Battle Log


Christchurch (NZ) Team

Weekly outreaches:
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.

Sunday 29 September 2019

Posted by Posted 30 September 2019, 7:04 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Sunday was a very hot day in Christchurch (NZ).  From now on, I’ll be putting sunscreen on every morning before I head out on the streets! :)  There were three people out sharing the Gospel at the corner of Cashel & Colombo in the afternoon.  I had two interesting Gospel conversations.

The second conversation was with two young Muslim girls, originally from Afghanistan, but now Kiwis.  As they walked past, I asked if they would like to try the good person test - and they were keen.  Very early on, we agreed that the ten commandments were the standard of good to measure against, and with that common ground, I proceeded to adjust the mirror of the commandments so they could clearly see their own reflection in it.  They agreed that, with God being just, then they would deserve hell.  But they appealed to the mercy of God.  And this is always the hinge point of all my discussions with Muslims: how can God be both just and merciful?  If He is merciful, then that would mean He isn't being just.  And so I explained how God can be both through the cross: Jesus being both perfect and willing, was able to take our justice and give us his righteousness through our faith in Him.  While I was explaining that Jesus rose again, I respectfully mentioned that Budha, Kirshna, and Mohummed were not perfect and had not risen - but only Jesus had, and so He was our only hope.  And it was at this point that I was challenged - as I had, understandably, hit a nerve.  But out of my love for them, I wanted to challenge them on this.  We parted on good terms.  They had known people who had died in the Mosque attacks earlier in the year, and for what it was worth, I expressed my sympathy.

The first conversation was fascinating.  I had five young teen guys walk past, and I had the energy to engage them.  I boldly challenged them to try the good person test, and they all stopped to see what I was talking about.  I had them on the line, and I had to use all my energy to engage them enough to get them to try it.  Three of them turned to walk away - I had two left.  So again I challenged them to try the good person test.  One of them then turned to his mates who were walking away and said, “Hey guys, I want to try this, come back”.  And they did, praise God!  But I had to fight for their attention.  Then five of their friends turned up and their attention was completely gone.  I now had the work of gaining the attention of all ten of them!  All glory to God, I succeeded at this, and I managed to get all ten of these guys to realise the importance of what I was talking about.  While I was taking them through the law, a lady joined the group.  I think she was attracted by my animation in working to keep these kids engaged.  I glanced at her, not knowing her motives and hoping she wouldn’t derail things.  Luckily she didn’t, she eventually peeled off and left - it was a pity there weren’t more Christians with me to be able to engage her separately.  But it wasn’t over yet.  I managed to get through the law, and most of the way through the Gospel, when yet another lady suddenly entered the fray!  She started saying things like: “you need to listen to this guy”, but it wasn’t helpful - it was just distracting the flow of the conversation.  I managed to hold their attention long enough to share the Gospel with them, when the lady decided to take over the conversation!  I decided not to stop her, knowing that it wouldn’t look good to these guys.  I left her to it for a few moments while I handed each of the guys a tract, and took the attached photo.  Before coming back to take back control of the conversation.  I found the right moment to say to the guys that I really appreciated their time, and if they had any questions they were more than welcome to ask.  I intended to have a chat with the lady, but as soon as the guys had left, she left too.  What a battle!  But it was worth it.  I know some of those guys were resistant to what I was saying, some seemed to be thinking deeply, but all heard the Gospel!

I was also in Cathedral Square on Saturday where God provided opportunity to plow and sow.  All glory to God for any increase that comes from our feeble effort.

Friday 27 September 2019

Posted by Posted 27 September 2019, 7:42 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

It was good to be back at the Northlands and Eastgate bus stops, on Thursday afternoon, after a few weeks away due to the Myanmar mission.  Although, having gotten used to being able to have long conversations, I struggled to readjusting to the fact the buses would come and suddenly end conversations!  In spite of this, many good Gospel conversations were had - including some good follow ups.  I even had an opportunity to follow up with some high school kids I had apparently had a long Gospel conversation with at the Sparks in the Park outreach way back in February.

In Myanmar, you often get taxi or bus drivers stopping, and wanting a Gospel tract from you.  Well, I was very surprised to have a bus driver at Northlands move his bus up, and open his doors wanting to know what I was giving away, and indicating that he wanted one.  It was my pleasure to step aboard and hand him one, with a brief explanation of what it was.  He looked very interested, so I decided to caution him: “please read it, but not while you are driving”.  He laughed!

On Friday it was wonderful to be able to unfurl our new banner, outside Christchurch hospital, that read: “Thinking of suppressing the TRUTH about abortion?  Please chat with us, we care about you both.”  It was very encouraging to have a team of seven involved with this morning Gospel outreach.  And we had some wonderful opportunities to chat.  One young man, who had previously been involved with the JWs, heard the Gospel of grace.  He gladly received a Life is Precious Gospel tract, and wanted to know about the churches we were involved with (three were represented).  He was encouraged to get in touch, and told he would be welcome.  After he had left, one of the team reported that he had tears in his eyes!  Oh that those tears would be in understanding of the serious nature of sin, and the amazing grace of Jesus.  Praying that he indeed gets in touch.

In the afternoon, there was a climate change protest in the central city.  But before that got started, Andy had a wonderful opportunity to open air preach with the support of the heckling of the Wizard (pictured).  There was a good crowd around who got to hear the exchange, and also the good news of Jesus!

