Special Outreaches (QLD, Australia)
Australia Day (26 January)
ANZAC Day (25 April)
Christmas Outreaches (December)
New Years Eve (31 December)
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.
WHAT A WEEK!! We have just finished our week of sharing the gospel to Schoolies at the Gold Coast. The Lord allowed the team to have hundreds of gospel chats with the school leavers.
Right as the team was finishing up the last evening outreach on the streets, two teenagers that the team spoke to earlier in the week came up saying thank you for sharing the gospel with them. They had come to profess faith in Jesus.
We said they should now share the gospel with their parents when they get home. But they said, they've already called them up to share it with them! Praise the Lord that His word never returns void!! Thank you for praying.
We are currently starting day 7 (Friday) of 7 of the Schoolies 2022 outreach on the Gold Coast of Australia.
We have been super busy in gospel ministry. Since Monday (day 3) we have been in the following routine: 3 hours of online outreach in the morning, 2 hours on Cavill Avenue in the afternoon, and then 2 and a half hours on Cavill Avenue in the evening. It’s been a busy week, but well worth it! And the routine has really helped me get through.
I’m going to give only a few of the many highlights from the week so far (and only from my perspective; I’m hearing wonderful testimony from all the others on the team too!), but it’s all blurring together, so I can’t remember on which day / time each interaction occurred.
First, I want to talk about my conversation with Khye (pictured). I honestly couldn’t tell you if they were a he or a she – they claimed to be asexual. I’m going to use ‘she / her’. I was actually heading over to engage two other kids when she came past, so I decided to ask her what happens after life instead. She responded with ‘I don’t care’. I asked her if she believed in God - that was a negative. And I could see the challenge in her eyes. She was up for a fight. I instinctively knew that following the script here wasn’t wise, so I didn’t go to ‘building / builder’. I can’t quite remember what I said, but whatever it was, it totally disarmed her, and we fell into conversation. Soon she said, “I don’t care, but I’m happy to talk about it, but can we sit down?”, and so we did. She was open now, but I spent a lot of time listening. I still went through the law and the gospel – and even the building / builder analogy, but just not in the usual order. I actually had to address why God allows evil and suffering early in the chat – she had experienced a lot of that. It was a long chat, and a special chat. She thanked me for the way I went about it, comparing me to those preachers that try to ‘shove it down my throat’. As pictured, she accepted a gospel of John and a tract as she left. I took some time to specially pray for her immediately after that chat. Please pray for conviction and conversion.
Another highlight was a chat with a kid who was walking past with his mates. He had a bottle of booze in his hands. He was keen to chat, but his mates weren’t, and moved off. Eventually one of them came back and gave him the four pack of booze that his first bottle had come from. He had a good understanding of the gospel (maybe he had talked to one of the other team members on a previous outreach?) - he did really well on the check questions. But it was obvious from what he was saying that he wasn’t saved. It was a long chat, where I went through the whole ‘script’ making sure he knew salvation was a gift, yet a gift that would change him. Through the chat, he had finished off 2 bottles of booze and was on to his 3rd! At the end, I challenged him on his drinking. This is going to sound strange, but he seemed genuinely surprised that drunkenness was a sin. A look of conviction came over him, he instantly said he would go and chuck the booze, but he asked if he could take a selfie with me first - no problem. He accepted a gospel of John and a tract, shook my hand, then walked straight for the bin. I had the presence of mind to whip my phone out and take 2 photos of him as he chucked the booze in the bin. I then watched him walk off down the mall flicking through the gospel of John I had given him. I leave him in God’s capable hands. The law ploughs and convicts, but the gospel is the power of God for salvation. Please pray for him too.
There have been many other chats, with people becoming deeply engaged in conversation, and forgetting time as they are able to start articulating the deepest questions they have – or even didn’t know they had till now. People’s worldviews have been deeply challenged, sometimes, maybe, for the first time. Last night, I had multiple guys say, there is nothing stopping them from trusting Christ right now, but they just needed time to process what’s been discussed. That’s fair, and yet I noted the simplicity of the message I shared and explained the urgency in responding. God is sovereign in salvation, I do my job to the best of my ability, and in his strength, and then leave the rest to him.
Be encouraged to continue to grow in your evangelism training and efforts. Pray for and take those opportunities that come in everyday life :) May God bless you as you step out in faith!
