Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
"They searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so". Acts 17.11.
The reading of the scriptures is a vital and necessary business. Its necessity is the more highlighted because of the lack of general reading today. It was good to have the news of the Christian wife, who read the scriptures daily with her unsaved partner. He was eventually led to the Lord to the joy of all concerned. There is a precious value in such consistent reading and the blessing of God is on it. Let us see to it that we put the scriptures into the hands of as many as we can. Having done that, we can with Philip of old, from those same scriptures, preach unto them Jesus.
Northern Ireland. Activities in the spread of the gospel continue in the North and Jim Graham sends us this report. It is good to hear that the Lord is blessing the Word as it is spoken. At CARNCUL-LAGH, near Ballycastle, meetings conducted by E. Wishart and A. McLean ended with a number coming to Christ. Blessing was seen at BUSHMILLS, as S. Ferguson and N. Turkington conducted meetings. G. Marshall and A. Davidson held meetings in a portable hall at WOOD-VIEW T. McNeill conducted an effort in a believer's home at CORMEEN. Some gospel meetings were conducted in the Gospel Hall in ARMAGH CITY by T. Wright and H. Wilson, (both missionaries from Brazil). In a six weeks series of gospel meetings conducted at BALLYOOLEY, near Banbridge by J. Noble (Canada) and E. McCullough (U.S.A.), there were some who came to know Christ as Saviour. At Ebenezer Hall, BANGOR, A. McShane and J. Hawthorne saw large numbers coming in to the meetings, and many unsaved heard the gospel preached. R. McKeoan and L. Carswell saw a good number of unsaved gather at COOKSTOWN. There has been blessing in the BELFAST area. A number were saved at BALLYDUFF where T. Meekin preached the gospel. In a portable hall at PARKGATE assembly, Connisbrook Avenue, S. Naze and D. Armstrong preached, and had the joy of seeing some come to Christ. One of these was 87 years old, and two were in their 60's. There were a good number of local people in at LIMAVADY, and S. McBride and J. Thompson preached the gospel faithfully. Good interest was seen by D. Kane and U. Usher at Magherafelt. "At OMAGH, J. Hutchinson and A. Aiken had the joy of seeing souls saved. Also, good numbers gathered at BALLYMAGARRICK, near Lisburn, where they preached the Word. R. Pickering and H. Andrews preached at BALLYWILLWILL, near Newcastle, and good interest was seen by J. Kells and E. Steward at LISBELLAW. The Belfast Christmas Conference, held at King's Hall, BALLMORAL, was well attended. Ministry was given by G. Waugh and D. Kane on the Epistle to Titus. Bible Readings on Hebrews 12-13 were conducted by P. Harding, D. Kane and J. Hawthorne.
News comes again from Edward Jaminson concerning hospital visitation in BELFAST hospitals. A regular visitation, both to Christians and non-Christians is made at the Royal Victoria Hospital. A happy note is struck by news of a man who was saved in hospital in 1983. He is now suffering from a serious blood condition but his bright behaviour in the Lord is marked, and he was so much better that he was able to leave hospital before Christmas. There are contacts which are difficult, such as a young man who is pleasant to talk with but shows no inclination to trust the Saviour. And there is the man who is handicapped and had an accident recently in which he suffered severe burns. Contact has been made and it is hoped that he will be led to Christ. Members of the police and prison service are visited in all the BELFAST hospitals. They give opportunity for many contacts. A man has been contacted who trusted the Saviour many years ago. He is paralysed in both legs but shows signs of improvement. Both spiritually and physically he needs prayer. Contact was made with a man who was given just four days to live. He has a serious blood condition, but has improved wonderfully and is now out of hospital. He so much needs the Lord. This work is difficult and demanding, both emotionally and spiritually. Let us pray for those who visit the hospitals of our land.
Northern Scotland. Robert Eyres sends us brief but good news from this region. The Lord is working! Local brethren at LOSSIEMOUTH were encouraged as a Roman Catholic girl of 21 trusted Christ. Interest was shown in her need, outside of the meetings. She now comes along to the gospel meetings, and shows a keen interest in the Bible Readings. Another girl in her teens has also been saved. The work in her was the result of several links in a chain of contacts. At DINGWALL also, a girl has been saved as the result of the testimony of others and the preaching of the gospel. The wife of a brother at CULLEN was recently saved and a boy of 11 was also saved. Here is cause for rejoicing. Frank Reed continues his labours, and was due to visit KIRK-WALL, Orkney in February.
