Battle Log


Christchurch

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.


Tuesday 24 October 2023

Posted by Posted 25 October 2023, 6:10 AM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Having a fantastic time in Wellington with Craig Godfrey and the team from Calvary Wellington Church.  I flew up on Saturday, and I had the opportunity to speak to Calvary Wellington on Sunday morning on the “Wisdom of Winning Souls” (Exodus 4:12-15).

 

On Monday (Labour Day, a public holiday) I ran my “Tell Me” training sessions in the morning to a group of 26, made up mostly of people from Calvary Wellington.  That’s the largest group I’ve had do the training, so that was really encouraging.

 

In the afternoon we went down to Petone Beach for the optional street outreach part of the training.  There were about 12 of us.  One of the things I struggle with in regards to this training outreach is balancing newbies with those that have more experience.  You just have to trust God with it!  I was praying for opportunities for me to get into a gospel conversation while a group from the training could listen in and see what they had been learning put into practice.  Well, while we were gathering, an elderly couple came past, and sat on the wall right next to us.  Here was my opportunity!  I gently sparked up a conversation, and when the opportunity was right (but not waiting too long), I swung the conversation to spiritual things.  It turned into a wonderful opportunity for those in the team that were already there to listen in!  The elderly lady had had a Christian background, but had rejected it when she was young.  Interestingly, it was apparent that she had never really understood what Christianity, and she was challenged to reconsider.  The both gladly accepted gospel tracts as they moved on.

 

Just after I finished that conversation, a guy on a bike went past, and Craig was able to get into a great gospel conversation for the team to listen to.  2 in a row!  Thank you Lord.

 

After this, we did our best to split the group up into pairs and step out in faith in starting gospel chats!  I was trying my best to rotate pairs around.  Many were keen just to observe at this stage, and that was fine!

 

For the rest of the outreach I had many gospel opportunities, the first went really well!  It was with 3 girls (and I had 2 others from our team with me).  It was a fairly text box chat, demonstrating what I had been teaching in the morning.  After that, the chats varied.  Some were with people that are open, some with people who were resistant.  And some were even awkward, as I made an effort to make gospel engagement for those I was paired with.  Yet, no chat is in vain, and many gospel tracts were also distributed.

 

At the end of the outreach, we debriefed and prayed.  What a great day!

 

On Tuesday (today), Craig and I headed up to the Upper Hutt Main Street for a day of outreach.  Jarryd, one of the pastors of Calvary Wellington, joined us for a couple of hours in the morning.  And Karen joined us briefly too.

 

The streets weren’t packed, but there were enough people to keep our small team busy for the day.  I had many wonderful conversations: some resistant, some open, and everything in between, here are just a few of the highlights:

 

Two guys heading to the gym.  I chatted with Nate, an unbeliever, while Jarryd chatted with John, a professing believer.  Nate followed along with the presentation and became mildly resistant, but he kept asking questions which I was able to address.  He heard the law and the gospel.  A good chat.

 

A Bhuddist, who denied God was real and articulated reincarnation in a way that was faithful to what Buddhism actually teaches.  So I knew he wasn’t nominal in his faith.  So I asked him, “who makes the rules for right and wrong?”  It stumped him.  I laboured with the building / builder analogy for about 10 minutes, when he suddenly conceded: “Yeah, it makes sense”.  He then opened up to hear the law and the gospel, and walked off reading a tract.

 

An Atheist!  I spent about 15 minutes labouring with the cosmological argument and other logic.  Although he was friendly, he was really resistant.  I knew I wasn’t going to make any progress, so I shut down that chat, and we moved on with a handshake - he refused a tract.  That was just before lunch.  Amazingly, as Craig and I were having lunch in Subway, he came in and sat just across from me - we acknowledged each other.  And then later in the afternoon, he was coming up the street again and we got into another chat.  This time it was different.  He wanted to talk about work (we both have backgrounds in IT) and I went with that for a while.  He was different, he seemed open.  And so I was able to swing the conversation back to spiritual things, and, glory to God, I was able to take him through the law and the gospel (although it was brief).  This time, as we parted ways, he took a tract!  I was encouraged.

 

I had a difficult chat with two young ladies.  They were nice, but very resistant.  One of them in particular was very angry that God would allow innocent children to suffer.  I knew if I pushed, then it would go “nuclear”.  They made statements that were direct contradictions and couldn’t see it, so blinded by their emotion.  I think I started that chat with tracts, and so at least they left with those.

 

I could write more, but I’m out of time.  I praise God, and thank him for his help in the first half of this week in Wellington.  All glory to him!  Please keep us in prayer as we continue this week of outreach.


Saturday 21 October 2023

Posted by Posted 21 October 2023, 11:12 AM by Glen Richards. Permalink

A shorter week of outreach this week, because today I’m heading to Wellington for a week of outreach with Craig and the team at Calvary Wellington.

To conserve my energy, I cancelled the outreaches in Riccarton (Tuesday and Saturday), so the only scheduled outreach was Friday - in the city.  But, we heard a special announcement, the Living Waters team would be filming for the Way of the Master TV Show in Christchurch on Wednesday and Thursday - and so I had to check that out!

Sure enough, on Wednesday & Thursday evening, they were at the Bridge of Remembrance.  There were quite a number of Christians who had turned up to say hello and see them in action.  They focused on open air preaching, and used various techniques, including: trivia & giving away money, comedy & communication skills, flip charts and sketch boarding.  Those who spoke included: EZ, Mark Spence, Oscar, Ben Price, Eddy Roman, and Chris Sandford from Living Waters Down Under.  They all did an excellent job!  Glory to God alone.

It was great to see people stopping and engaging as they all preached the same message: the gospel of Jesus!

On Thursday afternoon, they did some filming with a focus on how to hand out gospel tracts.  I somehow managed to be roped into this, and was even mic’d up for it!  It was fun.

Before the open air preaching, on Thursday evening before the Living Waters team arrived, I had some time and managed to get into some gospel chats for 30 minutes or so.  I had a long chat with 2 guys who were already very drunk - it was only barely past dinner time!  They were resistant, but I calmly spared with them, answering their objections and tenaciously sticking to the task of sharing the law and the gospel.  And I succeeded in that task!  If they will remember it is another thing - but that is in God’s hands anyway.  Later, I had a chat with a young couple.  I think I’ve talked to the guy once before.  They were also very resistant.  So I spared with them as well, and succeeded in explaining how we know who God is, that we have sinned against him, and the solution to the problem: Jesus.

