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.
Saturday saw a break from the wet weather (but it alternated between hot and cold depending on the movement of the clouds!) and there were many people out and about in Cathedral Square. Three conversations from the outreach stand out.
The first was very special in that it was a follow up with two guys that I’ve been talking to since the summer (pictured walking away after the chat). It was a short conversation where I was able to: 1) show my care and concern, 2) explain how they know God exists, 3) touch on the serious nature of their sin, 4) explain that there is hope only in Jesus, and 5) plead with them to repent and trust: to accept the gift. It was weird, because one of them kept alluding to scenarios and questions that were covered in the 180 DVD - and so I offered him one and asked him to watch it - which he said he would. Interestingly, he reminds me of the guy in the DVD with the blue mohawke!
The second was a wonderful follow up with a guy who knows the two guys from the first conversation. He had his little brother with him. He said he was still thinking about coming to my church, which I said would be great, but that, more important than coming to my church is that he needed to be saved. I asked him if he could remember the way to heaven. His answer: I’ve got to be a good person. Inwardly I cringed, but I’m not surprised. There is a blindness to the simple message of the Gospel! So I took him (and his brother) back through and explained the law and the Gospel again. I also gave him a 180 DVD. I’m praying that the Holy Spirit would open their eyes!
The final conversation actually happened after the outreach had ended. I was walking back to my car, and I handed a tract to a young guy walking past. He stopped and so I had an opportunity to talk with him: he was very open to a Gospel conversation. At the end, I asked him, “are you trusting in Jesus?” To my surprise he said, “yes, I am now”. I wasn’t expecting that at all! He was very open to the logic of the conversation, but there didn’t seem to be much emotional response to it. I encouraged him to get in touch with me (if he is genuine, I want to see him discipled). I haven’t heard from him yet (a day later). But he accepted a Bible and a booklet that covered the Gospel in more detail.
Sunday was wet again, but the rain had stopped by the time the outreach started after lunch. There were three Christians out sharing at the corner of Cashel and Colombo.
Greg had a wonderful conversation (pictured). And Mike had a great chat with a guy I had talked to the week prior (also pictured).
But I also had a wonderful conversation with three young people with Christian backgrounds. One claimed to be a Christian, one didn’t, the other didn’t answer. I was able to take them all through the law and the Gospel. They all seemed impacted in different ways - as always I leave them in God’s hands.
Like the previous day, I again was able to have a Gospel conversation while on my way back to my car. The guy heard the law and the Gospel and looked genuinely challenged. He said he had to go as he had a job interview! I apologised, and said I hoped I didn’t make him late. His response was that he really appreciated that I had stopped him - I was encouraged. May he repent and trust in Christ!
Right, off to the airport in 30 minutes (at the time of writing). Five of the Christchurch (NZ) team will be joining the Myanmar team for the next two weeks. So reports will be coming from there (God willing). Please keep us in your prayers!
Thursday and Friday saw more rain, wind and cold in a Winter fight back in Christchurch (NZ).
All the outreach time on Thursday was spent at the Northlands bus stops. A team of two.
At one point, a bus stopped and a whole lot of high school students disgorged. Andy was offering tracts to them but they were all being refused. He turned to me and said, “I’m not having a good run!”, he then turned back and the next tract he offered was accepted, and the guy turned to ask about it! Twenty minutes or so later they were shaking hands after the guy had accepted a Bible - it was a really good Gospel conversation!
For me, the conversation that stands out was one that started suddenly. I was walking towards someone to offer them a tract when a guy came out of a property right in front of me. So I offered him the tract instead and asked him if he ever thought about what happens after life. Initially the guy was resistant and then said that he used to be passionate about Jesus like me and that he had done what I was doing: talking to people about Jesus at bus stops. But not any more. He wanted to know my motivation. But he started walking down the street, so I decided to walk with him! I told him my motivation was my love for Jesus who had saved me from my sin and hell, and that I wanted to obey Him and tell others about Him. After some discussion, I ended up switching to my testimony of how I became a Christian. After a few blocks, the conversation came to a natural end. He gave me his card and said I should email him. He’d like a game of chess! I’m not sure about the game of chess, but I have emailed him with a link to some Gospel material.
