Christchurch (NZ) Team
Tue 3:30pm - 5:30pm - Riccarton (corner of Riccarton Rd and Rotherham St)
Fri 1:30pm - 3:30pm - City (Bridge of Remembrance)
Sat 11am - 1pm - Riccarton (corner of Riccarton Rd and Rotherham St)
Sun 1:30pm - 3:30pm - City (corner of Colombo St and Cashel St).
Contact Glen Richards or Andy Barlow for more information.
As I reflect back on all these logs I write, I realise that often all the reader sees is the highlights, which can sound exciting and encouraging. But, of course, an outreach often has long periods where it is hard to get a conversation started with anyone, or where conversations are difficult. The reality is, Gospel outreach is hard work - like any other job. It’s great to have encouraging conversations, but it’s about Jesus and for Jesus - and so we shouldn’t give up on hard days!
Saturday’s outreach to the city was one of those harder days. But it was wonderful worshiping Jesus in my availability to share the Gospel with people anyway. Only three Gospel conversations occurred for me over a two and a half hour period. One of them was quite difficult. But the other two are worth mentioning in a bit more detail for their encouragement.
The first one was with an asian lady. Often people of this demographic don’t stop - so I was surprised when she did. It turns out she had a Buddhist background, but that she was also going to a church. Although generally unpopular, this lead to me being able to address the exclusivity of Christ (He said He was the only way) as I was presenting the law and the Gospel. She seemed to understand what I was communicating, and even seemed to appreciate my frankness. She took three tracts from me: “After Life”, “How we know God exists and why it matters”, and “Which one is right”. She also wanted to know what good churches there were in her area. It was an encouraging conversation.
The second was with a young lady, who saw me sharing with a couple (who didn’t stay long enough for me to share the Gospel), and waited to talk with me. She was a Christian, and initially she interrogated me (gently) - I guess she was trying to work out if I was a nutter or not. As we talked, we quickly got to the subject of what was needed to inherit eternal life. She seemed to have a good grasp of the fundamental concept of Christianity, but she seemed slightly confused on what was meant by salvation through faith alone. The discussion then moved to Ephesians chapter two in the Bible. Now, I’m not too sure what was going on, but at this point she burst into tears. I was taken back, and confused. What had I said? She looked up and said, “I have no idea why I’m crying, but can I pray for you”? I didn’t know what to think, we talked a little more, and I found out what church she was connected to, but then she became emotional again, and again asked to pray. So I let her, and I was really encouraged listening to her ask God to help me share His Gospel with people. She moved on after that - but not before taking a tract from me with an explanation on how to get in touch. God knows what was really going on in that conversation - may He use it for His glory.
Sunday had a team of five involved. The highlight conversation for me was with a young lady attracted to the flip chart as she walked past with her friends - she wanted to know what it was about. Her friends were not interested at all, and left her with me. I figured I wouldn’t have much time, so I didn’t muck around in taking her through the law and the Gospel.
Her responses were incredibly encouraging. When I asked her if she had lied, she said “countless times”. And when I explained that anger was murder of the heart, and lust was adultery of the heart, her response was: “Wow!”. She really seemed to understand what it meant right off the bat and she was humble in accepting it. She knew she would be guilty on judgement day, and freely confessed that she would deserve hell.
So it was my pleasure to share the Gospel with her. Again, her response was: “Wow!”. Her friends were long gone, but she didn’t seem to care. I challenged her to place her faith in Christ’s sacrifice for her today, and then talked about the change that would occur in her life if she did so: a change of heart away from sin and to God which would result in a change of action.
She gladly received a tract, and I gave her some for her friends too. As always, I leave her in the hands of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to convict and convert.
Thursday’s outreaches started with Andy preaching in Cathedral Square, while I had “walk up” Gospel conversations with people.
We then decided to make our way down to Ara (a tertiary education institute). On the way, I had three wonderful “walk up” opportunities with young men. The last one started with a guy on a skateboard going past, and we came side by side waiting at the lights to cross the road. So I asked him: “Do you think about what happens after life?”. And his response was: “Yeah, I think about it all the time”. We ended up sitting down and having a wonderful Gospel conversation (pictured). He gladly took a Gospel booklet, Bible, and contact details.
Andy and I both had other wonderful opportunities outside Ara to engage young minds with the Gospel. It is a new favourite fishing spot!