While I was doing this, Brian and Laura had their flip chart up, and were sharing the gospel with a young couple (pictured).  It was so wonderful watching them work as a team!  They are from Nelson, and like us, go to A&P shows in their area to share the gospel.  (They had come down to see the Living Waters team in action.)  May God bless them in their ministry!

Brian, Andy, Roger & Dom joined me for Friday’s outreach.  The crowd was tough on this day too.  I talked to a man who quite quickly opened up about being gay, he wanted to justify his sin, and wasn’t really interested in engaging at this time.  And yet, he took a gospel tract.  I then talked to a young man from Canada.  He too had his head in the sand in regards to truth.  I then went to help Roger disengage from someone being obnoxious, and then ditto with Brian.  I then paired up with Andy with a conversation where the guy was resistant (pictured).  And finally Dom and I paired, the guy we approached said he always gets asked “why do you think happens after you die”!  I engaged him on how we know there is an afterlife with a place of punishment.  He didn’t like this idea very much, and soon after we parted ways.  Finally, I approached an older man, who took a tract, but was adamant there is no God and nothing after life.  I gently reasoned with him till he too had to move on.

None of those conversations are a waste, because people are learning more about God, even in their resistance, it’s ploughing and sowing.  Maybe one day in the future someone else will harvest?  But all the glory will be to God.
 


Sunday 15 October 2023

Posted by Posted 15 October 2023, 2:58 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

A busy week this week.  Street outreaches to Riccarton on Tuesday afternoon, and into the city on Friday afternoon.  And then on Saturday we were at the Ellesmere A&P Show.  Also busy with outreach online - that was so good.

Starting with Tuesday, honestly, it was a bit of a slow outreach (cold and dreary day - may have had something to do with it).  The reality is, not every outreach is going to be filled with stella gospel chats.  But we plod on anyway!  I was able to have some chats with people.  One in particular stands out in my mind, a young man who has been involved in a youth group and so was familiar with some of the lingo.  He came to grasp grace, and even made a profession of faith.  On the other side of the street, Roger was having an interesting chat with a young Muslim lad (pictured).  It was a fairly intense conversation at times!  We ended up wrapping up the outreach early and having a cuppa.

Friday’s outreach was really interesting.  Mark joined Roger and I.  I paired up with Mark for the first 30 minutes or so - before he had to leave.

I then needed to fill up my drink bottle when I noticed a couple of young ladies protesting against the CCP (as far as I could tell, against human rights violations). I went over to open dialog with the intention of swinging the conversation to the basis for human rights: the reality of God, and then what the ultimate solution to the problem must be: Jesus.

The conversation was rolling when all of a sudden a group of Chinese tourists went past.  They were disgusted at the protest, and they didn’t hold back in expressing their very intense anger at it.  I was shocked at their intensity!  But the protesters weren’t, one of them just pulled out her phone and started filming.

This fascinated me, and so I tried to engage the tourists, but they walked off.  Suddenly, another Chinese couple came up, their anger was just as intense!  This time I succeeded in engagement, I was able to pull this couple aside and start a conversation to try to understand the emotion.  It took some time, but I was able to get them to calm down a bit, while I was listening to their reasoning.  I was successful in eventually swinging the conversation to root causes, “where does absolute right and wrong come from?”  When they realised where I was going, you could tell they didn’t like the implications.  They tried to switch the conversation away from root issues back to fruit issues, but I was able to swing it back again.  I was successful in showing how we know there is a universe maker that would be the basis for absolute truth, and then I was able to take them through the law.  In this situation, it had a powerfully humbling effect.  But, before I could share the gospel, they suddenly said, “we need to get to the Museum”.  I wasn’t surprised!  They had some things to think about!  I was pleased when they both accepted tracts.  And we parted ways with handshakes.  Great chat!  I love learning about people and what makes them tick!

I went back to the protesters, and I was able to finish up a warm conversation with them.  I was able to touch on the law and the gospel with them as well.

Those interactions ended up taking most of the rest of the outreach.

The Ellesmere A&P Show had nice sunny weather, but there was a very very strong wind.  The pictures don’t do it justice.  Other stalls had to pack up and leave, because it was just too windy to be practical for them.  We managed to set up, although we kept the gazebo in the low setting, and we had to tie down the flip chart stands, and hold the flip charts tightly!  We decided to proceed with the outreach, and it wasn’t long till Andy was into the first chat.  We ended up in outreach for a total of 4 hours, before we finally decided to pack it up (after getting emergency texts on our phones about the winds).

We ended up with a team of 6 running the site (pictured).  But if it hadn’t been so windy, we would have had a team of 10, which is decent for an outreach like this.  By mid week, I was concerned that there would only be 3 of us (Andy, Lily and myself), but with some desperate messages, and a facebook post, it was great to have the calvary arrive. Thanks so much team!

So, even though my hands got quite sore having to hold the flip chat pages in place against the wind, I ended up having some wonderful gospel conversations.

My first was with a young couple.  He was struggling to grasp grace, so I had to labour, but it was fascinating watching her face, as she became more and more interested in the good news I was sharing.  The gospel is so amazing when truly grasped.

The other chat that really stands out in my mind was a long one.  Four young people boldly approached me, and I suspected I’d be in for a fight - I wasn’t wrong.  I reasoned with them for a long time, and in the process answered their objections and shared the gospel.  I had to deal with the 2 most common questions: 1) evil and suffering, and 2) homosexuality.  I was able to be faithful in explaining that homosexuality is a sin, and yet demonstrate that I don’t hate or fear anyone, and that there was forgiveness for sin in Christ.  By the end of the chat, one of the guys was willing to open up that he was gay, and even in a relationship with one of the other guys in the conversation.  They refused to give up their Idolatry (making a god that says they can sin), but I could tell they were understanding the good news of Jesus.  We finally parted ways on good terms (although we disagree).  The gospel is the power for salvation!  I leave them in God’s hands.

