In May 2022 I decided to spend two weeks in the North Island. I had been feeling a bit stale and lazy in my walk with God and needed a rev up. I decided to set aside two weeks to be intentional about talking to people about the kingdom of God. I told people I was going on a short term overseas mission trip… to the North Island!
Leading up to the trip I felt like it was important to follow Jesus’ instructions when he sent out his disciples as closely as possible. I pondered Luke 10 and was immediately struck by the first verse.
“After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.”
He sent his disciples out in pairs. For most of my evangelism I have done it on my own. There have been occasions when I was working with someone else but they were rare. Generally in those situations, I have found it far more effective than being out by myself.
After realising this, I thought about who would be willing and able to go with me for two weeks. One person sprung to mind. My friend Mike, who is now living in the Bay of Islands. He gave up his job and his house to preach the gospel full time. I messaged him and told him my plans. His response was right to the point, “Let’s do it.”
We had an amazing time and it would take too long to mention everything that happened. Here are three highlights:
1. Plane Ride
On the plane trip from Christchurch to Auckland I struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to me. He said he was an investment fund manager from Sydney. He was doing a lot of travelling to visit clients all over the world after a lot of borders had re-opened. In the last month he had travelled to Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and now New Zealand. I asked him if I could pray for him for anything. He didn’t want anything for himself but asked me to pray for peace in Ukraine. I mentioned to him that this all might be signs of the end of times and that the best thing people could could do is get right with God. I also mentioned how there are prophecy’s about this kind of thing in the Bible. I encouraged him to read the book of Revelation.
This conversation was not dramatic in any sense and he didn’t fall to his knees and repent. It was a highlight for though because I started a conversation with a stranger and steered it to spiritual matters. Then I left him with a challenge. It is something I had done a lot of in the past but hadn’t done for a long period of time. It felt good to be effective again!
2. Street Work
After meeting up with Mike he told me about a couple in Howick who were keen to know how to share the gospel and see people healed in Jesus’ name. We met up with N & L and spent some time hearing their story. They had both lost their jobs recently and were using their spare time watching videos about people sharing the gospel on the streets and learning about the power of Jesus to heal people today. Anytime they see a sick person they have compassion and pray for that person from where they are. They had never physically laid hands on anyone to be healed yet. N also mentioned that he often has nightmares.
The first thing we did was to explain Jesus’ nature in regards to freedom to make sure they experienced freedom themselves. We also laid hands on them to kick out any demons and make sure they were filled with the Holy Spirit. We prayed for N first and he started manifesting shortly after we commanded freedom over him. After a few minutes Mike said that he actually saw a spirit go. He also started speaking in tongues. We heard from him the next day that he didn’t have any more nightmares after that. We also prayed for L and she mentioned she was finding it difficult when people hurt her. I encouraged her to forgive the people and pray a blessing for them. We prayed freedom over her and she started weeping.
After this we went out went looking for people to share Jesus with. I paired up with N and Mike paired up with L as we walked along Bucklands Beach. I approached five or six people and asked if there was any sickness or pain we could pray for healing for. None of the people had any sickness but we did have a good chat with two men after I explained what we were doing. Both of them were non-believers but were starting to recognise the goodness of God. We watered that seed as best we could by explaining that Jesus is the only way to God.
I asked N as we walked along whether he liked how I approached people. He said I made it look so natural and easy. I asked whether he could do it and he said he thought he could. We approached a group of three ladies and I asked him whether he would approach them. He said, “No, I’m not ready for that.” So I approached them and one of the ladies mentioned she had sinus issues. I got N to pray for her healing and she noticed a slight improvement. It wasn’t anything dramatic but it was still encouraging for N to see. We talked to talk to the ladies about Jesus. The two younger ladies were interested in a conversation but the older one just glared at us. It turns out the three ladies were Muslims and the older one was the Mother of the other two. She was not happy with our message so we couldn’t talk for very long.
This was a great opportunity for N to pray for healing for a random stranger. I pray that this will encourage him to be bold to attempt this with others.
A lady who is part of our online fellowship (C) had been considering being baptised in water again. Mike and I met up with her to determine whether she should be. We certainly don’t advocate multiple baptisms if people just need to be more disciplined in their walk with God. We do, however encourage people to get baptised properly. Some people have been ‘baptised’ as infants or just got baptised because all their friends were doing it. Neither of those are Biblical reasons. Baptism is two things. It is a bath and a burial. A bath to wash away your sins and a burial of the old life. It can only follow repentance. If there is no repentance, the old life is still alive and so can’t be buried. Anyone getting ‘baptised’ without repentance is only getting wet.
It turns out this was exactly the case for C. She had got wet twice already. Both times she was simply following her friends but didn’t understand what she was doing. God had been speaking to her and urging her to be baptised properly.
We took her to Mairangi Bay and baptised her there. We prayed for freedom for her afterwards and she manifested a demon. She was screaming in a loud voice and I was worried what other people might be thinking. We kept praying for her as her freedom was more important. After around five minutes she was set free and felt amazing peace.
This was an amazing opportunity to help a young lady experience freedom as she responded to God’s promptings.
Ordered by the Lord
Overall I could sum this trip up as ‘ordered by the Lord’. In both senses of the word. It felt like God was ordering me back into the harvest so I could get back in the battle. It was also ordered in the sense that the timing of events seemed to be ‘just right’. Many times I would go to meet up with someone and when I arrived they would say, ‘I just finished what I was doing so it’s really good timing when you came.’
I also got to meet friends in Auckland, visit my parents and also go fishing.
Now that my eyes have been lifted up to the ripe harvest, I will continue to look for opportunities near my hometown to share the gospel at all times. As 2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”
In season means if there is an opportunity, you take it.
Out of season means if there is no opportunity, you make it.