Because of this, we spent thirty minutes longer in the city then normal, but we eventually made tracks to another favourite spot: the Eastgate bus stops.
My time there was mainly filled with follow up conversations with people I have previously shared the Gospel with.
Andy had a wonderful conversation with a young man claiming to be a Christian, but didn’t have any understanding of the Gospel. When asked what the hope of eternal life was - he couldn’t answer. Andy was able to explain the Gospel, and the young man seemed genuinely grateful for the conversation.
Near the end of our time at Eastgate, I had a long conversation with a young man who seemed to understand the Gospel, but who was not ready to submit to it. But he asked many wonderful questions. This conversation ended up occuring right in front of one of the bus shelters, and there was a handful of people who were listening to the dialogue, and hearing the Gospel as well.
I had ended up starting my outreach on this day ten minutes late, and I was determined that I would make it up. But as it was getting dark and cold, I decided I would do it the next day. But as I was heading back to the car, I changed my mind, and went back. And I’m glad I did. I ended up approaching a young man who suddenly looked familiar. It was a guy who Andy & I meet a year and a half ago during a summer mission. He had been living on the streets at the time and had been open to the Gospel. The great news is that he is now off the streets. He had a friend with him, and so I was able to briefly touch on the Gospel with them, before their bus came and they had to go. But I let them know how to get in touch with me. I was very encouraged to see him again - I’m grateful I decided to go back!
One last encouragement from the Eastgate outreach was a brief conversation with a lady who said she already had one of the tracts I was handing out. It turns out she had received it a week early as a result of the letterbox dropping I am doing. I was very encouraged to learn that she had read some of it, and that it had caused her to start thinking on the important questions of life. It had partly prepared the way for me to continue the conversation with her.
Friday. I ended up doing ten hours of outreach (one hour of which was letterbox dropping). When I first got started in full time outreach, on Friday (usually my longest day), I would be exhausted, and could barely get myself out to do the evening outreach. But after six months, I seem to have adjusted, and I have better physical and mental stamina now. I thank God that He is sustaining me!
Three outreaches: the Gospel + abortion outreach outside the hospital in the morning (with a team of four), a city outreach in the afternoon (with a different team of four), and a city outreach in the evening (with a team of three). A total of eight team members were involved over the three outreaches.
For the Gospel + abortion outreach, 3 of us stood with signs, while Andy walked around having conversations with people.
At one point, a young lady ran out of the hospital (crying), down the steps past us on the footpath, and then across the road and down the street! One of the ladies on our team went after her, and was able to take her back into the hospital where she needed to be. That team member ended up staying with her: it was a wonderful ministry opportunity (note, the situation had nothing to do with abortion).
At the end of the outreach, 3 ladies who were angry at our presence outside the hospital took Andy on. It was encouraging to me, because it shows that what we are doing is reaching people. It also made me realise how much this abortion ministry really is a Gospel ministry. Nothing removes the veil over human depravity than this. The hatred people have towards God and the love for sin (people want to live life their way, not God’s).
Our continued hope and prayer, is that we will save precious pre-born lives from murder (by parent’s changing their mind about having an abortion), and to see souls saved through the Gospel.
This log is now too long, and I won’t be able to write about the encouraging preaching and Gospel conversations of the afternoon.
But the evening saw wonderful conversations with: three skaters, a guy from Zimbabwe, a lady who had sadly lost her husband recently and was now a spiritualist and training to be a medium, an atheist from Sydney, a young couple, a brief conversation with a man whose wife was a Christian. All of whom heard the Gospel.
I then had a big encouragement when a guy I first met six months ago, and had talked about the Gospel with multiple times, joyfully came up to me, gave me a hug, and said he had committed his life to Christ! He is now connected into a local church. How wonderful is that! All glory to God.
The weekend outreaches are about to start. Thank you for continuing to pray! Our efforts will be fruitless without it.
Tuesday and Wednesday saw a fairly constant stream of Gospel conversations - which was great. On Tuesday I was on Riccarton Road, and on Wednesday I stayed in Cathedral Square for both outreaches of the day.