One other chat comes to mind.  It was with a young man with really frizzy hair.  It was awesome seeing what the wind did to his hair!  But what was great about the chat was seeing him go from joking about the conversation, to slowly sobering up about the seriousness of the situation of sin and hell.  By the end of the chat he seemed genuinely impacted, and thanked me with a firm handshake.

God is good!

Because we left the A&P Show early due to the wind, I ended up joining the training outreach online.  I was paired up with Issac in Sydney who did a fantastic job!  I had 3 conversations. The 2nd was awesome, because the young man came to truly grasp the gospel (he was close but so far), he was genuinely stoked by it!  And the 3rd chat was amazing too, the young lady came to tears as she came to understand the grace of Christ.

Anyway, that’s a wrap for this week.  Keep up the good work of sharing Christ with others!  Be encouraged!
 


Sunday 8 October 2023

Posted by Posted 8 October 2023, 2:00 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

It’s been a while since I’ve written a report.  I didn’t write any while I was in the Philippines, as Bekk was doing video summaries of our outreach there.

I’ve been home for a week now.  Still struggling a little with a bit of jet lag.  I was back into outreach on Tuesday, but I didn’t do my first street outreach until Friday (in the city).  I ran some evangelism training on Saturday morning.  And I was back in the city for outreach on Sunday afternoon.

Before I report on these outreaches, I just want to mention a surprising encouragement. In this report the first gospel conversation I described was with a Muslim lady and her daughter.  When I have chats with people who seem very engaged or who respond positively, I hand out a contact card for my church and write my name, #, and email address so they can follow up if they want to - and I did that with this lady.  Sadly, from time to time, I might find these contact cards discarded, and rain stained.  But, on Friday, I received a phone call from her!  (Almost 1 month later.)  I didn’t initially remember her, but as we got talking I was able to remember the conversation.  I was able to check her gospel understanding, and then ask how I could help further.  I guess I was caught a bit flat footed, because I don’t usually get follow up calls, but I’m more prepared now.  I might follow up with her later next week.

So, it was good to see Roger again on Friday for outreach.  The OAC boys were out as well.  Steve even preached open air.  I was fairly busy in conversations, I’m just struggling to remember any of the details (I blame the jet lag!).  The conversation that stands out in my mind is the last one.  I had a man and his daughter stop.  He was curious about what I was handing out (gospel tracts), and so that led straight into a conversation about deeper things.  He seemed agnostic, but he involved his daughter in the conversation show said, “I think about what happens after we die all the time”, and then listed the various things she thought might happen (the common answers: heaven / hell, nothing, reincarnation - actually he brought that one up).  Yet, unlike her Dad, she did believe in God.  I could sense that they wouldn’t be staying around for a long chat, and so I was able to share a brief law / gospel summary, and they left with a tract.  What struck me most about the conversation was that they felt safe to approach me and talk to me.  The word ‘evangelist’ often provokes thoughts of the stereotype of a mean guy holding a bull horn screaming at people about hell.  No, I’m just a normal, logical, friendly person (I hope) with an amazing message, not only of hell (justice), but hope of eternal life (mercy).

Saturday’s training went well (as far as I could tell).  I had 9 people attend.  6 of them from my church.  We covered the biblical basis for the evangelism method I was going to teach, how to deal with 2 difficult subjects: 1) evil and suffering & 2) sexuality, general tips for street evangelism and evangelism in our everyday lives, and then finally the nitty gritty of the evangelism method.  It was raining, and no one was able to join Andy or I for the optional street outreach afterwards.  And so I joined the online training outreach on Saturday afternoon instead.

Sunday’s outreach provided nice weather.  Mike, Susan, and Binu joined me.  It was so nice seeing the new green leaves on the trees down Cashel Mall.  The outreach started out a bit slow, but then got very busy.  The stand out conversation was with two young ladies.  They were attracted by the flip chart I had up.  One had been in a cult, and the other was an atheist.  Sadly, I didn’t get to share the gospel, because even though they professed to be ‘open’, they really weren’t.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, because they were lovely to talk to, but whenever I would make progress on sharing the simplicity of the message, they would deflect in various ways.  So even though we focused on ‘how we know God is real’, and ‘how we know what is right and wrong’, much progress was made in those areas.  We talked about homosexuality a bit.  And the atheist trusted me enough to open up about some very hurtful things that had been said to her in regards to this.  It brought tears to her eyes as she explained (but she was quick to suppress them.)  And yet, she said to me, without me even prompting: “you think homosexuality is wrong, and yet you don’t hate homosexuals”.  She was right.  This led into a discussion about justice and mercy and eventually to the issue of why God allows evil and suffering.  It was a great chat.  I hope it paves the way for some other Christian to be able to clearly communicate the gospel.  Or even, it would be great to see them again myself!

Thanks for praying for us, without God, our feeble efforts are in vain.
 


Sunday 17 September 2023

Posted by Posted 17 September 2023, 3:13 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

A warm, sunny spring day in Christchurch today (Sunday) - although it was windy, so didn’t bring the flip chart.  My daughter, Julia, was with me, and Susan joined as a bit later.

Julia’s getting practice for the upcoming evangelism trip to the Philippines.  And she did a fantastic job.  Before Susan arrived, she did walk up with me.

Our first chat was with 4 Filipino girls!  It was a short chat, but Julia got some practice in, they heard the law and the gospel, and they all received tracts.

Next up we encountered a deep thinking young man who was rejecting religion based on grounds of logic.  I fielded most of this chat, although Julia handled the main points (building builder, law, gospel).  It was a good chat where we were able to reason with him based on logic as to why religion (specifically Christianity) is true.  It was a great chat, he certainly had a lot to think about, and left with a tract.

Next up were 4 young men from the local Catholic High School.  It was a good chat in that it was fairly standard script wise.  When we got to the ‘false ways to heaven’, they naturally went to “reconciliation” which they defined as “asking for forgiveness”, and then “do more good than bad”.  Julia was able to address both of those with analogies explaining why they won’t work, and then we shared the gospel.

