Brisbane South Bank Street Ministry Update and Appeal
Here following is an update of our experiences on the 3rd of March
My friend Mark and I decided to cancel the previous week’s outreach due to the weather report predicting all-day rain. And rain it did. Although they predicted overcast weather and partly showery weather again for last Sabbath, Mark and I decided not to be deterred but to go in.
Fortunately Mark had brought a plastic tarp so we could cover the books in case of rain, which was good because the rain came down around midday for an hour or so.
We prayed that it would clear up and, well, you could say it was coincidence, but the Lord never fails us does He? Praise Father, I am glad we held in there and endured the wet because we had some good contacts afterwards as it eased off!
Here are a few of the highlights.
Richard: A tall distinguished looking gentleman came along to see what it was all about.
When I asked Richard about himself he told me he was supporting his family, mostly his mother who is Italian descent and moved back to Italy to settle back into the culture she is most accustomed to and part of her. Richard mentioned he teaches children different kinds of musical instruments in four Brisbane state schools. He was brought up a Catholic but no longer attends that church, yet he said that he is in the place for really searching for significance and a deeper spiritual walk. I shared a thing or two about the identity concepts such as true value, purpose, selfless love etc. contrasting that with the popular self-centered paradigm that drives many cultures – particularly Australia. And praise the Father, by the grace of God and impressions of the Holy Spirit, that both enabled me to be able to clearly communicate that which was on my heart, and I guess speak to his, I could see he was understanding and seemed to be pondering and taking into his cognition what I was sharing …… the rest was easy! I reached for a DVD and a few little bits and pieces of our “standard” resources and kept the best for last – The Great Controversy! The later of which he said, “Yeah, I’ll make a dent in that book”! After half an hour or so, I offered to pray a blessing upon Richard and he was happy for that so we bowed in the presence of the Father in prayer. Pray for this dear man and that the Father, Son and their Holy Spirit would guide him into all truth and bless and protect him from the “voice of the stranger,” false doctrines and distractions from the enemy.
William and Dillon: William and his friend approached us just after the rain. They appeared to be of Chinese descent (guessing) and in their mid thirties. (I want to say at this point, sometimes when someone comes a long and pauses and scans our setup, you really just don’t know what they are thinking – negative or positive, skeptical, indifferent or inquisitive, closed or open. At first you really don’t know what’s going on through their head. But it usually doesn’t take long, especially if your good at reading body language, before you can really ascertain what their main purpose and intent for coming to you is, and what approach would likely be best to take with them. I suppose plain old experience combined with the guidance and influence of the Holy Spirit also really helps. I find the more I submit to God and rest in His Spirit and not listen to the enemy’s suggestions, or occasional feelings of inadequacy, failure and doubt, the easier and more flowing my conversations with people (strangers really) becomes, and generally the outcomes prove more successful. When you are engaged in humbling work like this it’s sometimes simply a matter of asking and expecting God to give you boldness and reminding yourself of the freedom you NOW have to express what you/we KNOW is liberating truth!!! There’s nothing in the truths we believe so dearly that we need to hide or be ashamed of!)
Anyway, back to Dillon and his friend William. William was the more talkative and enquiring one, although his friend seemed open to. I asked William what he does and he told me he was an English teacher. I thought to myself, since this guy is so keen and drawn to our resources, he will surely make the time to do a bit of reading!!!! We gave him Bible, the Desire of Ages and The great Controversy and I think some smaller icebreaker stuff. He was so captivated by these new, strange and wonderful concepts about God and His Son that it seemed he had never really pondered before that he even asked us if we would like him to join us in the work! I was a little taken back and surprised by that and just about to say “yes, we’d love you to” when I held back a little and thought maybe I better say, which I did: “That’s great William, but I tell you what, read through the books first, see how you feel about it then and if the Father God impresses your heart to come and join us, you will be welcome” (I’d at least give him a go). He went away with his friend smiling and overjoyed with their new discovery of truth and the kind of paperback treasure chests I believe they will dig into!!! Pray that the seeds of truth and righteousness will take root and grow in William and Dillon’s hearts.
Anthony: Anthony was a friendly Indian gentleman who told me right from the beginning he was a Christian and he seemed not ashamed of his faith. After a couple of minutes I could tell the Holy Spirit was working on his heart and prompting him to enquire for more truth. For him I thought Christ’s Object Lessons and of course The Great Controversy would best be suited for him, and as I have mentioned, we almost always throw in a DVD of some kind, a card with a contact and maybe something else small, light and catchy.
The last person I will mention is Lachlan.
Lachlan: Lachlan I guess was a young Uni. student in his mid-late twenties, longish hair, yet quite respectful, communicative and levelheaded and open to truth. One of the laminated images must have caught his eye because the moment he approached our area and I turned around and connected with him, his first words were: “Do you have anything on the scarlet colored woman?” That sort of came from left field, but I did not hesitate or beat around the bush but said: “Yes, absolutely we do”, and I went to grab a Great Controversy. And at the same time, rather than just offering him the book and saying: “Here you go, bye Lachlan, have a great day”, I have learned over the years to make the most of every opportunity (“divine appointment”) and whenever possible, drag it out longer with people and initiate some conversation that hopefully by God’s grace will leave a lasting impression on them.
