Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
"My word . . . shall not return unto me void". Isa 55.11.
"My word . . . shall not return unto me void". Isa 55.11.We are encouraged to receive reports that cover in a comprehensive way the whole of the British Isles. How wonderful to realise that the Word freely goes forth, the Seed is sown, the Gospel is preached. We notice that God says, "My Word". Good it is for us to make sure that this is the foundation of all our evangelism. We can then with confidence leave the results with Him. It shall not return empty-is shall accomplish His glorious purpose. And we shall give Him all the praise!
Northern Ireland.A good selection of items telling of the Lord's work has been sent in by Jim Graham, Belfast. At Glen-gormley, the believers have been greatly encouraged in well attended gospel meetings with S. McBride and W. Glenn, (Brazil). There were some who professed salvation. At Bloomfield, A. McShane and J. Hawthorne saw good attendance at meetings. One lady who had been awakened through the preaching of T. Meekin at Conlig, Co. Down, came out for the Lord. The above lady was one of those who were anxious to be saved when this campaign ended. T. Meekin had spent eight weeks preaching in Conlig and at least four came to know the Lord. In Co. Down, near Loughbrickland, J. Martin and W. Jennings were encouraged with a good interest and some saved as they preached in a portable hall. A good number of local people attended meetings for the gospel in the Gospel Hall at Ballymacashan, when A. Aiken and S. Thompson preached. At Glenanne, Co. Armagh, W. J. Nesbitt conducted meetings for 28 weeks. He shared the meetings with T. Wright (Brazil), before he returned to the field. These were well attended and some professed to be saved. E. Wishart and J. Wishart conducted a gospel effort at Newmills, Co. Tyrone. At Masteragwee, (near Castle-rock), Co. Deny, W. Millar assisted by brethren Irom the Coleraine assembly, preached the gospel.
Gilbert Stewart and Sam Patterson continue to labour for the Lord in Eire. A spell of meetings was conducted in Skibbereen, Co. Cork and they saw God's hand in blessing. One young man, a converted Roman Catholic, brought his brother to the meetings and he has been gloriously saved. He does need prayer that he may be blessed and used of God among his friends. Our two brethren continue to work in Donegal where most of their labours are carried on and they preached in a farmhouse near to Magheracorran. About 12 unsaved folk came in each evening and there were signs that God was working.
News of ministry meetings tells of a week spent in Ballywalter with Jack Hunter and also a further week spent at Cookstown where the attendances were good. S. Jennings had 2 weeks' meetings on the Feasts of Jehovah at Omagh, and D. Kane conducted 2 weeks' Bible Readings in Lima-vady on 1 Cor. 6-12. The Belfast Easter Conference was held from March 29th to April 3rd. Much prayer and preparation goes into this Conference and the convenors were greatly encouraged by the large numbers attending, especially young believers. God's Word was ministered and reports of the Lord's work at home and abroad were given. The presence of the Lord was felt throughout, and when the gospel was faithfully preached on the Wednesday evening by A. Aiken to a large gathering, a lady from Zimbabwe was saved.
Two points of interest come again from Edward Jfamison in Belfast concerning work carried on for the Lord. The telephone ministry continues to attract 40-60 calls each day. Ringing a Belfast number, needy ones can listen to a relevant message or leave requests for prayer. One such request asked prayer for a police sergeant who had lost a 17 year old son. He is totally broken by the event and prayer is that he will find the Saviour. Also a woman, professing to be a Christian but who seems to be under some evil spirit, a teenage son who is wayward, a backsliding member of a family-these needs and many others become known. Then a note on deep-sea evangelism. Each month 1500 plastic bags with messages are dropped into the sea to be washed up on various foreign shores. Friends in Denmark found messages on the beach and are now receiving scriptures with Bible Courses. A friend from Morocco sent in for a Bible Study Course and a man from Ghana wrote to say thanks for Gospel literature and ask for further help. Enterprise in evangelism - bringing the Word of God to the people.
Scotland.We have a full collection of material from across the border this time. From T. Aitken in Forth, the reports cover Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Perthshire. In Auchinleck, some twenty years ago a man was led to the Lord in meetings with J. Smyth. Recently his brother was saved. A woman has also accepted the Saviour. She thought that she was saved but only recently realised that she needed to come to Christ. There have also been baptisms. Through the influence of a district nurse from the Auchinleck assembly, a monthly Gospel Rally has been held in a nearby village of Ochlitree since September '85 and about eight people have been known to have trusted the Saviour. Two of these have been baptised. Her home has been opened for children's meetings and also Bible studies for young converts. Ian Wallace from Kilbirnie is mainly responsible for these with help from others. Three young people have been baptised in the Glenburn assembly during recent months. Two have also been baptised at the Woodpark assembly in Ayr.