We took a few moments to discuss ways of sharing the gospel, and it was at this point that Susan joined us.  I noticed a couple of girls doing a survey, and suspected they were from the World Mission Society Church of God.  I was right.  I asked if I could do the survey, and they came over and let me.  It led to a good conversation, where they told me that we must ‘obey’ to get to heaven, esp. Keeping the Sabbath (Saturday) and passover.  I was able to show them how it’s impossible for us to obey, and then the truth about Jesus.  It was encouraging seeing how challenged they were.  Not surprisingly, they didn’t take tracts when I gave them back the survey clipboard (I’d only made it through the first few questions).

But at this point, and now that Susan was here, it was time for Julia to get some practice without me.  She was keen!  And so she paired up with Susan for the last half hour.  They managed to get into 2 conversations (pictured).  Well done!  The more we practise, the better we get!

I handed out tracts, and managed to get into another short conversation at the end of the outreach.

Yesterday (Saturday) I decided to work online in the morning to try to keep on top of the TikTok messages.  My wife, youngest daughter, and myself were also able to attend the local ‘March for Life’ in the afternoon.  It went really well.  It was good to hear the gospel preached!

Friday was also windy, but I brought the flip chart anyway, as I’m testing out Mike’s new stand.

We had a team of 5: Roger, Dom, Mark, Andy and myself.  Roger found a sheltered spot for his flip chart, Andy paired up with Mark, and Dom paired with me.

We used the flip chart for an initial chat with a couple.  He was barely engaged, but as we made progress she became more engaged.  She ended up asking about a church, and so I gave her a contact card for mine.

That chat led straight into another chat, but the flip chart had to be packed away - just too windy, even with Mike’s sturdy stand!  That gave Dom an opportunity to lead the chat while I did the pack up.  They guy was pretty resistant, even though he was friendly.  We did our best, and were able to share the law and the gospel.

We then headed down Cashel to find people to talk to.  We had a long chat with a young couple, and that went well.  And then a short chat with a young man who took my mobile # (he hasn’t messaged yet).

Dom had to leave at this point.  I had 2 more chats, but I was so tired, I wasn’t really able to engage well.  But who knows, God can still use those conversations for his glory!

Now, Tuesday’s outreach was amazing.  Roger and I in our usual spots.  I remember being busy for the whole outreach.  The 2nd to last conversation was memorable, because it was with 2 young ladies who denied God was real, for emotional reasons: evil and suffering.  I was able to reason with them: 1) empathy, 2) God doesn’t do evil, people do.  I decided not to go to the 3rd point: why God allows evil in the first place - I didn’t think it would help.  But I hoped they saw my love and concern, which is a reflection of God’s greater love and concern for them.  The first girl stuck to her guns, but the other girl seemed to be listening.  Sadly they didn’t stay to hear the gospel, and refused tracts.

By this stage I was noticing an older guy in a suit down the road, but not far from me.  He was making phone calls while drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.  I assumed he must be rich!  I only had 5 tracts left and made a comment across the road to Roger about needing to hand them out before we finish up.  Well, I turned and noticed this guy, he was looking at me.  So I offered him one.  He was keen!  We only had a short chat, but in that time he really opened up about trials in his life.  I felt honoured that he felt safe enough with me to do that.  He had a Catholic background.  I was able to touch on the law and the gospel with him, and he shook my hand firmly as he moved on with his tract.  I felt elated for some reason.  I’ve got the best job in the world, being able to minister the truth about God and the hope of eternal life.  All glory to him!

Please keep the team of 10 flying to the Philippines from Australia, NZ and the USA 20th till 30th of September to partner with Rock of Refuge Church (and other churches) in Manila for evangelism.  I hope to write a few reports about it here.  Thank you!
 


Sunday 10 September 2023

Posted by Posted 10 September 2023, 4:27 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

Another wonderful week of gospel outreach.  I’ve just got back from Sunday afternoon’s street outreach in the city.  So I’ll start from there and work back in time.

So, today’s outreach was busy.  And we had a small evangelism revival with a team of 5 out!  Andy, Mike, Susan, Binu and myself.  So I praise God for that to start with.

So yeah, many chats are tough.  Most people ignore you.  Or if they engage, they are resistant in various ways.  But when you are prayerful, patient, polite and persistent (hey, Jason, look I got 4 P’s!) then you will get into amazing gospel chats.  (Jason is one of my pastors - hey, pastor starts with P too!  Haha).

And so, my last chat of the week was one of those.  Binu had handed a tract to a Muslim lady, and her daughter (they were wearing head coverings and she later confirmed that she was a Muslim).  When they came past me, I said, “Hey, that comes with a question if you have a moment”.  To my surprise she came over and was keen to chat (Susan was with me).  And so, I started by finding out where she was at.  She thought there was a heaven, but no hell.  And so, going from there, I was able to gently work them through how we know there must be hell, the bad news of the law, and then into the good news.  I was expecting her to buck when I explained about Jesus - but she didn’t, she was very interested.  At this point, Susan pulled out a gospel of John with the fireball pictures on the cover.  We used that to go over the gospel again.  We offered it to her to keep, and she said she would read it.  It was an amazing chat!  We exchanged names, and found out about where they came from.  I could tell she had many questions, but now wasn’t a time to start addressing them.  But I invited them to my church (I gave them a contact card with my details), and I explained that she would be welcome to listen and ask as many questions as she liked.  As they left, I turned to Susan, and we prayed for them.  I felt so honoured to be able to share the wonderful news of Jesus with them.  God is so good!

I had two other great chats.  Both of them were with groups of teenage girls.  Sadly I was reminded that it was spring (it was a lovely warm day), because these girls were really not dressed appropriately.  As I spoke to them, I had to keep my head up and my eyes fixed on their faces.

One of the girls was an atheist, “because my Dad died”.  It turns out he died in the Canterbury earthquakes, in a building that collapsed next door to the building I was in!  I was able to identify with her in that I’ve lost my Dad too.  And so going from there, the conversation was able to progress.  She was suspicious of me, and asked if I was paid to do what I do - which I am.  And so I was able to honestly address that.  Slowly she started to open up, I guess she could understand that my motives were right or something?  She came to understand that just because there is evil and suffering, that it still makes sense that God is real.  And then I was able to explain why we can have hope for eternal life.  She also accepted a gospel of John, as did one of her friends.  As they left, I prayed for them also.

The other chat was with 2 girls holding hands.  So I wondered, and yet that issue never came up.  It was a fairly textbook gospel chat.  They came to understand the gospel after a couple of checks.  At one point there was some gentle resistance, but it went away as I continued to work through check questions.

