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.
Thursday and Friday produced some very special gospel conversations. Three in particular.
The first occurred at the Eastgate bus stops. I had offered a tract to a man who upon reading it became very hostile. I tried to calm and reason with this man but was unsuccessful at both. I ended up taking his tract back and ending the conversation for this reason.
Dejectedly, I turned and saw a lady waiting for a taxi with her dog. I assumed she had observed my exchange and therefore wouldn’t be interested in talking to me, but I approached her anyway, and offered her a tract. To my surprise she accepted and was keen to chat. She was waiting for a taxi that would let her dog in the car. I was able to show her how we know God exists before a taxi came to end our conversation. But she had become very interested, and said she would read the tract.
I moved away from the taxi’s down to a bus stop, looking for a new conversation, before heading back past the taxi’s. I was surprised when one of the taxi drivers called me over. To my encouragement, he had some of our tracts already! We had handed them to him on previous outreaches. Well he had read them, and wanted to talk. So I hopped into the taxi and we started discussing the gospel. But then one of his regular customers came out of the mall needing a ride - so our conversation was cut short. But he gave me his card with his number and asked me to call him. As he drove off, I sent him a text message so he had my number.
Ten minutes later, he called me. He had dropped off his customer and wanted to finish the conversation. He drove past, picked me up, and then he parked in the Eastgate car park. He was on a thirty minute break and wanted to hear the gospel, so I pulled out my mini flip chart, and took him through it - beginning to end! He was happy to receive a Bible! He then drove me back around to the bus stops where we parted ways.
I’m confident, God willing, that I’ll have opportunities to see him again and follow up. A very encouraging conversation!
The second started as I was driving from Eastgate to Northlands. A guy (that I’ve mentioned in multiple logs before) that I’ve had the opportunity to witness to multiple times since I first met him on the last Summer mission (just under a year ago) contacted me wanting to catch up. He said he would find me the next day when I was in the city on outreach…
On Friday, we had some great conversations with people outside the Hospital during the abortion outreach, where the third conversation was had. A guy who works at the hospital, and who I’ve talked with multiple times as well came out and wanted to chat. It was wonderful to see how positively challenged he has been by our conversations, and also by our witness standing against abortion. To us, it doesn’t seem like what we are doing is very effective. But he confirmed that it actually is. He took my contact details. I hope to see him again.
… and now I come back to the second conversation. It’s now Friday afternoon on Cashel Mall - and it’s hot! Andy & I had set up a couple of flip charts when the guy who contacted me the day before turns up. The three of us found a shady spot and sat down to talk. And that talk went for the rest of the outreach. This young man had previously adamantly said he would never be a Christian, because a specific sin is too precious to him to let go. Well it was clear that he had now moved on from that position and he seems to be seriously considering Christ. We spent the time answering his questions, trying to clear his confusion on various things, and going over the law and the gospel again. He left with one of my last Gospel booklets - he received one previously but indicated that he hadn’t read it, and didn’t have it any more. But he took this one with a different attitude saying he would read it this time - and I’m confident he will. I will continue praying for this young man, and the two other men I talked about in this log entry.
I don’t know if my writing has conveyed how incredibly encouraged I am by these three conversations - so I’m explicitly saying so now. These three men sought me out to talk, as the Holy Spirit seems to be working in their lives since they were first challenged by the truth in the gospel! As part of my job, there is a lot of rejection, disappointment and discouragement - and so encouragement like this is extra special. Yet no matter the result - the work is worthwhile. Be encouraged church! The gospel is the power of God to salvation. Join us out in the harvest to share this amazing good news!
Today there were two outreaches - both in the central city. It was a cold day - winters last gasp?
For the first outreach I set up my flip chart in Cathedral Square, and I had quite a few follow up conversations with various people, and a gospel conversation with two girls from Malaysia who were Bhudist. I was also very encouraged to encounter a young Christian on exam leave who was out looking for opportunities to share the gospel: “way of the master” style. I was very encouraged!