Southern Scotland. The Lord continues to bless the work at BISHOPBRIGGS. After a successful mission, held some time ago, Mr. John Spiers spent a week-end there and had the joy of seeing another three people come to Christ. There is news of a number of baptisms around LANARKSHIRE. One assembly rejoiced in baptising 40 believers during 1984. In MOTHERWELL there are a number of high-rise tower fiats, which house many families within them. Two assemblies in the town carry on gospel meetings in the Communal Room and they meet with a favourable response. Folks join in the meetings who would not come in to a gospel hall. It is good to hear of such contacts. There were a number of New Year Conferences, and these were well attended. It was remarked that more seemed to gather on these occasions than were attending seven or eight years ago.
North West England. The news from this area is faithfully sent in by Gerald Bourne, 6 North Drive, Audenshaw, Manchester M34 5RU. Reports on assembly work will be welcome. The assembly at LATCHFORD, Warrington, commemorated its 50 years of testimony with a Gospel Campaign conducted by Jim Smyth. The seasons of thanksgiving ended on November 1st., with a series of ministry meetings conducted by Jack Hunter on the Epistle of James. All the meetings were well supported, and it was particularly encouraging for believers to enjoy fellowship with friends from a wide area. The help given by Jack Hunter was appreciated and benefit was undoubtedly derived from the challenge which came through the Word.
One week's special Children's Meetings were conducted by B. Deen at DARWEN, Lanes. Good interest and attendances were seen, and at the end of the meetings three girls and a boy professed faith in Christ. Ministry' on Prophetic subjects was given by Cyril Hocking, at Victoria Hall, BLACKBURN. The good support given by nearby assemblies helped to make this an excellent and profitable week. A Gospel Campaign was conducted by J. Baker, in Woodbrook Chapel, LITTLE HULTON, Lanes., for about two weeks. Good work was done in visitation and strangers were seen at the meetings. One girl is known to have made a profession.
North East England. A brief report comes from Saville Road Hall, SKELMANTHORPE, of Autumn monthly ministry meetings. In October, Harold Cooper of Warrington gave ministry and in November, Fred Parr of Brierfield gave the Word. A challenging missionary report on work in ZAMBIA was given by Dick Towse, also in November. These meetings were well attended.
Midlands. News from the assembly at Butt Lane, STOKE-ON-TRENT, of a campaign conducted by Frank Lonney. The people who live on the estate nearby were visited, and unsaved were present each evening among the adults who came. One senior citizen made a profession of faith in Christ, and has continued to come to the gospel services. The work among the children was interesting, and Sunday School workers have been encouraged to see nine new scholars attending Sunday School since the campaign. Prayer continues that more shall yet trust the Saviour. Ivor Cooper sends news of work in COVENTRY at Christmastime. A special open air meeting was held in the shopping centre, with the young people sharing the testimony. The town was crowded with shoppers, and there was some good listening as the message was given. Good contacts were made as literature was distributed. At Church Street, COVENTRY, the occasion of the Carol Service saw the hall absolutely packed with a number of new folks seen in for the first time. The use of this and other special occasions prove a useful form of evangelism. Ivor Cooper and Phil Overton give news of a work done in the Prisons, especially at a young offenders prison at ON LEY. This is proving to be a growing activity, and especially gives opportunity for contact with families of the offenders. The sadness of sin's effect in young lives is all too evident. Opportunity comes to take relatives to visit their sons, and this makes it possible for regular conversation. Often there are those who have been inside for three or four sentences. Ivor points out that unless they are saved, and their lives are changed it is almost inevitable that they will find their way inside again. This kind of work demands much wisdom and calls for much prayer. The Warwick Postal Sunday School work goes on steadily, with 80 young people now doing the lessons. Some good contacts are being made. The assembly at Cranham Drive, WORCESTER, was encouraged at Christmas by the number that came to the Carol Service. Although the Sunday School is at present relatively small, the hall was packed with about 170 people. The children took part in the service and along with some hearty singing, Mike Hencher of Newent gave a challenging message. This occasion gave evidence of the growing interest of the people on the estate. From the Hester's Way assembly, Bethany Hall, CHELTENHAM, comes news of their Annual Missionary Conference. Reports were given by J. Pugmire, Honduras and Dick Towse, Zambia. Ministry by David Prosser, Machen, closed the conference in the evening with a challenge. Numbers were good in spite of the difficult weather, and it was especially encouraging to see the number of young people that gathered. How we feel the need today of young people who will fill the many gaps on the mission field! It is good to know of a regular visitation work on the Hester's Way Estate, which is faithfully carried on from the assembly. Each month about 100 tracts are distributed at the doors, and useful contacts are being made.
