Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
"That I may tell of all Thy wondrous works" Ps.26.7.
It is a cause for thanksgiving to the Lord, that we have so many sources of information concerning the Work of the Lord. In this the final report of another year, we have some remarkable cases of the way in which the Lord brings people to Himself. Behind the general reports of activity, we are sure that many beautiful instances could be given of the work of grace in the lives of individuals who have been drawn to Christ and saved. Let us not be discouraged. Let us endeavour to do what the Psalmist did - use our lips to spread abroad the triumphs of the One who does all things well!
Northern Ireland.From this troubled area it is good to be able to report again on the work of the Gospel. The Belfast assembly at Ormeau Road Gospel Hall, which lies in a predominantly Roman Catholic area, was petrol bombed on July 15th. The testimony began here in 1907, and this has raised serious concern regarding the future of the work. The believers would value prayer. This highlights the perils of all who gather in Ulster at this time.
At Ballintoy, Co. Antrim, D. Kane and A. Graham preached in a tent, and good numbers of local folks attended and souls were saved. S. Ferguson and N. Turkington preached the gospel at Ballyclare with fair numbers coming into the tent. In a housing estate in Co. Armagh, A. McShane and D. Gilliland were encouraged in seeing folk attend gospel meetings held in the tent. Every evening at Carryduff, Co. Down, good numbers attended to hear J. G. Hutchinson and S. Thompson preach the Word. At the tent at Kilkeel, where S. McBride and J. Lennox preached, and also in the tent erected near Rathfriland where B. Boughan (Nova Scotia) and W. Glenn (Brazil) laboured, there was good interest shown by those who came in. Blessing was experienced at Ballywater when E. Wishart laboured with D. Armstrong. E. Wishart also preached the gospel at Ballinmallard, Co. Fermanagh and had encouragement as some were saved.
Meetings were held with J. Hawthorne and J. McClelland at Hillhead, near Castle-down, Co. Londonderry, and they were encouraged by seeing a Roman Catholic saved. Some meetings were held at Kil-doag, near Claudy, with B. Glendinning and B. Smyth. At Castlecaulfield, C. Tyrone, T. McNeill and G. McKinley preached the gospel. Locals came in and some professed faith in Christ. During the summer season the gospel was preached in the Open Air by R. Eadie and M. Harper at Bangor. A good interest was shown and there was some blessing. At Carnlough, Co. Antrim, A. Aitken and others held open air meetings at the harbour. One Roman Catholic from Belfast, who stood by, recorded the message of the gospel - we can pray that it will grip him. Believers in Newtownhamilton, Co. Armagh, had the great joy of seeing 8 baptised during recent ministry meetings conducted by W. J. Nesbitt.
Some interesting items of news concerning personal contacts, come from E. Jamin-son. The word is spread abroad in different ways. A lady, receiving a Words of Comfort, after her husband had suddenly died, told how he had received the Lord only a few days before he had died. She is left to cope with a family of four and is especially concerned with the need of a daughter who is a backslider and has gone into worldly things. A nun also wrote from a Newry convent saying thank you for literature received when one of her friends died. This particular convent has been contacted on a number of occasions. Through the telephone ministry, help was sought for a son who had been in fellowship in a local church for some years but had commenced drinking. This young man is making progress in leaving the habit but still needs prayer. The work continues in hospital visitation and also visitation of members of the security forces who have been put in hospital.
Eire. At Creeslough, Co. Donegal, S. Patterson and Gilbert Stewart conducted four weeks in preaching the gospel. It is hoped that they will be able to preach in Bandon, Co. Cork.
Scotland.We have a comprehensive report of work for the Lord in various parts. For a number of years Tom Aitken, Forth, has faithfully sent in reports for the magazine. This service has been much appreciated and we are sorry that our brother feels that he must pass this responsibility on to someone else. In future, reports from Ayrshire and Lanarkshire areas will be handled by James Anderson, "Millbank", Privick Mill Road, Auchen-cruive, By Ayr. We welcome our brother's willingness to serve the magazine in this way.
David McMaster visited Dalmellington and for three weeks worked hard both among children and adults. Ayrshire assemblies supported the mission well. One young woman was saved but she came from Ochletree, where a work previously reported progress. The assembly at Dalmellington is very small and needs prayer.
