Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
"Doing the will of God from the heart". Eph. 6.6.
Reading these news items brings us into contact with the outward evidence of the concerns and exercises of many of God's faithful servants. It is obvious that things do not get easier and the sense of battle with unseen forces is always present. Yet we can never measure the inward exercises and struggles of those whose motives for service are to please God and to do His will. Maybe we need to pray more often that such shall be delivered from the power of the Evil One and shall find peace and strength within.
Jim Graham reports that the gospel is being proclaimed in all counties of the province during the holiday period. In Clough, Co. Antrim, Jim Martin and Wilson Jennings faithfully preached the gospel in a portable hall and blessing was experienced. The Lord's presence was manifest in some gospel meetings in Der-riaghy when E. Fairfield and J. Thompson were encouraged by the good interest shown. Good numbers came into a tent at Ballyrobert, near Ballyclare as R. Pickering preached. At Monkstown, Reg Jordan and Bill Armstrong saw the Lord's hand in blessing during a spell of meetings in a portable hall. Children's meetings held at the same time saw an average attendance of about 70 each evening. At Derryhubbert, Co. Armagh, the tent was filled each evening, with some local people coming in as W. J. Nesbitt proclaimed the word. In Ballyhay, Co. Down, one lady professed faith in Christ when Robert Eadie and Clifford Lord preached the gospel in a new hall. Because of the present unrest, plans were changed at Ballyahinch. Instead of holding the meetings in a tent, Jim Hutch-inson and Jim Allen conducted meetings in the Gospel Hall and during five weeks of preaching saw good numbers attending. In a portable hall at Blackskull, near Dro-more, Norman Turkington and Sam Ferguson saw good numbers of unsaved folk come in to their preaching. A good interest was evident and there were those who showed concern in meetings at Comber conducted by William La very (U.S.A.) and Leonard Mullen (Japan), At nearby New-townards, God gave blessing in salvation at Frances St. Hall as R. Pickering held three week's gospel meetings. At Bready, Co. Tyrone, Albert Aiken preached in a portable hall and saw some interest during the meetings. At Moneydig, Londonderry, the small assembly invited Eric Wishart and T. Sloan to hold gospel meetings. Interest was good and one girl showed concern regarding salvation. Open air meetings have been held at Bangor with Wesley Barr responsible, and at Carnlough with Albert Aiken responsible. Good assistance was given each evening by local brethren. At Maranatha Hall, Belfast, H. Andrews held two weeks gospel meetings.
The National Bible Study Club, working from its office in Dublin, continues to progress. They praise the Lord for His evident hand in blessing. There is a good response from those who return their completed lessons constantly. A steady stream of new names is being added to the register. The objective is to build a relationship of trust and confidence with the children as they are taught the Word of God. Those who have professed faith in the Lord Jesus need much prayer that they will find fellowship with other believers and go on well. Emmaus Courses are regularly sent out to adults who have an interest in studying God's Word. Some have shown definite signs of spiritual growth.
At Port Arlington, after two weeks meetings in the hall, Gilbert Stewart and Sam Patterson were asked by a Roman Catholic family to have meetings in their home in Co. Kildare. How much prayer is needed as the power of Rome is encountered, that these people will respond to the light of the gospel and come to know the Saviour.
News is to hand from J. Anderson concerning work in Scotland's South West. The Ayrshire assemblies staged two efforts in early summer. One was in Dalmellington, and this was a resumption of last autumn's effort with David McMaster. The children's meetings were better attended and some of the villagers came to the meetings. Open air meetings were held nightly, supporting parties from various assemblies conducting these. Interest in some areas was so good that these may be carried on fortnightly. The second effort was conducted in Bethany Hall, Stevenston, with Robert McLuckie, and the assemblies in the town rallied round with good support ensuring that the whole town was covered with Christian literature. Alistair Young conducted children's meetings. There was a good interest in the meetings and this inspired the addition of a parents night which was well attended. A fourth Sunday evening gathering was held in a Church Hall after which a married woman accepted the Saviour. Her teenage daughter had professed salvation four years earlier at meetings conducted by Jim Smythe in Loan Hall. She had been baptised and brought into fellowship.
In Maybole, Robert Revie and Jack Hay held meetings in a portable hall. There was a fair amount of interest and good support in this small town where there used to be an assembly. Two younger brethren from the Galston assembly hired a tent which they erected in their back garden for nearly a month. As they preached the gospel a number of the townsfolk attended.
