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.
Tuesday I was online with the team before heading to Riccarton for a couple of hours in the late afternoon. And Wednesday I was online with the team.
I turned up in Riccarton wondering, for the umptenth time, if anyone would stop to talk - and wondering if I should have brought my flip chart or not. Well, for the umptenth time, God answered my prayers and I had a very productive outreach!
After some initial chats, I had a school kid walk up keen to give the good person test a go. This usually means one of two things - they are there to give me a hard time, or they are really interested. It turned out to be the latter!
He went to a seventh day adventist school, didn’t understand the gospel and enjoyed his sin. He heard the gospel, and was challenged to respond in faith, knowing this would change his attitude towards the sin he loved.
Near the end of the conversation it was interrupted by a guy walking past heckling “You don’t want to talk to him”. Ignored we continued chatting, but then the heckler came back. The conversation switched to being between me and the heckler with the student happy to stick around and listen (our conversation had pretty much wrapped up anyway).
The heckler wasn’t really interested in engaging honestly. He had preconceived thoughts he wasn’t willing to let go. The student got bored and moved on after shaking hands. And so after, the heckler gave up and left as well. But it was actually a very encouraging couple of conversations.
The last chat of the day was a long one. It started with the guy coming past on a Lime scooter and being stopped by the flip chart. He had done the flip chart before (in Blenheim). He had obviously played on his mind, as he sat down to talk.
We went through the gospel multiple times, he was struggling to understand, but he really wanted to! He stayed till the end of the outreach. He ended up downloading a Bible, and was interested in going to church. He friended me on Facebook and said he would be in touch if he had any questions.
So a wonderful outreach in the end - Praise God.
Eighteen recordings from the two days of outreach online. Here are some of the highlights:
A catholic kid who wasn’t sure on what to believe came to grasp the gospel.
Another kid who just didn’t get it at all. I would share the gospel, and immediately get him to share it back - over and over he couldn’t do it. He disconnected :(
A Christian kid from Trinidad and Tobago who insisted that obedience was required to be saved. A rather frustrating conversation - but I laboured with him for a fair while, and I think he was starting to see my point before he had to leave.
A text chat with someone from the Philippines - Catholic background, but seemed deeply impacted by the gospel - praise God.
A trio of Muslims from Egypt who heard the gospel but fought against it - insisting that they would be good enough to get to heaven.
A chat that started out with the other person pretending to be neo-Nazi :( But by the end of the gospel they were stoked by the gospel and were asking good questions.
And the day ended with a streamer coming to grasp the gospel.
Today there was a team of four in the city, after church meetings in the morning. It was a bit of a slow outreach, lots of rejection. I got quite a few chats started, but only two finished. And one of those, the guy just wasn’t interested! :( I was talking to three people in that other chat - and of them, only two were engaging in the conversation. But then something interesting happened. They left me, and then one of those two that were engaged walked over to a flip chart and started talking to the team running that! That one person went through the whole flip chart (pictured). Their two friends left him.
So, I guess, often our labours can seem in vain, and yet they never are. Even if no one stops and talks, or no tracts are taken, at the very least God has been glorified in our obedience to go. I love God and want to obey him. May you be encouraged to go, wherever you are there will be people you can attempt to reach with the gospel - do it with gentleness and respect.
We wrapped up early. I’m glad we did as there were two girls leaning against the wall close to where I had parked my car. After putting the flip chart in the boot, I circled back to offer them tracts. I’m glad I did! Because they were really receptive. I was able to explain how we know God exists, and I was able to ask what they thought would get them to heaven (being good), and so I was able to briefly explain the gospel. They then asked me about LGBT. So I simply responded with: “who makes the rules?” and one of them responded with, “Oh, I get it, God makes the rules”. Exactly, and God has said that homosexuality is a sin - but Jesus died on the cross so sinners can be forgiven! By this stage a third girl had arrived, who was more resistant and the conversation wrapped up. They all took tracts (the original two took two kinds). Lord, I leave them in your hands - may they grasp the gospel, it’s your power to save them!
Many gospel chats online through the weekend too - but I’m out of time to write about them. Glory to God alone for any fruit that comes!
A very busy couple of days of outreach in Christchurch. On Thursday I was online in the morning, and then at the Eastgate bus stops with Andy in the afternoon. Friday saw the gospel + abortion outreach outside the hospital, and then outreach in the central city, including many opportunities to talk with climate change activists. The day ended with a wonderful conversation online.
From Thursday morning I remember the conversations being difficult - a lot of resistance.
