World Cup Outreach ~ Willem’s Report

Here is a praise report filed by Brother Willem Pretorius who laboured in our Lord’s harvest in the Gauteng and North West Provinces:

From 17-29 June I and friends from the USA (Bill Adams, Tim Crawford and Jason Karroll) as well as friends from SA (Gary Crous and Vincent Piater) went out to engage the soccer fans by means of Open Air preaching, handing out of gospel literature and witnessing 1-on-1.

I did not bargain on it being so intensive, especially being somewhat of an introvert.  There is a danger of hiding behind being introvertive and if it were not for Grace, and the encouragement from my friends, I probably would not even have turned up for the outreach.  I don’t think Bungee-jumping and skydiving comes close to the anxiety and adrenaline rush that comes from open air preaching to hardcore soccer fans on their way to watch a game.

The above mentioned group of evangelists would meet each day in the morning for devotion and prayer before we set out to evangelise at one of the soccer stadiums, which included Soccer city and Ellis Park (Johannesburg), the Royal Bafokeng stadium (Rustenburg) and Loftus (Pretoria).  On one occasion, we were unable to get to the Rustenburg stadium and ended up witnessing the day at a local street market.  This ended up being a very fruitful day, with lots of open air preaching and evangelism.  The people at the street market were very attentive and eager for gospel tracts.

Willem Pretorius handing out Gospel tracts at the Rustenburg market

On another occasion my newfound friend Jason was busy open air preaching, when I approached a Afrikaans speaking lady with a gospel tract.  She said that what Jason was doing was offensive to her and that a lot of the Chile fans who got off the bus had negative reactions to what he was doing. She said it would have been better if the people were sitting around him in an orderly manner.  I did not argue with her and simply stated that Jesus did something similar and that I was sorry, but that in a few minutes I would offend her as well, since I was also going to open air preach.  This incident is somewhat sad, since she said that she is also a Christian.

On the same occasion that we were evangelising at Loftus I was using Jason’s amplifier when the power gave out mid sentence; it was then that I noticed people looking and listening and let it rip with my own voice, basically without breaking a verbal-stride.  Even so, I know enough of myself in terms of public speaking not to glory in my open air preaching.  Like the Apostle Paul, there was no excellence of speech; I simply read out of the Bible and expounded here and there on the text. I would for example say that thieves don’t seek out the police when I got to for example Ps.10:4 and also that when soccer players break the rules they get a penalty and similarly if we break God’s rules, the Ten Commandments, we also get a penalty and unless we repent and put our trust in Him, the penalty is eternity in Hell.

At Loftus we were urged to move out of a Fifa restricted zone by the police and a Fifa lawyer.  Tim got to witness to the police officer and I think Jason got to do the same with the Fifa lawyer.  On our last day our relationship with the Fifa lawyer and police were such that we even got to take a picture with the lawyer.  When the authorities asked us to move, we complied and still got to witness to a lot of people, proving that you don’t have to get into a verbal fist-fight to evangelise.

Willem Pretorius interviewing soccer fans

Another first for me was, when I got to interview a few fans on their way to the game, asking them a few questions regarding eternity and going through the Good Person Test, which uses the Ten Commandments as the ultimate test of goodness. 

Each one on the evangelism team had their own personality and way of doing, which over the course of almost two weeks, provided ample opportunities of friction between us, especially when we tended to get lost on our way to stadiums.  Even so, with prayer and fellowship, we might even have grown closer and worked better, in spite of and even because of our differences.  Here 2 Tim.2:22 comes to mind, “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”  I appreciated my friends and even more now that they are gone, since where I am from, there are hardly any including so-called Christians who evangelise.  I thank Jason, Bill, Tim, Vincent, Gary and even our hosts (Michael and Natalie Rogers; Ruth and Grenville Phillips) for their witness, hard work and the time we could spend together.  I look forward in doing the same at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand next year, but pray that my evangelism efforts won’t be restricted to major sporting events only.

I am a teacher and went to the Soccer outreach during the school holidays and can now honestly say that my holiday was not wasted.  I pray the same can be said for the rest of my life.  Sometimes life is like soccer – no real direction, a lot of noise and pretenders.  Unfortunately the same can be said for much of what passes for Christianity today.  I have been guilty of this for too much in my life and pray God would use past, present and future to His Glory.  How about you?  If you are a Christian, how are you being obedient to Matt.28:18-20 and Mark 16:15?  If you are not a Christian, what will be the most important thing the day you die – Who won the 2010 Soccer Worldcup? How much money you have? or WHERE YOU WILL SPEND ETERNTIY?

— ooo —

The Score Board


Friday July 2

A : Netherlands 2 vs. Brazil 1 ~ Port Elizabeth

B : Uruguay 1 (1) vs. Ghana 1 (1) a.e.t. [4-2 penalties] ~ Soccer City, Johannesburg

Saturday July 3

C : Argentina 0 vs. Germany 4 ~ Cape Town

D : Paraguay 0 vs. Spain 1 ~ Ellis Park, Johannesburg

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