The Lanarkshire county effort was undertaken by Stewart McKenzie, first of all in the village of Law and then in Larkhall. The highlight of the meetings at Law was the baptism of three people. A 76 year old man was saved when he attended a gospel meeting conducted by Stewart when he was visiting the north of Scotland. He took the opportunity to be baptised when the meetings were being conducted in his own village. He was also joined by a man of 19 from a Christian family and a girl who was saved during the meetings.
The summer effort of the Lanarks assemblies includes an open air and visitation effort in a number of districts in the county. This is conducted by James Aitken who makes contacts during the day and then is joined by others for nightly open air meetings. This brother has a gift for following up contacts both personally and by letter and has been much used by the Lord in this way. Joe Baxter conducted the Wigtownshire assemblies summer effort, first with a month's meetings in Port Patrick Gospel Hall and then with a month in the Gospel Hall at Sandhead. The season began with good interest and support.
David Locke and George Forbes spent a fortnight visiting in Argyllshire in June. This needy county was evangelised in villages which are beyond the reach of any local assembly, and door to door tracting was undertaken. It was quite surprising to find so many who had previously been in assemblies in other parts.
News comes from Gerald Bourne concerning the Lancashire Gospel Tent. During the month of June the tent was pitched in Heatons Park, Manchester. Norman Mellish and David Richards were the evangelists responsible for preaching the gospel. In spite of one of the wettest Junes on record, a very good attendance was experienced. It was felt that more unsaved gathered during this campaign than can be recalled for many years. Many conversations took place and two young women trusted the Saviour as a result. A young man confessed that he had been drawn into the tent. He is a professional trumpet player and has appeared on television. He became a frequent attender and eventually brought his wife with him. The Sunday following the dismantling of the tent Norman Mellish invited him and his wife to the gospel hall at Mauldeth Road on the Sunday evening and afterwards to supper at home. The man needs prayer-it was felt that a work is going on in his heart. The campaign was felt to be too short and had the tent not been due at Great Sankey, Warrington immediately, a further two weeks would have been considered. The children's work was very small but a good interest was apparent. The disappointment in the children's work was off-set by the large number of adults who came. This gospel effort proved that there is an interest among unsaved folk although it may be small as yet. Let us pray that these and other activities similar to them may eventually lead to a real awakening in our land.
The summer season for the Cumbrian Gospel Van extends to mid-September. For the second year running the link-man evangelist for the whole season was Archie McMaster. Others join him and many towns and villages are reached every season with the gospel.
From Charlton Road Gospel Hall, Birmingham comes news of an encouraging Senior Citizens meeting. This gave a good opportunity to share the gospel with many of these aged folk and the hall was packed on this occasion. A good clear message was given-a challenge to all present. The weekly ladies meeting still averages about 60 and most of these are unsaved. This gives encouragement to the preacher to preach the gospel. A feature of the assembly work which also brings encouragement is the way in which the young people show interest in a house to house visitation, distributing gospel leaflets in the shopping arcade as well. They also invite people off the streets for the Sunday evening gospel service. It is good to hear of on going assembly work. This often gets overlooked in the shadow of campaign work etc. We shall be glad to hear of more such activities!
The Christian Witness Tent was erected again at the Three Counties Show ground held at Malvern, Worcs. This annual event provides many opportunities for witness at what is a very popular show. There was a steady flow of people through the tent on each of the three days and the times when it rained made the people stay longer. The Gospel Video did not draw as many to watch as perhaps would have been expected-the video was quite lengthy but some showed interest. A good quantity of Christian literature was distributed. Gospels of Luke were given together with a competition based on the Gospel. 37 of these were completed and returned and prizes were sent. Through the serving of cups of tea, some interesting conversations were enjoyed. Squash was served to children and this proved helpful in getting them to stay for a chat. A good number of Postal Sunday School lessons were given to children but few have been returned. This work does not get easier with the passing of years but prayer is needed that links in the chain of people eventually finding Christ may be forged.
