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Gone Fishin’ Field Report – Easter Outreach 30/3/24

Hi Everyone

Well today was our Church fellowship’s yearly Easter Outreach!

Twice a year we like to do special outreaches at the Hutt Riverbank Fruit & Vege Market, at Easter & Christmas. This is because they are the biggest events in the Christian calendar – when Christ was born; and when he died, was buried, and raised to life.

In preparation for the outreach, we get together at Peck & Chee Kai’s house to put the packs together. We normally get a big team for this, but praise God, yesterday we outdid ourselves, with 27 turning up!

The chocolate station


The hot cross bun station


The packs consisted of a small bar of chocolate or a hot cross bun, along with a welcome note and invitation from the church, and a Gospel tract.

It was a great time of fun & fellowship, and due to the numbers, we packed them in record time!

The last few of these outreaches have not been welcomed with great weather – normally wind, rain, or both. Today was no exception – cool wind, mixed with showers and sunshine. The Gospel is waterproof however, so it doesn’t make a difference!

God showed off His glory today, with an awesome display of rainbows, which I was able to use for a couple of Gospel analogies!

We had a table and gazebo tent set up in the usual place they give us, which is at the edge by the car park. This suited us, as plenty of people came and went from this area. From my estimate, around 20 from the fellowship turned up at various times. Praise God we have willing workers for the harvest!

About half of the team filled up their bags and walked around the market, while the rest of us hung around the table doing the same. 

Here’s a summary of some of the chats I had:

Simon, the strayer: This young man from the Netherlands didn’t really want to chat at first, but he warmed up pretty quickly. He was a very likeable guy. I asked him what Easter was all about. He said it was when Jesus died for us. I asked why did he do that? He said he didn’t really know. So I started at the beginning with him: is there a God? Maybe, he said. I used the building/builder & painting/painter analogy to prove universe/universe maker. He said that can’t be the only way the universe started. I asked him how else can all these beautiful things appear from nothing? He couldn’t think of anything. He did believe there was something that started it all. I said even evolution needed a beginning. He said he didn’t really believe in evolution anyway. So I switched and asked him if he thought the universe creator gets to set the rules about how we all live in their universe? He said he went to a Catholic church when he was younger, but lost interest when he got older. So like everyone else in the world, he knew there was a God, but wanted to deny it because it suited him and his lifestyle. He was now straying around with no belief or concern about his eternal destiny. He needed a wake-up call. So I delved into his Catholic past, and asked what they told him about how to get to heaven. He said just do the sacraments, and try to be a good person. A bumpy trip down 10 Commandment Lane resulted in some hard soul searching for him. 

He said he could get around this however by being good from now on. I turned Simon one way and said “This is you ‘ ‘Yes, judge, I did commit those heinous crimes.’ ” I turned him back the opposite way and said ” ‘ But look at all the good things I’ve done – that homeless man I bought lunch for. That old lady I helped across the street. I’m a good person.’ What do you think the judge will say? He’ll say ‘What are you talking about? I’m here to judge you on your crimes, and nothing else.’ All you are doing is trying to distract the judge so he will let you off. It won’t work with an earthly judge, and it definitely won’t work with God.” Simon laughed and agreed that would be a foolish thing to do. I told him that there is only one way to avoid his hell punishment for his sins, by turning his back on them, and trusting 100% that Jesus took his hell punishment on his behalf. He agreed that if he didn’t do this in this lifetime, he would end up in hell. But he was enjoying his sinful lifestyle too much to worry about it now. I asked him when he was going to die. He said he had no idea. So when would be the best time to trust that Jesus took all of his sins? He said as soon as possible, but he was going to think about it first. He shook my hand and thanked me for the conversation. At least he now knows the Gospel and has a tract in his pocket to read later!