To end the outreach, I decided to open air preach - as there were many people hanging around speakers corner.
In the afternoon I ditched the flip chart and headed for Ara intending to have walk up conversations. I never made it to Ara.
I had a wonderful gospel conversation on the corner of High & Hereford Streets - with a young man who grew up in a church, but wasn’t involved at present. He seemed deeply impacted when I explained that anger was murder of the heart. I don’t know if this is connected, but I noticed he broke into a sweat on his forehead! He seemed to appreciate the explanation of the gospel, and gladly took a follow up tract.
Further down High Street, I shared the gospel with a young couple, and then moved over to a group of four young teens. I recognised one of them, whom I’ve shared the gospel with before - but apparently they had all talked to me before, and said they already had tracts! But the girl in particular wanted to talk about it, and so a very long conversation was had where I ultimetaly explained the gospel, but was also constantly answering questions about: homosexuality, suffering, and climate change (to name a few). By the time that conversation had finished, there was only fifteen minutes left in the outreach, and I spent that time handing out tracts on my way back to the car. One of these outreaches, it will be good to actually make it to Ara - but High street seems to be very fruitful for conversations at the moment - praise God.
Tuesday’s outreach to Riccarton was quieter than usual. I had a few “half” conversations, some other interactions, and handed out tracts.
The highlight was having a lady walk past who said she had already received the tract I was offering her. I didn’t have a chance to interact, but later she came back past, and I stopped her asking her if it was that exact tract she had received, and when / where she had received it. It turns out it was placed in her letterbox last month. I asked if she had read it, and she had - but it had obviously had no impact on her. But I had an opportunity now to follow up, and briefly go over the law and the gospel with her, and bring some urgency to the message in the tract. She said she would read it again.
How is it that I’m sitting here writing yet another log entry? Time is going so fast. Next thing you know we will be in eternity!
The variable spring weather seems to have passed, and we are having lovely summer days now. It was nice on Saturday, and nice and hot on Sunday. Both days we were in Cashel Mall.
Although on Saturday I started in Cathedral Square, but there seems to be a lot more people in Cashel Mall now on the weekends. There were animal rights activists at the Bridge of Remembrance, Hare Krishna followers down by Colombo Street, so I planted myself in between. Part way through the outreach, a whole lot of dogs and their owners walked through the mall. Saturday is turning into a really interesting time to be there!
The most interesting conversation from Saturday was with one of the animal rights activists. He loved logic and was very keen for a conversation. But when I used logic to explain how we know God exists. He became agitated, and then angry - I don’t think he realised how angry he was getting. He had conceded that there must be a creator of the universe, but he was demanding to know why that creator should be the God of the Bible. But my answers only seemed to feed his anger. So I asked him why he was getting so angry. He said, “you’re not answering my question”. So I said, “well I don’t want to answer your question because you are getting angry, we seem to be stuck in a loop - maybe we should call it quits?”. He agreed, and shook my hand before leaving - he had a tract that I gave him at the start of the conversation - and I did actually get a chance to briefly explain the hope of the gospel.
For some reason, his anger deeply impacted me. Through experience, I’ve become used to dealing with it (it doesn’t happen often) - but from time to time it gets to me.
Sunday saw a team of four. Jermaine had brought his two daughters out with him, and they shared tracts while Jermaine and I ran flip charts.
Early in the outreach, I offered tracts to a couple who completely ignored me. But further down they accepted tracts from the kids, and that led them into a wonderful gospel conversation with Jermaine!
But I did have some great conversations. One is etched into my memory. I did a simple law and gospel presentation with a guy via the flip chart, and it seemed to be impacting him deeply. But he was resisting. He wasn’t convinced that it was true, so I circled back and showed him how he knew God exists and the reality of our sin dilemma. He finally agreed that it concerned him that he would be heading to hell. And it was then that I explained the glorious gospel - interestingly he already knew it; but the gravity of it, in context, seemed to be hitting home. He needed to move on, but when we shook hands, he looked me in the eyes and held my hand for a moment. He had appreciated the talk. He accepted a tract. I noticed some time later he came back down the mall on the other side, and received another tract from one of Jermaine’s kids. Oh Lord, convict him of sin, and save him for your glory! May I see him again - in your Kingdom!