John Spiers has conducted excellent meetings in the Anniesland assembly, Glasgow. The local believers made every effort to bring others in and the meetings were well attended. At least three were saved, one of whom was baptised together with seven others on the last night of mission. This was a tremendous meeting, with a good number gathered to hear the Word. At the Plains assembly, Lanarks, a young man was baptised. He was saved at meetings in Hospital Hill assembly, Dunferm-line, when Jim Smyth was having some meetings. The going was tough but there was one who found the Saviour. John Campbell and Jack Hay held meetings in Comrie, Perthshire where Jack lives. Meetings were not as well attended as expected but there was some blessing. Some had recently left the Church of Scotland to identify themselves with the assembly.
We have a report from the Grampian and Tayside districts, sent in by Kenneth Dick-son, Woodland Place, Inverbervie, Mon-trose DD10 OSL. We are grateful that our brother is willing to act for this area. The outreach activities of the Gospel Van have recommenced in the Aberdeen district. Teams will seek to reach out into towns and villages with the gospel, where small assemblies are found and sometimes where there is no assembly or evangelical witness. They value prayer. Fernielea Gospel Hall, Aberdeen, held a gospel campaign with J. Hutchinson and the gospel was preached with power. Attendances of unsaved were good, especially on Sundays. There were those who were greatly challenged. G. Forbes preached in local schools and to 40-50 children each night. The Gospel Hall at Inverbervie saw the place packed with children and parents on prize giving night and they listened well to A. Pollard. Many parents said that they were glad they came. Praise God that many barriers are being broken down. In Auchenblae there is no assembly. D. Gillies completed three weeks of adult and children's meetings here using the Mobile Hall. This is the 6th visit by our brother to Auchenblae and several unsaved adults regularly come. At the prizegiving night over 30 adults and children came. Many good conversations were enjoyed in visitation.
News from Morayshire and Banffshire is supplied by Wm. Mowatt, 97 Seatown, Cullen, Buckie AB5 2SN, and we are grateful for this source of supply. George Meikle and Roy Marshall conducted gospel meetings for seven weeks in the village of Portknockie. Support from neighbouring assemblies was excellent and a good number of the unsaved from the village attended. One young lad received assurance of salvation. The assembly at Sandend has always been faithful in their testimony. A campaign is planned D.V. with John Stubbs. We await prayerfully for news.
North West England.A campaign for children and adults was conducted by S. McKenzie, Argyle, at Mauldeth Road Gospel Hall, Manchester. During the two weeks there was encouragement as an elderly woman and a youth came to know the Saviour. The various ministry meetings and conferences held in the Greater Manchester area were marked by a good attendance and encouraging interest. The fact that a good representation of young people was among the gatherings gave cause for thanksgiving. Preparations are well in hand for the outreach activities of the Lancashire Gospel Tent to be erected at Preston in June D.V. with Roland Pickering (N. Ireland) and J. Skingley (Shrewsbury). At Wythenshaw Park, during July D.V., D. Dixon (Norfolk) and T. Renshaw (Manchester) will conduct the second campaign. Much prayer needed!
Midlands.From John Baker, Penarth, we have a report of a campaign at Quarry Lane, Northfield, Birmingham. It was a profitable time but not easy, and faithful work was done in visitation and preaching the Word. A young lady from Yorkshire, a student, professed faith in Christ. Others have been moved and a lady wept during the preaching of the gospel. She has been the subject of much prayer and her son is soon to be baptised. A baptism was held on the final night and about 20 unsaved were present. Some interesting contacts were made on the doorsteps. One of these was with a woman from Mauritius. So the good seed of the Word of God was sown and the harvest is awaited. At Charllon Road Gospel Hall, the "Ladies Focus" meeting still maintains good numbers with over fifty gathering. The Senior Citizen meetings were filled to capacity and a splendid message was given. Some ten Sunday School children have made professions of faith in Christ and door to door work encourages.
From Northants we have two reports. Ivor Powell tells of work on the Grange Estate, Daventry. A children's work is conducted on Fridays during school-term time. Numbers have dropped but the opportunity is still there. Arising from this work a monthly family service is held. These have been a source of great encouragement. The whole assembly is behind this work and during the past two months, two family services have been held. Many unsaved attend and earnest prayer is made that salvation will follow the preaching of the Word. Opportunities abound in the schools for morning assemblies. Also hospitals and old People's Homes offer openings for sharing the gospel of Christ.