London Area. The assembly at the Gospel Hall, BERMONDSEY, send news of encouragement during 1984. An elder in the assembly sought early retirement, so that he could engage in "Doorstep contacts" in the many housing estates which adjoin the hall. During the year, a young man who had been saved 18 years ago asked for baptism. He had been the subject of many prayers by believers in many places, and this came as the vindication of their perseverance in prayer. Also another young man from the Anglican background, was led to LONDON where he accepted Christ as his Saviour and asked for baptism. The believers in the assembly feel that these and other happenings, give indication of the Lord's blessing. Since 1927 a consistent work has been done in distributing Gospel literature in the district, and there are now 5,000 homes within one mile radius of the Gospel Hall. Believers here would value prayer as they move into 1985, now without the help of brother Harold Reynolds who was called home on the first day of the year. He was a founder member, a faithful labourer and shepherd of the flock for over 50 years. Other companies in London benefited from his ministry, and these were represented among the large company present at the funeral service. It is interesting to be reminded that, in a past issue of Precious Seed, the story was told of "How it began" at Bermondsey. Praise the Lord for His goodness!
News again of the South West London Mobile Unit. We are told that with the increase of violence and demonstrations on the streets, the police have a very difficult task, and sometimes they regard the witness as a potential cause of trouble. Prayer is sought that the leader's may have wisdom and discretion as these problems arise with the authorities. Some interesting incidents are recorded. In the West End, conversations were held with three lads from the university. They had given some thought to the things of God, and accepted literature. A man was also contacted who had been sent to a church that was not acceptable to him. He is a compulsive gambler and needs prayer. At Earls Court, a young man was contacted who was just ready to commit suicide. He came to London from Stoke-on-Trent, had seen the rough side of life, and had had his arms slashed. After a talk he agreed to go back to his parents. At East Croydon Station, a Jehovah's Witness was contacted. It was felt that some progress was made and S.G.M. literature was accepted. At Brixton, the evening was spent in tracting. A long talk was had with a Malaysian working in the district. He was very thoughtful, and had been to hear Luis Palau. He asked many questions to which he is seeking a solution. Here is a cross-section of touches made on many lives needing the Saviour.
South East England. From S. Mountstevans comes a review of the work in this part of the country during 1984. There are items for praise and prayer. There was the remembrance of the tent work at WEALD, Kent. Here good numbers attended, and there was much interest shown. There is now no assembly testimony here, and the children need much prayer. Visiting HIGHAM, Kent, for the third year it seemed that interest had increased. The villagers are appreciative, children are brought to the tent and over the years some have been saved. Follow up is maintained by believers from the WAINSCOTT Gospel Hall, and up to 30 children regularly attend a Friday night meeting. There is much interest and potential here. Here also there is no assembly. It is hoped in the will of the Lord, to visit again in the summer. There is need for much prayer as opposition has been experienced. A good week was spent on EASTBOURNE beach, labouring with local believers from the Gospel Hall. Contacts were re-established, the Word was preached and good numbers of adults lined the promenade to listen. MARGATE beach is remembered, revisited after 4 years absence, by the resentment shown by two large families. This they made very clear by their behaviour. But this was literally broken down by a hammer, loaned to drive in their windbreaks on the sands. Their resistance vanished and their young ones enjoyed the meetings. A relationship was established and they requested a return visit next year. A continuing work goes on at HILDEN-BOROUGH, Kent, and the Lord is slowly building up the work among the children. This is a hard village where affluence abounds, and no feeling of need is shown. Over a period of a few years, a work has grown from a situation where there was no children's activity to where there is a regular weekly meeting of up to 20 children. Thus the Lord's goodness is recalled as die work goes on.
South Wales. Paul Young sends a review of the work that he and others are engaged in at MAESTEG. Much of his time in the Lord's service is taken up with local activities, and there has been encouraging evidence of growth and development over the last 3 years. The Sunday School, Children's Club and Youth Work are all well established, and over 100 different children are reached each week through these activities. There has also been a development in the work among adults. On Sunday evenings there are usually unsaved folk present, and in addition to this many homes are open for conversation about the gospel. So the number of contacts grows as do the opportunities for counselling. All these needs are demanding in time, energy and prayer. Increasing opportunities have opened up for contacts with local schools. Each week Paul takes assembly at one of the local infants' schools, and a good relationship is being built with the pupils, staff and parents. In addition, nine schools have been visited for C.U. Meetings, assemblies or classroom sessions and the openings continue. How good to know that there are such open doors for the gospel.