Ahmed, the affable agnostic: Ahmed was standing waiting for his wife at the vegetable stall opposite our table. I approached him and offered him a hot cross bun pack, which he accepted with thanks. I asked him if he knew what Easter was all about, but he had no idea. I asked him if he thought there was a God. He said probably, but wasn’t concerned either way. I wanted him to be concerned! I used the building/builder analogy to show him that there was  an intelligent designer. 

As if by divine providence there there was a rainbow forming in the distance. I used that as proof of how beautifully creative God was. He nodded and said I was probably right. But ‘probably’ was not going to cut it for him on Judgement Day. I asked him if he thought he deserved to go to heaven. He said maybe, but it was not his decision to make. I asked him what the criteria of him making it there was. He said his goodness in society. And by that standard, he was pretty good. I went to ask him by what standard does God measure, but just then his wife came back from the stall. He said he had to go. I shook his hand, and gave him some other tracts to help explain the Gospel better.


 Rundi the rubber-band : This young Thai man was a constant moving target! He took a pack off me, and went to walk away. I asked him if he knew what Easter was all about. He stopped, and said he didn’t know, then went to walk away again. I asked him if he was a good person, he said yeah he was, then went to leave. Honestly, it was like trying to have a conversation with a yo-yo. I asked him back and said if he believed in God. He said not really, as it wasn’t in his culture. So I asked him if he deserved to go to heaven. He said he didn’t know, but before he tried to walk away again, I asked him if he wanted to know how he could be sure he would make it. That stopped him in his tracks. He said yes, but I needed to start again with him. He said his family know nothing about Christian stuff. I said that’s OK. I asked him if he thought he was a good person. He said he tried to be. 

I told him that God’s standard of goodness was perfection, and he said “Oh”. I took him through the law, and he saw he wasn’t going to make it. I could see his legs starting to get twitchy again. So I short-cutted the chat by saying “God will deal harshly with those who break His rules. But He also offers a way so that Rundi, you don’t have to go to hell. Do you know what He did?”. He said no, but went to leave again. I said, “This is so important, Rundi. I don’t want you to go to hell either. This is the most beautiful part about Easter, where someone pays your hell punishment on your behalf. Only 100% trust in Jesus taking your sins will spare you from God’s eternal punishment. I also gave him a ‘The Way To Heaven’ tract, and asked him to read and consider what I said. He promised he would, and sped off.


Nessa, nice, yet nefarious:  This young Samoan lady with her toddler son and some friends stopped by the table. I saw one of the other team talking to her friends and heard one of them mention they were LDS. So I peeled this lady aside to have a chat. Her friends didn’t stick around. She accepted a hot cross bun pack, and her son eagerly grabbed a chocolate one. I asked her if she knew what Easter was all about. I was expecting a twisted LDS response, but to my surprise, she said her father was a Pastor at a Christian Church, so knew what it was all about. I was relieved, but it didn’t mean I could just let her off lightly. Many PK’s (Pastors Kids) can be as wayward as you can get. I asked her what she will say to God when she dies and stands before Him, in order to get to heaven. She pointed to her goodness, which never really shocks me anymore; it seems to be the standard response people give when they know they will fall short of God’s standard of goodness. I had to explain to her that God’s entry standard was perfection (Matt 5:48). She was shocked, as if she had never heard that before. 

I asked what she was going to do in order to make things right. She couldn’t think of anything. I asked her what God did so that we don’t have to go to hell? She looked confused then said “Oh, He died on the cross!”. I said that was the ONLY way you get to go to heaven. She said she and her whole family went to church when they were younger, but it got a bit boring for her. She said she gave her heart to Jesus and was baptised when a teenager, but it didn’t seem relevant anymore. I was pondering ‘false conversion?’ in my head. I asked her if it wasn’t relevant anymore because you’ve never understood the Gospel properly? She said “Yeah. maybe. I have been meaning to go back to church, and read my Bible more”. I told her it was more serious than that: “Nessa, if you died tonight (and I hope you don’t), then God will give you what you deserve. And that will be bad for you, for you will be relying on your goodness to get to heaven. This is not something you should be treating trivially anymore. Your eternity is hanging on it. You are just like me, a filthy wretched sinner, deserving of God’s wrath. You need to forsake your sins, and place your faith in Christ before it’s too late. God may not grant you another day, but He has granted you this day in order to hear the truth.” 