On Saturday, although the weather was good, I decided not to go to Riccarton for my usual street outreach, as I wanted to catch up on the TikTok direct messages.  I had a great chat with someone who would grasp the gospel, but kept slipping back to ‘works’ as I went through the checks, because “It’s too good to be true”.  I had to slow down to labour with them.  I ended up by getting them to read Romans 3, 4 & 5.  I’m looking forward to continuing that conversation.

On Friday, we were in the city as usual.  Roger, Andy, and myself.  I had a great chat with 2 guys, one of whom was French.  But the main speaker was a Kiwi.  He was resistant, and so I spent a fair amount of time talking about ‘who is God’.  I could see that he was following along with the reasoning.  And I didn’t give him an inch - it would only reinforce his suppression of what he knows about the God that he knows exists.  It was interesting watching his French friend, who I could tell was seeing clearly what I was saying.  They both heard the law and the gospel, and checks.  It was great seeing the Kiwi grasp the gospel when he said, “but then someone could then just go out and sleep with prostitutes”.  And so I was able to follow up with the fireman analogy and why the gospel actually has the opposite effect.  I pleaded with them to repent.  They are in God’s hands.

I also had a great chat with a young man who had atheist parents, and yet went to a local Christian school - actually, the same school where my local church meets.  I can’t remember the details of that chat (it was fairly standard), but at one point I remember him exclaiming (positively) as the meaning started to sink in.  Great chat.

On Tuesday, Julia (my daughter) and Roger were with me in Riccarton.  Before Julia and I had even finished setting up the flip chart, we were into a great chat with 3 people.  And it was really busy for the next 1.5 hours.  But it was cold, and so the last half hour was slow.

Julia had a great opportunity to share the gospel with a couple of girls (pictured).

Ah, I love my job!  I would gladly do this for free.  The gospel blows me away, firstly that I’m saved from hell, and 2ndly the privilege I have to see the power of the gospel in action with those I talk to.

Oh, I just remembered another great chat I had with 2 guys today.  They both made professions of faith.  One of them in particular, looked at me and thanked me, as he grasped the simplicity of the amazing message I was sharing.

All glory to God alone.  Oh, how I want Jesus to return today, and yet how I am so glad for God’s patience and the privilege in being able to proclaim his mercy! Long may it continue.

Join me!  Join me!  It’s so good!
 


Sunday 3 September 2023

Posted by Posted 3 September 2023, 3:10 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

What a wonderful week.  There is limitless gospel opportunity on the streets of Christchurch.  And if you live in a city, I’m sure it’s the same for you!  Can I encourage you to join me, or, if you don’t live in Christchurch, start a street outreach where you are.  Just pick a street corner that has a flow of people.  It doesn’t have to be super busy.  Smile, and ask people as they go past: “Hey, I’ve got a question for you, it’s a deep one.  What do you think happens after you die?”.  Sure, it’s direct, and some people might be a bit shocked.  If they don’t want to talk about it.  All good, just wish them a good day and let them move on.  But, you’ll be amazed at how many people actually do want to talk about this important question.  Here is how my week went.

So, all four usual street outreaches went ahead.  Julia (my daughter) and Roger were with me in Riccarton on Tuesday afternoon.  Andy, Dom, and a newbie Mark joined me on Friday in the city.  I was in Riccarton again on Saturday lunchtime.  And finally, I’ve just come from the city where Susan joined me.

I’ll start with Tuesday.  Julia is going to join me on an evangelism trip to the Philippines in a couple of weeks, and to get back up to speed she joined me for this outreach.  We got there early, and the outreach was so busy we ended up leaving late!  At the end, I was packing away the flip chart, when yet another person wanted to engage, and so I put the flip chart back up again!  It was worth it.

After the outreach, Roger sent me this comment: “Was so good today.  So much fun it should be illegal!”.  That’s right, evangelism is fun!  We can’t let Christians have fun now, can we?  NOT!  Let’s get out there and enjoy sharing the wonderful good news of the gospel!

Anyway, Julia was paired up with me, and I ended up needing to control the conversations, and I didn’t want to drop her in the deep end, so I fielded the first few chats.  But eventually Julia got into her own chat (pictured).  She was doing well, but ended up pulling me in.  The guy had atheistic parents, but there was a hunger in his eyes for truth.  The building / builder analogy made sense to him, and opened him up to hear the law and the gospel.  He made a profession of faith, and so I gave him a gospel of John, which he gladly received, and a contact card for my church with my contact details on it.  Sadly, he didn’t get in touch, and yet seeds have been sown!

Friday was hot!  The first day of spring, and there was enough intensity in the sun that I didn’t need my jacket or jersey on, and I even applied sunscreen!  Andy was paired with Mark initially, and then he was paired with Dom later.  I ran a flipchart.

The stand out conversation of the day was with a couple of Chinese girls.  One had okay English, the other not as good.  But they both became engaged.  So much so that the one started translating for the other.  Eventually they pulled out phones and started using Google Translate.  I did the same.  The first question was: ‘there must be aliens’ (or something like that).  I responded with: ‘where did the aliens come from?’  Answer: ‘planets’.  Question: ‘where did the planets come from’?  Answer: ‘big bang’.  Question: ‘where did the materials for the big bang come from?’  And that made them pause, it made sense, there must be a universe maker.  I then transitioned to take them through a few simple law questions.  And at this point we moved back to speaking instead of Google Translate.  They agreed they would be guilty, and so at this point I pulled out my gospel of John with the fireball pictures front and back.  Using these pictures, and a couple of easy questions, I was able to communicate the gospel.  Suddenly one of the girls had a visible penny drop moment.  She said, “Ahh”, as the message hit home.  And do you know what her response was?  “I live in Auckland, is there a group I can join?”  I was amazed, she was articulating a desire to join the church!  I got her to message needgod.net7 on Instagram “Church in Auckland”.  And then on Saturday morning I was able to respond by pointing her to a church in Auckland that’s close to her (central Auckland).  Attached is a picture showing her response.

I will continue the conversation with her via Instagram DM, re-checking her gospel understanding and working through the checks.  But I really hope she reaches out to the church!  Evangelism apart from the church makes no sense.  You 2 things go together (the church reaches out to make disciples).