The most encouraging interaction came on Wednesday morning when I first entered the Square. Although cold, it was very sunny, and I spotted some construction workers having a break and enjoying the sun. I headed towards them intending to start a conversation, but then I noticed another guy also enjoying the sun, and so, for some reason, I ended up approaching him instead (I guess my reasoning was that one to one conversations can be easier?).
So I just walked right up to this guy, and introduced myself. I know that is a very un Kiwi like thing to do! But how else are we going to get important conversations started? I could tell the guy was a little taken back by this, but after a few minutes of interaction, he got over it and started warming to the conversation.
Amazingly, it turns out he was taking a much needed break away from life in the North Island, and since arriving in Christchurch on Sunday - I was the third stranger to interact with him about God!
On Sunday he had heard someone open air preaching (not from our team), and someone else had also approached him to talk about Christian things.
So in hindsight, I think his initial reaction when I approached him, was shock at yet another stranger reaching out to him about spiritual things. God is trying to talk to him! And this in turn was very encouraging to me (and I hope to you).
So, of course, I shared the law and the Gospel with him. And we discussed this, and other things, for a good while.
He took a tract, and a contact card for my local church.
But I am sad that I didn’t get to talk with and share Jesus with those construction workers. Maybe they will come across your path? Are you ready to share with them?
Another interesting interaction crossed both days of outreach. On the Tuesday in Riccarton, I handed a guy a tract. And then on Wednesday, in The Square, he came up to my flip chart and wanted to do the good person test.
Well, I was already in a conversation with two ladies from Iran, so I said I’d be happy to talk, but I would need to finish my current conversation first.
To my surprise, he indicated that he would wait, and so he sat down and waited his turn! It’s not often that I get queue of people wanting to talk to me!
But sadly, when I came over to talk to this guy, he scared me a little bit. He wasn’t being rational, and he suddenly became emotional at one point. I could see that I wasn’t going to be able to reason with this guy at the most basic level, so I gently backed off. He then mentioned something about wanting a hug - something I wasn’t comfortable to do. This was one of those very few situations where I want someone to move along. And he did, which I’m grateful for. But it is a reminder that I really appreciate all those praying for my protection as I’m out on the streets each day. Thank you!
I took my lunch break at this point, and I moved to another spot for this. I noticed the guy come back into the Square, and he had 3 other people with him. As he walked past the spot where we interacted, he turned and pointed at it and said something to those with him. I do wonder what he said.
The final interaction I’ll mention in this report is some encouragement about the “man who gets very angry at us every time he sees us” that I mentioned in a report last week. He came through The Square again today and so I approached him. He had his usual insults about Christianity to share, but today he asked for one of my tracts! I gladly gave him one. He then proceeded to insult the art work of it (he mentioned something about comparing it to Michaelangelo). I gladly soaked up the insults but, to my joy, the anger wasn’t there this time. And even better than that, he walked on still holding the tract! Very encouraging. I’m looking forward to seeing him again (God willing), and getting his thoughts on it.
God is good, and I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had, through your support, to share the love of Christ with the lost over these two days. But I’d be failing in my job, if I don’t encourage you, Christian, to get involved with the great commission! Join me :)
Friday’s mist turned into a rain on Saturday and, sadly, this wasn’t conducive to people coming out - or if they did, to them being interested in stopping for a chat!
Yet tracts were received, and I did have two conversations.
The first was with a homeless guy I hadn’t met before. I sat next to him and spend some time getting to know him and, of course, I shared the law and Gospel.
The second was with a young man who went to church, but didn’t seem to have any understanding of the Gospel - which I was able to explain.
I also open air preached in the rain to the few passing by.
Sunday saw the sun come out again, and with it people. So tracts were distributed, and Gospel conversations occurred.
Two people walked passed and received a tract. A while later, they came passed again, and before I realised it was the same people, I had offered them another tract (they responded with - “you’ve already given us one”). Finally they came past one more time and this time I said: “I know I’ve already give you one of these, but can I ask you - will you go to heaven when you die?”. They engaged, and we had a short conversation where I was able to reason with them about the realities of life and death - and the hope of eternal life found in the Gospel.
A man had walked past me twice on the previous day and had refused tracts both times. But on the second time I smiled and said, “Will you get a third opportunity? This is important.” Well, today he came past again - his third time! :) This time he smiled, took the tract and moved on. But he then came back and we had an opportunity to chat. It turns out he works in one of the shops close by. He had a reasonable grasp of the Gospel already, but seemed to be in need of some discipling and encouragement. He had to head back to work, but I asked him to contact me.
