Christchurch (NZ) Team
Tue 3:30pm - 5:30pm - Riccarton (corner of Riccarton Rd and Rotherham St)
Fri 1:30pm - 3:30pm - City (Bridge of Remembrance)
Sat 11am - 1pm - Riccarton (corner of Riccarton Rd and Rotherham St)
Sun 1:30pm - 3:30pm - City (corner of Colombo St and Cashel St).
Contact Glen Richards or Andy Barlow for more information.
It was so good to be in the Philippines to share the gospel with the church there, but it’s also so good to be home. This week I was on the streets in Riccarton on Tuesday afternoon, and in the City on Friday afternoon. I wasn’t able to make it out on Saturday (wedding: congrats Toby and Mel!) or Sunday (family get together: Rach is home!), so this will hopefully be a briefer report than usual.
It was a wonderful outreach on Tuesday. My first conversation was with 3 senior high school guys. 2 of the guys believed in God, but the other didn’t, so I started with explaining who God is. They were open and the conversation went smoothly. The 2 guys made professions - so I got them to consider the cost. Where the ‘atheist’ seemed genuinely appreciative of the conversation: “I’ve never heard that before”. Very encouraging. As I was talking to them, another group of about 5 or so guys from the same high school went past (they were juniors apparently). One of them in particular was ‘hostile’, but as I was already in a conversation I couldn’t engage.
My next conversation was with an older gentleman. He seemed to be homeless, and yet as we got talking, he seemed to be very educated. We had a long conversation, sitting on the seats next to where I had set up my flipchart. He had just come from hospital, discharged post some heart issues. Afterlife was a pertinent conversation topic! He acknowledged there was a God, a heaven and a hell. He acknowledged he was a sinner. But he thought he would be good enough for heaven. I actually spent quite a while labouring with him in the bad news because of this, before explaining the good news of Jesus. I know it was 4:50pm when the conversation ended, because he needed to find accommodation - it turns out he was homeless :( I sent him off to the place he needed to be before it closed at 5pm.
During that chat, those 5 high school guys (including the hostile one) came back - they were interested in my flipchart, but I didn’t want to break the original chat to engage them. But all but the hostile one took tracts. I remember being busy for the last 30 minutes of the outreach, but the details have escaped me.
Friday’s outreach came with a sense of futility, which is strange for me. I tend to be good at acknowledging the sovereignty of God and just putting my hand and my mind to the task, leaving the results to God. I did this anyway, even though the feeling lingered - I left it in God’s hands through prayer.
I ended up having a couple of separate conversations with Christians, both in Christchurch from out of town. I received some encouragement from them - which was nice.
But the highlight chat of the day was with a young man who had a goal of joining the navy one day. He had a Christian background, but had recently converted to Nordic mythology! We talked for a long time, and I was able to work through the whole flipchart with him. He left with a tract and a gospel of John.
It was good to be able to have a hot chocolate with Roger after the outreach, and debrief a bit with him.
God willing, I’ll be completely back to normal schedule next week, although I have 3 special outreaches coming up, that I’d appreciate prayer for: next Saturday is the Malvern A&P Show (25th March), then the following Saturday is the Oxford A&P Show (1st April), and then the weekend after that will be the Easter hot cross bun outreaches (8th & 10th April 11am till 1pm in Cashel Mall)!
We ran another special outreach this week (Saturday): the Kaikoura A&P Show outreach. And we had some special people join us for outreach this week (Friday): Kane & Damo all the way from Brisbane! So good to have them with us!
But I’ll start the report with Tuesday afternoon’s outreach to Riccarton. Roger was down sick, so I got to set up my flip chart on his side of the street. :D I had 3 significant chats.
The first was with a young man down from the Hawkes’ Bay. He is starting university in Christchurch. It was a good chat in the sense that he was open to hearing the law and the gospel and going through all the check questions. He seemed to respond positively, but he hedged a bit when I got him to count the cost in this life of accepting the gift of eternal life. I can’t save him, only God can!
Next I had a long chat with a streetie. Sadly, she loved the sound of her own voice. She talked a lot! So self absorbed. I didn’t give her the gospel, she was obviously not ready for it. When I had opportunities to speak, I would gently but directly labour the law of God into her life, trying to reignite her conscience. Eventually she got tired of being challenged, and decided to move on. She did take a tract. I saw her again on Friday in the city, but I was in a chat and wasn’t able to follow up with her.
The last chat was with 3 teen girls. They accepted tracts on their initial pass, but my question of “what happens after life” was cheekily rebuffed! Yet, a minute later, they came back, they wanted to talk, and they each had a machine gun of questions to fire at me. It was a bit overwhelming! But the questions were very good ones, showing they cared deeply about life, and what happens after life. As the conversation progressed, I was of course sharing the law and the gospel. But we finally hit the two hardest questions: 1) evil and suffering and 2) homosexuality. I actually felt honoured that they trusted me enough to ask about what were obviously very sensitive questions for them. I did my best to give them answers that were: compassionate, yet faithful to the truth. It’s only the truth that sets us free! Sadly, they weren’t able to give me the time to do the subjects justice - they had to leave; I did my best. One of the girls had been twisting her tract as we were talking. She accepted another that she could read.