Thursday’s bus stop outreach at Northlands became so busy, once the high school kids turned up, that we decided to just stay there, rather than head to Eastgate. The constant gospel conversations became quite tiring, so we headed into the mall for a fifteen minute break before getting back out into the harvest. Very encouraging indeed.
I talked to quite a few Christians, a guy who was Coptic Orthodox (from Egypt), a guy who had been at a Catholic school for a year and was now very interested in talking about the deep questions of life. I even had a bus driver get off his bus to have a cigarette and talk to me. I was able to challenge him briefly, before he had to go again - he left with a gospel tract.
But the highlight conversation was one that was interrupted - but in a good way. I was sharing with a young lady, when a big group of students showed up. One of them heard me sharing with her, and he was instantly interested. He was so excited that I was sharing the gospel with her, that he interrupted me to talk about the amazing sacrifice of Jesus. It was actually kinda awkward for the girl I was sharing with - but I was so blown away by how unashamed the guy was in talking about the amazing love of Jesus! He didn’t care about the cost. And what I mean by that is that he moved away to get on a bus that had just arrived, and he didn’t overhear a slightly disrespectful thing one of his schoolmates said about him. I’m sure this brave young man gets a hard time. I was so encouraged. This is the attitude we should all have! I was able to finish up the conversation with the young lady, and she also left with a follow up tract.
Andy also had many conversations, but the highlight was one with a young man who had apparently talked to me about the gospel a couple of months ago in the city. Andy was able to take him through the gospel again, aspects of which he had obviously been pondering. He then said he was keen to read a Bible and wondered where he could get one. He was blown away when Andy pulled out a Bible to give him!
Friday saw a team of seven for the Gospel / Abortion outreach in the morning, and then a team of four in Cashel Mall in the afternoon (after Andy preached in the Square).
The afternoon outreach was busy: Binu handed out tracts. Andy spent the whole outreach talking with one man (pictured talking over caramel popcorn)! Roger had a busy run on his flip chart - including one interesting looking conversation with a large group of guys. And I had two main conversations: one with three Catholic girls, and one with a young muslim man.
I had actually talked to this muslim man before - he had requested and taken a Bible, but couldn’t stay to talk that time. But he had time today and wanted to sit down with me. He had so many questions, so I needed to focus so I could get him to understand the gospel before I circled back to try to tackle his questions. But we ended up spending the whole time talking about the gospel. To keep him focused, I pulled out my detailed mini flip chart that I used when in Myanmar last. And it worked a treat. I focused on getting him to understand the important concept of justification by faith alone. I used an analogy to explain it - and he rebelled against the concept! He stood up and threatened to leave accusing me of saying people can trust Jesus and then do whatever they want! I got him to sit down again and used another analogy to explain the result of our faith and a changed heart: obedience. I managed to get this guy to work through all my checking questions with an understanding of the gospel. I was very encouraged. I challenged him to respond. He left was my contact details (he still wants to ask those questions), multiple tracts, and one of my last gospel booklets. He said he was neither Sunni nor Shai, but something else - and wanted to investigate the things that I had shared with him. Oh God, I’ve done my best to share the gospel with him - I can’t save him. Only you can! Show him how serious his sin is, and how amazing your grace is. Change his heart Lord, for your glory alone. Lord, save all these people from their sin and hell, have mercy on our city and land.
The usual team of two were in Riccarton on Tuesday. The outreach started with some nice summer heat. And it wasn’t long before I was into my first gospel conversation.