The outreach finished with open air preaching in Cathedral Square. There were quite a few people about. And I was encouraged to get a new heckler that asked some good questions. I did my best to bring my answers back to the Gospel. During the dialogue, I noticed a guy watching the exchange intently. Later, one of the team was able to have a conversation with that guy, and I was very encouraged to learn he was open to the Gospel.
Yet, the preaching wasn’t without opposition. One of the market stall owners decided to play harsh music loudly in an attempt to disrupt the preaching and later he had some ‘words’ with one of the team as they were passing by handing out tracts.
Thank you for your continued prayer for our Gospel efforts in Christchurch. May “Christ” continue to be glorified by His “Church” as we obey His command to go.
Thursday was even more encouraging than Wednesday.
Both Andy & I were out, and we had a wonderful time of ministry in Cathedral Square. In fact, things were going so well, we didn’t even leave to go to the Eastgate bus stops.
I always carry a Bible to give away, and Gospel booklets - but I rarely give them away now - relying more on the wonderful Operation 513 tracts (you can now buy these in NZ via the new web store). Well today, in just my second conversation, I had a wonderful follow up opportunity with a young lady who declared she wanted to trust in Christ!
I didn’t know what to do. I never get into this situation! But what a wonderful situation to be in. So I took her through the law and Gospel again, to make sure she understood it, to make sure her motivations were right, and that she had counted the cost. She took a Bible and a Gospel booklet, and a contact card for my local church. Her salvation is in God’s hands. If she is trusting Christ, I hope to see her again soon.
As I was recovering from that conversation, a young man approached - he seemed familiar and it turns out we had talked to him on Sumner beach during our summer mission, and also at the Sparks in the Park outreach. It was great to see him again, and to see that he had really been wrestling with the Gospel. He too took a contact card for my church, and also a Gospel booklet.
Straight after that, a man who gets very angry at us every time he sees us came past. He started spewing his usual hatred, but I had an unusual calmness (I guess I’m just getting used to it) and love for this guy. I took the effort to simply listen to him, and acknowledge what he said. At one point I had to qualify that when I said “ok” it didn’t mean I agreed, just that I was acknowledging that I was listening. I was so encouraged to see him soften ever so slightly. And I started to get an appreciation for what motivated his hatred. He didn’t stay too long. But I’m hoping the next time he will stay longer, and that we would eventually be able to start dialoguing.
I was on a roll, and feeling bold. I saw a young man sitting in the corner of The Square reading. So I decided to approach and offer a tract. Well, that young man was very keen to discuss the Gospel. He followed, and even anticipated, the logic of the existence of God, conscience, justice, the law, the heart of the law, and the Gospel. And then he said, “I want to start reading the Bible”. I rarely give away a Bible, but today I had two opportunities to do so! Andy came to my rescue, and was able to give the young man the one he carries to give away. He also took a Gospel booklet.
It was at this point that Andy & I decided to open air preach.
By this stage, it was starting to get dark, and the outreach would soon be drawing to a close. But Gospel opportunities kept presenting themselves. I was bounding with energy and feeling unstoppable.
About six high school students walked into The Square, and I asked them: “May I ask you a question, it’s a deep question… will you go to heaven when you die?”. They were keen to discuss. And it turned into quite a captivating conversation. I was sharing the Gospel, and they were quietly soaking it in. I’d finish, and they were just staring at me, and so I would go through it again, in a slightly different way, and then again. At this point I said. Guys, I’m not going to stop until you leave. So I just kept sharing the law and the Gospel, and calling them to trust in Christ. Eventually, one of them broke the spell and said, “is this the point where we leave?”. I smiled, shook their hands and gave them all tracts. They all seemed appreciative. Oh Lord, bring Yourself glory in saving their souls!
Friday saw a damp day -- it wasn’t raining, but there was a fine mist about. A team of three faithfully stood outside the hospital making a stand for those that can’t save themselves: the unborn. Andy had at least one solid Gospel conversation (the guy took a booklet).
We also had a situation where a young couple walked past, and we noticed them looking back. The look on her face spoke volumes. Andy tried to initiate a conversation, but they weren’t interested, and walked away. I was holding the sign that starts with “There is hope”. And I want them to know it.