What a joy!  It’s so much fun getting to bring the message of life!

I had a number of other chats: including with another couple of Chinese girls - these were tourists.

Saturday’s outreach was good, again good weather.  I had a young man remember me from the recent Malvern A&P Show outreach.  I was able to have a follow up gospel conversation with him.  And that reminds me, one of the chats on Tuesday was with William.  I first talked to him at the Ellesmere A&P Show.  It’s so good being able to follow up with people!

Saturday’s outreach ended up finishing with a discussion with a Christian couple.  I was able to encourage them in regards to assurance.  It’s possible there wasn’t 100% clarity on the gospel, and so I was able to share it, and many check questions by talking in the third person.  I encouraged them to join the evangelism training I’ll be running in October.

Sunday was cold, and yet there was no lack of gospel opportunity.  Once Susan joined me, we did some walk up.  One conversation in particular was very special.  I noticed a lady sitting eating a pie.  She obviously worked in the city and was on a break.  For that reason I didn’t think she’d want to talk.  But it doesn’t hurt to ask.  Well, to my surprise she did want to talk.  She completely forgot her pie (looked like she had only had one bite so far) as she became engrossed in the conversation.  Her question was around the issue of ‘evil and suffering’.  I could tell the question wasn’t intellectual, and so I didn’t give an intellectual answer.  Instead, I let her talk as she processed some hard things in her life.  By God’s grace, I was able to communicate the law and the gospel (that there will be justice for evil, and yet a sure hope of mercy).  She asked for a pamphlet, and so I could tell the conversation held a lot of meaning for her (she opened up about some difficult stuff).  I even gave her a church contact card, with my contact details.  I’m hopeful that she will get in touch, and even if she doesn’t, some powerful seeds were planted.  Pray that it has found good soil!  She had to go back to work.  But after she left, Susan and I prayed for her.  I was so touched by that chat.  What an honour!  What an honour to be able to minister hope to her and others.  I’m in awe of our great God that involves us in what he is doing!  Join me.  The harvest field is limitless.

I’m totally out of time.  But the only work is amazing as ever.  We have up to 1800 unread messages on Instagram.  And we have well over half a million followers on TikTok.  We are hearing wonderful testimonies of what God is doing through the power of the gospel.  All glory to God.  May we stay humble and dependant on him, open to correction, and faithful to continue the ministry.  Please pray for us!
 


Sunday 27 August 2023

Posted by Posted 27 August 2023, 2:55 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

An interesting week!  My first trip away of the season.  I headed to Wellington to attend an OAC conference.  It was really good, well worth the time - I think.  Although I was dreading going.  I hate routine change.  And, being the first trip of the season, it was a reminder of how quickly time is passing.  I really enjoy the routine of winter outreach!

Believe it or not, they let me run a workshop at the conference (the theme was ‘worldview’).  My brief was to talk about the innocence / guilt worldview.  Now, I’m not sure how well I did in running a workshop, because what I ended up doing was just preaching!  (Sorry about that!)  I’m so passionate about this, that I couldn’t stop myself.  But I learned how to run workshops by watching Jeremy do his thing (great stuff).  One of my goals was to communicate the importance of checking questions in gospel chats.  And I think I succeeded in that goal, as attendees talked about how they applied that in their chats during the street outreach that occurred later in the week.

It was awesome being able to spend time with like minded people, get to know them better, and compare notes.

The street outreach (on Thursday) was amazing.  We gathered at various spots on Cuba Street in Wellington.  One group had a Noah’s Ark display up.  There were two tables running doing surveys (for chocolate bars) and using that as a launching board for gospel conversations.  There were sketch board open airs happening - one which was accompanied by musicians.

I had a couple of guys who were keen to pair up with me for walk up conversations to glean new techniques - esp. in regards to checking questions.  I was happy to oblige.  My, the people on Cuba Street were certainly diverse.  From all walks of life!  I had a fantastic time in the 2 hours we were there.  Made me think about moving to Wellington! ;)

I got a rejection initially, but I just moved on, and managed to get into a great chat with a young man who worked in one of the stores (he was on a break).  Most of the discussion was centred on discussing, “who is God?” - but I was able to go through the law and touch on the gospel.  He had to go back to work before I could get into check questions.

So, I tried again, and got into a wonderful chat with a young man.  He seemed impacted by the simplicity of the gospel, and this time I was able to work through all the check questions.  He ended up taking a gospel of John - he loved the graphics on the cover.

We moved up to the intersection and I had a number of great chats there.  A young couple came to understand the gospel (again, check questions were deployed).  And then I approached an Asian couple.  They were moving from Christchurch to Auckland, and happened to bump into me in Wellington.  The main speaker was from China, but had moved to NZ because it was more accepting of LGBT (they were gay).  I ignored that, and just took her through my standard questions.  It was interesting, because it was like she had never considered the logic I was giving her before.  She was genuinely stunned (jaw dropping) as she had to admit what I was saying made sense.  I had just moved to the law, asking if she had ever lied, when a passer by who heard the question came and interrupted.  He was a philosopher and wanted to engage.  Sadly, it killed the conversation I was having.  I left the interrupter with the Christian I was paired with, and went to quickly finish the chat with the Chinese couple (go through the law, explain about Jesus, and offer tracts, which were accepted).

I then went back to the Interrupter.  He tried to use his philosophical magic, but I wouldn’t let him, I would answer what he was saying, and then go back to what is important: the gospel!  It ended up being a great chat, even if he was rejecting the gospel.

I had a number of other chats.  So many people, so much opportunity.  My brain was buzzing by the end of the outreach.  God is so good to involve us in his mission in this world, to bring glory to himself through his justice and his mercy!  His patience is amazing.

The conference finished on Friday and I hopped on a train back to Wellington.  I made it to the city by lunch time, and was able to join Craig for 30 minutes of outreach on the waterfront.  So many fish!  We handed out tracts, and we both got into conversations (pictured).  I actually had time to have two chats.  The first is pictured, and then another one.  They both went well in the fact that the people were happy to talk and came to hear the gospel.

At the airport, I was able to spend some time in online outreach before catching a plane back home to Christchurch.

