Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
"Knowing the time, that it is now high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." Rom. 13. 11. "Toil on and in thy toil rejoice:
For toil comes rest, for exile home;
Soon shalt thou hear the Bridegroom's voice,
The midnight cry, "Behold I come!" H. Bona
Northern Ireland.As the summer work ends there are good reports of activity from Jim Graham, Belfast. In Co. Antrim, at Ballymure, good numbers attended tent meetings conducted by D. Kane and A. Graham and some professed salvation. At Broughshane, A. Aiken and A. McLean were encouraged early in a spell of gospel meetings by seeing blessing. In Ballycastle, where the annual Lammas Fair is held, die good weather attracted many visitors, thousands of tracts were distributed and the gospel was preached twice daily in the open air. In the coastal village of Ballywater, N. Mellish saw a good interest and souls saved in meetings held in the Gospel Hall. Further round die coast at Bryansfordd, near Newcastle, S. Ferguson and N. Turkington preached in meetings in a tent. At Kilkeel, S. McBride and R, Shannon found little local interest in tent meetings held there. In well attended meetings in Warmingstow, R. Pickering and H. Andrews saw blessing. R. Jordan and N. Armstrong held five weeks of meetings at Moneyreagh in a portable hall. The interest was poor as the district has a Unitarian tradition. A Sunday School and Sunday evening meetings are carried on faithfully in Moneyreagh Gospel Hall and prayer is that people will respond and be saved. At Ballyronan, Co. Derry, J. Martin and W. Jennings preached in a farm building. J. Lennox and J. Brown held some meetings in the Gospel Hall at Lima-vady.
News from the Belfast area. At Radicoole Diamond, tent meetings were held in association with the Whitehouse assembly with A. McShane and A. Hull, and diey were encouraged by the well attended meetings. A number have been saved. An interesting incident occurred when a man previously known to Mr. Hull attended the tent and told him that he had been saved five years earlier through a gospel text on die back of a city bus. At present there are 14 buses in the city carrying gospel texts and diey will do so until at least July of next year. The silent Word speaks with power.
Believers gadiering at Ormeau Road assembly have been much exercised before the Lord as to the future of die work in this area of die city due to the falling off of attendance since the hall was petrol bombed and vandalized. They believe diat the Lord has opened the way for diem to relocate in the Stranmillis area, not far from the present site, but in a quieter part. They feel that here they will be able to give a more effective witness both to young and old. Their new address will be: Laganville Gospel Hall Assembly, 21, Lockview Road, Stranmillis, Belfast BT9 5FH. Our prayers will follow this testimony amidst the dangers of Belfast.
Eire. At Muff, Co. Donegal, G. Stewart and S. Patterson preached the gospel in their mobile hall. At Drumquin, Co. Tyrone, J. Hawthorne and T. McNeill were encouraged as they held meetings in a store.
Scotland.News of the diird campaign of the Ayrshire Assemblies Outreach. This was conducted in the Belmont district of Ayr by Stewart McKenzie. The assembly prepared well for the effort, extending the monthly tract distribution from 900 to 2000 including die adjoining district of Kincaid-ston for the first time. The first meeting was a dinner for parents of Sunday School children and members of the young wives group. Many attended and heard the gospel preached. Sunday evening saw a good attendance of strangers and a few came in each evening during the week. A lady from another district of Ayr, who had been taken regularly to the meeting professed to accept the Saviour.
When the old Porch Hall in the Dennis-ton district of Glasgow had to close, the assembly built a new hall in Finley Street a short distance away. Although the street had already three religious buildings the believers have made an impact since the new Gospel Hall was opened in May. Each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon the hall is opened for coffee and the result is that around five people are attending the Sunday gospel meeting. Further east, just outside the city boundary, Hope Hall, Baillieston conducts a Tea Break each Tuesday morning which local people attend to hear local news plus a message from the Lord. Some of these do return on Sunday evenings and some of them professed conversion when John Clune held meetings in the spring.
News from Stewart McKenzie of campaigns in Lanarkshire. At Law, an encouraging number of local people attended the meetings and some admitted that they were hearing the gospel for the first time. One young woman trusted the Lord for salvation and was later baptized. There were two other baptisms during the campaign, a young married woman whose husband is with the assembly and a man in his 70's who was saved two years ago. All these were added to the assembly and thus the little company was much encouraged. At Larkhiu, the local community did not show a great interest in the meetings but some worthwhile contacts were made and some unsaved were in the hall each night of the meetings. One woman was there almost every night.