After preaching in Cathedral Square, Andy and I decided to move outside the Ara campus on the south east corner of the central city. The boldness from the day before was still with me, and I was handing out tracts to everyone that passed as we went. And many people took those tracts. Four ladies who were leaving a building took one, and it was wonderful hearing them start to discuss the tract as we moved on.
As soon as we got to Ara, I boldly started approaching people, and I couldn’t believe how receptive these young people were. In about an hour and half, I reckon I had about 8 sets of Gospel conversations. Andy had one long conversation - and the young man expressed a desire to visit our church.
Oh, may what’s happening continue to happen! Thank you for praying. Please keep praying! And join us. While we share with people, so many more walk past that we can’t talk to. And we want to reach as many people as we can with the precious Gospel message - don’t we?
Till the nets are full! :)
As I walked into the city this morning, I was looking for some motivation and I thought of one other religious group that is often in Cathedral Square, day in, day out, handing out their material. It encouraged me. If they can do it, so can I.
Low and behold, as I get to The Square - there they are. I smiled. This must be worth it - they wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t.
But as I write this, I realise how wrong my attitude was. All the motivation I need is:
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
ESV (Mt 28:18–20)
And yet, today was a day of great encouragement. In spite of the cold and often cloudy weather, and the lack of people about (the market stalls didn’t even bother coming out today!), I had an almost constant run of Gospel conversations - especially in the first outreach from 11am till 1pm. I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the time and it was already 1:07pm and time for a lunch break.
I was having so many conversations, I pulled out my phone to start writing down names so I wouldn’t forget to write about those conversations in this log. And even as I was doing that, an atheist walked up to my flip chart and wanted to talk! He was at a crossroads in his life. All praise to God, the fish were jumping into the boat!
I’m looking at that list, and in the two hours before lunch, I had eight Gospel interactions.
I’ll give two very special highlights that jump out at me. Both were connected to previous Gospel conversations I had earlier in the year.
The first was with two young people, and I could see they had a lot of hurts, both physically and in other ways too. I approached them as they looked like friends (by the way they dressed) of two other young people I spoke to earlier in the year. It was a place to start the conversation with. And, indeed, they were friends - so I asked them to let them know I was praying for them. But I cared for them too and wanted to share the precious message of eternal life. One had a Christian background. As I was sharing the Gospel, I could see him tearing up a little.
The second was with another young man. I was incredibly encouraged to learn that this guy had been watching me out on the streets. I could tell he was really wrestling with the Gospel and also with the way I dealt with life. He is struggling with sin, and other life issues that I don’t need to talk about.
Oh, how my heart cries out for these people as I’m writing about them now! How desperately do I want them to know the change that can come through the amazing grace of Christ. I’m praying that they would be saved from sin and hell.
Due to the wonderful outreach before lunch, I decided to stay right where I was after lunch - instead of moving to the hospital. And, although not as busy, I had many wonderful Gospel opportunities. I open air preached. And I had a wonderful opportunity to share with a man (pictured, walking away) from Myanmar (I’ve been on two short term missions there, and will be going again in September)!
I praise God for the encouragement I received on these two outreaches today.
Yesterday (Tuesday) I was again in Riccarton for outreach, and had three solid Gospel conversations with people. But beforehand I had been letterbox dropping closer to the University.
As I was doing this, I had two opportunities to share the Gospel with students as they were walking past. One of those students was particularly open and seemed impacted by the logic of the message.
So two wonderful days of outreach. A good reminder to not be discouraged and to trust God as we step out to reach people. He is working. He is seeking and saving the lost!
Thank you for praying for and supporting the Christchurch Operation 513 team - we so need and appreciate it.
A fascinating weekend.
It was a cold and dreary Saturday morning. I wasn’t expecting many people to be about - and I was right. But the team of two set up in Cathedral Square any way. We cast out our nets and prayed for fish.
We had to be patient, but to my joy, the fish came! The outreach was even slightly extended in time, as I finished up the final conversation at the end.