Friday poured with rain! Yet, we had a team of 6, and it was an awesome outreach in spite of the rain. There were heaps of people out and about, and everyone was making the most of the sheltered spots where we were able to spark up chats.
I heard a wonderful report from Roger, who had a fantastic chat with a guy who’s flight had been delayed and was wandering the city aimlessly till he encountered Roger. They guy was so impacted by the gospel conversation, that he headed back to his hotel room to start reading a Bible!
I was paired up with Damo, and he needed to go to the bathroom before we started, so I took him to where some were. As he was going in, 2 guys passed and I asked them, “hey, what do you think happens after life?” They were keen to chat, and stopped to engage. But, as I was talking to them, a streetie who knew me passed, and wanted to talk. He waited in line! Damo came back, and I passed the 2 guys to him (pictured), while I addressed the streetie.
Damo’s chat was much longer than mine, and so I ended up going to Lichfield street to see if I could get into a chat there. Four Catholic high school students went past, and I had a fantastic chat with them.
Damo and I then headed back to Cashel Mall and found a spot down by Ballantynes. We had 2 outstanding chats.
One with a guy who knew all the Christian lingo, but was subtly missing the gospel. After labouring with him, I could see a breakthrough starting. At points he seemed to almost come to tears. And he left saying we had given him something to consider.
The other was with a young couple (also going to a Catholic high school). The guy looked so happy, he said, “I’ve seen others being asked that question, but no one has ever asked me”. It turns out he was very familiar with Ryan via TikTok! He was very deep in thought throughout the chat, often with a distant look, and often taking a long time to answer questions as he processed what he was learning. It was so good. By the end of the chat, I could tell they were taking what we were sharing seriously.
Kaikoura is two and a half hours north of Christchurch, so it was an early start for the team of 5. It was so good to have Andy, Mike, Jerome and Elijah with me for the drive up. We were joined by a team coming down from Blenheim, led by Scott.
It was raining when I left home, but, although the ground was very damp, the rain held off for the whole outreach at the Kaikoura A&P Show.
This show wasn’t as busy as some of the others we attend, and yet, there were still plenty of opportunities to engage people with the good news of Jesus. I’m running out of time to talk about the details of some of those chats. But the highlight for me was having opportunities with the type of people who wouldn’t normally give me the time of day. One farmer stayed to hear the law before bailing on me (the fact that I got that far was amazing). Another elderly couple stayed to hear the gospel, but there was such a hardness that my very first check was answered with “be good”. Again, I was amazed they stayed as long as they did. I hope I left a pebble in their shoe, and that God turns it into a rock! While we have breath, there is hope, God can do what is impossible for us. They left with tracts.
Susan joined me for the Sunday afternoon outreach in central Christchurch. It was a busy outreach, and so the time went fast. Some very encouraging chats with some High School kids, who were challenged to urgently trust Christ, yet left thinking deeply while counting the cost. Also a great chat with a young man from Australia among other chats. Out of time!
A small team from Australia and New Zealand is heading to the Philippines to hopefully be an encouragement to the church there in evangelism. We leave on Tuesday for just under 2 weeks of outreach. Please keep us in prayer! I intend to keep writing reports, keep your eye out for them here or on Facebook.
A wonderful week of gospel outreach. (But then, every week is a wonderful week of gospel outreach!) It wasn’t a usual week, because on Saturday I ran some evangelism training sessions and, from my perspective, it went really well! Thank you for praying for this.
But before mentioning how that went, I want to talk about Tuesday’s outreach in Riccarton. Roger was with me, as usual. It was an incredibly busy outreach. Pretty much non stop gospel conversations for over 2 hours. I set up my flip chart, and prayed, and before long I had 7 university students go past and I was into my first chat. The larger the group, the harder it can be to hold all their attention. And this was certainly true for this group. They were all in different places. Some of the guys were quite interested in the conversation, but one of the girls, in particular, was quite resistant. She ended up leaving, which caused some of the others to leave, and then the guys had to go too. They left with tracts.
But as soon as they walked off, a guy went past who I was able to stop and engage in conversation. And it was like that for the rest of the outreach.
A lady went past and she said, “Are you Mormon?” No. “JW?” No. “Oh” she says, “then what are you?”. We fell into a good conversation. But it was a difficult one, because I had to be gentle in trying to untie some of the really bad theology she was holding on to. It was an extreme form of pentecostalism / charasmania. Where she believed God was giving her and her husband visions that clearly contradicted scripture. And, unfortunately, this was impacting her soteriology in a subtle way: she was trusting in her ability to deal with generational sin and ask for forgiveness. She talked about having “enough” faith for salvation: that’s works in disguise! Anyway, her husband had had visions of a military build up in NZ, and that there would be some kind of coup and all Christians would be rounded up and killed. And so her husband was preparing to flee to the bush. I was able to gently work with her to the point where she understood that these “visions” might not be from God. But unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make much progress in working on her soteriology. There were other issues as well, and I would have loved to have more time with her.
While I was talking to her, I had 2 groups of people go to the flip chart and start looking at it. With the 2nd group, she encouraged me to go and talk to them. I thought I would do that, hoping she would stay and listen too, and get a chance to hear the gospel. She stayed for a while, but then had to go before I got to the gospel. ????