The Lanarkshire Open air Rallies continued during the second half of the season. These were conducted at Motherwell, Kirkmuirhill, Chapelton and Douglas. Open air meetings were held during the afternoon and then ministry rallies were held in the evenings. Thus sinners heard the gospel and saints were encouraged. The door to door work of Jim Aitken continued and while at Uddingston the assembly decided to engage with him in door to door visitation instead of open-air preaching. This proved to be a worthwhile exercise and good contacts were made among the people. Roy Marshall and George Meikle continued tract distribution east of Stirling during the summer months. They found the going pretty tough. Teams of workers in rural areas have enjoyed reasonable blessing with reports of encouragement but the Hawick outreach proved to be very hard going. Moving into a city outreach situation for the first time, a team in Dundee saw some profess salvation.
From the Fife area, Philip Prior sends several items of news. Jack Hay and John Campbell held gospel meetings at Lochgel-ly. Attendance was not large but the gospel was faithfully preached. The assemblies at Inverkeithing and Kinross were each encouraged when a young sister confessed the Lord in baptism. Open air witness has gone forward during the summer months. The assembly at Abbot Hall, Dunfermline, has been able to hold services at the main gates of Pittencrieff Park in the town. These were held each Sunday from 3-4 p.m. Good weather brought many people round to hear the gospel preached. Some sat through the whole of the service. About 3,500 tracts were distributed to passers by. Sometimes a children's service was held and this attracted adults as well. Because the weather was so good, only once did the meeting have to be transferred to the hall. Open air meetings on week-nights were held at Ballingry and the support of younger brethren was encouraging. The assembly at Hospital Hill, Dunfermline, have concentrated on their open air witness each Lord's Day during the summer. These were held in streets near to the hall, especially with the objective of counteracting the activities of false cults in die area.
News is to hand of work in the East, from Kenneth Dickson. During the summer holidays, young people from the Fer-nielea assembly in Aberdeen, conducted a week of children's meetings. These were held during the day and included practical activities. About 90 children attended, many of them new contacts and on the final night a good number of parents gathered. Two children's camps were conducted. One was from the Aberdeen assemblies and over 150 attended at Elgin. The other was held at Aberdeen from the Tayside assemblies and about 110 met together. The spiritual work is the priority in these camps and many children were challenged by the gospel. A few professed salvation while others who were Christians were strengthened.
Dan Gillies held four weeks of meetings in Stonehaven with his gospel tent. Many holiday makers came in during the first week although the weather was cold. One night a group of youths attacked the tent and caravan, but as a result of this a young policeman and the manager of a nearby hotel were challenged by the gospel. Visitation work was continued in the town.
W. Mowatt sends us news of work in the village of Sandend. In spite of good support from nearby assemblies, consistent visitation and tract work, and faithful preaching of the gospel, John Stubbs found the response poor. Two or three occasionally attended but there were no evident results, but the good seed of the Word was faithfully sown. Frank Reid and Bobby Souter preached the gospel for 4 weeks in the town of Keith where there is no assembly. No response was seen from the adults, although some children came to the children's meetings. On the west of Shetland, Frank Reid spent most of July around Walls, with children and adult meetings and tract distribution of visitation. There were good contacts made. He also visited the Brae assembly where a teenage girl was saved and two others baptised.
North West England.The Lancashire Gospel Tent was pitched at Preston during June and Roland Pickering (N. Ireland) and John Skingley were responsible for the work among the adults and young people. The weather was poor but good meetings were enjoyed and blessing was seen. Two adults and two young people at least confessed Christ as Saviour and a number of other contacts were made. The very small assembly at Preston gave unstinting support as did other assemblies in the area. Clear, powerful gospel preaching was a feature of the meetings.
Paul Young tells of a busy eight days spent on the Wirrall with the Ford assembly which is situated on a tough housing estate, The estate is noted for its vandalism, drugs and family marital problems. 40-50 children gathered each morning and adults came to Senior Citizens Tea, a Film Night, Prize giving Service, Open Day and family service. One young lad of 8 made a clear profession of faith in Christ and an older lady became a Christian.
North East England.Under the title of "Borne of Four", we have an interesting item from the Forest Hall assembly. The baptism of a young convert was witnessed during the summer months. She was a middle-aged lady who passed by the Gospel Hall on her crutches on her way home from the village. Seeing the gospel text, she would read it and then pass on. Being invited into the hall for a cup of coffee at the recently started Coffee Mornings, she then began coming to the Gospel meetings and was saved. It was a great joy to see her being lifted into the baptismal waters, seated in a chair held by four strong men. She is now happily in fellowship with the small company of believers.