On Saturday I also worked online. I had a great chat with a young lady from the UK, who grew up in Moldova.  When I was taking her through the law, she defended her goodness quite strongly, and I expected her to quit the conversation.  But she didn’t, and we ended up talking for over 45 minutes.  By the end of the chat, she was understanding the gospel, and she had made a profession of faith.  I pointed her to her Bible and a good local church in her area (and not an Orthodox one that she had grown up with).

On Sunday afternoon I went to the streets after church gathering.  It was really cold!  But I had my puffer jacket and Beanie on.  In 1 hour and 15 minutes I had 3 wonderful gospel conversations, in spite of the cold.  The first was with a young couple, who came to grasp the gospel, but not willing to commit at this stage.  The 2nd was a fantastic chat with a young man who has recently moved down from Nelson.  He had a Christian background, but was sadly articulating works for salvation.  He is looking for a church, and so I encouraged him to consider the church I’m a part of.  He left with a tract and a contact card, I really hope to see him again.  Finally, I had a follow up chat.  The kid had not remembered the gospel from our first chat, but I could see why: he is not interested, because he loves his sin.  I was able to show him this, and then plead with him again on the gospel.  He accepted tracts.  I hope to see him again, God willing.

Looking forward to a standard week of outreach next week!  Just over 3 weeks and I’ll be heading to the Philippines again.  I can’t believe it.  Time is going so fast!  Next thing you’ll know, we will be in eternity.  Giving account for our talents, and enjoying God forever.  Are you ready?
 


Sunday 20 August 2023

Posted by Posted 20 August 2023, 3:01 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

In the picture, the guy Andy was talking to was in church this morning.  He has just moved to Christchurch from the North Island.  Friday was his first day in Christchurch, and he bumps into Andy.  Turns out he is staying in the same suburb as Andy.  And, he first heard the gospel through a street evangelist where he used to live up north.  No coincidences.  How encouraging is that!

Roger was with me in Riccarton on Tuesday.  Roger, John and Andy and I were at the Bridge of Remembrance on Friday.  Susan joined me on a nice spring Sunday afternoon in Cashel Mall.

Let me go back to Tuesday.  Ya know, the previous Tuesday’s outreach was so good, that’s all I can remember at the moment.  Hold on, it’s slowly coming back to me.  I remember the last chat was with a young couple, the guy was giving really good answers to my questions - he knew the gospel already.  That’s right!  The guy before him heard the gospel but wasn’t interested.  But the guy before that, heard the gospel and seemed to be deeply impacted.  Those three chats rolled one into the other.  I remember that I was starting to lose my voice a bit after the second one.  I had to pull my drink bottle out and cool my throat.  I was tired as I saw the young couple coming past, so I half heartedly said, “would you like to try the good person test?” and pointed to my flip chart.  To my surprise, they said, “yeah, why not”.  There is just no lack of gospel opportunity.  Who knows what will be the result.  Maybe the one who wasn’t interested will come to Christ, after all the gospel is the power of God for salvation.  Our job is to plough, sow, and water.  God will bring the increase.  All glory to him!

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I had a series of 4 stellar gospel conversations online.  The last of those 3 the people I was talking to even made professions of faith.  The first was from Northern Ireland (he was persuaded but said he needed time to process), second from Brazil, third from Cyprus (a couple of girls, one Catholic, and one Jewish), and finally with a young man from the Netherlands.

The street work on Friday was great, nice weather.  I’ve already mentioned Andy’s encouragement at the start.  I had a number of conversations: 1) A hyper charismatic (religiously) who got offended when I challenged them on the basis of their salvation.  They talked about miracles and the Holy Spirit, defended their righteousness, and no mention of Jesus - till the end.  2) A young man down from Wellington, happy to chat and hear the gospel, no visible interest.  3) I got to talk with my trans friend again.  He had blue lipstick this time.  He wasn’t offended when I reiterated that homosexuality is a sin, and I was able to continue labouring the good news.  He also asked me how I dealt with hatred and opposition.  4) A barber on a break.  He didn’t like Christianity because he falsely connected it to colonial oppression (he had a Samoan background).  I worked to make him realise the universal truth of oppression (sin), but didn’t have time to get to the gospel (one of those chats where you really have to labour).  Although, he rejected a tract at the start of the chat, and yet he was willing to take one as he left to go back to work.

I also had encouragement.  I got to talk to someone I knew from a church I was a part of years ago, down in Timaru.  (He was out talking with the homeless.)  He was showing me the Bibles he gives away when I noticed he had a single gospel tract (pictured).  It was one that our team had shared years ago!  I could tell, because the website address had been manually stamped by my family!  It encouraged me, because people do keep them.  They are silent missionaries.  Our labour is not in vain.

I had a great online chat on Saturday afternoon. The young lady started out as an atheist.  But it was emotional rather than intellectual, because as we started dealing with the truth her Christian background started to reveal itself.  She ended up reading me scriptures and talking about her church.  And yet, she didn’t understand the gospel.  By the end of the 30 minute chat, I think the truth of the gospel was starting to become clear.  It was a bit of a messy chat (non standard), but it was a good one.  God save her!

Sunday’s weather was amazing!  I’m going to have to start using sunscreen again.  The outreach was good, but difficult and discouraging.  It started out with a chat with a man who knew a lot about the Bible, but refuses to be part of a church.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt to start with, but as the conversation progressed, it became clearer and clearer that he was subtly trusting in works for his justification (it was difficult because I had to decipher all the words he used – the same words I use, but he had different meanings).  I ended up having to confront him in his error out of love.  To my surprise he called me a calvinist, a ‘neo calvinist’ whatever that is.  I was so surprised, because I wasn’t preaching Calvinism but the gospel.  He even quoted John Piper positively, does he realise John Piper is a calvinist?  For some reason I found this really discouraging - not sure why.  I left him at that point.  He talked with Susan for a bit while I went to distribute tracts to others.

Susan and I then paired for walk up chats.  I got into a chat with 5 young people.  A hard one, they were all in different places, and one of them kept taking control of the conversation and leading it on weird tangents.  I was amazed they stayed for as long as they did.  But I was able to share the gospel twice.

Had some other chats.  Another week of God’s patience is complete.  Thank you for keeping us in prayer.
 


