Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
"Where Satan's seat is". Rev. 2.13.
"Where Satan's seat is". Rev. 2.13.
The context of this phrase is deeply interesting. The Word from the Risen Lord to the Church at Pergamon revealed His knowledge of WHERE their testimony was maintained. The "throne" of evil, the very dwelling place of Satan seemed to be there. We can imagine that, such was the defilement, degradation and open shame of the city, such its foul atmosphere, that the very authority of the god of this age seemed to hold control. And the Word has relevance for the need. This came to mind when reading such items of news as those relating to the Elephant Fair at Germans, Cornwall. National news revealed the awful extent of the evils of drugs and drink at this event, and the drastic intervention of the law. Christians who were present speak of the indescribable appearances of those who were under the control of these Satanic things, and also of the atmosphere of gross immorality and vice that was felt. Such things are the evidence of surrender to unrestrained godless forces. As a nation we are reaping things that we sadly have sown. But thank God there are those that believe that the gospel has a relevant answer to such deeply disturbing sins, and are ready courageously to go and evangelise even where Satan's rule is seen and felt. We arc glad to hear of the work of each faithful messenger of the Cross. May God grant that Satan's seat may be overthrown and in the lives of the converted, Christ may be seen to reign.
Northern Ireland.From Jim Graham it is good to receive news of continued gospel work amids| all the social chaos in the North. At Donegal Road, Belfast, S. Jennings held four weeks gospel meetings. The local response was disappointing. At Bally-walter, Co. Down, Eric Wishart and Donald Armstrong had difficulty to reach local people as they preached in a portable hall. A series of meetings was conducted by Reggie Jordan and Lindsay Hunter at Waringstown. There is an outreach work from the Knockbracken assembly at Carry-duff, a rapidly growing area, and J. Hutch-inson and Samuel Thompson will be working in the gospel there. The assemblies from Cambridge Avenue and Harryville in Ballymena, Co. Antrim, have joined together in a large Tent Campaign, just on the outskirts of the town. Jim Allen and Jim Hutchinson were responsible for the preaching of the Word and the response was most encouraging. The tent, which seats over 600 people, was well filled on each occasion and there were a number of unsaved present. The Lord saved some of these needy folk. One outstanding case of conversion was that of a Roman Catholic who lived near the home of the widow of one of the late evangelists. As she gave him gospel tracts, he tore them up, but she went on faithfully sowing the seed. She is now with the Lord but the man attended the tent from the beginning of the meetings and God wonderfully saved him. How true Eccl. 11.1 becomes - bread cast upon the waters and found after many days. Praise God!
At Ballylintagh in Co. Londonderry, Robert McLuckie had four weeks gospel meetings with good numbers attending. A spell of gospel meetings was held by G. McKinley and B. Glendinning at Derrylin. Just outside Enniskellen, Co. Fermanagh, David Mawhinney was assisted by W. Boyd and J. Balmer in a 3 weeks period of preaching the gospel. There was cause for encouragement as local folks came in. We have news of Open Air work. The annual effort at the sea front, Bangor, Co. Down was conducted with Robert Eadie for the Central Hall assembly. At Carnborough, Co. Antrim, Albert Aiken and others worked for two weeks on the sea front, and at Newcastle, Co. Down, the Open Air work has been carried on at the Promenade. It is good to hear that there is still this freedom to continue this important form of evangelism - long may it continue.
The Annual Conference at Ballykeel, (Mourne), was considered one of the best for many years, with profitable ministry given. There have also been conferences at Ballymacashon, Lungs, Martry and Stra-bane, when the Word was ministered by a number of the Lord's servants. A number of meetings have commenced - a full report of these later.
Eire.There is cause for thanksgiving to God for His blessing on the work in Co. Donegal where Sam Patterson and Gilbert Stewart have faithfully laboured for many years. After a recent ten weeks' spell in a Christian's home several were saved, and these were baptised in Magherconnan Gospel Hall. Over 70 people attended this closing meeting, some being Roman Catholics. Those baptised are now in assembly fellowship.
The National Bible Study Club, operating from Dublin, speaks of growth and expansion of the work, but also of the increasing difficulties that go alongside such expansion. Additional help in the office is needed and this is a matter for much prayer. Several new areas for the gospel have been opened up for which praise to God is given. Interestingly, one teacher wrote, "In teaching religion to 1st., 2nd., and 3rd. years 1 feel that they would benefit from some exercises in Bible study. Having used your society while a pupil myself, I find it most interesting." He asks for assistance. Wonderful how children can thus be reached with the Word.