It was with two muslim ladies from Sudan. I started by asking them questions about what they thought happens after life. And it wasn’t long before they were saying that their good deeds would get them to heaven. I used an analogy to explain why good deeds don’t take away bad deeds - it made sense to them, and so they moved to the idea of having “regret” and “being sorry” would save them. So I again used another analogy to explain why that wouldn’t help either. This nicely moved the conversation into a discussion about how serious sin is in the eyes of God, and the hope of the good news of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross to pay our sin debt - by faith alone. Being muslims, they became resistant to this idea. But I just kept gently confronting them with the problem of sin and justice - and asking them how they can solve that dilemma apart from the sacrifice of Jesus. We also talked about the fact that, although salvation is a gift, the cost is incredibly great - esp. for many muslims considering converting. They became very thoughtful. They said they would read the tracts I had given them before we parted ways.
Would you like to learn powerful analogies for explaining important gospel related concepts with people in your life? We have a free conference coming up in Christchurch (NZ) on Saturday, November 9th where one of the sessions will be on this very subject. Come along, it’s free: https://tellmechristchurch.org.nz/conference/
By the time Roger turned up, the weather was turning to rain, and the temperature had dropped significantly. I asked Roger to guard my flip chart, while I ran back to my car to get my jacket. I thought that, by the time I got back, Roger would be cold and wondering why we were standing in the rain! But when I got back, Roger was in a deep conversation with two guys (pictured). I could tell it was a good conversation - and it was! One of them left, but the other stayed for a long chat (pictured). He came to tears and shared some deep struggles in his life. He was very interested in the gospel. Roger exchanged contact details with him.
Roger ended up having a wonderful run of gospel conversations in the few hours we were on the street corner. Another one was with a young lady (pictured) who needed to get away from some issues at home and so went for a walk and crossed paths with Roger to hear the gospel. She was a deep thinker, and gladly received a free copy of the new testament (plus Psalms and Proverbs; pictured).
We both had many other opportunities to share the love of Christ. Roger with a couple of Indian guys, and a high school student. Myself with a homeless guy, a guy smoking a cigarette, and a wonderful follow up with a Christian who seems very challenged to get involved with the great commission.
And by the time the outreach had finished, the sun was out again! :)
Two Christians, spending a couple of hours on a street corner, can bring the gospel to so many. How many more could we reach if you joined in also? Be encouraged to get involved! Get in touch. :)
Saturday and Sunday provided good sunny weather for outreach in Christchurch (NZ). There was an outreach on both days: in Cashel Mall.
Saturday’s outreach started by scouting out the best place to base. There was a lot happening: an Indian cultural festival in Cathedral Square, and big bands were playing all over the place: even on one of the trams! There were many people out and about.
During the scouting, I ended up having a walk up conversation with a guy who had only just landed in Christchurch, from the UK, the night before. He was reserved, but interested, and was willing to give me the time to share the gospel with plenty of context. He accepted multiple tracts from me before heading off.
I ended up setting up my flip chart on Cashel Mall more towards the Bridge of Remembrance. There were many people walking past, but not many were taking tracts, and it was difficult to get any conversations started.
But eventually God provided opportunities to interact with people. Another young man from the UK, who was heading down to help with one of the big bands, came passed and stopped. He said he didn’t have long, and wanted the thirty second overview of the gospel (not ideal). So with warning, I proceeded to do that. Interestingly it hooked him, and we ended up sitting down and talking further. He ended up staying for about fifteen minutes. He was a deep thinker, but sadly very resistant. He had made up his mind on his current path of life - and he wasn’t going to let me distract him.
I was also very encouraged when a guy engaged me suddenly. It turns out he is a religious education teacher at a Catholic high school, just down from the Northlands bus stops. The team has many opportunities to share the gospel with students from that school - some even refer to the RE teachers in conversations. In our short discussion, we agreed that, although we agree on the Trinity, we disagree on justification by faith alone. Sadly, his wife turned up at that point and he had to go - but I asked him to get in touch so we could talk further.
One of the last interactions was with one of Jehovah’s witnesses - he had just changed guard from their stand down from me. He wanted to know what I was doing. I normally don’t make much ground with the JWs I talk to, but I was pleased to be able to explain why all the major differences between our beliefs were critical to his eternal destiny: If God is just, there must be a Hell; our good works will not get us into the Kingdom of God (I pointed him to Matthew 5:21 & 22); and Jesus must be God to atone for sin.