So, anyway, I had a wonderful 30-40 minute chat with Lachlan about a whole range of topics I could sense he was interested in, carefully assessing his reaction and facial expression whenever I’d introduce another concept of truth. You learn to be very tactful in this kind of ministry and I try to only go as fast and far as people can handle in order for them to catch on and I repeat, clarify, and reinforce key points and kingdom/life-principles they can understand. Even though this guy was mildly unsure and skeptical at some points (many people naturally have objections at first, which we need to interpret as their way of saying “tell me more”, or “I can see what you are saying, but …… I’m not quite convinced yet”) he was quite smart and intuitive so I thought I could communicate a little more end-time “New World Order” concepts with him than I normally would with others. And, I had reason to. I needed to keep in view his initial religio-political couched question.
Nearing the end of our conversation Lachlan asked me: How do you know all this stuff about God is true? Wasn’t the Bible just written by old sages with biases putting their own spin on things? (Now I want to digress for moment and say here, years ago I would have been a little intimidated and put off balance by this kind of question and I would have felt a little discouraged. However, two things happened after my response to Lachlan that CLEARLY told me his apparent (tell me more) “objection” was not an intended REAL objection or an unsettling disclaimer at all!!!! This is very important lesson to learn when we share truth with folks – we need to read between the lines. We need to learn not to be put off by these things because if we are, we can loose golden opportunities to reach their heart. And sometimes objections are posed to test you out. The objector/healthy questioner is thinking “If these guys are for real, and if what they believe in REALLY means anything to them, then they won’t be rattled by what I am about to say but will give me a clear decided answer”)
Firstly I knew Lachlan’s objection was a healthy one by the fact that when I told him WHY I know all this God/Bible-stuff …….is true is because of the peace, love meaning, purpose and transformation God has miraculously worked in me heart. I could tell by his deportment and the expression on his face that he was convicted and moved by what I said, even though deep down I knew his reaction to my testimony might be make or break with him. Secondly, the fact that he asked a couple of questions about Bible characters (Job etc.) and their experiences, and that he actually wanted and requested a Bible told me he was for real! In fact he ended up wanting the Bible more than The Great Controversy with the info in it about “the scarlet colored woman”!!! I thought that’s cool, yet I still wanted him to take the Great Controversy. So with a little bit of very careful calculated persuasion, ultimately honoring his final decision and free will to accept or not accept, which I knew could go either way, he ended up taking both! This brought joy to my heart. (Satan knows what is in the Great Controversy and he will do all in his power to try and prevent people from obtaining a copy. Please add dear Lachlan to your prayer list.)
These are a few of the highlights for the on and off rainy Brisy day that was worth getting a little wet for!!!
There is one more thing that I need to put forth. We are very impressed with Jonathan Otto’s “Luminesce” DVD that we both viewed recently. (Another friend of mine was very impressed with it also). Jonathan is a very gifted filmmaker. He makes short punchy films with powerful emotive messages underpinned with deep Father-Son life-source principles. We believe his Luminesce DVD would be an excellent standard all rounder to freely circulate in our ministry. As an icebreaker it is confronting, yet not offensive, “user friendly” yet not wish washy, “culturally relevant” yet uncompromising and principled, and we feel would be appealing to a large segment of the non-churched Aussie culture. It is presented in an informal style that presents actors playing out “everyday people” we all identify with, the facades they wear, the things they/we do in a vain attempt to overcome their feelings of worthlessness and satisfy their inner longing and deepest craving for true unconditional love.
Jonathan’s DVD cleverly shows how that many people in today’s culture mistakenly believe success, happiness and fulfillment comes from their achievements and gaining the attention and admiration of others and how this skewed unhealthy focus commonly contributes to depression and a sense of despair and failure. So young Jonathan Otto contrasts this paradigm with the paradigm of God’s kingdom showing in reality one’s core needs (agape, and the exercise of an outward focused other-centered love, true identity-rediscovery, a sense of spiritual, family and social purpose and belonging are the real things that bring emotional wholeness and fulfillment.
I have visited USA on three different occasions and I have noticed one can speak about God and religious themes far more easily and freely than one can in Australia. This has been true especially over the last decade or so. So that’s why some of us have experimented and opted for decidedly different methods here yet with the same end in mind (getting undiluted truth into people’s hands and homes!!!)
When the Lord provides we will be able to purchase further quantities of quality blank DVDs, and arrange for some new catchy and attractive signage.
We are ok with books at the moment and we have a loan of a DVD stacker burner.
May the Father bless you all and thank you for your continued prayer for this ministry and our contacts.
If you would like to directly support this street ministry you can make donations via Maranatha Media. Just indicate via email that it is for "Street Ministry." thanks.