Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
'Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it', Ps. 127, 1.
Much thuught and concern is centred today on the matter of building. We are told that we are experiencing a building 'boom' and many questions are asked about the quality of the building. As we seek to serve Ehe Lord, how forcibly the word comes to us, let every man take heed how be build-elh 1 Cor. 3. 10. In this current report, it is good to notice records of distinctive evidence of God's blessing in the experiences of individuals and in the continuance of long established testimonies. How relevant the above verse is in Christian activity today. The outward character of a work may be attractive, spectacular, even dramatic in its appeal. It is amazing how much the natural man can produce in evangelism. Yet how quickly it can fall away and fail. The Lord must build the house; this is essential and indispensable. T will build my church'. Matt. 16. 18. His PURPOSE is here, and hell's gales will never destroy it. 'Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house', 1 Pet. 2. 5. PERSONAL involvement in that which is for God's pleasure. 'Builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit', Eph. 2. 22. It is to be a PLACE where the PRESENCE is known and enjoyed. Let us pray that no building shall be in vain!
Northern Ireland. Reports of activities in the North come from Jim Graham, Belfast. God gave blessing in Dloomfield, Castlereagh and Glengormley Halls, all in the Belfast area, as meetings were concluded. The Belfast Easter Conference was again held in the Assembly Buildings and the convenors were greatly encouraged by the attendance and especially with the numbers of young people present. The word was ministered by a number of brethren, and reports of the Lord's work at home and abroad were given. The gospel was clearly presented by Sam Jennings to a large gathering. In Co. Antrim, J. Martin and W. Jennings saw a man and his wife saved at Bushmills. At Portglcnone, S. Ferguson and N. Turkington preached in a portable hall and good support was given by Christians from neighbouring assemblies. At Gracehill, just outside Ballymena. two young brethren. P. Lutlon and T. Wallace, had a few local people under the sound of the gospel in a portable hall. In Harryville Hall, Ballymena, A. McShane and T. Meekiu saw encouraging numbers, some connected with believers. Preaching at Portadown, J. Lennox and J. Brown saw the Lord save souls.
There were some saved at Lurgan as R. Watterson and J. Hawthorne preached the gospel. W. J. Nesbitt preached the gospel in a garage at Dundrtim (Keadyl. After a very fruitful spell of meetings at Burnside, D. Kane laboured in the village of Killyleagh, Co. Down, and N. Armstrong and R. Jordan preached in a portable hall at Ballyvester, near Donaghadee. J. Rogers and S. McBride had good numbers in the new hall at Kewry. An encouraging series of meetings was held in the Gospel Hall al En-niskillen. Co. Fermanagh, with L. Mullan and J. Wallace. The believers at Maglieraieh were greatly encouraged with excellent attendance at meetings conducted by A. McShane. These included a number of Christians from the area not in the habit of coming to the hall. Al Dungannon, R. Eadie and R. McKeown have seen souls saved and others showing inheres. A. Aikcn and T. McNeill have had good attendance with interest in salvation at Lungs, Co. Tyrone.
From Edward Jamieson, Belfast, we have a letter which commences with a number of items given for encouragement. Recently they heard of a lady who became a Christian after receiving a Words of Comfort booklet. This is only one of many who have been blessed in this way. There are 44- workers who contact bereaved families in the province together with two sisters who send out literature from Lelterkeuny to surrounding areas. They need prayer. A letter was received from one of the central American countries in which a missionary tells of a number being saved. They had come to know the gospel through literature produced in Belfast. A group of over twenty believers meet on the last Monday of every month in Casrlcreagh Gospel Hall to prepare and despatch literature in English and Spanish, which is sent throughout these islands and to the foreign field. This aspect of the work could not continue without the dedication of Lhese workers who give of lime and talent to serving the Lord in this practical way. The telephone ministry, hospital visitation, work among soldiers and also the deep-sea evangelism continue to spread abroad the gospel message and for such efforis we pray.
Eire. For over 100 years there has been a testimony at Merrion Hall, Dublin. As the result of prayer and waiting on the Lord. the decision was reached to move to other premises which have been purchased and will be renovaied. The work of the National Bible Club has been carried on in offices provided by Merrion Hail for 25 years of its existence so there is need for prayer that new premises will be found to continue the work, as the new building is too small to house it. It is essential that the sending out of the lessons etc. to the children should continue without a break. It has been encouraging to hear from children who have come to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Many come from difficutt religious backgrounds and may face real difficulty as they take a stand for the Lord. The number of children doing lessons continues to increase, many from rural areas, perhaps far removed from the influence of the gospel. A note from a nun in Co. Galway is worth quoting. 'I have seen the children in our school very interested in the Bible Study Club. Would you have any Bible Study material suitable for adults? I would be very interested if you have any helps you can share'. Who can tell the effect of the power of the word?