Philip Prior sends news of work in Fife. During recent weeks the assembly at Lady-bank has seen remarkable blessing. A visit from Chris Sprackling with a small team resulted in a lady and her two teenage children being saved. Although only about 15 in fellowship, attendances of up to 90 at the meetings were recorded and good numbers still come to the regular gospel meetings. Three adults have expressed a desire for baptism. Believers from a number of meetings in Fife took a group of young people for a week's camp at Tonbridge in Kent. The weather was not favourable but the meetings were much appreciated and three young people were saved. At St.
Andrews a week of special meetings with Jack Hay including ministry, open air witness and gospel meetings were well attended, especially by young believers; and these proved very profitable.
Kenneth Dickson sends in some interesting items. In the Aberdeen area Don Gillies worked at Newtonhill with his gospel tent. Although the site was on the edge of the village the Lord had a purpose, for the tent was pitched outside the home of a couple who were believers and were praying for their parents. The mother has since trusted the Lord. Prayer is that the husband will follow-he has regularly attended the meetings. The children's meetings were well attended with good interest shown. The two Children's Camps for the area have been encouraging. Some 140 children and a further 60 leaders and helpers attended the Aberdeen Assemblies Camp at Forres Academy. The week went smoothly and there was a real sense of the Lord's presence. Many of the older campers have been convicted about baptism and two have been baptized since camp. Over 100 children enjoyed the many activities and especially the Bible lessons on the Life of Christ. The older young people were taught the vital importance of discipleship. Many were challenged about salvation and baptism.
D. Mowatt sends news from the North. The summer outreach work in Banffshire saw many villages visited with open-air work and tract distribution. It was most encouraging to see so many young people, brethren and sisters, exercised about this and giving it their consistent support. In this area the rural districts have always seemed indifferent to the gospel. However, the Seed is good and we look to the Lord to honour His word. As an outreach from Cullen, the assembly has continued an open air witness and visitation work in the town of Keith for the last two or three years. Those involved were exercised to hold two weeks of gospel meetings which a number of teenagers attended. There is much prayer for the needs of the 8000 people in this town.
Frank Reid from Evanton has been labouring in Tingwell, Shetland and also in the Walls area. He saw good attendance at the morning children's meetings and then went on to distribute tracts in the afternoons. A particularly interesting contact was with Mr. Drummond, the chief inspector of Police and his wife, who have shown a good interest in the gospel message.
North West England.We have some good items of news from Gerald Bourne. The Lancashire Gospel Tent was pitched during July in the centre of a housing estate at Great Sunkey, Warrington, where a small testimony has been established. Stewart McKenzie was the evangelist and he was joined by Alistair Young for the final three weeks who was responsible for the young people's work. The meetings were well supported by Warrington and district assemblies and by many from the outlying districts. A good number of local people gathered and five people professed faith in Christ. The campaign ended with a baptismal service in Hebron Hall, Warrington, when the five plus a woman already a Christian obeyed the Lord in baptism. This gospel effort proved to be a great stimulus to all who were engaged in the work.
The Manchester and District Sunday School Camp 1987 was at Lakeside, Win-dermere, during the first week in August. 120 campers with a number of leaders spent a profitable week under the ministry of John Skingley and Tony Renshaw. This particular camp is an Adventure Camp and is hard work for the leaders but nevertheless the benefits proved to justify the effort. 14 campers professed faith in Christ. A large number of young Christians were present this year and they seemed to be encouraged and strengthened.
The Oaklands sheltered accommodation and home for elderly believers in Bromborough held its first open day and over 250 visited the complex. The home serves believers in the South Merseyside district. The residents speak with praise of the care and fellowship they enjoy. It is a joy to visit the place. The home is now full but the take-up of sheltered homes is slow with only one-third rented so far. There have been a number of baptisms in assemblies throughout the Wirral and some of these were witnessed by a large number of unbelievers. On the Ford Estate, Birken-head, the baptism of a young sister and a brother in his late 40's saw a large gathering, including friends and relatives of the older brother, two being Jehovah's Witnesses, who had never been to the assembly before. All listened well to the gospel and an exposition of baptism.
A brother in the Wirral recently moved house and having a concern for his neighbours, organized tent meetings in his garden. D. Thompson of Bromborough conducted the meetings and a number of neighbours came in and new contacts were made. One neighbour enquired the meaning of redemption as this subject appeared on the literature, but she did not attend the tent. In a series of children's meetings held at Irby, Wirral, a mother came along with her child one day and asked about the story of Moses which had been told to the children. She thought Moses was a garden. Sad reflection on the standards of Bible knowledge today. Children's holiday clubs were held at Bethesda, Bebington & Ford Estate.