Midlands.An item of news from the Gospel Hall, Charlton Road, Birmingham is encouraging. One young man was saved at the Birmingham Sunday School's Camp. Through house to house visitation a young married lady came along to the meetings and was saved. Recently a lady and two young girls publicly gave testimony to their Lord by beirig baptised. Praise God for his goodness in this place.
The One Day Agricultural Show took place at Moreton-in-Marsh, Glos. and for the third year the assembly there mounted a witness on the Church Stand. A willingness with the people to listen was seen, and many were ready to accept the free Gospel literature offered. Ken Brighton and Marcus Oliffe gave good help in directing the witness. Many good and meaningful contacts were made with unsaved folk, and Christian people who visited expressed their appreciation of this act of testimony to the Lord.
The Worcester Camp Out again went to Strete, Devon and a time of blessing was enjoyed. Les Hardwicke was the padre and there were many useful opportunities for conversation with those seeking spiritual help. Two at least were known to have accepted the Saviour but also a number with spiritual problems found help. The believers at Cranham Drive, Warndon, Worcester were greatly encouraged when the father of one of the girls saved through camp, openly confessed Christ after a Sunday evening service. The girl, with her sister had come up through the Sunday School and had shown keen interest in all activities. It is good to see the man showing desires to go on with the Lord and prayer is that his wife will soon find the Saviour.
Wiltshire.Philip Lambert sends news of three weeks tent mission at Neston. Although the weather was difficult at times, a good response to the Word was seen. The seed was sown faithfully and about five young people professed to trust the Saviour. Although numbers of children could have been higher, those who came were very interested in the things of the Lord. It was good to receive letters from those who received the Saviour. Before the mission began, a youth Barbeque was well attended by young people from the village and a number took "Journey into Life" booklets, showing their interest in finding out more of the Lord. Many of them came to the Youth Night in the tent. Door to door visitation has proved very profitable and at all the gospel meetings people contacted were seen attending. Very few people have refused the Gospel of John being distributed.
Dorset.News from Jim Harman says that the Open air meetings conducted on the sands at Weymouth were greatly affected by the weather, and at times the meetings had to be cancelled. In spite of various hindrances people were reached with the gospel and there were many who listened with interest. This work has continued for many years, and although the labourers are few, prayer is needed that the testimony will be sustained. The annual testimony among Foreign Students was interesting. One young man a Moroccan, named Mohammed, after much seeking and questioning accepted Christ as Saviour. He needs prayer because he knows that if he returns home to his family, he will be persecuted - even be in danger of his life. He hopes to be able to settle for a while in Belgium. He has a concern for his parents and seeks guidance as to his future dwelling. He is one of several young students who have recently found faith in Christ.
The 12th. year of Summer Camps, organised by Stephen Gillham, were blessed with the largest number of children ever - 196 in all. About 60 teenagers attended the senior camp, and although it was felt that the Lord was speaking, no definite response was seen. The Junior camps were virtually full and 15 young people spoke of trusting the Lord. A team of nearly 80 believers worked during the camps. A burden is felt for those who went home unmoved by the gospel - they are followed by much prayer.
Turbary Chapel, Tricketts Cross is now going well, and there is encouragement in seeing people off the estate coming in each week.
South East England.A brief note from S. Mountstevens speaks of the Beach Witness at Eastbourne. Good numbers attended the children's meetings and much interest was shown. There was a strange incident during the time diere. A man claiming to be a consultant psychiatrist came to oppose the message. He did not hesitate to blaspheme the Name of the Lord. His closing statement was revealing, coming from a professed atheist, "If God wasn't, man would have invented him"! How confused is the mind of man, in wisdom knowing not God!
South Wales.A report from Don Roberts of Cardiff, tells of the baptism of two girls from Caerau Gospel Hall following a campaign with Paul Young. Cardiff Sunday School Camps were held during July and while the numbers attending were slightly less, there was blessing. One young girl is known to have trusted the Saviour. It is good to hear again of the usefulness of the Mobile Bible Exhibition in its tour of South West England. One man was saved on the spot - in the Van. From the assembly at Mackintosh Place, Cardiff it was good to know of a Broadcast Service held there for B.B.C. Wales in July. A good opportunity presented itself for a gospel message. Who can tell how many thousands listened to the Word of God? The assembly here has begun a new venture in the form of a monthly men's evening meeting. The attendance has avereged 35 including about twelve unconverted.