From Eric Davies in Killiney, comes news of a work among soldiers' wives. The ladies continue to show a keen interest in the study of the Word. Often times they come to the meeting with questions arising from their reading of the scriptures at home. Opportunities for conversation arc always there. Visitation of the sick and elderly shows that a number of these have been called home. In this particular work, appreciation is often expressed for the comfort and solace gained from the reading of helpful passages from the Word and then of fellowship in prayer.
Scotland. It is good again to find that news is to hand that covers the Lord's work in this country well. Tom Aitken reports on the work of the Lord in Lanarkshire. Jim Smyth spent the month of June working in Hareleeshill, Larkhall. He had a tough mission but did see some unsaved coming in. The husband of a believer showed distinct interest and came along regularly. Also a couple who had backslidden came at times. The effort was a blessing to the believers. Jim Aitken had a good reception in door to door visitation in the upperward villages of Lanarkshire and met one or two who showed real interest. The villages of Carstairs, Carstair Junction, Carnworth, Regside and Douglaswater were visited. A week was spent in Chapel Hall. Open air meetings were held in these places during the evenings. Neighbouring assemblies gave help. During the month of June, John Spiers conducted meetings in Newmills, and the support of the surrounding assemblies was excellent. On the final night, a man who had been brought in by a Christian friend and who had attended regularly, was saved. Roy Marshall visited the Drymen district of Stirling and was amazed at the number of atheists he met. George Forbes had some blessing in an effort at Banknock. John Campbell and Jack Hay found things quite difficult at Crieff. In the village of Crosshill, David Kane conducted a gospel effort.
From Fife we have a report from Philip Prior, 135 Chalmers Street, Dunfermline, Fife KYI2 8DQ, who is happy to receive news of assembly activity in the area. This now means that we have coverage of quite a large part of Scotland for reports. For this we are grateful. At Glencraig, David Kane from Northern Ireland erected a tent during June and with the support of the Ballingry assembly, held 5 weeks of gospel meetings. The way of salvation was preached faithfully with good support from local believers and a number of unsaved came in. The believers at Hospital Hill, Dunfermline, were encouraged by the salvation of a lady who had been contacted by a phone-in gospel message. She was visited by a couple from the assembly, and after the second attendance at the gospel meeting, stayed behind and made a clear confession of faith in Christ.
We have news of work in the Grampian/ Tayside area from Kenneth Dickson. During May a teenage girl was baptised in Montrose and this was witnessed by her mother and brother who are not Christians. This is the first baptism in the area for at least eight years, and local believers are praying earnestly that this may speak to others of the importance of obeying the Lord. A Pollard continues faithfully with the work of the Scottish Postal Sunday School and Bible Class. During July about 600 lessons were sent out, all over the Scottish mainland and islands - the largest numbers ever. The Lord is blessing this work and it continues to grow. A woman in Forfar, in her 50's, has become a Christian after a gospel meeting. At Inverbaruir, a mother with tremendous family problems trusted the Lord, and there is already evidence of victory in her life. Dan Gillies completed 4 weeks gospel meetings with his tent at Brechin. Although only a few adults attended the meetings, many good conversations took place during house visitation. Perhaps the cold June weather affected attendance but quite a number of children and teenagers came along regularly and listened well to the gospel.
Midlands.A campaign was held at the Butt Lane Gospel Hall, Stoke-on-Trent. The evangelist was John Skingley of Shrewsbury. Meetings were held with children and adults, and an average of 40 children came each evening. As a result of these meetings, a children's special has commenced each Wednesday evening and a number have been added to the Sunday School. This has proved an encouragement to the assembly and especially to Sunday School workers. Adult meetings saw unsaved folks in most evenings but numbers were not great. Some came from three Old People's Homes in the area and these meetings were followed by a cup of tea and light refreshments. These homes are visited monthly for a service and the visits are greatly appreciated. Recently some large Bibles were presented to them, prayerfully hoping that the scriptures will be read and the readers come to a knowledge of the Saviour. All those efforts help to encourage the local assembly.
From Walter Clarke comes two items of news concerning the Charlton Road assembly, Birmingham. Scholars from the Sunday School were taken on a week's holiday to Golan in Wales and a time of blessing was experienced. Two young girls professed salvation and a happy time was enjoyed by all. A wonderful weekend was enjoyed by this assembly, celebrating 50 years in the Hall. On the Saturday, the meetings were full both afternoon and evening. The ministry was given in power by Denis Clapham and happy memories were recalled with much rejoicing in the Lord. It was encouraging to see a packed hall on Sunday evening, the result of the response to invitations given to people in the surrounding districts.