We have a note from Gilbert Stewart who works mainly in Co. Donegal. Magheraconan is one of three assemblies in Donegal and the believers there have a keen interest in keeping the gospel before the people of their district. Gilbert Stewart and Sam Patterson have worked with them a number of times and have thankfully seen evidence of God's blessing in salvation. Believers have been added to the testimony there. A recent visit to the assembly gave encouragement as a number of local people came each night to hear the preaching of the word. These regulars said that they realized that they were not saved and would like to be. Yet after nine weeks of meetings there was no outward evidence of one trusting in Christ. For over 20 years there has been a Gospel outreach in Co. Galway, on the west coast, Sisters in Christ go out into the country areas calling from house to house, offering sales of Bibles, New Testaments, Gospels, children's books etc. Free Christian literature is also given. This work can only be done in the summer months. Conversation takes place on the doors, at farmyard gates etc. The people are for the most part friendly and an invitation to share a cup of tea promotes this friendliness, and gives opportunity for sharing the word. Thus, in this way, much literature has gone into the homes, although the main background to life is the religion of Rome. The joy of this work is in the follow-up and the requests to return again. Also it is good to know of a few in Galway city who have been saved. Galway is a large county and there is still much ground to be covered in spite of the many years since this work began. Prayer for the people in desperately needed.
Scotland. From south west Scotland J. Anderson sends a number of interesting items. At two baptismal services in Elim Hall, Kilmarnock, five young people obeyed the Lord in baptism. At Auchinleck two believers confessed their Lord in this way. A young lady in her twenties was baptized at Glenburn, Prestwick, and a teenage lad at Tarbohon. A recently converted lady was baptized at Forth and her daughter now attends the gospel meeting.
Galston assembly commenced the winter session with George Forbes conducting children's and adult meetings for two weeks, David McMaster concluded the session with another 2 weeks' mission. The children's meetings were a success but the youth meetings which have been going on for six years were disrupted by young folk under the influence of drugs and had to be discontinued. George Forbes had two weeks children's meetings in the Harclceshill assembly in Larkhail. Some 50 attended each night and two professed to be saved. On the second Friday children from the local Primary School were marched along for the service. Three weeks' gospel meetings were held at Hebron Hall, Glengarnock with Jack Hay. A few local people came in and the believers were encouraged by the support of friends of neighbouring assemblies. While there were no apparent results, the local believers were encouraged by (he preaching.
Joe Baxter has been engaged in tract and visitation work in the Calderbank district of Lanarkshire. From there he moved on to do similar work in the Clydebank district of Dunbartonshire. Such was the interest found un the doorsteps that a gospel campaign was considered.
It is always good to read a powerful testimony to God's saving grace. Tom Pirric of Ayr was a useless alcoholic until he was saved about 15 years ago. He was baptized and received into Glenburn assembly. At once he gave himself to tract work and children's work. The year after his conversion he set out to spend his holidays having children's meetings in every village in Ayr. After this he spent his Saturdays seeking tu preach the gospel in every town between Carlisle and Stirling-a total of over 20 towns. His most recent exercise is to give a gospel leaflet to every house in Ayr - 51) ,000 people. He commenced this on Boxing Day 1987. He conducts three or for children's meetings every week in the area. Saved at 49, with no religious background whatever, his zeal is unabated. Praise God-how the church today needs this kind of evangelism!
News from Philip Prior in Fife. Joe Baxter had 3 weeks' meetings in Tayport with up to 11 unsaved in each evening. Two ladies professed conversion and one lady was restored to the Lord. In his own home area of Cowdenbeath and Lumphinnans, Hugh Keirs continued activity of visitation during the winter months. Two months were spent in Kennoway, when a lady of 22 and a man of 65 made a profession of faith. A week's meetings in Kennoway followed, using a prophetic chart, and unsaved were there each night. A Church of Scotland elder professed good interest and returned to the gospel meeting on the Lord's Day. The believers at Abbot Hall, Dunfcrmline, have been inviting senior citizens into the hall on a Wednesday morning and providing tea, coffee, biscuits and a chat. This has proved quite fruitful with up to 40 coming in. Many useful contacts have been made. A man and a couple have been coming to the Family Service as a result. The intention is to recommence the summer open air meetings in the Pitlencricf Park, and the June meetings will be directed especially towards children. Arrangements are in hand for a four day Bible Exhibition in September.