The other team member is fairly new to regular outreach (although we have known him for a while). He has now bought his own tracts and is stepping out to share them with people. It is so wonderful and encouraging to see him so politely reaching out to people as he can. Be encouraged reader - you can do this too. :)
The funniest thing happened as I was doing some letterbox dropping afterwards. It was cold with a nasty wind, so I was rugged up with sneakers, jeans, a jacket, scarf, gloves and a beanie (all dark in colour). But the sun was out also, so I had sunnies on too. I walked into a drive to drop tracts into a few boxes, and I noticed a car backing away from me. I moved on, but I heard the car stop, rev it’s engine, and come down to the end of the drive. I turned back, and the man in the car was staring at me. I thought that was odd - I wondered if he wanted a Gospel tract, so I held one up. He just stared at me. So I walked over to him. He wound down his window and asked what it was. As I was explaining, he took one. Then he said, “oh, I thought you were a burglar”. :D Inwardly I was laughing! I’ve taken a mental note to be careful how I dress through this winter of outreach! ;)
Sunday morning saw our regular church meeting where we had some special encouragement. We had two seperate sets of Christian’s turn up who had heard about what we had been up to on the streets.
One man I’ve never seen before came to give us encouragement and advice in how to outreach to a particular cultural/religious group. He gave us some resources in relation to that. He couldn’t stay, I assume he had to get to his own local church gathering. But I was so encouraged that people are noticing what we are doing - as small and insignificant as we are. I, afresh, feel a responsibility to continue to represent Christ well.
Another couple joined us for our meeting, and it turns out they have been heavily involved with Gospel + abortion outreach in Christchurch for many years. They had heard about us through a friend. Word is getting out. Our efforts are reaching people. All glory to God. We pray that God will continue to use us to see souls & lives saved in the fight against abortion in our city.
After church, a team of four headed to Cashel Mall. And it was a busy time of outreach, with many people about in the crisp, but sunny weather.
I set up my flip chart, looked up, and a guy came up wanting to know what it was about. It turns out he was a Christian handing out million dollar tracts! He seemed so encouraged to see other Christians out sharing the Gospel. We had a good talk, and exchanged contact details. He stayed with the team for the rest of the outreach.
To end the outreach, we headed to Speaker’s corner in Cathedral Square. Andy & I decided to open air preach as a tag team. I covered the bad news, and Andy did the good news.
And the Lord blessed us with a hecker. A really good heckler. As we interacted, a few people started to gather to listen. It was incredibly encouraging for a novice like me.
As Andy preached the good news, a guy mockingly (yet light heartedly) circled him on his scooter (pictured), while his mates videoed it on their phones. No problem with us, as they are hearing the vital message of the Gospel!
After Andy had finished, Greg was so encouraged, he decided to get up and preach as well, and had some wonderful opportunities to interact with people (pictured).
So, a very very encouraging weekend of outreach. If we are patient, and faithful - God will use us for His glory. Do something!
It was a wonderful week away getting some refueling at a conference. I arrived home on Wednesday morning, and I was back to work on the streets in the afternoon. It was so good to be back! But wow, was it cold! This was my first official winter outreach. I’d really appreciate your prayer as I face my first winter as a full time street evangelist. With God’s help, I can make it through.
The highlight from that Wednesday outreach was talking to two Christians and seeing a desire for evangelism in them. I was able to encourage them to join me and I was very encouraged by them.
Thursday saw another outreach into the city where I had the pleasure of open air preaching, before Andy and I moved to the Eastgate bus stops for many walk up conversations. There was one point where the outreach slowed down, so I just paused and started praying, and before long, another bus rolled in, releasing a fresh group of people to hand tracts to and start conversations with.
Today (Friday) started with our Gospel + abortion outreach in front of the hospital. We had some wonderful opportunities for dialogue and to share the Gospel in spite of much opposition. This outreach is so vital. We are continuing to pray that God would use this for His glory.
We then moved to Cathedral Square, where Andy and I both open air preached, with no buskers or heckling - nice for a change.
We finished up with an outreach on Cashel Mall. It was wonderful to, yet again, have a new team member join us for the first time! Long may this continue. May labourers be raised up for His glory.
I had one more outreach before going on leave for a week to attend a conference and get some R&R: the Tuesday afternoon outreach to Riccarton.
This location can be slow from an outreach perspective. Once I went for a whole two hours without having a single Gospel conversation.
But today, as soon as I set up my flip chart and looked up - a person had stopped and wanted to know what it was about. I was straight into a Gospel conversation! After that, I then had opportunity after opportunity to share the Gospel.
