out to this person.  I hope they will get to hear the gospel.  Maybe from you?  Are you ready to share the gospel?  Get equipped!  Talk to your Pastors to learn more, or get in touch.

Other online conversations of the weekend included:

A conversation with some young guys obviously up to no good.  As soon as the one holding the phone heard my question he was instantly engaged.  But another of the kids was saying, “skip him” and trying to snatch the phone so he could do so.  But the kid with the phone wouldn’t let it go, and I was able to share most of the gospel with them.  I made it up to the way we accept the gift: trust when the skip finally occurred.  But I was able to inform them of needGod.net before it occurred.

A wonderful chat with a kid from the Philippines.  He said he was going to skip me as soon as he saw me, but my question made him pause.  He is now professing faith in Christ.  I was able to help him download a Bible app on his phone and get him set for reading John.  He is in touch via Instagram.

A chat with a kid who obviously had a Christian background (Walk by Faith sign on his wall).  But who thought going to church many times would get you to heaven.  He came to grasp the gospel.  I pointed him to his parents to discuss further.

Thank you Lord for giving us another weekend of your patience to proclaim your mercy.  Glory to you alone.


Saturday 5 June 2021

Posted by Posted 5 June 2021, 7:05 AM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Today saw another calm gospel + abortion outreach outside Christchurch hospital.  Not many conversations, but tracts were received.  We had a guy walk down the line and shake all our hands.  I was at the end of the line, and I asked him what he thought happened after life.  It turns out he is Mormon, so I challenged him with the gospel.  I knew I wouldn’t have much time, because his wife had kept walking - so I was direct to try to shock him into thought.  He didn’t like it - but I love him too much not to confront him.  We parted on friendly terms, and he left with both a “Life is Precious” tract and a “Who Made It?” tract.

Moving into the city, I hung around Speakers Corner while eating lunch.  A real little community is there now.  One side has Christians wanting to engage people with the gospel, and the other side has hecklers.  In the recent past I’ve felt like it was a bit of a circus, and didn’t want anything to do with it.  But today I was struck with the civility shown.  Both sides extend much respect to the other, in spite of strong disagreement.  Long may this continue.

Steve was preaching for evolution and against creation, when a guy I’ve never seen walked into the middle of speakers corner and started getting really angry with Steve.  “These people are good, stop speaking against them!”  Sadly he was out of control, and both sides told him to calm down.

Steve finished speaking, and so I decided I would preach - it’s been a while.  I really enjoyed it.  Proclaiming the law and the glorious gospel as loudly as I could.  Embarrassingly, my voice squeaked quite a few times.  Oh well.  The hecklers interjected quite a bit, I did my best to answer when the questions were good.  When they were silly, I ignored them and just kept preaching.

There was a guy there who listened intently, he had been interacting with some of the Christians before I turned up.  Well, I went to the Bridge of Remembrance to meet Roger and do some one to one outreach there.  Low and behold, this guy turns up not too much longer, and starts begging on the corner - while doing this he was reading a copy of the gospel of John.

I went over and sat next to him, it turns out someone had led him in a sinners prayer!  He was excited and keen, and looking forward to going to church on Sunday.  I had a wonderful opportunity to make sure he understood the gospel.  We chatted for about fifteen minutes where I slowly worked him through the law and the gospel, and then started walking him through checking questions (it was at this point that I realised how intently he had been listening to my preaching - he had remembered many of the analogies I had used).

My final checking question came from a different angle, and it caught him off guard.  He thought for a second and then subtly fell back into salvation by works: “Well, I try, I’ve started the steps (he meant that he has “prayed the prayer”), and I am more humble now”.  It was a great teaching opportunity to show him how all those things are pointing to himself and what he has done to be “saved”, rather than looking to Jesus as the only reason he is saved.  I think it really started to sink in at that point.

After our chat, I went on to have many opportunities to share the gospel with people throughout the outreach.  Lots of high school kids were out and about - I think there must have been a teacher only day.  I had an opportunity to share the gospel with a group of eight of them at one point.  Glory to God.

As Roger and I wrapped up the outreach, the guy I had talked to at the start was still there (he had been reading the gospel of John the whole time).  So I went over to check that he still knew why anyone would get to heaven.  He got the answer right the first time!  Praise God.  I’m confident he knows the gospel, I leave him in God’s hands.  He has my contact details, and I know which church he intends to attend on Sunday.  Lord, change his heart - for your glory, Lord, show him your mercy and grace.

Thursday is a big day of online outreach for the team.  I had twenty five chats for the day.

I had a fascinating chat with a kid and his sister.  He seemed to know the gospel already, giving great answers to the checking questions.  But his sister wanted nothing to do with Christianity, and moaned in the background as I talked to her brother.  To end the conversation she called out that “I want to go to hell where the gays are”.  Sadly, she wouldn’t engage in dialogue.