North East England.The small assembly at South Shields has had much encouragement in recent months. Two married couples and another adult who were saved at Roker Park in 1984 were afterwards baptized. Four of these are now in happy fellowship together with the believing mother of one who was baptized at the same time. Since then the elder daughter of the family and two married relatives have been similarly added. Now a further husband and wife belonging to them have professed faith in Christ. These regularly attend the gospel meeting and now the ministry meetings. An incredible story- but evidence of the power of God to save beyond our powers of expectance and understanding. Praise the Lord for such blessing.
Midlands.From Kidsgrove, Stoke on Trent we have brief items of news. The North Staffs. Assemblies Christian Youth Camp was blessed with fine weather. Over 50 young people from areas as widespread as Stourbridge and Bromborough enjoyed the happy atmosphere and excellent facilities at Barstow Dale. This allowed many to appreciate that life as a Christian is full, interesting and enjoyable. Five young ladies trusted the Lord and others were challenged by the lively ministry of Robert Revie, Ayrshire.
Robert Greenman sends details of some work in Avon. From Langford Road Gospel Hall, Bristol, comes news of the baptism of two girls, the first time the baptistry had been opened for 15 years. One of those baptized had been recently saved and the other 5 years ago. Believers were heartily encouraged with attendance of over 40- this the highest number in the hall for many years and included a number of unsaved. How much these small testimonies need prayer. The Longwell Green Assembly held a week's children's meetmgs last year with David Willcox and this marked the revival of a weekly children's meetings, this after missing a generation or more. David Willcox repeated this exercise for two weeks in April when the numbers climbed into the 30's but there was disappointment as the numbers dropped as low as four when the meetings ended. Also for the past 18 months the assembly has been delivering 100 Christian newspapers monthly to the surrounding homes and conversations have been enjoyed with some visited.
From S. Mountstevens comes news of a brief campaign with children at Netherfield, Nottingham. Five days were spent and good interest maintained. Contacts were made with the boys and the girls on the playing field each morning and there was good attendance at the evening meetings. It is encouraging to know that the believers have commenced a Wednesday night meeting each week and over 20 are attending these.
The Worcestershire Camp Out 1987 was held again at Strete, Dartmouth, and good time was enjoyed by all who attended. Much prayer had gone into the effort as there were problems of staffing in the early stages of planning. But the Lord overruled and a time of good fellowship was experienced. Paul Young, Maesteg, was the padre and gave helpful teaching from the Word. There were many opportunities for sharing in personal needs and problems and the interest in Bible Study times was marked throughout. There were those who professed faith in Christ and others were strengthened in their Christian lives. There was a sense of the Lord's presence in all that was done. As the end came there was a sense of gratitude to God for His goodness and preserving care.
Somerset. About two weeks children's meetings were held at Friarn Hall, Bridg-water and this brought much encouragement although numbers were rather small. S. Mountstevens says that a very pleasing aspect of this effort was the way in which the children memorized the scripture verses. On the final night many were saying every verse taught them. A little tot of 4 remembered every verse (ten). Many chose Bibles for their prize. The Sunday School has been added to and a week-night meeting has been commenced.
South Wales. From Don Roberts, Cardiff, we have reports of work in Cardiff district. The work in Maesteg is growing and Paul Young is labouring there for the Lord. Recently three young people have been saved and brought into assembly fellowship. With 19 now in fellowship the Tuesday ministry meetings bring in up to 25 and up to 30 attend the gospel meetings of Lord's Day evening. A young lady was baptized at Treorchy and another young lady has been saved. During the final week of a campaign with tent at Bridgend conducted by Frank Lonney and John Sking-ley, a lady came to know the Lord. The work at Caerau continues to grow and prosper with two more young people saved recently. A number of parents came in to their Sunday School prize distribution. The Bible Exhibition held in Rhiwbina village, Cardiff brought in about 1000 people from the district.