Paul Young also reports on three Gospel Missions. At Heol-Y-Gors, SWANSEA, there was a full programme of coffee mornings, school visits, outreach evenings and children and young people's meetings. A good number of children attended, and at least 12 of them came to ask serious questions. At SKEWEN, a two weeks children's campaign was held. The second week being half-term was turned into a holiday club. Numbers were not high, but the atmosphere was good and the interest was sustained. Finally at PANTYFFYN-NON, a return visit was made for work with the children. Numbers here were high and opportunities were given for visits to local schools.
We have an interesting report on the CARDIFF Christian Rallies from the secretary, Don Roberts. These Saturday evening rallies have given cause for concern during recent years, when both the numbers and interest waned and attendances fell as low as 50. The idea of a Saturday evening rally of this nature was born in 1938, and the larger halls in CARDIFF usually house the rallies. Recently there has been an increasing interest and numbers have risen to 200 at times. Some of these are of a special nature, and give opportunity to have fellowship with efforts associated with Cardiff. These include Missionary Rallies, Sunday School Camp Re-union, Postal Sunday School Rallies, and the Carol Service which gives an opportunity to preach the gospel to about 800 people. A variety of subjects are dealt with including Bible Study Methods, Baptism and practical Christian living. Young men are encouraged to take part and help in administration matters. It is planned to make the final Rally of each month a Young People's Gospel Outreach with a view to a united effort in Cardiff to reach the unsaved.
Devon. From Peter Smith comes news of the Sunday School Prizegiving held at Bitton Park Gospel Hall, TEIGNMOUTH. About 40 children joined with about 70 adults, including 30 parents. This proved to be a time of interest and blessing. The assembly continues to be encouraged in its growth. Due to the death of the correspondent at Bishopsteignton Gospel Hall, Lionel Brooks, the hall for the present at least, is closed. A family who live in this village now gather at Teignmouth. A member of this family, a girl named Alex was baptised and received into fellowship at Bitton Park. Cause for thanksgiving!
Cornwall. Some useful items of news have come in concerning the work in this county. It is good to hear that the Lord is blessing in various ways. At ST. AU-STELL, things are progressing and there is evidence of the Lord's hand in blessing. A woman was saved through outreach work some two years ago, and has now been baptised. She had the joy of seeing her husband come to the Saviour just before Christmas. He had been coming to the gospel meetings, and it was good to hear that they had been reading the scriptures together before retiring to bed each night. So there have been many causes for thanksgiving. The new Sunday School room and toilets and all renovations have been completed, this free of debt. Leaflets are regularly distributed in the area. Good numbers attend the Senior Citizens' teas and meetings are held for the young people of the district. A Saturday night meeting was held at LOSTWITHIEL, a small town in which a couple who are in fellowship at ST. AUSTELL live. A few believers in the town are contacted with a view to establishing a children's and adult meeting in a home. Further Saturday gospel meetings are planned.
The work at TRURO is encouraging. Stan Burditt conducted one week's gospel and ministry meetings. The children attended well and after one gospel meeting a woman was saved. Jeffrey Harrison gave two week's ministry using the Dispensational Chart, and these meetings were well supported and proved to be useful in building up the young people from the assemblies. Building work on the hall has been completed, and the Lord has wonderfully supplied the need.
At BODMIN the work continued with John Hadlcy engaging in constant door to door work. The assembly is small but some interesting times at the monthly ministry meetings are enjoyed. The New Year fellowship meetings for the Cornish assemblies were held at Bodmin. A good number attended, and reports of the Lord's work were given by J. Hadley and S. Burditt with John Glenville giving encouraging ministry. David Ogden holds a stall in the open air at Bodmin Market each Saturday. From this he sells Christian literature and advertises Postal Sunday School work. Many interesting contacts are made.
Although the assembly is small at CAR-BIS BAY, the door is still open for outreach and two brethren distribute "Emergency Post" each month on the Council Estate. Prayer is sought that the work here will eventually grow and their labours be rewarded. The small assembly at WHIT-STONE continues, and the building extension is now completed. Stan Burditt gives much help in this work and has commenced Wednesday evening children's meetings. Also a Friday young people's meeting has commenced. The Cornwall Postal Sunday School work is still moving forward and many lessons are sent out to the children. Letters come to the teachers which show that God is using this means to bring the gospel into hearts and homes of the children who do the lessons. This work hinges largely on the vision of a few brethren, and David Ogden has faithfully erected a stall at a variety of local shows. All of these efforts help to keep a steady number doing the lessons.