Friday, 16 November 2007

Worrying encounters with overzealous evangelists - ST Forum (16 Nov 2007)

AFTER the third time meeting evangelists at bus stops, buses and trains over a period of a few months, I decided to write this letter.

The first time was at a bus stop in Pasir Panjang, another time was in a East-West train, and the third time in a crowded bus in Bukit Timah Road. I notice that they always work in pairs, neatly-dressed and wearing a name-tag.

If I stood near one of them, or if I were sitting, one of them would sit beside me, and start a friendly chat (Where are you going? The weather is a bit hot, isn't it?, etc). I also noticed how they would chat with other, usually English-educated, locals, and after a while would either give the obliging listeners their card or take down their addresses (obviously to visit them for further evangelising).

Having experienced decades of such evangelising, and as a practising Buddhist, I immediately recognised them and told them I am not interested to chat. The reason is simply it will always be a dead-end 'sinful' talk which would benefit neither side.

On two occasions, however, the evangelists were somewhat overzealous.

After I said 'No', he continued to prod: 'You must be a Buddhist...' Only after repeatedly telling him, to my great embarrassment, that I do not wish to carry on the conversation, did he stop. However, on another occasion, the evangelist started with a 'Hello', and when I said that I am not interested in chatting at all, he curtly remarked: 'You must be deeply hurt inside!'

I simply remained silent, and when the train reached my destination, I alighted with a great sense of relief.

However, I do somewhat wonder about those others who are obliging to talk to such strangers, or submissive, not knowing what would transpire.

My advice: If you are approached by these evangelists (or any evangelist): simply say 'No' and just walk away.

Piya Tan Beng Sin

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At Sun Nov 25, 12:54:00 am 2007 , Anonymous Weide said...

wonder could the "evangelists" be Mormons? think only they wear name tags...i hardly encounter any orthodox christians practicing street evangelism these days...

At Sun Nov 25, 01:36:00 am 2007 , Blogger Timothy P said...

Yes, I would also think most likely they would be Mormons, rather than Christians. I myself have encountered a few, always in pairs, always young clean-cut American guys. Seen before at Paya Lebar MRT / S'pore Post Centre area.

You have to admire their perseverance and commitment to reach out to strangers though.

At Sun Nov 25, 01:38:00 am 2007 , Blogger Tee Suwit L. said...

Well....i'm sure this people he talked about are in pair, dress so nice with name tag... =p

It's true that u hardly met any christian doing street Evangelism here in S'pore. But they still some who are faithfully doing it without being so aggressive and offending people. At least I know some of my friends doing it.

Let's do what Jesus told us to do!


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