Another fascinating encounter was when I approached a guy and he instantly said, "go and get a real job, stop annoying people with your rubbish". I didn't let this deter me, and I responded with, "OK, well - I don't think it's rubbish. Tell me, where did the universe come from?" To my amazement, this caused him to engage in the conversation, and I had an opportunity to explain to him how he knows God exists. Sadly, his bus came. But he did take a piece of my "rubbish" (a silent missionary: a Gospel tract)!
On Friday, there were heavy showers in the morning. We decided to cancel the Gospel + abortion outreach. Walking in the rain letter boxing tracts is okay (the walking keeps you warm), but standing exposed in cold rain is not wise. Our new banner, designed to provoke people into discussion, will have to wait!
But the rain had eased to a stop in the afternoon, so a team of four gather for outreach in Cathedral Square and Cashel Mall. And in spite of the wind and cold, it was a wonderful time of ministry!
Even though there was hardly anyone in Cathedral Square, I decided to open air preach to the few people that were passing. I know it looks foolish seemingly preaching to no one - but I don’t care. I’m desperate for the few people that could hear me to hear the good news of Jesus! At the very least, it’s good practice. Sure enough, I had a guy approach me. He was a Christian and wanted to know if anyone was listening. So I said, well, you are! :)
The afternoon’s conversation that stood out to me was one I watched Roger have with four Muslim girls (pictured). At one point he used an illusion tract to get them smiling and laughing, but later I noticed the girls all had serious looks on their faces as Roger was discussing the important questions of life with them. Today they heard the Gospel!
Tuesday saw two outreaches in the city, the first (before lunch) was centered around Cathedral Square, and the second (after lunch) was centered around Ara.
As soon as I had set up my flip chart in Cathedral Square I instantly had a “regular” stop to chat. He is normally very resistant to Gospel conversations but of late I have noticed some softening, and I was surprised today to see how open he was. In a roundabout way, I was able to talk about God's law with him, and then about the good news of Jesus. He accepted an After Life tract and we shook hands multiple times before he moved on. I was very encouraged.
After he moved on, things were a bit slow in the Square, and so I decided to pack up and move down to Cashel Mall. As I came to the Hereford intersection, A guy I had talked to months ago in summer came running up to me. He called me "the God man" and was very keen to talk. We crossed the intersection and sat down. He had obviously been thinking deeply about the important questions of life, and was wrestling with them. He was also struggling with difficult circumstances in his life. As we were talking, I had opportunities to address important Gospel concepts, for example, he generally thought of himself as a good person (in contrast to me!), so I was able to address this by showing him the mirror of God’s law. Then there was a point where we were talking about Jesus, and he started talking about how Jesus had had a crown of thorns pushed into his head. To my surprise he burst into tears contemplating this. But the moment was broken when two of his friends suddenly appeared and he needed to compose himself. Later, we talked a lot about the purpose of suffering. It’s hard for me to know what’s really going on with this guy. But I am very encouraged by his openness. I never made it to Cashel Mall.
After lunch I headed through Cathedral Square on my way down High Street to Ara. I was handing out tracts as I went, and this led to a conversation with a young JW. I cut to the chase with him to discover where his hope lay. I was surprised how honest he was in saying that his hope lay in his own good works! I was able to explain why his good works would never be good enough, and why our only hope was in Jesus paying our fine on our behalf. He was, sadly, completely unmoved.
As I exited the Square, offering tracts, I was abruptly rejected by three young women. One of them told me not to shove my religion on her. I tried to get them to engage in a conversation, but she then proceed to say that if I wasn’t a women, then I didn’t have a say (although she used cruder words than that) - an obvious reference to our stand against the murder of preborn babies. Very sad; she continued to yell something as they walked off through the Square. God have mercy on them.
Outside Ara, I was very encouraged to have the guy who had bought me a coffee a few weeks ago approach me and shake my hand! He wanted to catch up, and offered to buy me a sausage roll and another coffee - but he didn’t want to disturb my work, so told me to come into the convenience store across from Ara (where he worked) when I was done.