S. Mountstevens reports on a 10 day effort at Higham Ferrers, Northants. This is a struggling assembly, with only two in fellowship. Help was given over this period but there was little response from the school opposite. But 26 attended the meetings, mostly teenagers. Much prayer is needed in this situation for the follow up work. Encouragement and help is given by surrounding assemblies. One item for thanksgiving-permission has been given for open air witness in an area alongside the Shopping Centre in Milton Keynes. This presents a glorious opportunity for witness. We have reports of two May Day Conferences. At Rockhampton, numbers were smaller but still about 140 gathered together to hear helpful Ministry from J. Harrison, Bebington, and G. Payne, Manchester. Then at Ludlow, about 150 gathered from many places to hear ministry given by Norman Mellish and Jack Hay. The small assembly here meets in a new building, and they were encouraged at a family service arranged for the first time when there were five unsaved present.
Wiltshire.From Philip Lambert comes interesting indications of gospel work in connection with the small assembly at Neston. About 50 children attended a mission held there, and there is a great longing to see a regular work among the children in the village. On Family night about 20 adults came, mostly the unsaved from the village. This demands much prayer as the Word is given to children and parents, and also for those children that are coming to know the Lord that they will prove to be witnesses in their homes and schools. Our brother tells of a commitment D.V., to a years programme of evangelism in this small assembly. There are only 300 dwellings in the village, and it is possible to visit the homes often. It is good to hear that a number have attended meetings as a result of this visitation. There is also a wider vision, a burden to visit every home in the County. May the Lord reward this exercise with blessing.
East Anglia.S. Mountstevens sends in a report of a children's effort at Bradfield St. George Gospel Hall, Suffolk. The meetings lasted for seven days and the presence of the Lord was felt throughout. An average of 60 children gathered each evening and among them were older children and teenagers which gave encouragement. On the Lord's Day afternoon a special meeting was held in the Village Hall in order to accommodate parents and friends. The hall was nearly full and parents were certainly reached with the gospel-some for the first time. Encouraging contacts were made with many of these folks. On the final evening the children gathered for the prizegiving. Adults again attended, some who had never been in the Gospel Hall before. There was an air of expectancy throughout. One girl asked how she could be saved and it was obvious that the Lord had touched her heart. Her parents attend the Gospel Hall.
South Wales.News of activities in the Cardiff area comes from Don Roberts in Cardiff. The 1985/86 season of Christian Rallies in Cardiff saw numbers between 70 and 140 attending with a good proportion of young people gathering. Various speakers were drawn from different areas, with local gift in Cardiff also used. Series of subjects were considered including Redemption Truths, and also practical subjects such as "What does it mean to be baptised"? and "What does it mean to be in fellowship"? It was good to notice the way in which speakers dealt faithfully with the subjects, and the responses and reactions of the younger people was encouraging. It is planned to continue this method of series of subjects. Special Rallies were included for Sunday School Camps, Postal Sunday School, Missionary endeavour and others including the Carol Service at which about 800 gathered. It was felt that these Rallies were well worthwhile.
A campaign was held at Caerau Gospel Hall with Paul Young and guest speakers and many people gathered for this. This is a small assembly and it was good to see 30 in at the gospel meetings. Several were under conviction and the fellowship has already been increased by one. A tract band is organised by young people in Cardiff to cover many areas in the city and the valleys. This work is conducted all the year round and just the slipping of a tract through the door has already resulted in one conversion-this the brother of Marston Martin in Zimbabwe. A flourishing Bible Class is conducted in Canton Gospel Hall by John Mitchel with other speakers helping. About 16 gather, keen Bible students, studying fundamental truths. At family services on Sunday evenings in Llandaff North Gospel Hall, about 100 gather together. This is a new venture and has been a blessing with the assembly growing. The Bible Exhibition, based in Cardiff, still continues to spread its wings and is being used of God with many people enquiring about spiritual things. It has been useful in supporting campaigns during summer months and in touring around.
A report from Paul Young tells of a regular visit monthly to a third school, Blacncaerau Junior School, Maesteg. Two new regulars have joined the Coffee Morning each week. The time is taken up with informal chatting, scripture reading and prayer. The children and youth work in the assembly is still going well although not without some problems of discipline, vandalism etc. A time was spent at Llwynhen-dy to give help in building up the activities of the assembly. Encouraging meetings were conducted with youth, children, senior citizens and also ministry as well. A four day mission was held at Pencoed. Children's meetings averaged over 60 and morning assembly was conducted in one large Junior School. Numbers at adult meetings were small but unsaved were present on each evening. There was a feeling of encouragement as the meetings ended and 13 children are joining the summer camp.