So many other interesting gospel interactions throughout the outreach. And I just don’t have time to talk about them. But I will mention that a young lady, who I have shared the gospel with before, came over to say hi. Sadly, she didn’t remember the gospel (to my grief), and the guy that was with her hadn’t heard it. So I shared it. And I got a touch emotional. I was pleading with them to respond to the gospel today. I’ve talked to people on the streets who I now know have died. We don’t know when we will die. There is urgency!
I’m heading to the Philippines for an evangelism trip very soon. And in last week's report I mentioned a conversation I was able to have with a young Filipino girl. Well, what’s interesting was that exactly one week later, on Friday, I was able to have another great gospel chat with a young Filipino guy! It just goes to prove that we don’t need to travel on expensive trips to bring the gospel to the nations these days! And yet, I want to take every opportunity to encourage the church, worldwide, to rise up where they are at and bring the gospel to their community! May God bless our (feeble) efforts for his glory.
Like the girl from the previous week, the guy was a church goer. He said he needs to 'follow the word of God' to get to heaven. So, I took him through the law. When I asked how he could remove his hell punishment, he said 'repent'. I asked him what that meant, and he said, "ask for forgiveness". I explained why that wouldn't help him and proceeded to share the gospel - finally he started mentioning Jesus as the reason for salvation. He agreed that if he had died before our conversation he would go to hell. And so I called him to repent! Trust only in Christ as the reason he is saved. His 2 mates didn't want to talk to me, they were waiting down a bit. So I gave him 3 tracts.
Please be praying for this young man, and for the young lady from the previous week. And please be praying for the upcoming evangelism trip to the Philippines (28th Feb till 10th Mar): That the church will be encouraged. That the church would have a backbone, and stand up and proclaim the gospel. In the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. Pray for the team, that there would be no sickness that would hinder us; that we would be able to resist the many opportunities that there will be for unnecessary division among us. Pray that this trip would have a lasting effect on the lives of many. That we would be like fearless warriors, our swords reflecting the glory of God!
So, the evangelism training seemed to go well. A week ago, there was only 1 person registered, and I was going to cancel it, but we ended up with about 15 people there! ‘We’ being Andy and I. It was wonderful being able to take them through the biblical basis for how to do evangelism, deal with too difficult, but common issues: evil and suffering, and sexuality and then finally go over the specifics of the evangelism method we use.
Many of the attendees came to the optional street outreach afterwards. I had a great flipchart conversation with 3 young ladies while many of the attendees were watching, it was almost a mirror conversation to the role play I had done earlier, and so it was encouraging that they could see the theory being put into action!
It was a very busy outreach as well (cruise ship was in port). I had so many gospel opportunities. For the next training, I need to arrange to have more experienced Christians with me to pair up with the trainees. A good problem to have!
I had opportunities to continue getting to know some of the Hara Khrisian’s that I interact with, which was a great encouragement to me. (I’m out of time to give details.)
Finally, Sunday’s outreach proceeded as normal. It was hot, and there were not as many people out. I had 2 great conversations. The first was with some climate change activists. And then lastly, with a guy who identified as trans - this was a long chat. Initially, he cut to the chase, and wanted to know what I thought of trans people. I refused to answer without giving context to my answer: how do we know what is right and wrong? He was deeply resistant, but I was able to show how we know God is real, who God is, what God’s law is, and about the incredible mercy of God. I was then able to cycle back and explain why homosexuality is a sin: because God makes the rules. He said the Bible was wrong. So I asked him on what basis he was judging the Bible. His answer: himself. That’s shorthand for, I love my sin, and I want to be god and make my own rules. Idolatry. He was really unhappy with me by this point, he wouldn’t shake my hand. But I made it clear that I cared for him, and that I wanted him to know God’s mercy before he walked off. We can’t compromise the truth, but we need to do that with gentleness and respect. I’m making enemies. But if I’m trying to please man, I’m not a servant of Christ (see Galatians 1:10)
Just a short report to cover last week, as I took the weekend off to be involved with my church camp - which was awesome! Roger joined me on Tuesday in Riccarton, and John was with me in the city on Friday.
Tuesday’s outreach felt special, as I had a couple of memorable gospel chats with people, as well as follow-up opportunities with some high school students.
But firstly, I want to mention that I had 4 university aged kids go past, they saw my flip chart, and joked with me as they went past.
Then I fell into a chat with a young lady who seemed to have an understanding of the gospel, but not precisely. It turns out she had an ‘Orthodox’ and ‘Latin’ background. So I focused on being precise in how salvation doesn't involve works (something the Orthodox sadly teaches).
As she moved on, I noticed some people sitting in the seats behind me. It was the 4 university students! They came back and wanted to talk. I think they were curious as to why I was on the street corner. We fell into a gospel conversation (1 was a Christian, 2 were atheists, and 1 didn’t want to think about it). And after sharing the gospel with them, it turned into a bit of a Father speaking to his children kind of discussion. I remembered when I was their age, at a crossroads - I took the wrong path. And I wanted to save them some pain. I pleaded with them to trust in Christ today, and not follow the path I took.