I had almost a constant run of great Gospel conversations with people outside Ara before finishing the outreach and heading over to catch up with my new friend. It turns out that this guy, a Christian, had received Gospel tracts from me on two separate occasions before he next saw me outside Ara a few weeks ago and decided to buy me the coffee. This encouraged me, as it means the Gospel message is really getting out there if I’m double hitting people like that! And I was encouraged to know that I had encouraged him in simply giving him those tracts. He now knows I don’t like coffee, so he got me a hot chocolate this time! ;) I’m very blessed and grateful. What is interesting is that this guys name is none other than David Livingstone! (A pioneering missionary of the London Missionary Society.)
And to top off the day, as I was heading back through Cathedral Square on the way to my car, I bumped into the guy I’d had the long chat with at the end of the first outreach of the day. It seemed appropriate that I offered him the sausage roll David had given me. He gratefully accepted it! What a blessing to be able to pass on my blessing. Oh may he receive the greatest blessing: Christ!
Wednesday saw heavy rain as forecast. I headed to Riccarton anyway, and was surprised to see that road works had ruined my usual outreach spot! But this just caused me to find a new spot - which I found down by the Riccarton bus stops. In spite of the rain, I had some great Gospel conversations and was able to pass out a good number of tracts.
Thank you for your continued prayers for the Christchurch (NZ) team. I’m reminded that, without God, we labour in vain!
Saturday was the last day of winter! I have survived a winter of outreach in Christchurch. Sunday was the first day of spring. And both days were warm. It was the first time in months I got down to one layer of clothing. My reflections on a winter of outreach is that in some ways it’s easier. To deal with the cold, put on another layer (I was regularly wearing four); but under the hot sun, all you can do is find shade! But summer will hopefully bring more people out to share the Gospel with. Both Saturday and Sunday saw evidence that that would be the case. Looking forward to the busy summer of outreach ahead!
On Saturday, a team of two were in Cathedral Square. It was so good to have my friend, Andy Bell, with me on this outreach.
I had some early discouragement, as I walked past one of the stall vendors, I thought I heard him say “go away”. I Ignored it and kept going, but it really impacted me for some reason. I regularly pray for that particular guy, I want the best for him and I hope he comes to trust in Christ.
The outreach was a bit slow initially, and I was saying to Andy that you sometimes have to be a bit patient. Sure enough, Gospel conversations got started. I ended up helping an older gentleman with directions (he refused to talk about spiritual things, or take a tract). When I turned around Andy was in a conversation with a lady interested in the flip chart! So I left him to it and ended up getting into two Gospel conversations of my own. By the time the second one had finished, I turned around and Andy was taking another set of people through the flip chart (pictured)! A nice busy time of ministry. Andy said he was feeling a bit rusty, but it was so wonderful that he was sharing the good news of Christ anyway!
It was nearly time to finish the outreach when a young man decided to give the flip chart a try. The simplicity of the message seemed to hit home: I was able to use a checking question to confirm that he understood. He said his Mum was open to spiritual things and wanted to believe in God and go to heaven. So I gave him two tracts - one for them both.
Sunday was very encouraging in that I had a very new Christian join me. He had been watching Ray Comfort on You Tube, and we met him when he came to listen to the open air preaching a couple of Friday’s ago in Cathedral Square. Although he had only become a Christian a few months ago, and only recently been baptised, it was so encouraging seeing how keen he is to share the good news of Jesus, in spite of the natural fears of doing so. I reassured him that it was fine to just observe and get a feel for it first. Eventually he asked if he could distribute some tracts! And he did a great job! Very polite. He is keen to keep joining the team on Sunday afternoons. And it was wonderful to hear his testimony afterwards and talk about things over a hot chocolate. May many more people start trusting in Christ and then getting out to share of the wonderful hope of eternal life found by faith in Christ! Join us! :)
As opposed to the last two Saturdays, today was a nice sunny day. Spring is definitely on the way! So I headed into Cathedral Square to set up my flip chart. I had about eight Gospel interactions. Some long, some short.
I had a good follow up conversation with a guy Daniel had talked to during last night's outreach. He is from the USA, and is heading down to Antarctica. He said he liked the tract he had received, and asked if I had any different ones - so I gave him one of each I had. Some good reading material for him while down on the ice!