Thanks to Hung and Damo for the photos of me (Glen) in this report.
Operation 513 Special Outreach during Schoolie from 19-25/11 daily from 1500-1700, 1900 - 2200. Day 6 afternoon
It was good that the Schoolie ministry this year has afternoon section daily from 1500-1700. It allowed Hung and Winnie to join after our normal Thursday outreach at Australia Fair from 1300-1430. I drove to the nearby side street to find my parking but had to walk for 10 minutes to Cavill Ave to meet with the rest of the Team. Winnie got there earlier than me by tram and had met Ryan and started her outreach. I first met all the brothers in Christ we once served either locally or in Myanmer to greet each other in Christ for mutual encouragement. I stayed there for about 1 and a half hour with only three chats. One only was with the schoolie a young girl. the other two however were God led person for me to have two relatively long chats especially the last one as recap below:
1) Sam is an Indian waiting there for his shift to start at a local pub as the security guard. His usual shift started later in the evening, but because of Schoolie, he started earlier at 4pm. I had a long chat almost half an hour with him. Through his work, he could observe the human character though good in normal situation but would turn bad losing self-control when got drunken. So, I did not have to convince him that no person is perfect in this fallen world though in normal situation, most of us are considered a good person/. So basically, he had no argument on the point that we all need redemption by a saviour who himself is a perfect person and meantime a perfect divinity god head. He took a tract and promised to ponder is there any reason to hold him back from receiving the free gift of eternal life made ready and on offer to us all.
2) Then I caught up with a girl waiting for friend called Mayfest. She was nice and open for a chat. She heard the full gospel then was disrupted by her friend's call, Though I did not have chance to seek her feedback. I trust the Holy Spirit will have His work on Mayfest.
3) Then I had a long chat with Junior a Kiwi lasting almost for an hour. He is a street artist and consider leading a successful life. His sister is a pious Christian preaching the gospel to people like what we are doing. But he thought his sister’s choice is a suboptimal one in comparison to his much well-off life. He deemed that being a good person taking charge of his own life is enough. He does not care about life after death and think religion is futile and irrelevant to a down to the earth normal human life. But after I shared about the good person analogy, he came to the understanding that imperfection in life actually is a serious short fall of human as it is regarded as cancer of a human life in God eyes that must be subject to judgment after death. No matter how many good deeds we have done, it can never ever be sufficient to offset out sin. Accepting Jesus to take away our sin is like changing our eternal identity from enemy of God back to His children and people or the citizen of the heavenly Kingdom. It gave God the foothold to start His life transformation work to restore us back to perfection. But most importantly from a self-centred life back to a God centred life. It will lead to change in life vision and faith awareness leading the change in our value system. So eventually salvation means we will be first be set free from the bondage of sin but then the bondage of our self-ego or temptation in flesh so finally we will achieve real freedom in Christ because we now know and master the truth and wisdom from God. At the end, he appeared having a better understanding why his sister and all other Christian will live a true joyous life and have greater inner peace to face trauma in life and will grow better and stronger in His strength. Praise and thanks God for this exceptionally long chat that I rarely have in my bus stop outreach occasions.
International travel is back on! Five Kiwi’s have flown over to the Gold Coast to join five Aussies for a week-long outreach to Schoolies 2022.
As I write, we are into our 3rd day of outreach, but this report will cover the first 2 evenings of outreach.
I flew over from Christchurch with Andy. The flight was smooth. We come out of the airport just in time to catch the next bus into the city. We had to make a transfer to a tram, and manage to purchase our tickets just in time to catch the next tram out. Kane & Harry were there to pick us up from the stop and we made it to the apartment that the team would be based at for the week. It was a wonderful reunion, catching up with people we hadn’t seen physically for a while! They had saved some dinner for us, and we had enough time to eat that before heading out for the first outreach! No mucking around.
Some of the Kiwis were pretty tired, esp. Phil and Emma who were up at 4am to catch a flight and then coping with a 3 hour time zone change. But we have a mission that is worth the sacrifice. We prayed together and then got into the flow to start up gospel chats.