My next chat was with a guy from Kenya.  I talked, he typed.  By the end of the conversation he was professing faith!  Glory to God alone.  His background is protestant.  I pointed him to his Bible and a good local church.

Later in the day I had a long chat with a Catholic guy who seemed to work in academia (economics).  He engaged early, and asked lots of good questions.  I kept bringing the conversation back to the law and the gospel, multiple times.  He had been raised thinking he had to be good to go to heaven, and I could see he was challenged by my precise explanations of the reality of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone.  He was understanding, but he didn’t want to completely let go of his work for salvation (pride?) and he latched on to my explanation of the reality of repentance in the life of a believer - skewing it.  Once again I challenged him, but sadly his countenance hardened and he left the conversation.

My last two chats of the day were very refreshing, both with young men from the US who were open to the logic of the gospel.

With the last chat, the video froze right at the end of the conversation, so we finished by switching to text chat.  I asked him if the conversation had helped.  “Yes actually thank you, I really appreciate this, I never caught your name sir”.  We exchanged names, and I gave him a way of getting in touch if he desired.  I’m confident he came to understand the gospel.

Lord, we leave all these people in your hands.  Save your elect, in your timing, and knit them into your church.  Be glorified.


 


Wednesday 2 June 2021

Posted by Posted 2 June 2021, 7:05 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

On Tuesday, late afternoon / early evening, I was in Riccarton with Roger for a couple of hours of street outreach.  We were both flat out in conversations for the first hour and a half - praise God.

My first chat was with a guy who was interested in my question: “What happens after you die?”, but said he hadn’t come to a conclusion yet.  He said he had looked into Bahai and Christianity.  I asked him what he thought a Christian had to do to get to heaven.  Answer: “be as good as you can be”.  Going from there, I explained the gospel.  He seemed intrigued.  He opened up a bit, and seemed to appreciate the chat.  He left with a tract.

During the outreach, I interacted with three “regulars”.  One of them couldn’t believe one of the others was still living on the street, in spite of all the recent rain.  We had a long chat, where I played that thinking back on him in not understanding why he was willingly rejecting the gospel.  He made it clear he would rather go to hell, than turn from his sin (he understood that salvation was a gift, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to stay in his sin, which he loves).

An old workmate passed by!  We had a good catch up.  I was able to swing the conversation to the “Ontological argument” - as he put it.  Which we discussed for a few minutes, but by this point he had to go.  He accepted a tract.

To finish off, I had an epic chat with a young man who said, “I think about it all the time” - when I asked him what he thinks happens after he dies.  I could tell he couldn’t stay long, so I quickly took him though the law and the gospel.  He seemed impressed, and wanted to stay to chat, but couldn’t.  He left with a tract, and one for the person who was waiting for him.

Roger was having a wonderful time too, at one stage he had a long chat with a large group of kids - pictured.

Wonderful opportunities.  Glory to God alone.

I was online, with the team,  for four hours each day: Tuesday and Wednesday for a total of twenty four conversations.

Two highlight chats from Tuesday.  The first was an apologetics battle, which was enjoyable for me - within that discussion, the gospel was heard, although the guy seemed closed to it.

The second was a long chat (43 mins) with a guy from South Dakota (first time I’ve reached someone in that state).  The guy was talking about levels of heaven, and my initial thought was that he was Mormon.  When I asked he responded by saying he was Lutheran.  But he didn’t know the gospel, and clearly stated that his good deeds would get him to heaven.  I laboured on the law & the gospel and showing him that his only hope was Jesus, and not his own righteousness.  I’m confident that he came to understand this.  But there was zero spark to the wonder of God’s grace.  Finally he asked me about Freemasonry.  It turns out his Dad is high up in that hierarchy.  Please pray for Jordan.

From Wednesday, the highlight was a thirty minute conversation with a young man from India.  The idea of someone else taking his hell punishment for him was so foreign to his understanding of good deeds for salvation, it took a lot of labouring, and patient explaining before understanding of the gospel finally started to take hold.  Yet once it did, it seemed to have a deep impact: (in an Indian accent) “Sir, you have totally changed my mind”.  And yet, it was clear from the checking questions that he was still struggling to grasp this new concept of grace, trying to mix it with works.  I continued to labour until his video froze up.  We were still able to communicate via text, and, apart from the Bible and a local church, I pointed him to an easy way to get in touch and continue the conversation if he wanted to.  Praise God.

The final conversation of the day was relatively short (11 mins) the kid grew a smile as understanding of the gospel sunk in, at the end of the conversation he said, “thanks, I really needed this”.


 


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