Soon after that, I had two guys stop and instantly start talking about God’s love (in a very attacking kind of way - which put me on the back foot and made me very defensive). They had pigeon holed me as a “fundamentalist” that only talked about God’s wrath. It turns out they were Catholic. We spared for a while, before they disengaged. I got to talk about the love and wrath of God in balance with them. The tract I gave them was perfect for the discussion: Jesus shows us God. We parted on good terms.
Near the end of the outreach, I had a boy see “the good person test” and want to give it a try, he had his aunty with him. It can sometimes be awkward sharing with a child and parent. The parent often doesn’t like it when I hold up the law like a mirror to their child, who is always “good”. So I was very upfront with the aunty about what I was going to do. And I made it all the way through the law and Gospel presentation with them both with no problems. The aunty accepted a follow up tract too.
With the completion of this Battle Log, I’m officially on leave for a few days! Taking some much needed R&R with my family. I’m very grateful for rest, and looking forward to recharging the batteries before launching into another busy summer of outreach! Soli Deo Gloria! :)
Thursday and Friday saw five outreaches: Eastgate bus stops (team of two), Northlands bus stops (team of two), Gospel + abortion outreach outside Christchurch Hospital (team of five), Open air preaching in Cathedral Square & flip charting near the Bridge of Remembrance (team of ten), and finally the city evening outreach (team of two).
The highlight conversation at the bus stops was with a Muslim high school student who accepted a tract as she walked past and then became engaged in a discussion. The fulcrum of the debate was around how God can be both just and merciful. It was a passionate conversation. In the end she had to go, but she didn’t want to let the debate drop, and wanted to connect on social media so the conversation could continue. I ended up giving her my phone, and she emailed herself from it so she could reply at a later time. She couldn’t shake my hand, as they don’t do that in their culture (I’m slowly learning!) - but we parted on good terms.
I turned around and noticed another high school student (from a Catholic school) and offered him a tract, which he refused. I said, “I’ve just had a great chat with a Muslim, I’d love to talk to a Catholic now!” He smiled, and then he said something that really surprised me, he said, “I really appreciate the way you go about what you do.” He had obviously been taking notice of the conversation I had just been having! I thanked him, and admitted that it can sometimes be hard to maintain gentleness and respect when you are sharing a message that people don’t want to hear - but that it is vital to do so. I then offered him a tract again, and said, “are you sure you don’t want one?” He then said, “no, I already have two, I’ve picked them up around here - I like to talk about them with my RE teacher”. He then shocked me by asking if he could have my phone too, so he could email himself and get back to me! I was honoured to allow him to do so. How incredibly encouraging!
These conversations occurred on Thursday afternoon. As of now (Saturday morning), I’ve not heard from either of them yet - but I hope I do.
During the Gospel + abortion outreach we had a man in a wheelchair stop to talk with us and express his support. I quickly took the opportunity to swing the conversation to a Gospel one. They guy through he was a good person, so I took him through the law (the ten commandments) to allow him to test himself. I was then able to share the good news of the Gospel: Jesus. As soon as I’d finished, he said, “look at the time, I’ve got to get going”. I have no choice but to leave him in God’s hands after our very brief conversation.
The preaching in Cathedral Square was fascinating. The musician who plays loud music hadn’t arrived yet, and so we had a great opportunity to proclaim the Gospel in the open air without that distraction. Marty preached the Gospel, then I preached the Gospel, Marty again, and then to our surprise, the Wizard decided he would speak. After that, Ari, another wizard spoke as well. And then Andy got up to respond to Ari and proclaim the Gospel (pictured). By this stage, there were a fair few people hanging around to listen and engage. Tracts were distributed, and many spin off Gospel conversations occurred as well. It was a wonderful time of ministry.
Later in the afternoon, construction noise caused us to move from our usual flip charting spot on the corner of Colombo and Cashel, down to the Bridge of Remembrance. There I had two tiring Gospel conversations with people whose native language was not English. As I finished the first conversation, I moved straight into the second one because the guy was waiting to talk with me! He had received a tract from someone else on the team and wanted to discuss. He was from China, and he did want to practice his English, but was also very interested in the Bible. After working through the law and the Gospel with him, he said that this was the second time someone had explained it to him, the first time he 50% understood, he said he now 80% understood, and wanted to learn more. By this stage, Andy had joined the discussion, and he took over to try to get him to fully understand that we are justified by faith in Jesus (and not by works) and that he needed to do that (trust Jesus) today. Our new friend wants to learn more, and accepted a Bible, and an invite to come to church on Sunday (he lives close by, and received a card with directions - pictured).
