Today marked the beginning of our 10 weeks of summer evangelism! Ewan lead four of us in some street evangelism at U of T. We started our time in 2 Timothy 2 and prayer. It was great to be reminded that “the word of God is not bound!” (2 Tim 2:9).
Arthur (who came with us) and I approached a number of people. I was surprised by the number of people who did not want to talk; I had heard that campus evangelism was more ripe for this stuff … maybe it had something to do with the crazy hot weather. Even so, the Lord provided 3 meaningful conversations that I’ll briefly recap.
I approached a young man on a bench. He was kind enough to let me sit down and chat with him for a while about Jesus Christ and the way of salvation. Though friendly, he wasn’t very talkative. It was tough to discern his interest level. When I paused to ask him questions and learn his thoughts he was rather silent. Who knows the way the Lord’ll use the word. I gave him 2 Ways to Live to read.
The next conversation we had lasted a long time. We talked to a retired teacher passionate about socialism. Very friendly, but yes, quite zealous for socialism; he was out on the streets selling socialist literature (stuff on Marxism and Darwinism). I told him that I’d like to study more politics, but that I study theology and religion. I asked him about his thoughts on God. He told me he was an atheist. This lead to a long discussion about the existence of God, creation vs. evolution, sin, the nature of man, the problem with our world, God’s hatred of evil, Jesus Christ and his salvific work, judgement, morality, presuppositions and even more!
At some point in our conversation, he mentioned that his daughter is a Christian. He told me about her and her husband’s beliefs (which he learned through their conversations with him). I thought, “this man has been prayed for a lot; though he seems so lost and so certain of his atheism, I must seek by God’s grace to speak the truth in love for as long as he allows.”
At the end of our long conversation I had to tell him that he is suppressing the truth about God is unrighteousness (Rom 1). I’m not sure if he really understood what I meant, for he shook my hand and seemed very thankful for the exchange.
I approached another young man sitting under a tree. He was friendly and allowed me to sit and chat. He was visiting from China, told me he had adopted his atheism from his parents and pretty much told me that he didn’t really care about anything else. I tried to engage with him from a number of angles, but he wouldn’t bite at anything; I wanted an actual conversation! Eventually I told him, ” Imagine that it’s all true? That there is a God; He’s real and we are all rebels not wanting to follow him, but that judgement comes and the only way to receive forgiveness for your sins is by Jesus?” He replied, “I don’t have a good imagination.” I was silent for about 15-20 seconds, sitting there is utter awkwardness. I thanked him for the time, gave him the 2 Ways to Live tract and journeyed on.
And how do I feel at the end of the day? Humbled. I wish I would have said this and I wish I would have said that … yes, my mind goes on. I should have prayed more before hand. I should have approached more people; I was shying away from potential opportunities. I should have … I should have … I should have … I should stop thinking about so many should have’s!
What I must remember is that God is good and he uses initiative evangelism; our labour is not in vain. His Gospel is not bound; who knows what it’s doing in their hearts right now! Reasoning with people with gentleness and respect is powerful. May the Lord cause His word to increase and may the number of disciples multiply greatly!
Please pray for us today. We hit Don Mills and Lawrence this afternoon.