The first evening's outreach went REALLY fast. It was non stop conversations which made the 2.5 hours fly by. My first chat was a long one, with a guy called Hayden. He could see the logic of the reality of God, but then he fought hard to reject it. He insisted he was innocent of any sin, but the standard for judgement was himself, not the true God of the universe that made him - and his idolatry was the source of his rejection in spite of logic. I decided not to give up on him, and laboured with him, even sharing the gospel even though I knew he wouldn’t appreciate it right now. Who knows, this chat may be a seed of future conviction. The rest of my chats for the evening were difficult. Many of the people I talked to had no Christian background, and so were impressed by the building builder analogy, but the love of sin suppressed this knowledge. Most of my conversations would be interrupted as friends would come past and they would completely forget me in light of the moment they wanted to ‘enjoy’. But many of them would accept a tract before they walked off.
My sleep that night was full of repetitive active dreaming as my brain tried to process the routine change of the day, and all the new experiences. It didn’t feel restful. Luckily, the next day was Sunday and the team headed off to a local church in the morning - a wonderful time of fellowship and teaching, and a rest from the intensity of gospel conversations.
After the formal part of the meeting, Paul got into a chat with a lady who was keen to join us for the evening outreach - which she did! So encouraging.
In the afternoon we did the usual online outreach, and then some relaxation (swimming and tennis) before dinner and heading out on the streets again - this time for 3 hours.
It was again tough out on the streets. Resistance to the gospel and tiredness. But the gospel is the power for salvation, so I persisted in faith. We started with prayer.
But at the end of the evening I had a breakthrough! I got into a tuff chat with a group of Muslim lads. It was quite intense, the main talker was in my face. I had to work to focus on what he was saying and responding with calmness. I hit a ‘zone’, and it was fascinating watching the young man's world being deeply challenged, and seeing him so flustered that he could see the faults in his own analogies before he finished them. We parted on good terms, but sadly none of them would accept a tract. I pray this chat will open them up for the gospel in the future.
The next chat after that was also epic. Three young men, all in different places. 1 silent, and the other 2 resistant in different ways. Yet, with the help of the Spirit (being in the zone), I was able to address all their objections and share the law and the gospel. They were open to tracts at the end, and thanked me for the way I explained it. I was so encouraged and excited. I was really tired, but my mind was clear. I knew I was going to have a good sleep that night. And I did!
Thank you so much to all who are praying! Please continue holding us up in prayer. The Schoolies desperately need to hear the gospel. Pray for conviction and conversion. And pray that the team would be sustained in this gospel labour. Thank you so much!
The seventh and final day for Schoolies 2021 has finished. It was forecast for a thunderstorm to hit during the outreach, but the team prayed asking God to hold off the rain. It didn’t rain until we were walking back to the car. God had graciously answered the prayer and we were able to praise Him for doing so!
Another prayer was for God to bring any final people along that He wanted us to speak with. This was probably answered many times, but one exciting way was with Aaliyah. Her friends were in a chat with the team when she approached and noted that she was angry with God for allowing suffering in this world.
This was taken as a moment to sympathise that there have been times of great sadness due to pain recently but then the point was made that God has a purpose for our lives. Aaliyah of her own thoughts said, “Well I suppose God takes people when He feels they have finished what He sent them here for, not as a punishment to those around them!”. She paused and said, “I don’t hate God anymore!”
This was then taken as an opportunity to make Christ known, talking about how God isn’t in the wrong, but we are, as we have rebelled against Him. She was very sober as she talked through this. She reflected on, they ways she had acted in hatred toward God through her life.
She then heard of Christ and was encouraged to consider the seriousness of her eternity and to place her hope in Him!
It was a wonderful end to the week!
The fifth day of Schoolies rained most of the day but was dry for the outreach and God provided some wonderful conversations!
One conversation worth noting was with Nate. He proclaimed to be an agnostic, who lived as if there was no God and yet said he only believed that which he could prove. Firstly, time was taken to demonstrate that this position was dishonest as his actions demonstrated that he lived as though God doesn’t exist. This meant that he does hold a position he cannot support.
This was demonstrated through showing that he has no reason to believe that order can come from chaos, life from non-life, something from nothing, rules without a rule maker, information without and intelligence and more. At each instance he tried to suggest that he was neutral and couldn’t know so he acted as if there was no God. This was pointed out to not be neutrality but ultimately a commitment to being his own god.
