Sharing the Gospel IN N Z 2 b's Testimony
Sharing the Gospel IN N Z 2 b“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law, I became as one under the law (though not myself being under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I may win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (ESV) – something to aspire to!
Please look at the attachment for many photos!
NOT MY PLANS - BUT GOD WAS AT WORK!
I woke to a drizzly morning. I was not impressed. Over the week, various people had been telling me that the forecast was for rain that Saturday. But I optimistically said we’d pray that it wasn’t – God’s in control and I don’t care too much for a weather forecast in Hastings because it’s usually sunny!
But it was wet. Reluctantly I even packed my raincoat as I headed out to see what preparations we could continue with for the Family Fun Day. The bouncy slide wasn’t coming at this stage, because it was not meant to get wet. That was one of the kid’s highlights. Then what?
We met in the cold and packed chairs, BBQ, and so on to take and set up at the local park. We prayed and set up, wondering what was to become of the day. It was hard to be optimistic. However I was thankful for a great team of helpers who came along to join in and brave the day.
Soon the sun couldn’t help but burst through the clouds; it wasn’t going to be deterred. Hopeful of a change in weather, Gareth headed off to get the castle – an hour return trip.
Meanwhile the kids were arriving and we entertained them with face-painting, games, and generally hanging out. We also had time to spend with the parents.
One mother came up to me, asking about Rally. She had attended as a child, and wanted her daughter to come too. I happily gave her the details (and she brought her daughter along that following Monday).
Finally the bouncy slide arrived; much to the delight of the kids! After a while, we gathered them for a devotion time, which started well. But over time some of the kids seemed to lose interest in the teaching part. Distracted by that and trying to keep their attention, I didn’t tell the Bible story as well as I should have. But praise the Lord, He works despite our weaknesses and failures!
We had lunch, and meanwhile some of the parents had been listening to the devotion also. We had some good chats with some of them. For example I talked to one who has been going along to a church and has many questions; she wants to know what it practically means for her if she chooses to follow Christ – what about her partner who is not interested in Jesus at all, what about their kids, what about her drug addictions? These
are all valid questions! She wants to catch up with me some more to talk about these things – please pray that God will give me much wisdom!!
Though from a “programme” and organising perspective, I’d say it wasn’t the greatest day – partly from the weather and other circumstances. But I am glad that God (who controls the weather!) had it all in hand and worked mightily anyway. Over the past 18 months the community has been showing an increased softness to our work there, and this particular day some really opened up and showed their interest in the Gospel. There were so many examples of how I could see God at work in their lives; some which are best left unwritten at this stage. But there is one I would like to share with you – because it is an example of how God has opened a door without me even trying or planning for it! Wow!
On the Friday just before the Family Fun Day, we had about 6 more flyers to deliver. I went up a certain street where I knew of a couple of houses with kids, where the parents would probably recognise me as they had shown interest in kids’ programmes previously. On our way up the street, there was a young girl sitting by the road. Gareth stopped the car and said we should give one to her – well, me in particular since I was the female. So I went and talked to the mother and gave them an invitation.
The following day, at the Family Fun Day, a couple of girls approached me and said, “We’re looking for a church... We’re Christians.”
“Are your parents Christians?” I replied.
“No, but our nana is” – she is in Wellington and they go to church with her often. I gladly gave them some information and asked for their address, saying we could possibly pick them up for Sunday School the next day. Little did I know, these were the girls from that house I had visited the day before. They had come along to the Family Fun Day, and brought their next door neighbour along!
The next day, Sunday, we arrived at about 9am for the Sunday School pick-up. They were up and keen to go, so I gave them 10 minutes to get ready while we picked up some of the regulars. We came back, and these two sisters eagerly joined the others in the church van.
I was concerned that the younger one, aged about six, would be a bit shy to go to Sunday School by herself for the first time. So I went out with her, thinking I may be spending the morning settling her in, as I have done previously with other children. But as the crowd of children dispersed to their various classes, this girl met someone she knew – someone who used to go to her school and has moved house, but who is getting picked up for church also!
As we dropped them off after the service, I took some time to go and greet their mother, getting a feel for where she was at. She’s quite happy for her girls to be involved in church activities, which is great!
That wasn’t the end.... The next day was Monday, with Girls’ Rally (primary age) and Girlzone (intermediate age) in the evening. I rang at about 5:45 to check that the older girl would be ready to come to Girlzone in 20 minutes – she was, and had a great time. She and her younger sister plan to keep coming along.
Praise the Lord – these girls are available and teachable. And four days in a row of contact with them all started with seeing a girl on the side of the road, and going to give her a flyer. Wow, God works in such a variety of ways!