On Friday I was handing out tracts when a young lady went past and took one. She said she thinks about the afterlife all the time. She believed in God and heaven & hell - so I asked her what she had to do to get to heaven. She immediately pointed to her works: bible, prayer, church. I gently tried again, and so she went to the greatest commandments (the law) as the reason she’ll get to heaven. I prompted again, and she finally swung to the right answer: Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. It was very concerning. What concerned me more is that she was on her way to the library to prepare a talk for a church group she is involved with. Without asking her to respond to me, I pleaded with her to examine herself and check if she was really still trusting in her works for salvation, or in Jesus' sacrifice alone. Strangely, she started talking about how many think they are Christians and are not. I don’t know if she realised that this was my concern for her! She left with a tract “Who Made It”, and I asked her to review it carefully, and get in touch if she had any questions.
I’m moving into a busy period of special outreaches. And I’d appreciate you keeping the team in prayer:
Sat, 18th Feb - Training + Training Outreach: https://tellmeconference.org.nz/training/
Sat, 25th Feb - Kaikoura A&P Show (in conjunction with Christians coming down from Blenhiem).
Tue, 28th Feb till Fri, 10th Mar - Philippines Trip
Sat, 25th Mar - Malvern A&P Show
Sat, 1st Apr - Oxford A&P Show
Sat, 8th Apr - Easter Outreach
Mon, 10th Apr - Easter Outreach
Thanks and God bless! :)
What a surprise! I invite a lot of people to church, but not many of them accept the offer. Well, today at church I had a double surprise!
On Friday, Roger fell into a conversation with a young man at the end of the outreach, a Christian struggling with assurance. To me, he seemed to be overthinking it, and so I tried to reiterate the gospel, with an emphasis on its simplicity. He’s on holiday, and was looking for a reformed church in Christchurch to attend. I invited him along to the church I attend. It was wonderful to have him turn up and be able sit with me through the meeting. Our church is working through Romans and today we were up to Romans 6:1-2 learning about the transition between justification and sanctification. It’s just what this young man needed to hear! After the meeting ended, he said he felt a bit overwhelmed with all the information, but that didn’t surprise me with what I know of his personality. He is keen to go and listen to last week's sermon (a recap of Romans 1 - 5) now. Please pray that he would be able to digest the rich truths taught and that he would come to an assurance of his salvation.
But, also, on Saturday, I was in my usual spot in Riccarton, when a couple of ladies from Zimbabwe came past and we fell into a good gospel chat. One of the ladies seemed to have a good grasp of the gospel, the other said some questionable things but didn’t resist correction. They are new to Christchurch and looking for a church. They have a pentecostal background, but that’s not a problem. I invited them along to my church, as they live close by. Well, low and behold, this morning as I was walking towards the hall where our church meets, these 2 ladies were coming up the path and I was able to be the first to greet them and welcome them!
And so, the guy from Friday sat on one side of me, and the two ladies sat on the other side through the meeting.
And wow, how wonderful was that church meeting! The singing, the Bible reading, communion, fellowship, but the teaching was phenomenal. I felt like we were all pieces of meat marinating in a rich and spicy curry (the depths of the word of God). After the teaching, I felt like if anyone took a bite of me, their head would explode with the heat! I unashamedly wept as we sung the final song of praise and glory to God.
And I took that teaching to the streets today, directly applying what I had been marinating in this morning into the conversations I was having this afternoon. Applied theology at its best! :) God is so good!
I was also on the streets on Tuesday, with Roger. I love the picture’s I have for this report, smiles all round! The one with Andy was from Friday’s outreach. The guy Andy was talking to got a double dose. Andy talked to him near the start of the outreach, but near the end of the outreach, I approached him at the other end of the mall.
I’ve forgotten to mention how hot it’s been. On Friday and Saturday it hit around 33 degree Celsius. We had a reprieve on Sunday, with rain coming during the outreach.
The online outreach is going as well as ever. Some of the video’s on social media must have gone viral, because the amount of direct messages coming through on Instagram has spiked, keeping us busy sharing and clarifying the gospel. Also, I had a great online chat yesterday, with a young man who lives near me, you can check that out here.
Many other conversations, and tracts were distributed this week too. Keep up the good work in sharing the gospel in your contexts. All glory to God alone.
I’ve had a couple of weeks of holiday, which were great. But so good to be back to my regular beat. A normal week of street outreach. It was great to have John from down south join me in Riccarton on Tuesday afternoon. Joel, Roger and John (another John!) were with me in the city on Friday afternoon. I had a good solo outreach on Saturday lunch time in Riccarton, and then Andy, Mark and Susan were with me in the city on Sunday afternoon, after church gathering.
In Riccarton on Tuesday, John and I decided to split up early - on either side of Rotherham Street. I was quickly into chats, and when I glanced over my shoulder between chats, I could see John was busy too! The details of those chats are getting fuzzy in my mind now. I’ve only really got glimpses. I remember seeing a ‘regular’ I hadn’t seen for a long time. She remembered my name! She is an atheist, and didn’t feel like continuing the conversation at this stage. I pray that the law and the gospel continues to be active in her life bringing conviction and conversion - that she will come to a point where she is willing to chat again, either with me or another Christian.