The Annual Conference was held at the New Hall, Broadwas, and a good number gathered to listen to the ministry of the Word. P. Harding and E. Parmenter gave helpful and stimulating ministry. This is a small assembly in a rural community, but always draws a good company of believers from surrounding assemblies for this annual event. News regarding the small assembly at Rockhampton, Avon. During the past year tracts have been distributed to all 4000 homes in the town of Thornbury and the task is now beginning over again. As with previous different outreaches in past years, apathy seems to be the only response but the Lord calls those who serve Him to be faithful and we can leave the results, with much prayer, to Him. The Postal Sunday School sent its largest number of young people yet to Camp near Chepstow. They joined with the Peterborough P.S.S. and John Baker was responsible for sharing the Word with these and other young Christians. Three from Rockhampton made professions of salvation and there is earnest prayer that they will continue to grow in grace.
There is a small assembly at Nelson Street, Gloucester, with a large heart for needy people. Each month three Eventide homes are visited and staff as well as residents listen to the Gospel. A Bible poster on the local railway station was sponsored by them, and three larger city assemblies now have fellowship in this.
From S. Mountstevens, Milton Keynes, various items of news are to hand. At Hanslope, a very favourable site was obtained for the tent. Good numbers of children attended, many which were contacts from last year, and interest was excellent. A gospel meeting for adults and children on Lord's Day saw 19 adults in with the children. They heard the Word of the Lord preached. A local brother gave his testimony.
This always forms a good basis for telling out what the Lord has done. Late one night a lady called on the site in much distress of heart. She had a drink problem and also was to some degree involved in Roman Catholic ideas. She seemed to go away helped as her need of Jesus Himself, without any outward trappings was explained. Such need prayer for deliverance.
Time was spent by S. Mountstevens in the scattered villages near Kingswood, Aylesbury. This was an effort for adults and children. There was good reception by villagers, (three workers working together), contacts were made, interest was shown and children and a few adults attended the meetings. It was purposed to spend a while there, but "marching orders" were received from the masters of the hired building after two weeks. Children and parents were disappointed after this sudden closure. But the Lord overrules for His glory. At New Bradwell the testimony continues. During the winter the childrens meetings were encouraging-18-20 gathered and the seed was sown. One mother always came with her children, both on Wednesday and to Sunday School. Witness with the text banner continues in the Milton Keynes shopping centre. One Moslem gentleman engaged in conversation at much length as he spotted the text. The language barrier made conversation difficult but he was willing to accept a gospel tract.
Four weeks were spent in the gospel at Bicester. Good numbers of children attended the meetings and numbers have been added to the regular assembly work. Two girls made a profession of faith in Christ. It was good to see a mother regularly attending with her two children.
David Wilcox and Peter Smith shared a mission for children in the village of Queen Camel. Over 80 children gathered and a good number of parents came with the children for the family night. About 12 villages were visited in door to door work. This was a most encouraging time.
News of various activities come from J. Harman. At Shillingstone the assembly is small but there was encouragement at their annual conference as about 150 believers gathered to listen to ministry from J. Hunter and A. M. S. Gooding. The Word given was both stimulating and came as a challenge. J. Hunter continued with ministry during the following week.
The small assembly at Swanage is actively engaged in spreading the gospel. In this delightful holiday centre on the coast a monthly gathering is held for senior citizens. There is a tea and hymn singing followed by a message, and a good number attend and appreciate the service. An offshoot of the assembly is at Harmans Cross where Jack Foley built a small hall for gospel outreach. Many holiday makers have been contacted and there is usually a good company of visitors each Sunday. A summer work continues among the foreign students who come to Weymouth each year. Various students come from the continent for English language courses and an opportunity is presented to share the gospel with them while they are here. Open air work continues on Weymouth sands each Sunday evening during the summer. The interest builds up and many people stop to listen to the gospel.
The Downclose assembly at Wyke Regis have just celebrated their 25th. Anniversary and K. T. C. Morris and W. Morrison gave encouraging ministry. This work was commenced as a result of Sunday School activity in the home of a Christian couple, Mr. and Mrs. H. Wheeler. When the attendance reached a weekly 40, room became a problem so the hall was built and a witness has been maintained. A good women's meeting is held each week. There was thanksgiving and praise to the Lord for His goodness over the years. The assembly is small but they are looking to the Lord for future blessing.
A first visit was made to Wainscott, Kent. S. Mountstevens speaks of good interest among children and encouragement from parents as they responded to an invitation to a gospel meeting in the tent on Lord's Day. Adults can often be reached more easily through their children, and the summer has proved fruitful in this area. On the final night a young man passing through, saw the tent, looked in and said that he was curious. During conversation a deep need was revealed and an open heart. Everything had failed and he was quite willing to listen as the claims of the Lord were presented. Five days in a row he had unexpectedly been brought face to face with eternal things and he was convinced that it was not by chance. He was glad to accept literature and left his address. Many prayers follow him.