Sunday 13 August 2023

Posted by Posted 13 August 2023, 3:09 PM by Glen Richards. Permalink

What an amazing week!  I hope this report will accurately capture how I’m feeling.  I took the week before off, I simply rested, so I feel like a million bucks as a result.  Physically, mentally, and emotionally refreshed.

Roger was with me on Tuesday in Riccarton.  Andy, Dominic, Roger and myself on Friday in the city.  I was in Riccarton on Saturday.  Susan and Mike joined me in the city on Sunday.

On Tuesday, I set up my flip chart on the corner of Riccarton and Rotherham and prayed.  I handed out a few tracts, when a young man with green hair approached.  It turns out he had seen my flip chart while on a bus going past.  He decided to get off the bus to come down and see what it was about!  We fell into a good conversation when another young man went past, and stopped, curious as to what was going on.

Now, these situations can be difficult, you don’t want to lose a chat that is going well, but at the same time, you don’t want to lose the other person either!  Amazingly, I was able to integrate the new person into the conversation and share the gospel with both.  God is good!

There was an openness about the first guy.  It turns out he had already been impacted by Nic Blackie’s gospel ministry at Cashmere High School.  So encouraging!  (Keep up the good work Nic!)  He ended up having to leave, and I was left with the 2nd guy.

The 2nd guy had a Christian background but had rejected it.  Yet, he was very willing to engage in the conversation and seemed impacted by the information he was learning.  (He articulated works for salvation as his understanding of Christianity.)  After a long time, he felt comfortable about opening up about his depression, and his struggle with sexual sin.  We spared for a bit over the issue of homosexuality (I was making it clear it’s sinful).  He ended up saying that he supports the LGBTQ community against hatred.  I told him I 100% agree!  I love those in the LGBTQ community.  And I love them enough to tell them the truth.  I get to talk to many people in that community.  By the end of the chat, we parted on very good terms.  Even though we disagreed, I could tell he respected me.  And he was now understanding the gospel.  I pleaded with him to repent.

I don’t know if my words have expressed it, but that was a very significant chat for me.  I was so encouraged.

On Friday, I also had a very long conversation, over an hour.  We started out at the bridge of remembrance.  Andy was into a chat, and Roger had his flip chart up.  So I decided to wander.  I was feeling nervous, because approaching people to talk about religion is hard!

I ended up bumping into some kids, 2 of them stopped to talk.  It turns out I had talked to one of them before, but he couldn’t remember the gospel.  And so, I was able to go through it again with them.  This time I gave church contact cards, as well as tracts.

I continued down Cashel Mall (I had crossed Colombo and I was nearly at High Street) when I approached a young man with headphones in.  And this was the long chat I mentioned.  He was very engaged right from the start.  His response to my initial question of “what do you think happens after you die?” was, “I think about that all the time, and I’m so depressed because I know I’m going to die”.  From there, I was able to show him how we can be sure of going to heaven.  (How we know God is real, the bad news, the good news, and then into check questions).  He asked lots of questions as he processed what I was saying and got it all straight in his thinking.

I kid you not, he was thinking through the implications so well that he came to the dilemma of ‘choice’ in salvation.  He was upset because, “what if you didn’t approach me to talk to me!”, and “what if I share this with my friend, and she decides not to believe it?”  I was able to clarify the tension between the reality that we must choose to accept God’s salvation, and yet, God chooses us for salvation.  Ultimately, God chooses us first, and so our salvation does not depend on us!  It truly is grace, and we can rest in it.  And yet, right now, BELIEVE, accept this amazing grace of Jesus.  Trust that he died for you.  There is simply no room in the Bible for, ‘what if I’m not chosen’.  Again, I did not prompt this out of him, he went to this naturally.  In God’s wisdom he addresses this issue for us in the Bible.

The guy ended up making a profession of faith.  But as the conversation continued, I could see he was wrestling with the cost.  He opened up about sexual abuse in his life, he had forgiven the person, but his way of stopping it was to “allow sex workers”.  This is not God’s way, God’s way is a lifelong commitment in marriage, between a man and a woman.  He realised that in choosing Christ, he would also be submitting to Christ.  The gift is eternal life, the cost is this life.

He accepted a copy of the gospel of John, and then we walked down the mall together talking about other things.  He is from Spain, he had arrived 4 days earlier, and was visiting a friend.  God brought him all the way across the world, to NZ, to hear the gospel.  We have free will, and yet God’s sovereign will is never compromised.  We parted ways at the bridge of remembrance (he got to meet Roger first).  It was then that I checked the time.  3:29pm.  The outreach was over!  Andy and Dominic were still in a chat, which soon finished up.

Saturday’s outreach was great too.  Shorter chats, but still no less powerful, because the gospel was shared.  One guy followed along with the logic in quick order, it almost felt too quick, but as he was leaving I could tell that he was impacted by what he said, “you’ve given me insight I didn’t have” (or something like that).

Sunday was amazing.  In church in the morning, Romans 10:1-3 was taught, and applied to prayer and evangelism.  I came to tears in the final song as I considered the glory of the gospel.  That Jesus would die on the cross for me!  This knowledge gives me the zeal to get out and preach!

And sadly the cults were rampant in the city in the afternoon.  The JWs were out as usual.  But I had conversations with 3 sets of World Mission Society Church of God (a horrible cult) people.  In fact, I was in a conversation with a drunk guy when a pair of them broke into my chat (I was annoyed).  I know they use the Bible heavily, but I was surprised at how easily I could use scripture to counter their false teaching.

Mike was busy on his flip chart.  As per the picture, Mike sent me a message “Hey bro, that convo with those 4 guys went great, 1 took a bible”.  Susan and I paired up and did ‘walk up’.  Susan had had a bad experience 2 weeks ago, and so this time I did the leading, and showed her tips on how to avoid unnecessary conflict.  Yet, conflict is unavoidable.  If you are going to be faithful in preaching the gospel, people WILL get upset.  Keep up the good work Susan!

I could write more, the chats today were so good!  But I’m out of time.  Thank you so much for keeping the feeble ministry in your prayers.  May the strength of God be shown through our weakness.  All glory to God alone!
 

(PS I had no time to talk about the online outreach.  So many good chats, people professing faith.  So good!)


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