She looked tearful, and said she understood the seriousness now. She thanked me for the chat. I said “I apologise for my tone, but like a doctor informing a cancer patient of impending death, I can’t really mince words here. I need to tell you the truth so that you desire the cure before it is too late”. Nessa understood. Her son was demanding her attention, so I said goodbye to her. I pray she follows through with her convictions!

It was an awesome morning, and all 400 hot cross buns, and all 400 chocolate packs had been given away. Lots of Gospel discussions were had by the team. We pray that God’s Word will not return void, as He promised (Is 55:11)!

But I wasn’t finished. I didn’t want to be finished. There were still hundreds of people going backwards and forwards at the market. So after helping to pack up, I decided to stick around and do some one-on-one.

I said goodbye and thanked the team for all their effort. There must have been at least 20 fellow labourers there from the church fellowship. I am always constantly amazed at their obedience to the Great Commission, as well as our faithful Pastor, who leads the way as an example for all of us to follow!

I began walking around, giving out as many tracts as I could, trying to garner a Gospel conversation. The $1m dollar tract was the most well-received one. 

I had 2 contrasting, but great conversations: 

Idolatry and ignorance: An Indian man was standing next to one of the stalls. I gave him a million-dollar tract, and said it came with a million dollar question: What happens after we die. He was enthralled with the tract. He said it depended on what you did in this life, and what you believe in. I asked what does he believe. He said if you treat people nicely, are good to them and the planet, then you will be rewarded when you come back in the next life. This is an increasing trend for millennials at the moment, but this guy was the real deal, probably through being immersed in the Eastern Indian culture all his life, given his strong accent. I asked who sets the rules as to what you come back as. He said the universe does. I asked if he believes there is a God, and he said yes. Did this God create everything? Yes. I asked if God created the universe, shouldn’t He get to set the rules as to how we live in His universe? He agreed. 

So I asked him how he was doing with keeping to the creator’s rules. He said OK, he tries his best, but no one is perfect. So I asked him about lying, stealing, blaspheming. He had done all of them. So how should the perfect creator deal with someone who has broken the rules – how should He judge them? He said it’s not about being black and white – there are lots of grey areas – you can’t go around being judgemental about those things. His wife had now joined him, and was joining in the conversation. I asked if a criminal who broke into your house and robbed it of everything – if a judge let them off because they looked after stray cats, would that judge be good or corrupt? No, that would be a bad judge. Funny how when you personalise it, it is totally different! So I asked them if God was perfect, then shouldn’t His justice be perfect? But apparently no, it doesn’t work that way. It was time to give these two a reality check. 

Like Simon earlier, I told them that all the good you are doing is not going to distract and sway a judge to ignore your crimes. That’s called bribery. People who try to do that get a worse punishment. I told them that they were just like me – a lost, sinful person who deserves the most harshest punishment available. I asked them what if someone took 100% of your hell punishment on your behalf – how much would be left for them? They asked if I was talking about Jesus. I said absolutely, because He’s the only one who lived perfectly, so was the only one able to take my hell punishment. That meant there was no hell punishment for me, because my faith is in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of my sins, not in my own goodness. I asked them “Do you know why we celebrate Easter?” They said they knew a little bit, but said they had heard enough. they did take a couple of other tracts with them.