Friday was hot! And the buskers were out in full force, so I moved down the mall a bit - setting up my flip chart. Roger set up on the other side. Joel joined me and John did ‘walk up’. I had an interesting engagement with a couple of exclusive brethren guys, but the highlight chat was one with a couple of couples from the UK. They walked up to the flipchart curious as to what it was about, and we fell into a really good gospel discussion. It was also a good opportunity for Joel to see how the flip chart worked. To end the outreach, Joel and I ditched the flip chart and switched to ‘walk up’. I managed to get a chat started, but the guy, although friendly enough, was very resistant, and didn’t really allow any opportunity for meaningful engagement.
Saturday I had a number of interesting conversations. One guy showed up wanting to do the flip chart, but it was a bit of a set up - he was just there to argue and became absurdly resistant to the existence of God. “You can’t know for sure that that chair didn’t appear from nowhere”. I politely shut him down quickly - I didn’t want to waste time with absurdity. Very interestingly, about 30 minutes later, one of my ‘regulars’ came past. He said, “hey you just talked to my flatmate”! We had a nice catch up chat, but he is also currently holding to his absurdity - for now, God, have mercy!
I was able to catch up with Sanjay (another of my ‘regulars’), I often see him on Saturday. He’s a lovely guy. Hindu. Each time I see him, I gently labour the law and the gospel. Sadly, I popped him a quick check question and he instantly went to his goodness for salvation, but I kept labouring. Praying for him; praying that I see him again next Saturday, or at least a Saturday soon and that he will start grasping the serious nature of sin and that the only logical solution is Jesus.
Talking of sin being serious. I had a guy stop and take a tract, and I was able to engage him in conversation. I could tell he had a bit of a Christian background, but he wasn’t being clear on how we are saved. So, as I probed, I took him through the law, and this dredged up some questions for him, like: why is hell so terrible, and why is it forever? Anyway, he eventually said, “I know what you are going to say, Jesus died on the cross, yada, yada, yada” as though it was something trivial and unimportant. I felt shocked and offended, and maybe I lacked some patience. I responded with, “how can you say it like that? Jesus dying on the cross to pay our sin is amazing!”. This was revealing a very low view of the serious nature of sin, and the incredible cost of the gift to save us. We continued talking, with me trying to alleviate this. Maybe I was being too forceful, or maybe I wasn’t, but eventually he said: “I’m feeling uncomfortable”. That pretty much killed the conversation, we parted with a handshake, and he mumbled something. I asked what he was going to say, and he responded with, “it wasn’t anything you said that made me uncomfortable”. We parted ways then. I really hope that his discomfort came out of conviction and not me being too abrupt! God help!
Sunday was a wonderful outreach. It started and finished with a lovely conversation with a couple of retired American missionaries! They are visiting New Zealand on holiday. In between these chats, the team was busy handing out tracts, getting into chats via ‘walk up’ and the flip chart. I had a pair of encouraging chats. One was with a young lady who had drifted from the faith. She even agreed that if she had died today she would have gone to hell out of unbelief, but she gave me a very warm smile as she left me with some questions answered, the gospel and a challenge to accept it today. The other was with a young man who had some nominal Christian input in his life, and was shocked that good deeds were not the way of salvation. I laboured with him till he grasped it, and challenged him to respond. He left with a gospel of John, a summary tract, and a card for my church. I had a number of other good opportunities for gospel engagement, but it’s time for this report to end!
Thank you so much for continuing to support his ministry. Please continue to regularly uphold it in prayer. God bless!
I found myself dwelling on the simplicity of the gospel as I was handing out gospel tracts and talking to people today. Because, in some regards, what I do is so foolish. It’s impossible for me to change someone’s mind on something so important. I could argue and reason with people forever and they wouldn’t be convinced. It’s for this reason that I’m so glad that God speaks so clearly to us in scripture. I can’t convert, only God can. What a relief! Yet, the means he uses for that is a simple gospel message delivered by simple people like us + prayer. What is foolish to man is the wisdom of God! Apart from the power of God, everyone will ignore what’s written in those little 8 page cartoon tracts. But with the power of God - and the logic of the gospel understood, even from a simple 8 page cartoon tract - everyone who reads it or hears it can be saved. So, all the glory is God’s.
I get it, evangelism is terrifying, it’s foolish. But I want to encourage you to do it anyway. You may not be able to join me on the streets. But, in your everyday life, be bold to talk about Jesus!
Normal schedule on the streets this week, although Saturday’s outreach was rained out. And it was so good to have Mike be able to join me for a couple of outreaches before heading back to work tomorrow! God bless ya Mike. Like you said, when you understand what Jesus did for you, you are willing to be a ‘fool’ for him. Amen.
So, Mike and I were in Riccarton Tuesday afternoon. It started out as a really slow outreach. Eventually I decided to leave Mike with the flip chart, and head across the road to try my luck on the other side. Pretty much instantly, I was into a chat! And then I noticed Mike had become busy too (pictured). To my amazement, the outreach went for a whole hour extra, because we were so busy (and the last chat was really good).