I was very tired by the time the evening outreach started, and thankfully Daniel ended up fielding most of the Gospel conversations on this outreach. I was saying to Daniel that it can seem like there aren't many people around and that it will feel like it may be hard to start a conversation, but if we are patient, often wonderful conversations do occur. Sure enough, about ten minutes later, someone stopped and started talking with Daniel, and then five minutes later, a second guy stopped and joined in as well! Daniel spent about thirty minutes with both of them, where he was able to clearly share the Gospel! (pictured)
Tuesday saw a team of two in Riccarton, but before I arrived for the outreach, I needed to go to the bank. As part of the meeting, the banker asked me my occupation. This was a great opportunity to bring up spiritual things! So I explained that I was a Christian minister. Her response was to say, “oh, I’m an atheist”. So I responded with (I don’t know why), “there are no atheists”! To my surprise, she immediately responded with, “well, I do believe there is something there” - she back slid fast! It would have been easy for me to convert the conversation into a Gospel one, but I needed to get the appointment over so I could get to the outreach - and I was aware that she was currently working. So I offered her a tract, which she accepted, and she promised she would read it (pictured on her desk). I think she found me odd enough (my attitude towards money is probably different to what she is used to), that she even mentioned that she would discuss the tract with her workmates - I hope she does. Do you have tracts with you? Are you ready to share the Gospel when an opportunity arises? Check out the Operation 513 web stores to buy some. Many good Gospel conversations were had on the outreach, as per the pictures.
Wednesday saw me in the City and at Ara. One conversation from the days outreach was very special. A gang member became interested in the flip chart - then decided he didn’t want to go through it, but he accepted a tract as he left. I turned around, and to my surprise, two young ladies were sitting down waiting to talk to me. I recognised one of them - I have talked to some of her friends quite a few times since summer. These two girls clearly wanted to talk about spiritual things, and so I sat on the footpath in front of them and started answering their questions. We talked about how we know God exists, where morality comes from, why there is suffering, the seriousness of sin, the amazing grace of Jesus. We also sparred about abortion and homosexuality. At one point I said, “God will accept you just as you are…”, and then I got cut off with the response of, “no He won’t! He doesn't accept homosexuals as they are!” And then I finished off with “... but He won’t leave you as you are.” Both girls seemed impacted by the conversation, the one I hadn’t seen before, even looked like she was wiping away tears. I’m sure I could have convinced them to “pray a prayer”, and “accept Jesus into their heart”, and pick them up to bring them to church. But I was again reminded that I can’t save them with my convincing, passion, sincerity, or anything. Salvation is of the Lord. But I did plead with them multiple times to repent and trust in Christ - to accept the gift of grace, acknowledging the cost. They know how to contact me if they want to. I leave them in God’s hands, but I will be praying for them. Oh God, please save them, usher them into your kingdom - may you receive the reward of your suffering! (They are pictured walking away.)
Saturday saw rain, just like last Saturday. So I decided to letterbox drop instead of the usual city outreach. And I’m so glad I did as God gave me a wonderful follow up opportunity. I was walking past a bus stop, and a young man was there who recognised me. Earlier in the year I had shared the Gospel with him via the flip chart outside the hospital. He had accepted a Bible from me then, and he said he had been reading it! (Although it was clear he has not repented yet.) At that moment, another guy arrived at the bus stop, so I had an opportunity to share the law and Gospel with them both before their bus arrived. (They are both pictured getting onto their bus.)
Sunday saw a team of four head to the city in nice weather. There were a lot of people around. We hadn’t even finished setting up a flip chart, when two young men came up keen to give it a try! (pictured).