The Annual Three Counties Show was held at Malvern in June. It gave opportunity again for the erection of the Witness Tent. The site this year was in a very good position and many people passed through the tent. A public witness to the gospel in word and song was given both inside and outside of the tent, and the group who sang and testified saw good interest from people who listened. Opportunities for conversation were many as people sat at tables and drank a cup of tea. Suitable literature was distributed and there was a good book stall. The Worcestershire Postal Sunday School stand was there and a number of children received introductory packages of lessons. A few have already completed these lessons and returned them. Each year this tent provides a vital witness to Christ amidst a world of business, agriculture and entertainment and we prayerfully leave the results to the Lord of the Harvest.
News of a mission held by Ivor Cooper and Bob Telford at Shipston-on-Stour, Wars., tells of exciting times with some trusting Christ for salvation. The local believers were greatly encouraged and follow up studies have been well attended. There was evidence throughout that God was answering prayer.
Oxfordshireand Buckinghamshire. News from S. Mountstevens of two tent campaigns. First at Bicester. Here on a housing estate the tent was filled with children most nights - over 150 attending. Teenagers were spoken to outside the tent most evenings, and inside the tent the Word was preached. These teenagers enquired regarding the subject of "Christian Rock Music"! While only those who are truly born again can really appreciate the problems in these matters, spiritual help was offered to the enquirers. Various adults showed interest. One man stood in the tent door and Listened to the message and two Mormons also came in and listened to the Word. Others were interested and several teenage girls showed definite concern. One case in the life of a young student in whom the Lord worked is interesting. She was saved last year as she heard the Word for the first time. Bitter opposition at home came and her father threatened to cut off financial support in her education. It is good to know that she desires to go on with the Lord. Thus the gospel was preached and many heard of the saving power of Christ.
The second campaign was in the village of Manslope on private ground owned by a farmer. This fulfilled an exercise of our brother's, and the back up of local overseeing brethren. It seemed clear from the start that the Lord opened the way and over a 10 day period about 90 children attended and among these were a good number of teenagers. Most of these chose Bibles for their prizes. Scriptures were memorised, behaviour was excellent and the local work was added to. On two of the evenings, adult meetings were held, and on the prize giving night 17 parents and friends came along and the tent was packed with some having to sit outside. A most encouraging response. It is noted that over the years, many contacts with adults have come about through their children. Help given by local and visiting believers was much appreciated. Permission has now been granted to hold open air witness in the City Square, Milton Keynes, and an opportunity now presents itself for tract distribution, banner work etc. to be carried on.
London Area.The South East London Mobile Unit sends news of outreach activities in spite of difficulties at times with manning. A team of four visited Ferrier Estate, Kidbroke, on a cold day. A group of Christian women were very encouraged to feel that there were those interested in bringing the Word to the area. A small team went to an estate at Thamestead. A number of blocks of flats were visted. A team of four visited Crystal Palace Parade and some interesting contacts were made. One was with a Roman Catholic, disillusioned with the Church but willing to listen. Another knew the gospel but was spiritually drifting. There was also a man who had gone forward at a Billy Graham Crusade but had found no spiritual home. At Grove Park, one of the workers had a long chat with a group of ten teenagers while the others spent the time distributing tracts. Two workers visited Farningham. The number of houses visited was small but a time of fellowship spent with a Christian family in the village was good. A team visited Morton Kirby. Some refused tracts but a group of boys were spoken to at length. So the Word is broadcast and people are being reached. New works are needed and prayer that God will guide in this work.
A week of activities, at Croxley Green, Herts., including two special family services, was conducted by Peter Smith. The week of children's meetings grew in number from 33 to 55 and a few parents attended on family nights. This was a great encouragement to the assembly who gave prayerful support. There were those who trusted Christ for salvation. Three school assemblies were taken with opportunities to share the Gospel.
Bristol.At the invitation of the assembly at Longwell Green, Bristol, David and Elsie Wilcox conducted a week of children's meetings. 35 children attended and all were newcomers. There has been sufficient interest since the meetings to commence a weekly meeting for them.
Dorset.Turnbury Chapel on the Trick -etts Cross Estate has now been fully completed. On June 7th a thanksgiving service was held and an address was given by R. J. Bolton. Regular services are now being held and there is a good response from the local people on the Estate. This is the culmination of many years working in this needy area. Nelson Walker held a tent mission in 1960, and in subsequent years, 1975, 76, 77, Stephen Gillham held tent campaigns here. In 1984, Bert Campbell and his wife came to live on the estate and continued the work of visitation and evangelism. A further tent campaign was held with Stephen Gillham. The following year, 1985, the building of the chapel commenced and through the generosity of the Lord's people the project has now been completed. Prayer is sought for this work and also for the work at Pinehurst, Westmoors as the assembly has been very much involved with the work at Tricketts Cross.