The details of my chats are fuzzy now. But I remember the last one (pictured with Mike talking to the couple). I noticed they were sitting in the seats nearby while Mike was in another chat. And when Mike became free, they came over. As the chat went so long, I ended up getting involved. The couple were in different places. She was very argumentative, yet there was an openness from him. I decided to engage the guy, and let Mike handle the lady. It worked, I was able to focus on the law and the gospel with the guy where he would have otherwise been distracted.
Believe it or not, we ended up having to cut that conversation short, as I really needed to get home for dinner. But it was a great chat. God is good.
Friday was hot! I was in the city. It was interesting to see some open air preachers out. From the little bit I heard from them I was encouraged: using amplification well, gentle voice, dealing with the crowd well (polite, answering questions). I got to say g’day to one of them - they were down from Wellington.
It was too hot to hand out tracts in the sun, so I focused on ‘walk up’ chats. I had three solid opportunities.
The first was with a streetie who was the same age as me. He was keen to chat, but resistant to the good news. He listed his many sins, but he insisted on his righteousness - so sad.
The next was a great chat. It was with a young couple. He cut to the chase: why is God allowing parasites to eat the eyeballs of little children? I was able to give him the biblical answer, and then take them both through the law and the gospel. The guy was a fidgetter, and so he ended up pretty much screwing up the tract I had given him at the start. He was happy to accept a fresh one.
The last chat was with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was an interesting chat, because he was adamant that we become part of the Kingdom not by our work. Sadly, his wife kept ringing him. He wanted to stay and chat, and yet he had to go. I need to scratch up on my understanding of what JW’s believe and why.
On Sunday it was good to have Mike and Susan join me. I spent the first half of the outreach in one conversation. It was with one of my recent regulars. And this was our first really in depth chat. It was great to be able to understand his worldview, and challenge it with the gospel. In the end, he couldn’t accept the idea that a criminal could be forgiven. He really wanted to think it was good work that got you to heaven (via reincarnation). I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to talk to him (and his brother) again, and continue the conversation. I’m going to add him to my prayer list.
I had one other main chat, with a group of American soldiers (in civilian clothes), they will be going down to Antarctica at some point. I was able to share the gospel with them, and give them a tract to read down on the ice.
Susan had a long chat with a lady (pictured), and Mike had a number of opportunities on the flip chart.
God is good! SDG
I’m pretty tired, because I stayed up for the New Year last night. So, I hope this report is going to make sense!
The routine breaking holiday schedule is now complete (and I’m looking forward to getting back to my routine, starting with a day off tomorrow)!
Four street outreaches since my last report. Martin joined me on Friday in the City. I was in Riccarton on Saturday lunchtime, and then ministering at the New Years Eve event in the City. And then finally today’s outreach in the City.
Starting with Friday. It was overcast, but there were plenty of people around and about. It turns out people from a cruise ship were in town. But sadly, for some reason, it felt like a bit of a slow outreach. Although Marin and I both had good gospel opportunities. I guess I’m comparing it to the high of boxing day?
Anyway, I found out about the cruise ship through an older gentleman who approached my flip chart wondering what I was doing. His wife was in the shop across from me, and so he had been observing me for a few minutes. I was upfront, as always, but we ended up chit chatting about light hearted things for a bit. He eventually swung the conversation to the deeper things of life! It turns out he is an Atheist. He grew up in a Methodist church, and his reasoning for being Atheist was that he was cold in church as a boy, and he prayed that God would warm him up. When he didn’t warm up, he concluded God wasn’t real, and informed his parents as much. I have to assume that there was something more to it, because that doesn’t make sense. I tried to reason with him (starting with the building / builder analogy), but then his wife arrived and he had to go. We parted on very good terms, and he walked off with a “Who Made It?” tract.
I left Martin with the flip chart, and went for a wander. But had no luck in striking up a conversation. As I was coming back to Martin, I noticed he was in a conversation with 3 guys, which was great. So I went the other direction, when someone said my name.
It was one of the girls I had talked to on Boxing day, and I’ve talked to her before that in Riccarton. She is resistant, but I can tell there is an openness, because she keeps coming to talk to me, and although she disagrees, I can tell she is processing what I say. She introduced me to her sister, and we fell into gospel conversation. As we were going through the law, they brought up a situation. They were planning to lie to their parents and have a new years eve party at their place where they intended to get drunk while their parents were away. Anyway, I was able to share the gospel before they had to go.
Well, later in the outreach, they came back, and this time they had another friend with them, so, yet another gospel conversation started. Interestingly, the two sisters had informed me of their new plan. They were going to ask their parents if they could have the party (this would solve the lying and disobedience)! Interesting, so I posed 2 questions: 1) if their parents said no, would they still have the party? Answer: yes. 2) are you still intending on getting drunk? Answer: yes. They were fooling themselves! Yet, I’m at least encouraged that they seem to be feeling a partly conviction about their sin. Again, I went back to the real solution: Jesus. They moved on. But, if God’s patience holds, I’ve got a feeling I will see them again. Please pray that this would be so.