I had an 81 minute conversation with a young man from Germany! He was either playing me along the whole time, or he was genuinely contemplating the gospel, or maybe both. But after counting the cost he ended up doubling down and saying “god is fake bud”. Sadly, It seems sex with his girlfriend was more important to him than God and eternal life.
Later I had a difficult chat with a guy from Slovakia. There was a language barrier, and yet he seemed to be comprehending the things I was saying. He was very thoughtful. At one point he said: “I believe that the universe came into being out of nowhere” - I was quick to point out how illogical that is, and he didn’t argue.
Many wonderful chats at the Eastgate bus stops. It’s been a while since we’ve been there and so the fishing hole felt fresh.
I had a great chat with a guy who had just been to a church for the first time with a friend the week prior! After the chat, he seemed to be articulating the good news well and seemed very appreciative of the information.
Later I approached a lady sitting in one of the bus shelters. She said, “Are you Glen or Andy?” It turns out she had talked to Andy before, and she had prayed for him. She greatly encouraged me by saying she was praying for us everyday! How wonderful is that. Thank you Heather!
The gospel + abortion outreach on Friday morning went really well (team of seven). No counter protesters today. I fell into a long conversation with a man who had recently come out of a Christian cult (3 years ago). He wasn’t certain on where he should land spiritually, he has been on a journey! He is leaning towards Greek Orthodox. We spent a long time talking about soteriology (the theology of salvation). We are now in text and email contact - he has been sending me valuable information about the cult he was involved with. I intend to continue our chat about how we are saved!
Andy had a wonderful chat with two girls who have Christian upbringing but had deep questions about it. They came to understand the gospel!
We didn’t do any open air preaching in Cathedral Square as a climate change rally was on. We headed to Cashel Mall instead. Praise God, Andy and I had two wonderful follow up chats with people where the gospel seems to be taking root! I got a Bible onto the phone of one; he works on Sunday, but he is going to see if he can change his schedule so he can come along to church.
During those chats, a climate change march went through. Andy handed out tracts to those walking past (pictured).
We ended up down at the Bridge of Remembrance where Roger joined us. We had a very busy afternoon of outreach. Many wonderful opportunities to talk to the kids involved with the climate change rally / march! Roger had people queuing to do his flip chat! It was a non stop day for him. Andy had a super long conversation with a guy (pictured). The outreach ended and Roger and I went for a hot chocolate, even after that Andy’s conversation was still going!
A highlight chat was one Roger (and later I joined it later) had with the owner of SoYo in Riccarton. This guy is Muslim and often talks to Roger when we are in Riccarton. He seems very challenged by the gospel. The conversation will hopefully continue when we are in Riccarton next.
The last conversation of the day was online. With a guy from Brazil. He has a Christian background but is gay. He believes in God and wants to be a Christian, but is deeply struggling with his sin - he had even tried suicide, but said that God had rescued him from it. He was subtly misunderstanding the gospel, and he had also reconciled his homosexuality by declaring that it wasn’t a sin. It was a very difficult chat, with a language barrier where I had to get him to understand the gospel, and that homosexuality is sinful. An 80 minute conversation! At times he was tearful. He was very thankful for the conversation by the end of it. He had instructions for Bible passages to start working through, and I pointed him to a local church. He is also in touch with the needGod.net team via Instagram. Oh Lord, only you can change hearts by your grace and help us in the battle with our flesh. Lord, you have the power to save, and the power to sanctify us. Thank you for your grace, Lord, your sacrifice covers all our sins!
Well, I’m back to a normal schedule now. By the grace of God, we have made it through a busy six weeks of special outreaches: Whangarei mission (which included lock down shenanigans, and tsunami alerts!), Christchurch mission, Dunedin mission, Malvern & Oxford A&P shows, and the Easter Monday hot cross bun + gospel tract outreach. All glory to God for anything good that came from the effort! I’m looking forward to moving into the winter season of outreach.
On Tuesday I was online with the team before heading to Riccarton in the late afternoon with Roger. As we prayed together I was thinking of how useless our effort is: two old guys, standing on the street corner, looking like fools. I prayed that God would use our effort for his glory. Well, we both had a fantastic couple of hours talking to people about the gospel - God answered my prayer!
Two highlight conversations.
