Greetings to all you disciples of Jesus from around the world who check in on the work of AHKM, from your brothers and sisters in Otara. Just a short update of the last three months ... in short, it’s been war, and we’ve taken some hits:
· A couple of our disciples have chosen the broad way! The lusts of the flesh (2 Pet 2:18) and the cares of the world (Mark 4:19) proved more attractive than the way of the cross (Luk 9:23) for them.
· The favour we have enjoyed in the Otara area has dimmed somewhat. Although we were given a verbal OK by the new manager to continue our evangelism activity in the mall area, we were no longer given a written permission notice. No reasons given for these changes, probably just personal preference of the new manager. And buskers have been able to increase in number making it less appropriate for our open-air preaching in strategic spots.
· One of the street guys, who suffers from mental illness, and who was starting to be a bit more of a regular visitor to our services, and who was already showing less confusion as the truth of the Gospel was wiping his mind clean of the devil’s lies ... has been banned from being on the site of the campus where we hold our church services. His delusional activities of the past has made him an unacceptable risk to them.
· A couple of folk with whom we have been spending quite a bit of time, teaching them, showing them Biblical discipleship, have not shown a very lively response. And S. (the Muslim man mentioned in our last post), went suddenly distant, no longer seeking to us, and responding to our little contact with polite reserve.
But hey, Jesus had all His disciples abandon Him at one time or another. And His presence was not met with favour by the managers of His preferred preaching location – the temple area - nor by the residents of Gadara when He healed one of their seriously mentally ill countrymen! And He has taught us that those who follow Him must expect the same treatment.
So, we turn up the Holy Ghost heat!
We’ve handed out more than twice the number of Gospel tracts than we normally do in the same 3 month period.
A young (in the flesh) but mature (in the spirit) disciple was transferred from Gisborne to Otara to continue his discipleship here, and was appointed a Trainee Pastor shortly thereafter, to be further trained in ministry.
We selected two new preaching locations and have put more preachers on there this past 3 months than ever before in our ministry here.
We increased our evangelism time in Papatoetoe (next-door suburb) to every second week, and just recently have committed to having a team in both Otara and Papatoetoe every week!
We headed to the big smoke (Auckland City) on a cold and windy Friday night a couple of weeks back, along with our Manurewa fellow-soldiers, for an awesome time of talking with night people on busy Queen St.
And everywhere we go, we preach the Gospel, we heal the sick, we cast out devils ...
Quite a few hearts have been open to the Gospel, and have shown the beginning of repentance, but strangely the majority of those folk have been visitors (from out of town, and many of them from overseas).
We recently revisited the fast-food store where S. (see above) works, arriving just in time to catch him heading off home sick. We healed him showing him the power and love of Jesus.
We arrived in the Otara shopping mall area recently, to be greeted by the old manager who had shown us such favour. These managers are apparently only appointed for six-month terms under some arrangement with the government, as part of some job-creation scheme (we think). But for some reason, the latest manager, who had proven somewhat cool toward us, has resigned! Odd that! And even odder is the re-appointment of the previous manager who had treated us most kindly: Thank you Jesus! And he encouraged us to return to preaching in the mall, even telling us they have moved the busker on! (This manager is NOT a Christian.)
And, after returning to the world for a bit, and experiencing again what it has to offer – death – one of the backsliders has returned! The mercies of the Lord are new every morning! (Lam 3:22-23)
Rev Tom Hockley