While that was happening, I had a follow up opportunity with a man who one of the team had talked to on Friday night. He is currently doing a Christianity Explored course. After sharing the law and the Gospel with him again, he confirmed that he understood it, but needed proof that it was true. I explained that he actually already knew God exists, and showed him how he knew it (as per Romans 1). I followed this up by giving him the tract: “How we know God exists and why it matters”. It turns out he has read Mark, Matthew, and John in the Bible, and that he is about to start Romans! Perfect timing.
Another flip chart conversation got started with two guys, but one of them wasn’t interested and walked on a bit to wait. So I decided to go over and engage him. I told him I was a Christian and what I was doing, but it was clear he wasn’t interested. I respected that, so moved the discussion to other things (where he was from, etc). To my surprise, he then switched the conversation back to spiritual things - he wanted to hear what I had to say! So I had the privilege to share the law and the Gospel with him after all.
A fairly busy outreach continued from there. At one point, three girls went through - one being pushed in a shopping cart! Not something you see every day. So I approached them and asked if they were keen to try the good person test - they were! (pictured). The heard the law and the Gospel, but sadly, they clearly rejected it.
We finished the outreach with open air preaching in Cathedral Square. As I was preaching, two guys holding hands walked over. They sat down a slight distance away. When I asked if anyone had told a lie, one of them responded with “yes”. I continued going through the law, with the guy engaging. But then they got cold feet and started to walk away. So I stopped preaching to go and talk to them (pictured). They said they were homosexuals right off the bat. I had an opportunity to continue talking to them about the Gospel (as I would with anyone else). They were very resistant but they took tracts before leaving… a few minutes later they came back, and I offered them a booklet called: God and Sexuality, by Ray Comfort. They accepted it. I was able to finish sharing the Gospel in the open air as well.
A very busy and encouraging outreach. Thank you for your prayers and support! :)
A team of three were at the Northlands bus stops and a team of two then moved to the Eastgate bus stops on Thursday afternoon.
I’m often struck at how the most unlikely people will be open to a Gospel conversation. One example of this was when I was crossing the road at Eastgate. I had just come to the island in the middle of the road and was waiting for cars to pass before crossing again. I noticed a young man who was on the other side of the road, and was waiting to cross towards me. He looked to be in a hurry, and I didn’t think the middle of the road was going to be the best place to initiate a conversation. But then he crossed to the island and I figured it couldn’t hurt to offer him a tract as he passed - so I simply said, “excuse me, do you ever think about the afterlife?”. He looked at me, took the tract and, to my surprise, said, “yeah, I do actually”. I ended up turning around and crossing back with him, and once safely on the footpath, I ended up having a wonderful opportunity to share the law and the Gospel. Be encouraged to reach out anyway - sure, many people won’t be interested - just wish them a nice day, and move on. But there are many who are interested and are waiting for someone to go to them. God is with us!
Friday saw three outreaches: a team of six for the Gospel + abortion outreach in the morning. A team of four (+ two from OAC) in the afternoon. And a team of five for an evening outreach.
The Gospel + abortion outreach ended with two very challenging but encouraging conversations. The first started when a nurse aide from the hospital approached us. She had a question that a friend wanted to ask, and she pulled out a piece of paper. The question was: if I was in a burning building and only had the time to rescue a baby or a thousand embryos. Which would you save? Going from this rather loaded hypothetical question we ended up having a good conversation that touched on some very difficult personal situations in which I was able to talk about the serious nature of sin (abortion is murder), and the forgiveness found in Christ for those willing to admit their sin, rather than justify it.
While this was happening, Andy got into a deep conversation with two seperate people: one pro life, and one pro choice. Andy was challenged by the pro choice person to show sympathy for women in difficult situations. But we can’t have sympathy for those who murder, no matter how difficult the situation! Yet, there is hope of forgiveness for murderers, through the sacrifice of Christ. To his surprise, the pro choice person didn’t respond with anger, but rather became thoughtful.
We thank God for our ability to be a witness for Him and to stand up for those that can’t stand for themselves. May there be salvation!
The afternoon and evening outreaches had two contrasting conversations for me.