The first started when two ladies walked past. I was offering tracts. The one closest to me ignored me, but to her surprise the one furthest from me cut behind her friend so she could come over to take the tract. She really wanted to talk. Her friend seemed surprised, but came over too - she didn’t want to interact, so I focused on the one that wanted to talk. It was a quick chat, maybe five minutes, but in that time, she went from thinking her good deeds would get her to heaven, to articulating that it is only trust in Jesus' sacrifice that would get her to heaven. She had a Christian background, and was in a period of life where she was thinking about these things deeply. She said she needed to think about it more - which is fine - but I communicated the urgency in responding. She had the tract, and I pointed her to the one minute videos on Tik Tok: needGod.net
The second highlight was with a guy called Glen! This was a fascinating chat because he was claiming to be a Christian, yet was indicating that he thought his good deeds would save him. I took him through the law (starting with not lying), and then shared the gospel. But when I moved into checking questions, it was clear that he wasn’t understanding. Having remembered what I said about lying, he responded with “tell the truth” as the reason why he would get to heaven! I laboured with him, and it started to sink in, but it was clear he was adding works to Jesus' sacrifice for salvation - not good. By the end of the conversation, he seemed pretty stunned as he came to grasp the gospel: a free gift (grace alone) paid for by the sacrifice of Jesus alone, and accepted by faith alone. I was then able to touch on the correct place of good work in the life of a believer. He seemed very appreciative of the chat. I know which local church he is a part of. May this be a turning point for him!
Today I also spent some time online. My memory of the two days of online work is mainly difficult, but good chats.
I’m also in email contact with the resistant guy I talked to at the Oxford A&P show. It’s going slow but well. I’m praying for God’s help in this conversation. All glory to him!
I’m Blown away with how well today's "Hot Cross Bun + Gospel Tract" outreach went. Weather was amazing, heaps of people out, over 500 hot cross bun halves + gospel tracts given away, and 4 flip charts were running. And look how big the team was! There are at least 6 others involved who didn't make it into either of the pictures! Glory to God alone!
I don’t think I got into a single gospel conversation myself, I spent the whole time encouraging Christians. In fact, the one conversation I did get into was with a Christian (not on our team) who was so encouraged at seeing what we were doing!
The hot cross buns and tracts were very well received - people seemed really blessed. We had four of our regular hecklers out. Apparently one of them told us to stop spreading our hate! How ironic.
I’m going to let the pictures do the talking from here. Soli Deo Gloria!
Easter. Jesus rose from the dead, and gave us a sure hope for the same. Praise the Lord!
Assuming there wouldn’t be many on the streets, and as we will have a special outreach on Easter Monday - I only spent a couple of hours online with the team today. Great chats, but difficult ones.
The first kid was very resistant to the logic of how we know God exists and the law of God. It seemed pointless to him, he asked a few times what my point was. He heard the gospel, but spurned it. “Go spread the word.” Disconnect.
Next I was talking to a couple of soft toys! It’s funny that I don’t even bat an eyelid at such craziness. The kids behind the toys heard the gospel.
A couple of false starts, firstly with a guy from Germany, then with a kid who went through the law and then bailed. I was then able to share the gospel with a girl from the States.
A great chat with two girls who came to grasp the gospel and seemed very intrigued. The first question was about homosexuality. I was faithful in responding to the question and received a disconnect.
Before my last chat of the day, I had a few more difficult chats facing deep resistance. Firstly with a Phillipino guy (fought), and then with an Indian guy (I don’t want to talk about this).
The last chat was a long one with a guy in Brazil. He liked to talk. This guy thought positive thoughts would lead to a good afterlife, and negative ones to a bad one! He denied heaven and hell. Eventually he came to hear the gospel, and suddenly he was in agreement! He was a Christian?! He agreed with grace through faith. So I circled back to try to understand why he was denying heaven and hell. At the end of the conversation I asked if he was Catholic or Protestant. He said neither - he was Mormon! I tried to explain why Mormon’s don’t actually believe in grace through faith. He was intrigued by the conversation and liked needGod.net on Instagram. I encouraged him to get in touch was the conversation could continue!
Oxford A&P Show
Well, last Saturday was the first A&P show we had been at in a long while due to Covid. And then we had two in a row! Today we were at the Oxford A&P Show for the day sharing the gospel with many via The Good Person Test flip chart.
It was a cool and slow start to the day, but the sun warmed things up, and before long streams of people were flowing past. Again a solid team of Christians were there (12+?) - many of whom weren’t at the previous weeks show. Many were fighting their fears, but I was super encouraged that they came anyway and were willing to give it a go!
I think the biggest highlight for me was watching my own daughters DESIRE to share the gospel, eager to get involved. In the morning, they had some great opportunities paired up with me and others that were more experienced. But by the end of the day they were doing full gospel conversations on their own! I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
For me I had many difficult conversations.
One guy came up to the chart and I could tell from his body language he was in attack mode. It wasn’t long before he said: “well, I’m gay” - fully expecting a look of revulsion to come to my face. It didn’t. We continued talking for a few moments, and then I said, “you don’t hate me do you?”. He paused, hopefully getting my point. Sadly he didn’t stay long - he wasn’t interested in the gospel.