The Riccarton outreach on Saturday (New Years Eve) was also quiet. Not many people around. But there were enough people around to keep me busy. I remember a good chat with a young man who said he used to be an Atheist, but he admitted to softening. He was now articulating a very eastern religious way of thinking. I was able to labour on how we know God is real, and why hell is logical. I can’t remember if I share the law and the gospel - I know he had to get going to catch a bus, but he did leave with a “Who Made It?” tract. I’m racking my brain, and I just can’t remember the other chats of the outreach - oh, that’s right, I talked to 2 girls from Latin America. I can’t remember the others, if there were any!
In the afternoon, I had a couple of very encouraging conversations online, before having dinner and heading to the New Years Eve concert in the central city (Hagley Park) with my daughters. There were other families from my church there, so it was good to spend some time with them.
But, my purpose for being there was to share the gospel. I had already done 6 hours of outreach for the day, and so I guess I was feeling tired. Plus, the environment was unfamiliar to me, plus I was on my own. So, I was feeling very nervous. I didn’t have any boldness. It was a good reminder of how Christians often feel when facing evangelism! I know what it’s like! I ended up going for a walk, praying for help, smiling and greeting people, but feeling too nervous to really engage. I ended up in the city, before heading back to the park, still praying. I wondered if I would just wimp out and give up, when I noticed a guy. The situation seemed right, and so I greeted him and asked him what he thought happened after life. There was resistance, but he stuck around for a quarter of an hour for me to reason with him about the gospel. The chat went okay, and we parted ways with him receiving 2 kinds of tract: “Who Made It?” and “Says Who?”. All glory to God for helping me.
That was the extent of that outreach. Just 15 minutes, with 1 person. I leave him in God’s hands. But what encouraged me was, near the end of the evening, in among a very large gathering of people, I saw the same guy again! He was hanging out with some friends. He saw me too, and I guess I’ll describe his look as one of embarrassment - was it because I talked to him about religion? Was it conviction? Was it something else? Who knows. I just smiled at him and moved on.
Sunday’s outreach was busy. I was at my usual spot at the corner of Cashel and Colombo. Ballantynes was closed, but other shops were open, so there were people around.
I gave a tract to a guy, but just as I was doing that, I noticed four people investigating my flip chat, so I went over to engage them. They were very resistant to the idea of God being real, in spite of my reasoning, and they moved on. But, soon after, the guy I gave the tract to came over. He was encouraged to see me doing what I’m doing. His Dad used to preach in central Christchurch, and had taken him out with him. I was so encouraged to hear that! God always provides a witness. I wonder who will come after us?
But, the rest of the outreach was a conversation with a couple who have recently become Christian and are involved with a local church. It was encouraging to see the fresh enthusiasm, but at the same time there was a lack of gospel clarity. Multiple times in the conversation I was able to check and work on that clarity. By the end of the chat, I think he was starting to see how subtly we can slip back into works for salvation. I encouraged him to preach the gospel to himself, all day and everyday. I was also able to encourage him in other ways too. It seemed like a very mutually encouraging chat.
All glory to God!
This report is covering the 3 days of street outreach surrounding Christmas day. Thankfully Christmas day is NOT a good day for street outreach - instead people are thinking about the birth of Jesus and spending time with their families instead.
On Friday the 23rd, there was a team of 6 out in the city. Only Roger and I were regulars, so it was great to have 4 others: Josh, Caleb, Tanushree, and Daniel. We paired up. Roger had his flipchat up in the usual spot, and Daniel joined him. Tanushree and Caleb were using my flipchart, and Josh and I did ‘walk up’.
From my perspective, the outreach was stellar. I had 2 amazing chats, plus change (and who knows, it may be one of the extra chats that God uses to save someone).
The first chat was with a young man that I thought I had talked to during a previous outreach. It was a case of mistaken identity, but it led to an opportunity for a great conversation. Unfortunately the young man thought ‘keeping the ten commandments’ would get him to heaven. He revealed that he is a PK, which made me inwardly cringe. Anyway we took a look at a few of the commandments to see how he would get on. I then had the privilege of sharing the gospel with him and working through most of the checks. I think the most powerful check was the ‘before / after conversation’ one. He was able to articulate for himself, that before the chat, since he was trusting in his works, he would have been heading to hell. But now that we had had the conversation, he now knew the right way to heaven.
He is new to Christchurch, and although he goes to a church, he was keen to know which churches Josh and I went to. I gave him a card for my church, and we even connected on Instagram (I was able to follow up with him afterwards).
Josh and I spent some time discussing evangelism practice, before we started handing out Christmas tracts.
I noticed a young lady sitting on one of the seats near us, and so I offered her a tract too. It was almost like she had been sitting there hoping I would offer. She was very keen to chat. And so I sat next to her to do just that.
For me, this was the stellar chat of the day. We covered the gamut: evil and suffering, homosexuality, dinosaurs, evolution, how we know God is real, and of course, the law and the gospel, plus many checks.
There was a God moment, where I touched on something in a general sense, and I could tell it was a very personal issue for her and was able to directly address it.
She left, not only with a Christmas tract, but a gospel of John. I was clicking my heels after that chat!
Josh had to leave at this point, but the outreach was nearly over anyway. I ended up pairing up with Tanushree for a final walk up chat. I noticed that Roger and Daniel were talking to Simon the Atheist.
As a team, we went to the cafe in Ballantynes, low and behold, Simon the Atheist was there too! He had his laptop out and was working. Simon and Roger were having an extended chat while the rest of the team debriefed in various ways over hot chocolate.