Sunday was very windy - not ideal flip chatting weather! So the team focused on tract distribution and also walk up conversations. I had three conversations.
The first was with a teen couple, who said that they were born again Christians, but when I asked them why they would be going to heaven, they said that it was because they were obeying the commandments! Wrong answer. So I proceeded to show them some of the ten commandments to see how they did, and I was then able to explain that it was only a repentant faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that would make them born again.
The last conversation was long, intellectual, tiring, but very rewarding. After explaining how we know God exists, and that He is the source of our conscience, I proceeded to take them through the law. She was instantly resistant at this point - but I was encouraged by this. There was life in this soul! After avoiding many rabbit trails, I was able to explain the gospel, and then circle back and deal with objections. Although resistant to what I was saying, she seemed impacted by the fact that I would stand on the street and care enough about people to share. She gladly took different tracts from me that went into some more details on some of the things we had talked about. And then she gave me a hug!
The outreach was overtime by this stage, and I was tired. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share the love and grace of God, but looking forward to rest.
Thursday was another day of variable spring weather. The switch between sunny and wet occured multiple times throughout the day. Just before the Northlands outreach was about to start, the rain was extremely heavy (even going sideways at times)! But Andy decided to brave the weather - knowing the bus shelters provided some protection. And he was rewarded with almost constant gospel conversations! I guess, while waiting at a bus stop, it’s just as easy to talk on a sunny day as a wet one.
Friday saw improved weather - although there was a cold wind - and so all the outreaches were able to proceed: gospel + abortion outreach outside Christchurch hospital, open air preaching in Cathedral Square, the afternoon outreach on Cashel Mall, and finally the evening outreach in the central city.
There was a team of three for the gospel + abortion outreach. Praise God there were many opportunities to dialog with people on top of the voice of the signs we were holding.
One of those conversations was a follow up with a young man I’ve talked to multiple times in Riccarton. He was very supportive of what we were doing. I was very encouraged to see that he was holding a grasp of the gospel and showing signs that he may have responded positively to it. I invited him along to our little church. I hope to see him again soon!
The open air preaching in Cathedral Square was wonderful, there were many people about, and no music to compete with. Andy had written a submission for the proposed abortion law change but was not selected to give an oral submission - so he decided to share his submission in the open air instead, along with sharing the gospel.
There was a team of three sharing the gospel on Cashel Mall. I had a busy time - the highlight conversation was with a lady who had received a tract but took the time to come back and return it due to disagreement. I ended up having a good conversation where we discussed our differences in belief - sadly, I’m concerned about this ladies standing before God. Interestingly, as she was heading off, she decided to accept a different gospel tract from me. She didn’t come back to return that one!
The day’s outreaches was wrapped up with a team of two in the evening. Cathedral Square had been set up for an Indian cultural festival the following day, and a whole lot of people were waiting around for their turn to get on stage to practice. This of course provided opportunities for gospel conversations: I was very encouraged to see one Sikh man understanding the gravity of sin when I explained that anger is murder of the heart to God. I shared the gospel, and afterwards he was very keen to find out more, asking about a web site he could look at. I was happy to point him to one.
Earlier, I had an opportunity to offer a tract to a couple of English cricket players walking past (they will be playing New Zealand, in Christchurch, next week). I wasn’t surprised that they weren’t interested as I think I had an opportunity to share tracts with other players/coaching staff on Wednesday - they all turned them down then too. Knowing this, I decided to be bold and ask if I could as a question - they didn’t stop, but one said, “sure”. So I asked, “do you ever think about what happens after life?”. I was ignored and they walked on. But a couple of seconds later, he turned around to give me a look - as if to say: “what kind of question is that???” I know cricket players think about death, we just have to remember Phil Hughes who recently died in a cricket match when he was hit in the head by the ball. We have no idea when it will come - and it can be sudden!