Two weeks of children's meetings were held at Tredegar Gospel Hall with S. Mountstevens. Blessing was enjoyed as some 250 children attended during the session. Interest was good and it was felt that the Spirit of God was dealing with some of the children. One teenage girl was visibly moved but made no profession. At the final meeting many parents came with their children and the Hall was nearly full. It was possible to visit two schools for morning assemblies, and invitations were given to return.
Dorset.News from Stephen Gillham of a week of children's meetings in Stalbridge. Despite the weather up to 50 children came along and the meetings were good. At the end of the week the parents came in big numbers and showed their interest. The small fellowship in this village are making quite an impact and a tent campaign is being prayerfully considered. Three week's of Schools visitation gave opportunity to lake the Easter Message into nearly 30 schools in Dorset. It was an encouragement to see hundreds of children listening intently to the message of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ. The 4th Annual Holiday Bible Club at Easter was one of the best ever. Held at West Moors, 120 came one morning and the average was well over 100. Over 30 of the fellowship there worked very hard each morning and it was rewarding to see over 200 at the parent's evening, with a large number of local parents. Turban' Chapel, Trickett's Cross, has now been completed and the opening thanksgiving service saw many local people joining-in all about 160 were present and all acknowledged, "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes". Bert and Jean Campbell need prayer as they labour on this housing estate.
Devon.Stephen Gillham reports of a week spend with children in Bow. The village hall was hired and up to 70 children came in, including most of the village children. Adult meetings were held each night and there were other school visits, coffee mornings etc. In this way a large number of people heard the gospel. The final night saw the village hall full with some standing. Even the Christmas Panto had not achieved this. Praise the Lord for the power of the Gospel!
It is good to receive a report of the commencement of a new branch of Postal Sunday School in the Teignbridge area. A special meeting was held to introduce the work with Ken Rudge of Cornwall Postal Sunday School. Following this, the work commenced with a discussion at the home of Peter and Elaine Smith, where the office is to be situated. A team of workers will be responsible for packing and sending out lessons, and eight teachers will be taking care of marking the lessons and communicating with the scholars. Many hundreds of leaflets will be distributed in the villages in the Teignbridge area-this embraces about 31 villages-and these will be visited D.V. during the summer months. May God bless this new venture in His work.
At the final Winter Rally at West Hill, Plymouth, a well attended gathering listened to an excellent address, given by Malcolm Horlock, Cardiff, on the subject "Our Adversary the Devil''.West Hill and Whitleigh assemblies have regular entry into two homes for Retired Men and Women, and also regularly into a local Christian Home for the Elderly. Whitleigh assembly is especially seeing blessing among young men as they take responsibility for Youth Work.
Cornwall.From Ken Rudge we have various items of news of activities in this county. There was a wide representation of assemblies from Devon and Cornwall at Bodmin, to show fellowship with Ruth Hadley as she was returning to the Lord's work in Angola. Ministry was given by Roy Wood, who has served the Lord for many years in this very needy part of the world. A substantial offering was taken, and this greatly helped with the costs of baggage Ruth needed to take with her. How much she needs our prayers as she returns to such a dangerous country, torn by civil war. Her main exercise is to try to get back into the interior of the country to encourage believers there. The assembly at Bodmin engaged in three weeks of gospel testimony with the help of D. Willcox. Good numbers of children and young people came in but the adults were slow to respond. This effort will be followed up, D.V., with tent work by John Hadley.
The assembly at Sallash together with Cornwall Postal Sunday School took advantage of the one day May Fair to spend the time witnessing in the streets of the town from Stalls advertising the facilities of the testimony. Many tracts and invitations to assembly activities were distributed. Children were introduced to the lessons provided by P.S.S. It was a busy day and some good conversations ensued. It is good to reflect that such opportunities to preach the gospel are there to be taken if we are willing. Have we eyes that are open to see the need?
Over several years the assembly at St. Austell has used various venues around the town to hold Saturday Gospel meetings. These have been entitled "Life Lines", and present the gospel in an informal way, hopefully appealing to total strangers. At the most recent held in the Gospel Hall, there was encouragement in seeing about 100 gathering. Many unsaved from the area were present, most of them having been invited by believers. A husband and wife said that the Lord had spoken to them. They are seriously considering the need of accepting Christ for themselves. How urgent this matter is-time is short! Prayer is asked for lent campaigns to be held in this needy county during the summer D.V., with J. Hadley and S. Burditt.