Nate acknowledged that God’s existence would disrupt his ability to live for himself and was challenged at that point with God’s law and the seriousness of being God’s enemy. He then tried to undermine God’s rules, his accountability and ultimately God’s own revelation of Himself in Christ.
It was clear that prior to this conversation he’d gotten away with the half answers he’d given but into the conversation as the heat was turned up and his inconsistency and sinfulness was shown he ended up wanting to head off without hearing of the true solution.
May God work in his heart, to draw him away from idolatry to Christ!
The fourth day of Schoolies bought lots of small downpours, but God still reigns, and the Son still shines. God was still active in using His people to bring about gospel understanding and hopefully the conversion of those who heard!
A wonderful conversation was had with Saxon, who mentioned it makes sense that there must be a God, otherwise the universe doesn’t make sense and shared that he was pretty sure he’d lived in a way that deserved Heaven. As we considered what God made us for and how we have deeply defied God through our lives, Saxon came to see that he had no hope of getting to Heaven through his actions.
Just as he was coming to understand this and was considering what hope there would be for a rebel to go to Heaven, his friend came over encouraging him to leave, but Saxon was so engaged in the conversation he told his friends to go on ahead and would catch up later.
Saxon then saw the goodness of God and the beauty of God’s love and noted that although God had made the whole universe to show who He was that God wasn’t selfish demonstrated by the fact that He had given His only Son to save His enemies!
Saxon said he had much to think about and was thankful for the conversation and headed off!
Please keep him, the others the team spoke with and the team in prayer for the rest of the week!
The third day of Schoolies came with many wonderful conversations because there was no beach party meaning the schoolies were more bored, less of them were drunk and more were willing to chat.
Over the course of the night there seemed to be a lot of similar conversations, those with familiarity with things of God but no affinity. Three of these conversations were with young Islander men, Lorenzo, Hepo and Taj. They were polite, engaged well, answered, and listened but for all three this interaction seemed more of a formality of respect rather than a proper consideration of their sinfulness and eternity.
There were other conversations, as Brody who is an Australian who previously had dabbled in Islam but was living as his own. He heard the gospel from one team member and was challenged regarding its seriousness from another.
The teams energy levels are doing well considering the intensity of the outreach but please be praying that God would sustain us and keep us focused on serving Him during this time!
Please also uphold those the team is speaking to, in prayer asking God to do what only God can do, so that when God does it, only He gets the glory.
The third day of Schoolies 2021 was a day in which God showed His kind and sovereign hand.
There were many conversations throughout the day into the night but two similar ones with Nick and Lucy stood out.
Lucy approached a team member who was already in a conversation and had many questions to ask. She was pointed to another team member and a lengthy conversation began, in which she had lots of questions about God that the “religious” teachers at her school were unable to. Some of the questions were common ones, “How did God get here?” and others more specific, “How can it be just for God to forgive guilty people?” it was a beautiful conversation and Lucy left noting that she had much to think about and was thankful for the chat.
With Nick, he started by saying, “I know there must be a god because the universe doesn’t make sense without one” and then saw God’s expectation for us, His creation and very quickly saw and acknowledged that he was deeply sinful and deserving of Hell and at one point he said, “I don’t think there is anyway for me to get to Heaven”. He was so convinced of his guilt that it took him a while to grasp the fullness of what Christ had done but when he did, he was blown away!
Please continue to pray for the team and specifically for Nick and Lucy!
It is now the second day of Schoolies 2021 and the team has had some wonderful gospel opportunities! There have been many conversations with schoolies, often starting with a clear explanation for how we know that God exists, which is a challenge to them as most of them have heard the opposite their whole life.
Many of the teens and young adults are also quite drunk but there are the scattered few who aren’t drinking for various reasons. One of the common reasons is that they are “Christians” who seem to be trying to prove that they are good.
Two very similar conversations happened last night with such people, who insisted that they really were good people, and that God would be pleased with them on judgement day. After a lengthy engagement regarding their wickedness and guilt both seemed unfazed and were holding onto their own goodness. This meant that they were unable to comprehend the good news of what Christ had done since they didn’t think there was any bad news. It was sad to see but if you’re reading this, please be praying that God may humble them, seeing that He is infinitely good and that in comparison they are truly evil and therefore that they will come to understand that Christ is their only hope!
Please be praying for the energy levels of the team and for God to continue to bring those to the team that He wants them to speak with!