Well, how did I go with the self imposed evangelism task? I am sure you want to know… ‘2 hour evangelism task’OK, here is a run-down of how it went ::
I went to drop off the car an guess what? There were only a couple of tracts in the car I was sure the car was loaded with tracts before I left. “Ahh“, I cried to myself, “how am I going to do ‘Cold Evangelism’ without a tract to get it going?” “Loser” I said to myself, “that will teach you to leave things to the last minute.” All I could do was dream about the stack of million dollar tracts sitting on our bookshelf at home.
After dropping of the car and not witnessing to the dude at the tinting place I walked along the street into the city (why didn’t I try it with the car guy? He just seemed too busy (is that a wimpy excuse?)) I found myself looking at everyone in the eye as I passed them thinking to myself, “how can I get them to stop and have a chat?” My answer was that I couldn’t really do much about it – I would have to wait till I find someone with time on their hands – so I could start up the conversation.
OK, first stop Gloria Jeans for a coffee. While waiting for my Berry-Vanilla Latte I scanned the customers and decided to try witnessing to a guy wearing black (possibly a department store uniform) who wore a silver tie and a black zip up jacket. He was by himself sipping away his time:
“How’s it going,” I inquired?
“Good” he replied in a nervous tone.
Now our conversation was destined to become very anxious. I started to pick up on his emotional state and it started to overpower my voice as I spoke.
“Are you a regular customer,” I asked?
“Yeah, I come here every morning”
Now at this point I could have built up the conversation/relationship more soundly, but he was giving me a highly suspicious vibe, so I decided to leap into the spiritual (in hindsight, not a good idea – maybe??) Some of the questions I could have asked were “what is the best designer coffee they sell?”, “Do they give you a discount?”, etc. but I just wasn’t that quick at the time.
I was increasing in my nervousness for another reason. This guy was giving of a lot of gay signals. His voice turned out to be very camp and just everything about him yelled GAY!!! I am not homophobic; homosexuality is another sin that will take us to hell, along with every other sin. But my increasing nervousness was only pampered to by each of the thoughts running in my head such as: “It looks like you are trying to pick up on this guy by sitting down next to him and starting a conversation.” These thoughts didn’t help. I ended up going for it very early on…
“What do you think happens when you die?”
“I don’t know, just nothing. I don’t think about it at all.”
“Well it’s the ultimate statistic, 10 out of 10 people die”
“Yeah I suppose.”
“Would you say that you’re a good person?”
“Do you mind if I ask you a few questions to see if that’s true?”
…I was saying all the right stuff but for some reason we were both ridiculously nervous in our questions and answers. This goes to show the need for a display of confidence – it helps the other person relax.
Well we went through lying and stealing and I got him to admit to both. I got to the lust question…
“Jesus said that if you have ever looked at someone with lust that you have committed adultery with them in your heart. Have you ever looked with lust.” (notice I said “someone” instead of another woman)
“I’m sorry but I have to go” he replied, and as fast as a fish darting through the water he scooted up out of his seat and fled elsewhere.
OK – was that a success? Let me know what you think in a comment….
Well I wasn’t too pumped about the whole cold evangelism thing after that. I especially regretted not giving him one of the few tracts I had at the start of the conversation. I went into an open book store and checked out their books. I was amazed at the quantity of new-age books lining their shelves – a typical ‘secular’ bookstore. There was even one title You are their heaven: why the dead will never leave you. What will spiritual gurus invent next. I think if was in some way connected to the Medium TV show. I just goes to show that people will make up any religion they want and be able to sell it. Why does this stuff sell? Its all about YOU! Yes you are God. You are the centre of the universe. People love this self glorifying garbage and will pay to get it. (I didn’t lift up the book and check it out, but I think one can judge a book by its cover pretty well.)
After my retail therapy (for which I was worse off) I wandered through the mall, walking past people who were standing waiting to go into shops (it was 8:45am). Some guy was sitting down on a mall bench and I went and stood next to him. I introduced myself to him and engaged in a small amount of chit-chat. He was giving me some very suspicious looks through his sunglasses and I went straight to explaining why I had approached him for a conversation.
“I was wondering if you would like to talk about spiritual stuff.”
“No, not at all” was his reply.
Well from there, instead of moving on I stayed and engaged in some more chit-chat. Well it turned out that we have a very enjoyable natural conversation for 10 minutes. We had a lot in common. He talked about his wife who taught at a Catholic school and the whole Catholic church wedding thing from last century (It was taboo for Catholic/non-Catholic weddings to take place). He told me his stories. I listened and responded. I was thinking that I should somehow try and take him through the ‘good test’ but I just didn’t want to after his stern resistance earlier in the conversation. Well, in hindsight, I should have at least had a go.
Conversations happen so fast, but we have time to think of a million other things and make decisions all the time; we can um and ah about bringing in the gospel and end up defeating ourselves. I think what I have learned from this encounter is that if I am in doubt I should go for it. There is nothing to lose for me and everything to gain for the other person(s).
Well after that man, I decided to have a break and do a bit more looking in shops. Here ended my evangelism exploits. I gave out my one million dollar bill to one retail assistant when I purchased some literacy books for my English Teaching, but beyond that I never really did much more evangelism. In hindsight I did wast time and perhaps I did shrink back by choosing to look in the shops instead of being more active.
Summary: Well, I do think that God did answer prayer as I was able to do some cold evangelism (I must come up with a more positive name for this type of evangelism – perhaps its street evangelism???) with complete strangers. I think I could have done more with my time and made a few more opportunities, but at least I did have a go, which is more than I have done in the last few months.
Thanks if you could pray for the two nameless guys and the lady I gave the tract. Please pray also for courage and wisdom for me from the Lord.