In the afternoon, I had a flip chart conversation with a young couple. The guy was curious and so became engaged, but even though I was talking about the wonderful hope of eternal life, the body language of the girl was one of boredom and a desire for the conversation to finish so she could move on with important stuff (shopping)! And sadly, the guy’s curiosity seemed to remain just that. There was no conviction of sin. In my mind I was processing this, and started to wonder what I was doing wrong, what I could do to convince them, to get them to understand. And, yes, I should be doing my best to explain the Gospel. But I realised where my thinking could lead: compromise. If I soften or change the message, then maybe I could sway them? NO. The Gospel is the power of God to salvation! God is the one who saves. I have to trust Him in that.
In the evening, at the end of the outreach, a Gospel conversation got started with another young couple. There was some initial sparring, but then a sombreness came upon the conversation as I was explaining the serious nature of sin through the law. To my encouragement (and I hope yours), the young man became very thoughtful as I explained the Gospel, and the young lady’s eyes widened in understanding! Praise God. At this very moment, our main heckler came past and had a go at me: “don’t you have a wife to go home to Glenis, still out here telling people stories”. Thankfully, this didn’t stop the wonderful conversation that was happening. I challenged them to accept the gift of Christ, at the same time explaining the cost of following Him. They are in God’s hands.
Tuesday gave a real hint that a change of season is on the way. It was a warm day for outreach in Riccarton for a team of two. After prayer, we set up on either side of Rotherham Street along Riccarton Road. After the outreach, Roger commented about how many positive Gospel conversations he had. At one point, he even came across the street asking if I had a Bible to give away (which I did).
For me the outreach started immediately after setting up my flip chart, with a young couple: one who claimed to be a satanist, and the other who believed God was an energy. After a longish initial conversation, where I established how we all know God exists and some of his attributes, and why there must be an afterlife with heaven and hell - I then asked them if they wanted to try the good person test - they did. After that, they started asking really good questions, which I did my best to answer. They both appreciated the conversation and left with tracts.
I then had a short conversation with four young men from Christchurch Boys High School - they all heard the law and the Gospel - before moving into a conversation with some Americans.
The Americans were resistant to the logic of the existence of God. One of them tried to turn to the problem of suffering to deny the existence of God. Things started to get heated, and they all wanted to disengage, which they did. But one of them was willing to take a tract. We parted ways with a handshake.
I then had a Russian come past wanting to know what the flip chart was all about. Sadly, he too was resistant, but was happy to go through the law before disengaging. Sadly, he handed back the tract I had given him.
Wednesday had the sun, but a cold wind was blowing for outreach in Cathedral Square and Cashel Mall (I didn’t end up making it down to Ara today).
My first conversation was with a man who agreed with me in many ways, and yet flatly denied we were saved by grace through faith in Jesus. He insisted that works were required for salvation! It got worse from there, when it turns out that he didn’t attend a local church and denied that Jesus was God. So I decided to do what I always do (especially since he considers that his works are required for salvation) - I showed him his sin by getting him to look at his reflection in the law of God. And it seemed to do the job I wanted: to show that it’s impossible to be saved by our works; that we need a saviour: Jesus!
I was then encouraged to have my new Christian friend, that I meet on Sunday, join me. He had just been to the local Christian book shop and bought some Living Waters Gospel tracts, and a poster with the ten commandments on it. He dutifully unwrapped a pack of tracts and started to hand them out! So wonderful to see.
We finished the morning outreach with open air preaching - I preached, while my new friend handed out tracts. And it went really well. I had an early heckler (that had listened to me preach on Friday). I was able to show him respect and love in the face of his hostility. This drew some more people to come and listen, two of whom started to engage me. The preaching ended up turning into a time of them asking me questions and me responding, all the while I managed to stay on track in working through the law and the Gospel. It was a very encouraging time of ministry!
After lunch, we headed to Cashel Mall. On the way, I had a great follow up conversation with a young man. He had a friend with him, and I was able to briefly go through the law and the Gospel with her. I was encouraged to see that she seemed genuinely impacted! She gladly received a tract.
The highlight conversation for me in Cashel Mall was with a Christian lady who became interested in the ministry. While she was watching, I had two Gospel interactions with strangers, so she was able to see first hand how it works. It would be great if her church was to decide to get involved! We parted ways with a hug.
So a wonderful couple of days of Gospel ministry. Thank you for your prayer and other support of the Christchurch (NZ) team! Continue to pray for labourers! :)