HAWKE'S BAY'S BIG WEEKEND
Since when did tying a know in your necklace count as “fashion”? Really, there’s more than 7 mysteries in this world, and that would have to be one of them. But it was Art Deco weekend, and so to try and show some creativity I thought about dressing up – simply, and cheaply. I don’t like getting “props” that I may only use once! So with some clothes I already had, a borrowed hat, cheap gloves and a bead necklace (complete with a knot in it) – as well as of course some fashion advice from the dear lady I stay with – I could pass as coming from the Art Deco era. Maybe even more than I normally pass as coming from the 21st century. Still no make-up!!
We had a busy few days sharing the Gospel in Napier and Hastings, networking with others to go out and share the Gospel with the people who were out and about for this “big” weekend.
To my surprise and delight, most people were actually open to a conversation or at least taking a Gospel pamphlet, though some would not accept the simplicity of the Gospel but wanted to go on many tangents and raise speculations and personal opinions. Even many older European people showed an unusual friendliness. For example, some complimented me on the costume and I returned the compliment with a Gospel tract!
One man was reading a book as we approached. I asked him about his spiritual beliefs, and he acknowledged that he has been to church sometimes. I shared the Gospel clearly and concisely, while he listened carefully. I am surprised by what opportunities are around and simply waiting for us to take!
There was a young lady we met who is aware of various religions, and is currently trying to decide which one she wants to follow and bring her children up in. We offered to take her through a 6-week Bible study to help her better understand the Bible, so that she may see how Jesus is the only Way!That’s just some examples of the many seeds sown, that God can now grow!
THE YOUNG ONES
I love reaching out to children and youth – the only ones younger than me! But seriously, it is a huge mission field because young people are more open to the Gospel and haven’t set their beliefs in concrete. Nearer the end of this term, our school opportunities open up – at this stage I plan to go to one primary school and two high schools on a weekly basis. But I am also seeking to go into a third high school each week, and plan to start making enquiries soon. Please pray that the principal will be enthusiastic and supportive of this, as well as other staff and parents, and of course students. Praise God that we had a sneak preview of what’s required when we approached the school later last year, and so this year we can be better prepared – and this time we also know of at least one student there who’s keen!
At a night market recently, a group of youth were hanging out nearby. One came and asked me some serious questions – he’s noticed us around often, and wondered why we kept on sharing the Gospel. He wanted to know where God was in difficult situations he’d observed or experienced. Though he’d talked about not believing in God, I suspect that deep down there were serious questions and personal objections, rather than a scientific “God doesn’t exist”.
As I watched, and even joined in with this neat group as they hung out, chatted, and did silly things (like kicking each other for the fun of it, not in a nasty way – I don’t understand that!), God put them and other of Hastings on my heart. I see them often in town, and many recognise us. Apparently they hang out late at night or in the early hours of the morning, so hopefully in the near future we can practise open air messages with the new black-light and reach out to them at the same time! (The black-light is a UV light that makes fluorescent paint glow! That looks amazing!) Please pray that we will see opportunities and open doors to reach out to these teenagers God has created, and that they will see and understand what it means to follow Jesus.
For example we did an open air programme after school as youth were making their way home – many stopped out of interest, then a few stayed behind for quite a while to talk and hang out.
THANKS BE TO GOD!
I have so much to be thankful for! I serve a great God who has surrounded me with such a great group of praying and supportive family and friends. An example of this is the fact that after reporting on my bike being stolen and my plan to buy another one, I have had several offers to buy me a new bike or contribute to one!! I could have about four new bikes by now!! I am thankful to all those who have offered to help out, and I have taken the first of these offers with contribution from another one. And I praise the Lord for His amazing provision!
At night market, a man from Vanuatu came up, greeting me by name. He asked after Gareth and another friend also. I realised that he was one of the several we had fellowship and Bible studies with last year, and he has asked us to return. Please pray for us as we prepare and plan for this – we probably have three months with him and his friends. It would be good to be able to give them a solid Gospel grounding, that they may come to faith if they haven’t already. From that, hopefully we can equip them for sharing the Gospel with others, here and back in Vanuatu. I have done a lot of cross-cultural mission training, and though I am not currently overseas, I do a lot cross-culturally! There are many different cultures represented in Hawke’s Bay, and perhaps they could each be trained to take the Gospel back to their people groups! Some come from “religious” or church-going cultures, while others don’t believe in God at all – but they all need the Gospel!
I am going on holiday for two weeks, after a full-on few months. Please pray for good rest and refreshment over this time. I will spend most of it at home with my parents and brother. My sister has just moved to Wellington to start university; please pray for her as she settles in and studies law there. Also I plan to get a lot of driving practise and sit my full licence test over the next fortnight – please pray that it will succeed!
With much love from M
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