The protest provided a very busy afternoon of constant Gospel conversations for a team of four.  I was very encouraged to have a number of follow up conversations too.  After a long conversation with two guys who didn’t know each other but were wearing the same t-shirt - I offered a follow up tract to one of them, and I was very encouraged to hear him say, “no I’ve already got one - someone gave it to me at Eastgate”!  I also had a wonderful conversation with two girls where I was able to use all of the analogies I had learned on the Myanmar mission.  They both clearly understood the Gospel, but when I challenged them on what was stopping them from trusting in Jesus to pay for their sin, they sadly answered with: “because I want to live my life my way”!  This led to a wonderful follow up discussion about that, and they also asked me about what my thoughts were on homosexuality.  They never denied the truth I was speaking - they knowingly rejected it.  Don’t be like them!  The pleasures of sin in this life are not worth an eternity of just punishment in hell.  Trust in Christ. 

PS, the odd selfie is of me and one of our hecklers Adam.  He likes to try to unsettle you by getting into your personal space.  I again had the opportunity to share the law and the Gospel with him - and to tell him I care for him, and that I'm praying for him!  

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Posted by Posted 25 September 2019, 5:57 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

I’m back in Christchurch already.  The Myanmar mission was so busy and felt like it went so fast, that my brain can barely sequence the events of the trip!  And with re-adjusting my timezone, I’ve found these first few days quite difficult, esp. as I re-establish my routines!

I arrived home Saturday night, and managed to have a really good sleep, enabling me to get back on the streets in Christchurch on Sunday afternoon.

And my very first conversation was a follow up, on my way to Cashel Mall, with a guy I’ve talked to more than once before.  He had a friend with him, and they were heading to a bus stop where they were meeting more friends.  I was invited along, and had a short opportunity to talk with the whole group - before the bus came.

I finally made it to Cashel Mall, and I was very surprised to see someone, I’ve never met before, offer me a million dollar Gospel tract!  It turns out he was there with one of the newer outreach guys that I have recently met.  They had come to join me, which was very encouraging.

But having just been in Yangon, where there were scores of people willing to stop and talk about the things of God, I was surprised to remember how much fewer people there are in Christchurch, and how much more resistant they are to stop and chat.  Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of resistance in Yangon - but Christchurch is another level!  I got into a conversation with one man who was staring at the buildings about him - it turns out he hadn’t been in Christchurch since before the earthquakes and he couldn’t believe how different things are now.  But as soon as I tried to swing the conversation from the natural to the spiritual, he immediately switched off with “I used to be a Christian”, and he purposely walked away from me before putting his bag down so he could continue staring at the new Christchurch skyline.

I’m pretty sure I had at least one full Gospel conversation on Sunday, but on Tuesday I went to Riccarton mall for an earlier than usual outreach due to forecast rain - and for only the second time since starting with Operation 513 nearly a year ago, I went through a whole two hour outreach without being able to have a single Gospel conversation!  I got quite a few started, but people just weren’t interested.  I was able to hand out some tracts.  But other than that, I take solace in the fact that the outreach was successful in the sense that God was glorified in my being able to obey Him and go!

Wednesday (today), I was in Cathedral Square and outside Ara - again earlier than usual due to forecast rain.

In Cathedral Square I was able to set up right in front of the broken Cathedral (pictured), and I was able to get conversations started with various people, but I was finding it difficult to get people engaged enough for me to be able to share the Gospel.  I ended up switching to “walk up”, and managed to get a good conversation going with a lady from Melbourne.

Ara ended up being a great location for outreach.  I was there at lunch time, and there were a lot more people around - and they were willing to talk!  I had a wonderful Gospel opportunity with two young trainee chefs.  I was able to use the new flip chart from the Myanmar mission.  Both young men ended up saying they were already trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (which was interesting, as some things they had mentioned did not line up with this).  After discussing the cost of following Christ with them more, I left them with tracts, and a request for them to get in touch if they had further questions.

After this, I had a conversation with a group of six (pictured walking away after the chat).  I was nervous about approaching such a large group of young people.  But my opening line, seemed to work out, and we were very quickly discussing the important questions of life.  Sadly, they had to go back to class before I could get to the Gospel.  All but one (the atheist) took a tract.

One thing I’ve learned from Myanmar is how to slow down to take the time to labour with people so they can understand the Gospel.  Sadly, as much as I’ve wanted to do this since I’ve returned, people just don’t seem to be as interested here to be able to do that.  Praying that God would have mercy on our city and nation, and allow us to have solid Gospel conversations leading to a change of heart.  God, have mercy?

Sunday 8 September 2019

Posted by Posted 8 September 2019, 4:32 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

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!

Friday 6 September 2019

Posted by Posted 6 September 2019, 7:34 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

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!

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Posted by Posted 4 September 2019, 7:37 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

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!

Sunday 1 September 2019

Posted by Posted 1 September 2019, 7:20 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

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! :)

Saturday 24 August 2019

Posted by Posted 24 August 2019, 2:34 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

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! :)

Friday 23 August 2019

Posted by Posted 24 August 2019, 7:49 AM by Glen Richards. Permalink

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)

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Posted by Posted 21 August 2019, 7:45 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

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.)

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