Another one was with a tall solid guy who had two kids with him. He walked past, and heard me ask, “would you like to try the good person test?” He swung around and said, “ok!” I wasn’t expecting that, and it wasn’t a good sign. Sure enough he wanted to argue. He kept taking the conversation off on tangents, but soon I think the reason for his argumentation was that he couldn’t stand the thought that someone who repents at the last minute can be forgiven. Usually that’s a sign that they have been deeply hurt by someone and can’t stand the thought of that person being forgiven. I persisted in the conversation, I really had to control my desire to fight back and listen to what the guy was saying. He was raising deep and important questions and not allowing me to respond. Eventually I asked if I could email him, as I wanted to be able to address his questions properly. To my surprise he gave me his email address! I will certainly be getting in touch. Please pray for this man.
But I had many good conversations as well! As did the team. An exhausting but rewarding day of outreach!
Thursday was a busy day of outreach - most of it online.
The first chat of the day was with a guy from India. He said he was going to skip me, but the sign on my wall attracted him: “What happens after we die?” He heard the gospel, and he seemed to be deeply challenged by the conversation. Yet, sadly, he avoided answering my checking questions.
You get all sorts when you are out sharing the gospel! I had an interesting chat with someone wearing a mask (pictured). Their responses were limited to nods and shakes, and the occasional typed answer, but they seemed to follow along with the logic of the gospel presentation they were hearing. They heard the gospel and I asked my first checking question which gets them to articulate the gospel back to me. That was too much, and they stopped responding at this point. Not much I could do, and so after pointing them to needGod.net, I disconnected.
I had a great chat with a Muslim guy from Algeria. By the way he was dressed I can only assume he was up to no good - I left most of his video feed covered. Yet we had a good conversation where he heard the gospel.
Two great (separate) conversations with guys who turned out to be likely false converts. One before I headed off to the gospel + abortion outreach, and the other after.
Speaking of the gospel + abortion outrech. It went really well! A team of four, and no counter protesters. We had many opportunities to engage with people about the gospel and with pro life apologetics.
The first was with an older couple. He engaged in conversation. I could tell he agreed that abortion was wrong, and yet he wanted to justify exceptions. His argument was that if a child was going to have a terrible life, then it’s okay to kill it before it’s born. I trotted out the toddler (and played the same argument back but inserted a two year old into the place of a preborn child). I asked if it would be okay to kill a toddler in the same situation? He could see the point, but persisted in his argument. I listened and then said, “you know, they did that in Nazi Germany, the decided that the infirm were not worth of life, and killed them”. He again saw the point, but this time his mouth was stopped. He agreed. I was then able to shift the discussion to how we know right from wrong: God, take him through the law, and share the gospel! Praise God. He was resistant, but he listened. The gospel is the power of God to salvation - I leave him in God’s hands.
Soon after I had four teen guys approach and we had a wonderful apologetics engagement where I wouldn’t let them off the hook in regards to how we know God exists - which is the basis for morality. Through the conversation the law and the gospel was touched on. And they all took Life is Precious tracts.
Back online I had a wonderful chat with a guy from Italy. He gently fought me on how we know God exists. By the end of the conversation he opened up that he had grown up in a Christian family and he had “strayed a lot from the path of God”. I could identify, and touched on my testimony and shared the gospel to try to give him hope!
Later I had yet another likely false convert! He seemed to really appreciate the clarity of the gospel that he was missing.
The last chat I’ll mention from Thursday was one with someone from Mexico - Catholic background. It was a text chat. They were a bit slow to warm up to the conversation. And they needed some clarity as the idea that salvation is a gift was foreign. But they became engaged - I could tell because the questions were very good. I leave them in God’s hands.
Good Friday! Why is it called Good Friday when we remember a man brutally murdered on a cross? I spent four hours online with the team answering that question for many people!
Two very memorable quotes from the outreach:
In response to my question “what do we have to do to go to heaven?” his response was: “don’t sin, and spread the *gossip* of Jesus”! He didn’t realise what he had said - I had a little internal giggle.
And this one is very said. I fell into a conversation with a young lady who, as I was going through the law, suddenly changed demeanor and said: “I would be guilty, but I like it, so I will go to hell” - then she disconnected. :(
Thank you for the continued support - esp. prayer, as we continue to reach out with the hope of the gospel!
Autumn has arrived at our usual outreach spot in Riccarton. On Tuesday morning Roger and I were there for a couple of hours with our flip charts. But I often went for a walk down Riccarton Road and back - covering the bus stops - and getting into conversations that presented themselves.