From Don Roberts news items tell of work in Cardiff and district. The Annual United Assemblies Conference was held in Cardiff, with the speakers, Dr. David Gooding and Jack Hunter. The theme was The Epistle to the Colossians. The Homeworkers Conference was held at Ebenezer Gospel Hall and among the reports given was one by John Stewart of the Isle of Wight, concerning work amongst prisoners in the top security prison.
Paul Young speaks of a children's mission at Pencoed. This was well attended and the local junior school was visited with the gospel. Some parents came to the prize-giving night with the children. Three people have been baptised in this assembly during the past year. Also at Pencoed a gospel campaign was conducted with John Baker. Interest was good but no visible results were seen.
A two week campaign was held with Archie Carew at Heath Gospel Hall, Cardiff. This gave many opportunities to visit local schools. Nine in all were visited and over 2000 children were reached with the gospel.
Frank Lonney and John Skingley erected their tent at Bridgend. There was some opposition from the local council because of their stringent requirements but the meetings were well supported. The two evangelists were well supported by Andrew Jones. At Hengoed Frank Lonney held a gospel crusade. This is a small assembly that works very hard. Much interest was shown and a lady was saved as a result of the meetings.
Hebron Hall at Dims Powis is an establishment for elderly folk, accommodating 25 residents. There is a time of devotion every morning and a special meeting on Sunday afternoon. No less than six have been saved before they passed into eternity. The Bible Exhibition continues to prove useful and many contacts were made during the summer, both in Cardiff (Rhiwbina) and in Cornwall. Paul Young speaks of encouragement in the work at Maesteg, with three young men aged 19-20 committing their lives to Christ. Baptism and assembly fellowship followed. They are eager for others to hear the gospel, and bring quite a few with them both to the gospel meeting and the week night Bible teaching meeting.
News of the Devon Postal Sunday School. About 70 attended a P.S.S. "Get together" at Totnes in June. 25 were children and the rest were parents and helpers. The fine weather enabled games to be played in the park. Tea was enjoyed in the Totnes Gospel Hall. Quizzes and a message from Stuart Dan rounded off the day. It is good to hear that this work progresses-cause for praise to God.
At the small assembly in Chudleigh- only four in fellowship*-a "Little Fish" children's campaign was held for two weeks. About 45 children were contacted and with Postal Sunday School it was felt to be a worthwhile effort. The Teignbridge Postal Sunday School grows steadily. A Mid-season rally was held at Bridford Mills and about 30 gathered for a good time. The Teignbridge Village work continues with encouragement. About 17 villages have been visited and about 3000 "Via" gospel magazines distributed. The greatest cause for encouragement has been that an average of 6 workers per week have gathered and in open air meetings people have listened well.
From Truro we have news of 2 weeks' meetings in Gloweth Chapel with Stan Ford. These meetings were an encouragement to the local believers and there were also unsaved who came in. Stan Ford was out visiting every day in one way or another, especially contacting those believers whom he had known over many years. In his advancing years our brother is still very active in the gospel and in building up of believers in assembly fellowship. The Bible Exhibition was set up in Truro in a church hall in the town. During four days people came in and good contacts were made. The Exhibition was later on display at St. Austell and Saltash where very many good contacts were also made. We can pray that those who were contacted may find out more of the meaning of God's Word.
From Roy Wood, Plymouth, a news letter highlights some needs in this difficult and troubled part where Ruth Hadley and others labour for the Lord. A problem of magnitude is the lack of recognition of the assemblies by the authorities. What is demanded by those in power would run counter to many of the structures of the local church, built on New Testament principles. Prayer is needed. The war situation is not improving after previous widespread destruction. Ruth is busy with Bible and literature distribution, Emmaus courses, callers, counselling etc. etc. and she with Marjorie Beckwith (Canada) and Iris Floyd do Nascimento need all the prayer we can give. Over 1000 have died in Luanda from cholera owing to lack of sanitation and overcrowding as well as lack of food. Literature and translation work give much cause for encouragement. This brief report may help us to pray intelligently for the tremendous need in this and other third world countries.
Foreign Item. Angola.
South East England.
South & West England.
North West England