The assembly at Bridgend had the joy of baptising two young men and they have recently been received into fellowship. There is a great need in the assemblies in the Welsh valleys. Evangelists who work among them have had their problems. Frank Lonney had shingles in his face and John Baker has undergone a throat operation. David Richards has experienced a heart problem. These brethren have worked faithfully among valley assemblies and need our prayers.
Paul Young sends news of the "Good News" Camp which went from Maesteg to Devon. Over 60 children (aged 8-13) were drawn from five local assemblies and it proved to be a good time with good weather! Ivor Powell was greatly used by the Lord to lead young people to salvation and to give spiritual help to others. It is known that an elderly lady had trusted Christ following her hearing an address on being born again, given at a mission in Maesteg, conducted by Paul Young.
Devon.At Hebron Hall, Torquay, a three week mission was conducted by M. Newman and P. Smith. Good contacts were made in door to door work but few came in to meetings. Mainly as a result of "Coffee & Chat" held on Wednesday afternoon, two unsaved came in. This work has continued weekly. The children numbered about 32, one girl professing faith in the Lord. A young lad was baptised here.
Morning talks were given by Peter Smith at Whipton Chapel, Exeter when a Holiday Bible Club was held. Children averaged 36 with a good number of parents attending the prizegiving. The outreach work from Bitton Park, Teignmouth took over the facilities of a local community centre to organise a Holiday Bible club. Gospel outreach was mingled with various activities and after a wet start, about 44 children were involved. Half of these did not attend Sunday School.
At Gerston Chapel, Paignton, the Counties Bible Exhibition was held for four days. Some 500 people viewed the exhibits from various places. Good contacts were made with unbelievers. It was a good exercise for the local assembly as six people were needed for each two hour shift and good fellowship was enjoyed.
Cornwall.It has been a busy summer for work in this county and we have interesting items of news. At St. Austell, the annual conference for ministry was attended by over 200 and ministry by G. Waugh and D. West was greatly blessed. The assembly here is seeking the Lord's guidance as they have been given the opportunity to purchase the house with its large garden next to the Hall. The conference at Saltash was well attended with excellent ministry given by the Lord's servants.
At Saltash, S. Burditt erected his new tent in July on a good site in the town. The assembly gave good support during the three weeks campaign. Numbers were never large but useful contacts were established. At Truro S. Burditt erected the tent in a sparsely populated area. Believers gave faithful support. Some adults and a consistent number of children came in. J. Hadley continued the tent work during the summer months at Bodmin. A great deal of literature and visitation work was done and one professed salvation. Folks with personal problems were helped. A recent visit from an elder from an assembly in Luanda, Angola, drew a good response from believers in Cornwall. He was able to give first hand reports of conditions in this country and encourage prayer for Ruth Hadley. Roy Wood joined him to interpret and minister the Word. At the Cornwall Postal Sunday School Camp at Fowey, the parents of a child, who had previously shown interest, came into the Friday evening meeting and the father trusted the Saviour. They live in St. Austell and the assembly is seeking to encourage him in following the Lord as well as praying for the salvation of his wife.
The four weeks of Plymouth Camps at Tintagel all enjoyed times of blessing in spite of the stormy weather. Some of the 250 children under canvas enquired about salvation, baptism, church fellowship and assurance of salvation. Personal problems came to the fore, many of which were linked with one parent homes. A warmth of fellowship was felt among the officers, and a spirit of thankfulness to the Lord.
Foreign News.A letter from John Lynn in Harare, Zimbabwe, gives one or two interesting items. The testimony at Bethany Chapel, Harare, is continuing but the numbers in the local assembly have fallen from 150 to 40 due to many leaving the country. Praise is given to God for answered prayer regarding the printing press. Mr. & Mrs. Alan Chambers are running the press there, doing wonderful work in printing of Gospel Tracts and in Emmaus Bible Study Courses. Prayer is sought regarding guidance in financing this work. Arthur Hallett reports that the door is wide open in Noval Alianca churches in the Beira area of Mozambique so that in a difficult and dangerous situation, it is possible to help some 25 of the local churches in that area in a bigger way than ever before. An assembly broadcast over Swazi Radio on the 1400 D.V. every Wednesday evening at 2130 hrs. S.A. Standard Time called "Streams of Life" has led to many coming to know the Lord. So in needy, difficult places the work goes on.