Monday, February 23, 2004

Street Evangelism (1)

Introduction: Presently there are two of us doing street evangelism, John Lawton and myself (Raymond White). This is the team!
The broad (and very flexible) plan is to go out on the street every other weekend on a Saturday evening alternating between ministry work at the soup kitchen and walking up Voortrekker Road (using the soup kitchen location as a starting point) up to Vasco station on one side of Voortrekker Road and then back down to the soup kitchen location on the opposite side of Voortrekker Road, just basically talking to people about the Gospel and handing out tracts.

The first time we did this was on the 24 January 2004. We opened in prayer and asked God for His protection and for His Spirit to go before us, we also asked for divinely appointed encounters. We started off at about 7.30pm. We spoke to roughly 100 people and handed out about 70 tracts (The Way to God, in English). We had some incredible meetings and chats with some people, many of the people had had a few drinks and were rushing off to go to another ‘jol’. There were very few people who outright rejected our ‘free’ offer (about three or four) and we were amazed and stunned at how some people just opened up to us. Quite a few of them asked us if we were Jehovah’s Witnesses and when we replied that we were not and explained who we were and where we were from they immediately became more relaxed with us.
Well we finished at about 8.30pm and came back to John’s car at the soup kitchen feeling pretty much on ‘top of the mountain’ but God had not finished with us yet. There were some stragglers at the soup kitchen and we chatted, prayed and encouraged these guys for about 20 minutes. Then eventually we got in the car and John was going to drop me at home in Bothasig. On our way there we noticed the same young woman who we had encountered earlier on the street, walking on the side of the road. When we first saw her on Voortrekker Road she had rushed by us in tears not wanting to talk to us. We stopped and she came running to the car, she recognized us and climbed in. She was very distraught and told us that she had had a terrible fight with her mother and she was on her way to her uncle in Summer Greens. We said that we would drop her off there. When we arrived at her uncle’s place he was not at home. We then took the young woman to my home where Allie gave her supper. We then acted as go betweens as she phoned her step-father to ask him to speak to her mother. After a few phone calls and prayer John took her home to Parow at about 10.30pm, where he saw the mother and her daughter cry and hug each other and be reconciled. John informed me over the telephone (round about 11pm) as to what had transpired. God is a god of peace!

The next time we went out was on the 7 February 2004. We then wanted to just bring the Gospel message to the people at the soup kitchen. Easier said than done. We talked to them informally and told them that we would be reading from the bible on the steps of the FNB bank. Well we had about three people pitch up who basically sat on the steps with their backs to us, slurping their soup, as we read alternating between English and Afrikaans from John’s Gospel chapter three. Talk about a captive audience! However God’s word never goes out with no return. One young guy was moved to ask for prayer for his drug problem and we ministered to him.
We went out again on the 21 February 2004. Again the we followed the same pattern as our first outing and this time I said to John that God was just telling us to walk slower and take more time with the people.
This time we had another tract to hand out, Your Most Important Relationship, in both English and Afrikaans as well as The Way to God. We had also received a stamp with the church’s contact details on it and we stamped all the tracts in preparation before we went out.
The first man we met told us what an important job we were doing (message from God) and told us his favourite bible story. We chatted to the security guards who remembered us from the first time around. We came across a wedding reception and congratulated and blessed the bride and the family. The groom was apparently waiting (hiding?!) inside the restaurant.
We met quite a few people who said they were Christians. One guy was studying the end times and we chatted a bit and encouraged him and I recommended some authors to him.
The street was surprisingly busy in spite of the fact that a really nasty south-easter wind was blowing and we spoke to just over a hundred people and handed out about 80 tracts.
A nasty incident was avoided when one young man decided he was going to pick a fight with some guys who had just passed him on the street. John overheard him and told him to leave it. I basically told John to stay out of it. I think I was praying in my heart and spirit (without realizing it) and then a police van pulled up (the cops just wanted to buy something to eat) and this stopped everybody from doing anything stupid.
We had some wonderful conversations and points of contact with people and again only about three or four total rejections. By the time we were finished on the street it was about 9pm. We then took some soup up to a homeless couple that lives under the stands of the Goodwood sports grounds. John has brought this couple to church twice now. There were also three parties going on there of various noise and intensity and we chatted to some of the folk who were standing outside smoking and drinking.
We don’t force ourselves on anybody we give everyone the option of saying no to the tracts and we say its for free. When we mention the word free this immediately gets peoples attention.
So far this has been a really exhilarating experience for both John and myself, we just step out in faith on a Saturday night and we know that it is God who is doing the work, Christ the redeemer is calling the lost, His Holy Spirit works through us and touches complete strangers. All we do is try our best to listen and be obedient to His Spirit within us. We are so grateful for this opportunity to do His will.


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