Oscar, obnoxious and obsequious – I approached this guy with a $1m tract. He laughed, and thought it was awesome. I asked the same question I ask everyone: “It has the million dollar question on it – what happens after we die? What are your thoughts?”. Straight away he told me we either go to heaven or hell. I asked him how we get to heaven. He said we obey what the scriptures say in Mark 16:16 – believe and be baptised to be saved. He was quoting the King James Version. I asked him if we need to be baptised to go to heaven, and he said it was right there in the scriptures. I was beginning to think I would have a problem with this guy and his theology – Jesus plus works. So I started by pointing out that we shouldn’t be basing too much of our theology on the last 12 verses of Mark, as they were added in later, apparently by scribes who didn’t like the ending. This was news to him as it is to a lot of Christians. But a quick look at the notes in the ESV Bible will quickly make this clear. So he quoted another scripture in Matthew (I can’t remember the reference) where Jesus said the same thing. I said it was not saying that baptism was a requirement for salvation, but an act of love and obedience because we were saved. He brought up Acts 2:38, a verse most people like to misquote in this regard: “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” “. 

I remembered a while ago listening to a sermon where someone broke this verse into parts and looked at the Greek. He said the Greek word “for“, or “eis” can have multiple meanings – not necessarily “in order to“, but more so “as a result of“. And the latter fits in context with Paul’s next two sermons in Acts 3 & 4, where baptism isn’t even mentioned. I couldn’t recall for sure, so didn’t bring it up, other than to stress that correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation – even more so with scripture. He said that if we did that with all the Bible then we would never finish reading it. Hmm, isn’t that why we study the Bible? The more we understand it, the more we learn from it!

I brought up the thief on the cross. Jesus told him we would be with Him in paradise that day. He didn’t tell him he needed to get baptised first. Oscar was ready for that one. He said that apart from John the Baptists’ baptisms, believers baptism was instigated by Christ. I said that’s fine, you can call Jesus a liar if you want, but I’m not going to. He didn’t like that, but I was done with being nice to him for the sake of it. He was adding works to his salvation, and I needed to expose him for it. I asked him how much of his sins did Jesus take for him on the cross? He said all the things he had done. 

So I asked him if I trusted that Jesus took my sins, but went out today and did 5 sins, then died – would I go to heaven or hell? He said that’s what repentance is all about. I asked what would happen if I didn’t get a chance to repent? He said I would be in trouble. This guy was so lost, yet so prideful. I asked what sort of church he went to, and he said it was a Pentecostal one. I understand the Pentecostal view of separate baptism to receive the Holy Spirit (which is a false teaching – see Eph 4:4-5), but not with regards to faith plus works. I asked Oscar what would his answer be if was standing before God on Judgement Day, and He asked him why He should let him into heaven. He said “Because I believe Jesus died for my sins, and I have been baptised, and received the Holy Spirit”. I was so dumbfounded I couldn’t really speak. If this guy died tonight, he wouldn’t make it to heaven. I asked him if we get to heaven based on what we do, or what Christ has done? He said both. 

Then he brought up James regarding faith plus works. Then I knew he was lost. He was going to twist the scripture to mean we need faith plus works to be saved. But this is a false application. In context, it is saying that works is a result of faith, not a pre-requisite for it. I told him as such, to read the whole book of James instead of cherry-picking the verses you want, so that you can invent your own doctrine. He started telling me how lost I was! He was getting annoyed at me because he thought I was lost. He started to leave. I gave him a ‘The Way to Heaven’ tract and told him to read it. That is a good tract for people who think they can earn their way to heaven. He said we are never going to agree. I agreed with him there, and said Eph 2:8-9 says that salvation and faith is a gift from God, not anything we can conjure up in and of ourselves. If we try, God will tell us He never knew us when we stand before him. He shook my hand and left, but I could tell he still thought I was wrong. I can only keep Oscar in prayer, that God will open his eyes and heart.

That last conversation sapped all the energy out of me. I had about half a dozen $1m tracts in my hand, so just walked around afterwards giving them out. Then I thanked God for the opportunity and privilege to spread the Gospel, and left all of the people we had been in contact with in His hands.



This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Aced

    Good work guys! Keep going.

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