The outreach finished with a wonderful conversation outside the bus exchange. Two girls stopped who were willing to stay and talk about the things of God. After hearing the gospel, one of them asked a key question: “What does God think of gays?” It was my pleasure to say that God loves gays so much that he died on the cross for them, but that it was clear that God, who writes the rules, thinks homosexuality is a sin. He has the power to change hearts - even with this sin - by the power of the gospel. But she said, “Well, this lesbian is going to hell” - and she blew me a kiss as she walked off.
Jesus, may you receive the reward of your suffering! Please show these people your mercy through your sacrifice and the gift of repentance and faith in you!
The spring weather in Christchurch (NZ) has been very variable. On Tuesday I started the Riccarton outreach early to avoid rain. And on Wednesday, I had to deal with all four sessions: heat, cold, wind and rain!
The Riccarton outreach wasn’t as busy as the previous two outreaches there, but the Lord did bring people to hear His gospel.
The highlight conversation was with two teen guys. I was surprised to see them out of school so early, but they said something about exams. Anyway, they were very open to the logic of the law and the gospel. One in particular seemed deeply impacted when discussing the serious nature of sin. It was encouraging to see them concerned about this, and it was a pleasure to share the antidote: Jesus!
Two other conversations involved an Indian couple who didn’t seem to be very interested, and a Maori couple. The girl became very resistant when I started by talking about how we know God exists. Sadly, they left before I could even take them through the law, let alone the gospel.
On Wednesday, as I made it to Cathedral Square, the temperature was warm, but I noticed that the sky was very dark (pictured). Sure enough, a minute later, it started to pour with rain, and even some hail! This matched my mood, and it was really tempting to just give up and go home. But I couldn’t even do that, as I would get soaked walking to my car. So I did my best to shelter under a tree. I wasn’t the only one trying to get shelter and amazingly, an easy conversation got started with a young man on holiday from Thailand. I didn’t get to talk to him for long, and was only able to share the gospel via a tract, which he gladly received and said he would read. But this “random” encounter encouraged me.
Within no time, the rain had passed, and the sun was out. So I set up my flip chart and started handing out tracts to the few passers by. Not too long later, a man approached me and wanted to know what the flip chart was about. So I was upfront and said I was a Christian wanting to share good news. He was instantly engaged and a wonderful gospel conversation got underway. Oddly, he wanted to take photos of us together - which was fine with me. Then he wanted to take photos of the flip chart. And then he asked permission to video me. Again, fine by me - I have nothing to hide! So he recorded me for a while as I explained how we know God exists, how we know His standard, and then proceeded to get him to examine himself by that standard - all this in response to his key question: how do we know which religion is right? He videoed me right up to the point where we were talking about anger being murder of the heart. But I was still able to take him through the gospel and then talk about his original question before he said he had to go. It turns out this man was a Muslim from Bangladesh. He wanted me to pray for a personal issue he was struggling with, but I instead prayed for his most serious issue: his need to know God as his father, and to accept the gift of Christ’s sacrifice for his sins. He left with the tracts: “Which One is Right?”, and “How we Know God Exists”. I was again encouraged!
I then had a follow up with a young man who remembered the way to heaven correctly! I challenged him on the urgency of response. I had a number of other opportunities to talk with people before the end of the outreach and heading off to have lunch. The second photo shows the contrast in weather from the start of the outreach!
The weather stayed sunny for the afternoon outreach, where I focused on walk up conversations on my way to Ara. God blessed me with a long conversation outside Ara with a young man who was open and curious. He understood the logic of the gospel, but his biggest hang up was in knowing that God created the universe. Evolutionary thinking was so ingrained in him. So we spent some time talking about this. He left with a leaflet from CMI that provided some challenging questions with links to more information, as well as gospel tracts and a challenge on the urgency to respond to the gospel.
On the way back from Ara, I had a follow up opportunity with a young man who I’ve talked to many times over the last year. We are becoming quite friendly. He was also challenged on the urgency to respond to the gospel.
