Meeting the community (Day 7)
The Huskies rose early and headed to the local park near the church to setup a community engagement table. There was a park run starting at 8, and we wanted to get there early to set up to have maximum visibility as people got ready to run. After the run, we chatted to people who were sitting near by and tried to engage them to fill in the “Jesus is ____” blackboard that we had on the table.
Once the runners moved on, we changed locations to be near the playground to engage with people as they were going on their morning walk or as they came with their kids to the playground. One of the parishioners bought clown balloons and watched a youtube video to learn how to turn them into toy poodles. She faithfully sat and made toy poodle after toy poodle, so that we could hand them out to the kids. It was a great day and many positive conversations were had with people in the community. The church members who came to serve were so encouraged that they want to try and do it regularly as a means of outreach and increasing the church’s presence!
Some conversations we had
One of the runners came with his daughter, and shared about how he didn’t believe in Jesus, but believed in the power of prayer. He had been struggling with alcoholism but when he prayed he felt released of that demon. He also shared about a time when he was homeless in the USA, and Christians welcomed him into their home and lent him one of their cars to get around. After they shared their “Jesus is ____” ideas, they asked how we would fill it. That gave a great opening for them to hear about how “Jesus is King”. The King who lovingly rules his people by serving them to the point of death. The King who empathises with the weaknesses of his people. The King who hears the pleas and requests, and generously answers his people. This got him thinking, and talking about C. S. Lewis. It was quite an encouraging conversation.
Another runner was an atheist and shared about how he thought “Jesus is for weak people”. He said he couldn’t believe in Jesus, because he got by in life because of his strong will and self-belief. He shared how spent four years of his life homeless in the Gold Coast when he was 17, and turned his life around because of his strong will. He was open to chat about Jesus, but didn’t think He was for him.
The first couple to approach the table was a Chinese couple who approached James and spoke to him in Mandarin. James, who only speaks Cantonese, quickly deferred to Mellisa who then communicated to them in fluent Mandarin and asked them a little about their lives. When she ran out of small talk, she quickly turned the conversation to Jesus. Their interest was piqued, but they had to depart with their tour group. So Mellisa took their WeChat details, and will send them 2 Ways to Live in Chinese for them to read!
Another couple who approached the table shared that they thought Jesus was real and necessary, but had some really negative experiences and trauma from churches in the past. The baggage they carried was very heavy, and this meant they even treated the Bible with a great deal of suspicion. One of the parishioners gave them a free copy of “Everyone loves a good comeback” by David Mansfield, in the hope that they would be willing to read that even though they would not read the Bible.
Later that day…
We spent the rest of the day resting! Since we didn’t have a full day of rest on Monday, we took a half day today. Our rest included going to an excellent little beach (a bit more secret but just as beautiful as Hyams Beach!), having dinner with some others in our wider mission group, and debriefing the week and praying with each other while writing thank you cards for our hosts and the minister.
For Your Prayers:
- Praise God for the enthusiasm of the church in this outreach opportunity
- Praise God for rest and joyful fellowship as a team
- Pray for the conversations we had, that these seeds will take root