There is more news from Pencoed where the work is expanding and there has been a need for some time for a new building on a new site. The local council has suggested a new site in the heart of Pencoed which will shortly be available. Prayer is needed! The work in the small assembly at Abertridwr is beginning to pick up with encouraging news of a new work commenced among the ladies of the town. A ladies' evening was commenced and new faces have been seen as this opportunity has been taken. The Cardiff Assemblies' Sunday School Camps saw blessing in eight folk being saved. Together with staff and workers the number totalled 140. Mr. and Mrs. Rodger Smith of Southport, (late of Zambia) looked after the spiritual needs of the campers. The senior camp was held near Tavistock, where Peter Brandon gave helpful teaching on the Epistle to Romans. Through the preaching of the gospel by Bill Davies, Bahamas, a man was saved at Treforest and a woman at Rumney, Cardiff. Prayer has been answered regarding the "Macedonian Call" launched from Penarth (Plassey Street). Two additional brethren are now taking responsibilities in the fellowship there.
W. Beale sends items of news from West Wales. The monthly open-air witness carried on by the Neath assembly in the town centre is most encouraging. Interesting conversations have been held throughout the year. Many folk stop to talk to workers and literature is readily received. Two teenagers were contacted, one of whom said very seriously that he was demon possessed. Prayer was offered for him. One of the few beautiful days of the summer saw the Gower Agricultural Show at Swansea. There was a record attendance and many folk were contacted at the Witness Stand arranged by the Swansea District assemblies. Bruce Anderson of Newport brought his tent to the Show, with an interesting display of Christian literature and an attractive refreshment section which brought in hundreds of people. A happy band of brothers and sisters enjoyed a thrilling day of witness for the Lord. At Trimsaran Gospel Hall, Albert Leckie gave ministry to believers and was joined by K. Dykes, Scotland for their Conference.
News of New Life Camp (P.S.S.) held at the Gower-campers from Mid and West Wales. Such a number asked to come that there were many turned away. Stephen Treseeder was responsible for sharing the Word and some trusted the Saviour. Others were encouraged in their Christian lives and those who helped in the Camp were thrilled to see God at work in young people. The Swansea and District Assemblies Sunday School's Camp proved a great blessing. 72 boys and girls attended the two weeks camping. The responsibility for ministry was shared amongst young folks saved in previous camps. Three girls and five boys professed salvation. 110 young people attended the Annual Young People's Conference where John Spiers and Jim Brown ministered the Word.
Dorset. Three Adventure Time Camps spread over a period of one month were held this year under the leadership of Stephen Gillham. 189 people altogether went to camp with 84 helpers and tent leaders. The weather was good and the Lord answered prayer and provided all that was necessary together with a real sense of unity felt throughout. Hours were spent in counselling young people and about 30 made professions of faith in the Lord. Each week a number of parents attended the final meeting in increasing numbers, giving a wonderful opportunity to explain the relevance of the gospel for today. Since camp finished letters have been received and conversations enjoyed confirming the great help the camp brought, particularly among seniors. Several have asked for baptism. News of the open air witness at Weymouth. It was a cause for gratitude that the Lord gave help each Sunday as the witness to Christ was given on Weymouth sands. The weather was good and not one meeting was cancelled because of rain. Local brethren were encouraged by the help given by several visitors-this was greatly appreciated. Many tracts were distributed and several interesting conversations took place. Stephen Gillham sends news of the Stalbridge Tent Crusade. Good fellowship was experienced from believers in the village. Most homes were visited and about 40 children came each day to Quest Times. On two occasions the tent was virtually full of teenagers and a lad of 14 made profession of faith in Christ. It was a small team of helpers who had happy fellowship and learnt much as they worked. At the week-ends a very encouraging number of adults were contacted.
Devon.A thanksgiving service was held at West Hill Gospel Hall, Plymouth, to give God the glory for the four weeks of Camp at Menadue (Tintagel) in August. The Lord provided lovely weather during this time. Brief reports were given by various brethren and it was obvious to all that God had worked in many of the camper's lives during their stay at camp. There was good team work, there was a sense of conviction among the young people, the camps ran smoothly, interest in the Word was very marked, a number were saved and some expressed a wish for baptism-truly God answered prayer. In spite of accidents all were safely kept and all were greatly encouraged. As a result of the camp there will be a number who will obey the Lord in baptism. As a follow up work, a series of monthly young people's rallies called "Crossways" will commence in October. How much cause for praise.
Peter Smith reports cause for praise for several baptisms around the county of Devon. Many young people are taking this step as a result of ministry given at camps. It is good that older folk as well are taking this step of obedience. Assemblies include Hebron Hall, Torquay, Dartmouth, Newton Abbot, Tavistock and Teignmouth. Again how good to know that the Lord is at work.