North West England.News from S. MeKenzie of a gospel campaign at Barrow-in-Furness. On most of the evenings there were unsaved folk in and an older man trusted Christ. The man is totally deaf and his conversion is a remarkable story. He was brought to the meetings by his next door neighbour who is a believer. During the meetings he wrote down as much of the message as was possible for him. Then when they reached home he went over it with him in greater detail. It was a novel experience for the preacher to have to write down on paper everything to be conveyed to him. when in his home the gospel was explained. Eventually after a meeting in the hall, he was led to the Lord.
We have news from Gerald Bourne of the work in the Manchester area. The Annual Kastcr Conference at Mauldeth Road was well attended and ministry given by A. Leckie and A. Maunder was much appreciated. The ministry of the word continued with A. Leckie the fallowing week, and drew large crowds as subjects not often covered were dealt with. A time of spiritual exercise benefited many believers of varying age groups. The opening conference of the Lancashire Gospel Tent was held at the gospel hall, Chorley, and was encouraging. The hall was full and a challenging word was given by Roland Pickering, Northern Ireland, who is one of the evangelists in the six weeks of campaign to be held, pv, «i Adlington in June and July. The Annual Conference at Swinion, saw the hall full to capacity, and the ministry given by W. Craig and D. Roberts was greatly appreciated.
A letter from R. J. Tate, Cumbria Gospel Outreach, tells of work in Millorn. Marypon and Keswiek, concentrated on children's meetings. Altogether nearly 250 children heard the word of God and 35 parents came to the prize nights. Although there were no definite professions of salvation, the children certainly understood the way to be saved. Abom 30 yuung people were taken for a Bible Study week-end to Keswick. The Lord's blessing was felt as the place of the Christian in the world today was discussed.
North East England.Derek Taylor sends a brief note of activities in his area. Following the exercise of 5 couples in the district, a series of young people's fellowship meetings was held during the winter months. The aim was to encourage fellowship between young believers and to present them with practical, challenging ministry, Help was given by J. Brown. Motherwell, and S. JVlcKerme, Argyle, and several local brethren. A testimony was given on each occasion showing the reality of a living faith to unsaved friends of the young people. Over 80 attended on each occasion and all seemed to enjoy the new venture. Summer' activities have been arranged to keep them together until the meetings recommence again, Dv, in October.
Midlands.News from Stoke-on-Trent tells of a Family Service held at Ebenezer Gospel Hall, Butt Lane. Invitations were sent out to the parents of the Sunday School children and a good number of senior citizens came along. Altogether about 95 gathered. Tony Renshaw passed on the gospel message and the evening ended with refreshments. The good seed of the word was sown. The Annual Conference was held at Butt Lane with J. Jackson and P. Kaye giving the ministry of the word to well attended gatherings. The truth was well accepted and the believers went away with blessing,
A report frojn I. Powell, Daventry, speaks of continued work on the i will large blousing estates. A sense of God's blessing is fell and the word is being used as people are being contacted. The monthly family services continue with very good numbers attending, among them a good proportion of unsaved folk. It is a work that demands prayer and patience as the seed is continually sown. A contact came with a mother who had been saved in a camp with Reg Whitlern several years ago. It was good to see the father and mother with their three children at the meeting. A renewal of the assembly door-to-door visitation work on the estate is planned. Our brother speaks of many opportunities still open to take school assemblies.
From Tiverton Road, Selly Oak. Birmingham we have news of the Lord's blessing. The numbers in fellowship continue to grow, both through committed Christians moving in to the area and by new converts being added. Over the past two to three years numbers have increased from about 70 to over 90. Four young people have recently been baptized. The variety of experiences in these folk is interesting. One was a teenager with long family connections with the assembly. Another was a teenage girl who was introduced 18 months ago by her sister. A mother whose children come to 'Junior Church' and a young man who has been visiting while at Birmingham University made up the four. The Sunday Family Service regularly sees the hall filled to capacity and the trustees and elders seriously considered how to provide extra room. A rather sad note! Because of a spate of muggings and violence in the area last year, the monthly ladies evening closed after 20 years. Numbers had been declining and younger sisters were not involved. However, a new 'Mum's and Toddlers' group, mainly aimed at immigrant families, has begun and is already flourishing well.
