Present today: Mike, Di, Frances, Maree, June, Warren, and Daniel. Pastor Jarryd met us down at the market.
I opened with Ephesians 1:7-14:
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Maree shared in 2 Cor 2:14-17, how the Gospel is a sweet fragrance from us to the ones who are being saved:
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.
Down at the market it was fine, but a cold autumn wind was funneling through the open space. There were plenty of people coming and going to talk to.
I managed to get lots of tracts out, and get a few conversations started.
The first conversation was with a woman who was caught up in Maori spirituality. She believed all Maori people go to the same place as their ancestors after they die. I asked her what happens to all the bad people. She said it didn’t matter – good or bad, they all end up there. I asked her if she believed in justice. She said yes. So I asked her do people who get away with evil in this life ever be judged for it? She repeated that everyone ends up in the same place regardless. Part of me thinks she knew where I was going with my questioning, and was giving short, go-away answers. She distracted herself with her children, so I encouraged her to read the tract.
In the middle of where the market was, there was a barber shop. Standing outside the shop smoking, was Rami. I gave him a $1m tract and held my breath, for I was pretty certain he would be a Muslim. After not knocking me out, I asked him where he would go after he died, and he said to heaven. I asked him why. He said that because he prayed 5 times a day, followed the Koran as best he could, and tried to help as many people as he could, Allah would be happy with him. I asked him what about all the bad stuff he had done, what happens to that? He said Allah was forgiving, and would overlook that. I said that doesn’t sound like a very good judge to me. If I was standing in front of a judge for doing some very bad things, and I asked him to forgive me, and he said yes, would that be a good judge? He tried to tell me it was different with Allah. I told him that I didn’t want to offend his god, but a pure and righteous judge would never overlook evil, and if that is what his Allah says he is and does, then he is also evil. I let him ponder that for a wee while, expecting an explosion, but it never came. I said that what he needed was someone to pay his hell fine for him – like someone who walks into the courtroom who pays all his outstanding fines for him. The judge can legally let you go because the fine has been paid. But if no one pays your fine, then you will need to pay for it yourself, in prison. I said “This is what God has done for you, Rami, through His Son, Jesus.”. He put his hands up towards me in a gesture for me to stop. He said that I didn’t understand. He said his English was not good, and couldn’t find the right words to say. He said he had to get back to work, so I gave him a good person tract, and shook his hand. Maybe next time I need a haircut I will pay him a visit, and carry on the chat! Later June told me she saw me talking to him. She had earlier spoken to Rami as well, and managed to give him a Gospel of John to read. God was really working on Rami that day!
Just past the ATM machines, I offered a young man called Tainui a tract, and asked him what happens after he died. This started out to be an awesome encounter. Tainui admitted he was a lying, thieving, blaspheming, fornicating adulterer at heart. He admitted he would end up in hell. I was just starting to give him the gospel, when out of the blue a woman swooped past, linked his arm and said “Come on son, let’s go”. He didn’t want to go and questioned her. I told her “It’s OK, you need to obey your parents. Just promise me you’ll read the piece of paper, and think about what we talked about”. He said he would, and I pray he does!
Warren told me he had a great conversation with a catholic man named Grant. The conversation moved towards the Holy Communion that Catholics take. Warren was able to explain the difference that Catholics put on communion – that they see it as the true body and blood of Jesus, whereas it is only a symbol that we remember His sacrifice for. He was able to share the Gospel with Grant, and pray with him, that he would repent and place his faith in him. Please pray for Grant!
Maree told me she had a wonderful conversation with two ladies, one from Columbia, and one from Chile. One of them had Christian relatives that were praying for them, so it was no coincidence that she met with her! She was able to share the gospel with both of them.
Time was getting on. I had the last three tracts out of my folder, and I said “Lord, I’m not finishing until I give these out.” I spotted three men sitting in the sun. I gave tracts to all three, and asked them what they thought happens after they died. The oldest said “I know exactly where I am going. Are these gospel tracts?”. I said yes. It turned out that his name was Hemi, and he was a worship leader at a nearby church. The other two were his sons, Garrison & Semele. He said it was awesome to see people out doing this. I asked him if he shared his faith. He said he tries to. I asked Hemi what he says when doing this. He said what I used to say in the earlier days, that “people need Jesus because they have tried everything else for fulfillment”. So I pointed out the use of the law in evangelism – telling them the bad news before giving them the good news. I gave him a stack of tracts, and encouraged him to give it a go. He said thanks. I went to shake his hand, but he stood up and gave me a great bear hug! He was so thankful. Lord, I pray for more labourers for the harvest!
It was an awesome day out, and we pray Lord that those we talked to or received tracts would repent, and place their faith in you, for your glory!