A highlight chat was with a young couple who sat down to hear the gospel. They heard the logic of how we know God exists, the law, and then the amazing gospel. As we are close to Easter we talked about why Good Friday is good when we remember a man brutally murdered on a cross. A couple of checking questions were required to nail down the understanding of the gospel before they moved on.
Later I crossed paths with a student from Christchurch Boys High - we had a brief conversation where he came to grasp the gospel.
At the end of the outreach I hurried home to join the online team for the afternoon.
My first conversation was with a guy from India who said he was a Muslim but had been to Christian church meetings while he had lived in the USA and had a fondness of Jesus (Isa). Yet he didn’t understand the gospel - he thought “being good” would get him to heaven. So I gently laboured with him till he grasped it. It was a joy talking to him. He said he would start reading the Bible.
Next up was a guy who was permanently joking about everything we talked about, and yet there was an intelligence in him, and he quickly came to grasp the gospel. Yet he was easily distracted. He showed me his pet Lizard which was cool.
A Catholic guy from Norway had an audible “ah ha” moment when he came to understand the gospel for the first time. Sadly he didn’t stick around for me to work through any checking questions - I leave him in God's hands.
I then had a long thirty minute chat with a young lady who didn’t want God to exist because she didn’t like the idea that God could make the rules (be a “dictator”). So I spent time labouring with her on how we know God exists anyway. She slowed down and really started to process what I was saying. She heard the law, and came to understand the gospel. I was working through questions she had when she suddenly disconnected. It happens - God knows why, and what’s going on in their heart.
Next up was a kid who was open to the conversation and slowly came to grasp the gospel.
The highlight conversation was with a young Christian man who assumed by my line of questioning that I was going to be an Atheist - he was a bit shocked when I turned out to be a Christian who would challenge him on his standing before God. He had a reasonable grasp on the gospel, and yet was he really a Christian? He knew a Christian should have assurance - his elders had been teaching on this. And yet he didn’t. Some gentle probing revealed that he didn’t think he deserved heaven - so that was why he had doubt. To me it was clear he was looking to his works to be saved - even if it was just 10%. I challenged him. He seemed to really appreciate the conversation and said he would check out needGod.net on Tik Tok. I especially pointed him to his elders. This is too important to get wrong.
Two kids from Wales. It was a tuff chat because one of them seemed to be grasping the gospel, but the other one just kept confusing the conversation. I was tired, so I’m not sure I did as well as I could have, sadly.
Thursday I was online with the team as well. A couple of highlight conversations.
The first was with a guy from the Dominican Republic who did believe in God but didn’t believe in God?! He clarified by explaining that he believed God existed, but he didn’t like the hypocrites in churches. From there we had a fairly standard conversation where he came to clearly articulate the gospel. There seemed to be nothing stopping him from responding in faith. So I pointed him to a Bible and a good church in his area (9 Marks had 3 listed).
The other was with a kid (pictured) who had a pretty fancy looking computer. Using that as a conversation starter I was able to prove to him that God exists even in the face of some initial resistance. He went silent, and then came out curious. I was able to share the law and the gospel and check that he understood. As always, I left him in God’s hands!
A quick report. Four hours of outreach today. I was pacing myself in the city in the early afternoon. A hot, muggy day. I was passing out tracts and getting a lot of rejection.
One girl said she had received one the previous week. I asked if she had read it. She had, but she kept walking and didn’t want to stop to talk.
I also had a guy sit and watch me for a while - I have talked to him before, but he wasn’t open. He started giving me advice: “if you compliment people, then they will want to talk to you”. I responded that I wanted to avoid bait and switch (that’s how the cults work) and then decided to move to a different spot. He followed me for a while and then finally left me alone.
There was eventually a team of four, including someone new to me. I eventually ended up getting into a couple of conversations, but they were with resistant people - one very much so. He heard the law, but refused hearing the gospel, sadly.
The last two hours were online, I had six solid gospel conversations - most of them very encouraging.
One was with a couple of Catholic kids who went from saying their good deeds would get them to heaven, to articulating the gospel.
Another started with a kid saying some pretty disgusting (blasphemous) things, he then went on to claim he was going to heaven because he believed in Jesus! We sparred on apologetics, where he sobered up, and then opened up to hear the law, and the gospel in context of that. I then asked how sure he would be that he would go to heaven: 97%. I then asked why the 3% doubt. His answer was revealing: “because I don’t think I would deserve it”. Well no one deserves it! Was he trusting 3% in his works? I challenged him again on the gospel, and the change that would come with true faith. He was a very different person now from when the conversation started - very contemplative.