The Anneal May Day Conference at Ludlow was very well attended afternoon and evening. K. Rudge, St. Austell and W. Banks, Hamilton, were responsible for giving the word and the ministry was both practical and helpful. The assembly is very small here and the going is tough. They need our prayers.
Gloucestershire. The believers at Bethany Hall, Hesters Way, Cheltenham had two weeks gospel campaign with Robert Revie. This proved to be encouraging to the assembly who have worked regularly round the houses on this large estate. The believers were 100% together in the campaign and in prayer and preparation were drawn very much together. A systematic visitation on the estate around the hall was made and contacts established. Numbers at the children's meetings were less than could have been owing to holidays, but about 40 children gathered together and showed interest. Numbers of unsaved attended the meetings each evening. The last evening saw the hall packed with over 25 unsaved present and there was a great sense of the Lord's presence. There were very many enquiries from people who had never been in before.
Two professed salvation. A Roman Catholic lady, a regular attender at times, was saved in her home on the last Thursday afternoon. Then a young lady with mixed up religious connections also came to the Lord. There is much follow up work to he done which will involve a lot. of prayer and commitment.
South Wales.Don Roberts supplies some interesting items from Cardiff and surroundings. Encouraging news from a small yet active assembly at North Give Street, Cardiff where the Sunday School has increased from 4 to 30 by contacting lite people in the immediate vicinity. This has opened up a few doors to talk with parents and share their problems. Mothers' Day Sunday gave the assemblies al Bethesda, Ebenezer and Leckwith an opportunity for a special service in which the Sunday School children took part. This attracted a number of parents. Many Cardiff assemblies took advantage of Eastertime to conduct special services involving the Sunday School. Reports indicate full halls with many parents attending. The Annual Cardiff United Ministry Conference was conducted by Albert Leckie, Cyril Hocking and Bernard Osborne. The numbers were good and the ministry given much appreciated, and the believers who gathered were exhurted, encouraged and edified. Easter was a time for conferences, and these were held at Heath, Cardiff, Blackwood, and Caerphilly, with good interest shown.
Believers have been encouraged at Deri where the Sunday School has increased from 4 to 12 and contacts are being made with the parents. A gospel campaign was held in Nantgarw with Jack Hay, where a young man was saved after a visit to a brother's home. The village was tracted five times over in an endeavour to bring the people in. The believers al Bethesda rejoiced al a baptismal service when two young men were baptised. They were received into the fellowship of the assembly. A gospel campaign was held at Caerati where three were saved. The assembly grows here and a new building will soon be needed. The believers at Pencoed were encouraged when a middle-aged man was received into fellowship after a long hard struggle in severing his connection with the world. A young man also came seeking a spiritual home. There are now 11 in fellowship.
At Cadooxton, a Christian Rally was conducted by Albert Leckie and the hall was absolutely packed to hear stimulating ministry. A two weeks' gospel campaign was conducted by Norman Mellish at Caerphil-ly. Encouragement was felt in the support given by other assemblies. At Macsteg, the re-building of the hall has made it difficult to maintain the assembly work. The children's work has produced numbers in excess of 50 and 10 to 12 meet each week in a nurture group. Over 61) children have paid deposits to come to the summer camp. Despite unfavourable weather at times, the new building progresses well. Much interest in conversation has been shown by people watching the growth in this. Paul Young speaks of a busy programme of meetings in teaching and preaching. As representative of Trans-World Radio in South Wales opportunities are given to produce messages for broadcast.
From south-west Wales items of news are to hand from W. Beale. Al Fforestfach a successful and instructive series of Bible Studies in the titles of the Lord were enjoyed during the winter months and the attendances were good. A well attended conference was enjoyed at Treboeth, Swansea, on Good Friday. A number of young people were present and helpful ministry was given by K. Dykes and A. Shearman. In the Swansea city centre, young Christians front South Wales assemblies sounded out the Easier message to the people. At the Easter Conferences at Llanelli, Port Talbot and Bridgend there were good attendances and ministry was given by various brethren. Robert McLuckie, Belfast, has visited many assemblies in the area ministering the word and reporting on visits lo believers in Egypt. The new building for the assembly at Jireh Gospel Hall, Lottghor, was opened on April 23rd. This work commenced in 1923 by the late W. Banfield, and has continued through God's grace and blessing until now. The new hall was packed to listen to the story of the work and there was an atmosphere of gratitude to the Lord for His blessing.
Devon.The struggling witness at Kingskerswell held an Easter Holiday Mission and some 30 or more children attended. Eleven parents were present at the short Good Friday prize-giving service and there was interest shown. Prayer is sought for the future of this small gospel work.