Once we were all ready to go, I went to pay for the drinks, and I was told that Simon the Atheist had already paid for all of us! What a blessing. When I first met Simon, over a year ago now, he had a very “new” Atheist edge about him (all religions are bad). He’s changed. I continue to pray for Simon!
Saturday was Christmas Eve, and I was in my usual spot in Riccarton. It was great to have Martin from Hamilton (down on holiday) join me. I was expecting there to be a lot of foot traffic with people going to the mall to buy Christmas gifts. But there wasn’t as much as I expected. But it was still a busy outreach. I gave out a lot of tracts, as well as having a number of good chats - including 2 (separate conversations) with people who work in the area. I hope to see them again, God willing.
Today, being Boxing Day, I figured there would be lots of people out to shop for bargains, so I scheduled 2 outreaches. The first in Riccarton, and then the second in the city. Martin joined me in Riccarton again. I wasn’t wrong. There were HEAPS of people out. I focused on tracts, and we gave away so many in Riccarton, I had to head home to get more before going into the city!
People in Riccarton seemed way more open than those in the city, but I ended up giving away lots of tracts there too. I think I’ll make Boxing Day a special tract outreach for future years (God willing).
I had many good chats too. The last one of the day was with a young Catholic guy called Liam. He came back at the end of the outreach, after semi-engaging with me earlier. His mum was in Ballantynes, and so he had the time now. He wanted to discuss my earlier questions: “what do you have to do to get to heaven?”. He said that Protestants believe in “Sola Fide” (faith alone), but Catholics in Faith plus Works (and he was right). And so, this being a critical distinction, I worked to convince him why it must be Sola Fide. Great chat. He already had a tract (not received on this outreach) and he said he had it with his confessional (not sure what he meant by that, I could have heard it slightly wrong). Anyway, I pleaded with him to Trust alone in Christ alone and to get in touch to discuss further.
Soli Deo Gloria!
The street outreaches for the week were in hot summer weather. Tuesday and Saturday in Riccarton, and Friday in the City. I took Sunday off.
It was so good to have Caleb with me on Tuesday and Friday. Caleb (pictured) has applied to come on the Philippines trip in March next year and is joining me so we can get to know each other better, and to get skilled up in preparation. Roger was also with us on Tuesday.
Much of my time on the Tuesday outreach was spent in getting Caleb up to speed on the way we share the gospel on the street, via the flip chart. But, near the end of the outreach I had an opportunity to share the gospel with 3 people going past. I wanted to use the flip chart, so that Caleb would get a chance to get involved and to see how it works in action. But I could sense that these 3 people could bolt at the slightest distraction, and so I had to minister while I had their attention. At the start of the chat, one of the key reasons they didn’t believe God is real is that they couldn’t reconcile the existence of God with evil in the universe. So, I gave the biblical answer, found in Romans 9:22-23 (and elsewhere in the bible): God not only allows evil, but decrees that it will occur without ever doing evil himself so that he can demonstrate 3 things about himself for his glory. Without evil people, he can’t demonstrate his: justice, mercy and patience (in holding off justice so mercy can be received). Now, this answer has to be delivered with a large dose of compassion. But, in this situation, I could see the light of understanding come into the eyes of all 3 of them, it opened them up and I was able to clearly minister the law and the gospel into their lives, and plead with them to accept the mercy of God found only in the sacrifice of Jesus. I was really encouraged by the conversation.
Friday’s outreach was in muggy weather. It had been raining, but during the outreach the sun came out. Caleb and I set up the flip chart down Cashel Mall. It was a very busy outreach! I think lots of people were out with Christmas shopping.
People I wouldn’t normally expect were stopping to chat. Many were attracted by the flip chart.
I had a couple of guys come to argue with me on the existence of God, they didn’t seem to get what they expected, which was someone with no answers. They were challenged, but sadly doubled down on their resistance and moved on without hearing the good news.
I had a lady stop to engage. I sensed she would bolt at any moment, and yet, at the same time, she was very engaged. I started out with a summary of the law / gospel, and the longer she stayed, the deeper the explanations went. She is from Auckland, and there had been a hellfire preacher up there that had put her off. And yet, she came to talk to me knowing I’m a Christian. Maybe the hellfire preacher had pricked her conscience? I explained hell, in the context of God’s mercy.
I was keen for Caleb to get into his own chat, and so I got one started, passed it to him, and then stepped away. It was so good watching him engage, and hold the attention of the two guys. Well done Caleb!
Saturday was busy. I talked to a universalist who slid slightly by the end of the chat.
But the stand out chat in my memory was with a couple. She approached me on her own. Her husband had recently become a Christian, and she was still trying to process the world view change. Her husband came and joined the chat, and it was so encouraging to hear his explanation of the gospel! He has been studying the Bible intensely, is involved with a good local church, and is listening to good teachers. His understanding of the gospel is flawless. I was so encouraged to actually see the fruit of the Holy Spirit working in the life of a new believer! My prayer is that the Holy Spirit would illuminate the gospel in the heart of his wife. My God bless this young couple!
« Prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ... 38 | 39 | Next »