The Holiday Bible Club at West Moors proved to be a real blessing to many. Numbers were far in excess of those anticipated, a record of 120 children attending one morning. On the parents evening there were about 200 present. It is good to hear of the Counties Bible Exhibition in Weymouth, although fine weather tended to keep people on the beach. Visitors came in from Canada, Australia and France and many also from the U.K. Real interest was shown and many profitable conversations were enjoyed. Several school parties were also conducted round the exhibition by Reg and Gladys Whittern.
SouthWales. Several items have come from W. Beale, Swansea. Interest in the Annual Scripture tests, arranged by the Swansea and District assemblies, has not only been maintained over the years, but is increasing. The group of young people who are responsible for organising the studies, have been encouraged by the number of Sunday Schools that participate. These are on the increase. The Annual Prize Giving night, as always in the past, attracted many of the parents. How essential to get the children reading God's Word. The Annual Meeting of the South & West Wales Mobile Unit reported on the activities of the year and David Prosser was the guest speaker. Many smaller towns and villages are being covered by this ministry, and workers have the joy of "gossiping" the gospel to many who are contacted in the Open Air witness.
Stan Ford visited many of the smaller assemblies in the South Wales area. These were in Llanelli, Ammanford, Swansea, Carmarthen, Neath and Aberdare. Encouraging news comes from Aberdare, where two ladies recently trusted the Saviour and also an elderly lady was led to the Lord following the gospel meeting at Heol-y-Gors. The work on the new permanent building at Jireh Gospel Hall, Loughor, is making good progress.
Items of news are to hand from Paul Young, Maesteg. The New Life Easter Camp for Postal Sunday School, aimed at teaching young people saved through this ministry, proved a blessing. Paul Young took the main teaching session and a desire to learn was seen in the eagerness of the young people. There were a number of opportunities for counselling, and it is believed that the Lord will use many of these young people in His service. A campaign was conducted by our brother in Caerau, Cardiff. The numbers of boys and girls increased as the fortnight progressed. A number of unsaved adults came in, and one lady was baptised during the second week. She had been saved some months previously. This small assembly really works hard and drew strength together during the mission.
Paul Young joined Paul Wilkes in a three day mission in the needy village of Blaen-garw. Three schools were visited and the children's meetings were well attended. Twelve boys and girls were counselled for salvation. Prayer is needed for Paul Wilkes as he continues this pioneer work in Blaen-garw. A mission was held in Maesteg and in spite of problems, some positive results were seen. At 7 a.m. each morning, members of the assembly were gathered for prayer, and these early morning meetings are continuing twice each week. Some twenty unsaved adults come in to hear the gospel during the four days of actual meetings. No definite professions were made but prayer continues that blessing may come to Maesteg.
Devon.At Great Parks assembly, Paign-ton, one week's children's mission brought to a climax a six week campaign conducted by Maurice Newman, which included door to door visitation. This children's work was conducted by Peter Smith and the numbers grew from 59 to 101. Seven schools were visited for morning assembly. A girl of 12 and a boy of 11, both came the following day to pass on the news of conversion. Some 25 children have joined the Sunday School since. During the campaign, a brother and sister, children of the elders, were baptised. At Tor Gospel Hall a teenage girl was baptised at the assembly, and this was a real encouragement to this small assembly.
Cornwall.A thanksgiving service was held at "Menadue", nr. Tintagel - site of the Plymouth Camps. It was well attended and ample opportunity was given to view this excellent site and also the way it has been developed over the past five years. It was also an occasion to give God the glory for the great things He had done. It was in 1981 that the Plymouth Camp Committee came to the conclusion that the time was ripe to purchase a plot of farmland for the use of children's camps in the summer months. After much prayer and viewing various properties, ''Menadue" was considered to be the best available site. The whole story of purchase is one of the goodness of God. The total cost faced was £77,000. But many a work party set out in all sorts of weather to do the necessary renovations, including the laying of tons of cement as a good foundation for the cookhouse and dining area. So it was that as many gathered on July 5th. to celebrate God's goodness, it was announced that all the £77,000 had been paid - not one single debt remained. So may the camps for this year and in the years, D.V., that follow, richly know God's blessing - the God who works wonders.
We have news of the week-end Elephant Fair held at Germans. This fair attracted some 30,000 and was notorious for its involvement with the police, who arrested many suspected of possessing drugs. There is no doubt that the powers of evil were very much present, and Christians who sought to witness there spoke of the sinful atmosphere. Stan Burditt and his wife had a Christian Literature Stall there and were able to engage in many interesting conversations, but they also endured some ridicule as they witnessed. How sad the plight of those who sell themselves to Satan! A three weeks campaign was held at Saltash and the children's meetings averaged about 60. A Holiday Bible Club was well attended. Not many adults came but there was good assembly support.