What about you? Are you trusting that the sacrifice of Christ has paid for your sins?
This log entry covers Thursday, Friday and Sunday. I’ll do a separate entry for the Ellesmere A&P Show outreach on Saturday.
On Thursday Andy & I were at the bus stops outside Eastgate and Northlands - as usual.
A week or so ago, I mentioned a difficult conversation I had with a guy who was drunk at Northlands. Well, today, Andy had a wonderful follow up opportunity with him (pictured) - but this time at Eastgate, and he was sober. It turns out he had been involved with a church for a number of years, but sadly had never actually been converted! He has now had two fresh opportunities to hear the gospel. God willing, we will continue to have opportunities to minister to him.
For me, two gospel conversations stand out, both at Eastgate. They were also follow up opportunities.
The first was with a young man who said he had discussed what I’d shared with him last time with his partner, which was encouraging! But sadly, when I asked him if he could remember the way to heaven, he responded with: stop doing bad things. Wrong answer. I did my best to correct his understanding, but he had to leave, so I didn’t really have the time. I gave him some different tracts to read. And he was interested in coming to church, so I also gave him a card with contact details and directions. I hope to see him again.
The second is with a lady who I have talked to multiple times ever since I’ve started coming to this spot for outreach. She was keen to stop and discuss the important questions of life deeply. As always, I continued to point her to the gospel. I was encouraged.
Friday saw heavy rain for most of the day. Andy and I made it through most of the gospel + abortion outreach in the morning (which I posted about on the Project 139 page on Facebook), before we needed to warm up. In the late afternoon / early evening I letterbox dropped.
Sunday was nice and warm. In the afternoon, I set up my flip chart on Cashel Mall outside Ballantynes. It was a difficult day of outreach. There were plenty of people about, but for some reason I only had two conversations (although I did manage to hand out some tracts).
The first one was with a lady from Russia. I made it through the law with her, but she became very resistant. She stormed off. I called after her and said I had good news to share - but she wasn’t interested.
The second was with a high school exchange student from Vietnam. It was a very long, slow conversation, where I had to work really hard to understand what he was meaning behind the things he was saying. I eventually realised that he was viewing everything through the filter of his happiness - everything was about him. For him, coming to Jesus would be about improving his life - which is a wrong motivation. I worked hard to help him understand the big picture. But he seemed blind to it. Yet I must remember the word of God is powerful. I eventually wound the conversation down; I leave him in God’s hands.
The Ellesmere A&P (agricultural and pastoral) Show is the first special outreach of the summer for the Christchurch (NZ) team. We hire a trade site from which we share the gospel via flip charting and tracts. The weather was great and we had many people going past our site. And it was very encouraging having a big team of Christians involved with this outreach: if I counted correctly, there were nine of us in total (from various local churches, and different levels of experience) spread out over the day, sharing the load, and encouraging each other.
There were many conversations happening. And to be honest the day was a bit of a busy blurr for me. But that’s a good thing! For next year, we might hire two sites side by side, I’m sure we could have had more conversations during the busy lunch time rush if we had more space!
I’ll probably let the photos do most of the talking, but here are two contrasting highlight conversations that come to mind:
I had an older Catholic guy stop to talk, who was a really sincere guy, but who was trusting in his goodness to get him to save him from hell. It was a good conversation where I focused on getting him to understand justification by faith alone. He seemed genuinely challenged.
But in contrast, I had another wonderful conversation with a young man who wanted to challenge me on this “God thing”, but ended up saying he couldn’t fault the logic. I laboured with this guy to get him to understand justification by faith alone, while at the same time understanding the cost of following Jesus. I was confident he understood, but as he was walking away, he made an interesting comment. He said, “I’ll trust in Jesus' sacrifice for my sins, and then I’ll go and booze up with my mates!” I pulled him back to re-explain that with faith in Christ comes a changed heart and repentance that leads to obedience. I challenged him to repent and believe today - as he had no guarantee of having another.