I had a Mormon lady stop for a brief chat. My first question to her was about what she had to do to go to heaven. Sadly, her answer included: “keep the commandments”, and “try”. It was a friendly encounter, but I knew she wasn’t going to hang around. So I was direct in challenging that she would never be good enough in her own effort, and that she needed to instead trust in Jesus to pay her fine by His grace. She took a tract and said she would read it.
Then a Buddhist lady stopped for a friendly chat also. My question for her was about where the standard for “karma” came from - which seemed to make her think. She had to go, bur refused to take a “Which one is Right?” tract from me.
I had two teens with a church background who didn’t seem to have a clear understanding of the Gospel - they stayed for the whole flip chart presentation, and both took tracts.
And I finished up with a very encouraging conversation with a young Christian where we were able to mutually encourage each other.
I also had two very brief follow up encounters with people I’ve talked with on previous outreaches at different locations.
I managed to finish the outreach before rain, that had been threatening, came to disrupt things.
I thank the Lord for a very encouraging outreach. May it encourage you!
The weekend saw two outreaches and a fellowship BBQ celebrating another summer of Gospel outreach for the Christchurch (NZ) team - Soli Deo Gloria!
Saturday morning was foggy as a team of two set up a flip chart in Cathedral Square, but by the end of the outreach, in the early afternoon, the sun was shining.
The highlight conversation of the outreach was a follow up from the outreach the night before.
On the night prior, outside the bus exchange, a lively Gospel conversation occurred with some teens: three girls and three boys. Sadly, the kids were talking about the drugs they were planning on taking, and the girls were being rude and disruptive - while two of the boys were keen to engage with the discussion. I tried to keep the girls attention away, while Mike focused on sharing the Gospel with the boys.
Well, in the morning, four of those kids came walking through Cathedral Square - including all three of the girls. They looked very surprised to see me - as though I had been out all night and into the next day trying to talk to people about Jesus. The girls were a lot calmer now, and were open to engage sensibly. They had another opportunity to hear the Gospel; I was able to go through the flip chart with them. And it turns out one of those girls had been through the flip chart once before.
But, sadly, as far as I could tell, they were not willing to respond at this time. One of the girls even threw the tract I gave her in the bin. My heart goes out to them.
On Saturday evening, some of the team gathered for fellowship and an “end of the summer of outreach” celebration which, on top of all the weekly outreaches, included:
We are also celebrating the fact the two of the team are now being supported to spend more hours out on the streets each week. Many thanks to Operation 513 and Redemption Church Christchurch and all those giving through those organisations for allowing this to happen. May we continue to serve the Lord faithfully by bringing the Gospel to many, and by encouraging Christians to get involved. Thank you!
Sunday was very hot considering we will officially be in winter in a few days time. A team of five headed out.
For me the outreach started with a nice long chat with one of our hecklers (I’m going to stop calling him a heckler soon). I spent a lot of time listening to him talk, and hearing his bitterness and grudges towards hypocrites. I found myself wishing this man would come to Christ, and feeling completely powerless to do anything about it. The only thing I can do is share the Gospel. And so I decided to break into the conversation and ask him what the Gospel is (since he is such an expert on “Christians”). He didn’t know. And so, I proceeded to take him through it, as foolish as it seems. I know he has heard it plenty of times before: he has heard us preaching it many times. But he listened (with only a little mocking). I will continue to pray for this man.
By this time, the rest of the team had arrived. This was the third (or fourth?) time out for three of them - but sadly the last, as they are moving to another part of the country for work.
They have been a massive encouragement to me out on the streets. Chris was the shyest. But today I watched him refute a homosexual “minister” on the subject of "love and truth" and he did it in such a loving way. And then while that conversation was happening, another man walked through swearing at us and cursing God. But they took it so well. It’s so wonderful seeing them grow in confidence. It makes me wonder how many more Christians are out there that are letting their fears stop them from using their gifts to reach people for Christ. Be encouraged! Get involved! :)
May they continue reaching people with the Gospel in their new home town! :)
I will be taking a week off and getting some time for encouragement in God’s word at the Impact Bible Conference in the Hawke's Bay, so I won’t be Battle Logging till the week after. May you be blessed as you reach out to people with the Gospel wherever you are!
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