Reports of Gospel Work
C. H. Darch, Taunton, England
On an island in the Solomons, a few native christians were gathered to bid farewell to one of their number who was going to a neighbouring island with the gospel. Borrowing the familiar language of the pearl-diver, the native missionary told his friends that he was going to seek the treasure, but they must remain and hold the rope. His success would depend on their faithfulness.
It is to encourage 'rope-holding' as well as 'pearl -diving' that we print these reports of gospel work. There is urgent need for those whom God has fitted to 'go forth', but there is an equal need for those who will stay and pray - live and give.
LONDON and HOME COUNTIES.
Send Reports to Stanley Sayers, 33, Crieff Rd., Wandsworth, S.W.18.
SHIRLEY HALL, ENFIELD,
We rejoice to hear of an assembly needing increased accommodation, and such is the case at Shirley Hall. Twice a month during the winter (once on Saturday evening and once on Sunday evening), young folk from the assembly went to meet the crowds leaving the cinemas, to invite them to Shirley Hall for singing and light refreshments. On some occasions as many as 40 responded, and listened to a short gospel message. Some have professed faith in Christ. As a result, doubtless, of the enthusiasm of our Enfield friends, attendance at the Sunday evening gospel service is increasing, and the Lord is working in the salvation of souls. A. J. Crick was giving the message a few months ago, and the Christians present felt that there was power in the meeting. In response to an appeal at the close of the address, a stranger walked to the front, fell on his knees and cried. 'Lord, save me'. After the meeting he came into full assurance of salvation. His wife also was saved, and since then both have been baptized and received into fellowship.
Belgrave House, Littlehampton.
For 26 years there has been, at the above address, a seaside holiday home for sunday school scholars and bible class members. The superintendent, W. J. Maddox, writes: 'Thousands of boys and girls, arriving pale and listless, have been handed back to delighted parents after a fortnight of sunshine and fresh air, and all the thrills of a seaside holiday. It is heartening to watch the welcome of friends as they see the brown and chubby cheeks, and hear the excited voices. Better than all is the knowledge that large numbers of these young lives, already influenced by the patient teaching and consistent example of sunday school friends, are diverted from the broad to the narrow way while with us. Many contacts have been made with parents, who would not otherwise be reached. Parties of 50 are received from May to September, each for two weeks. From October to April, the home is available for convalescent children, and adults needing change and rest. Each Easter week-end, a conference is arranged for sunday school teachers, and workers among young people. At our well-equipped camp, 70 boys at a time live under canvas, in the unique atmosphere of camp life. Here too, besides the freedom, fun and frolic of the holiday, serious business is done in many hearts. Both home and camp were fully booked by the end of February, and very many children were sadly disappointed. We earnestly desire that the instrument already graciously owned .and used shall be remoulded to larger purpose and increased effectiveness, for the glory of God. The prayers of readers are earnestly sought that a larger and more suitable place may be found, and the necessary financial provision made in time for 1949. Our guests are received on terms which make the gifts of the Lord's stewards necessary. A copy of the annual report will be sent gladly to anyone on request.
THE MIDLANDS, BIRMINGHAM and the BLACK COUNTRY.
JJIK.MWGHAH Open-AIR Preachers. In the city’s parks, regular open-air services are held, some seasons weekly, others fortnightly, on Sundays at 7.30 p.m. One of the many methods of advertising is a door-to-door distribution of handbills during the previous week by the assembly nearest to the park to he visited. The preachers use their own hymn-sheet, having made a very usable selection of hymns, chosen not for their popularity at indoor gospel meetings, but as being those made familiar by radio services. Amplifiers are used, and music is provided by an excellent orchestra of about a dozen instruments. At the end of the meeting, booklets and scriptures are given to those asking for them. Conversation with anyone showing an interest includes encouragement to get in touch with the nearest assembly. Results are not easy to assess, but the two dozen workers are content to face the disappointments of wet nights and unresponsive audiences in the confidence that their work is to the glory of God, and that He will use it as He sees best.
South Birmingham Cyclists' Tract Team.
On Saturday afternoons, parties of cyclists from assemblies on the south side of the city, travel to many of the small villages of Warwickshire which are off the beaten track, and seldom visited by evangelists. The method is a door-to-door distribution of tracts. The team seeks to attract young christians who may not feel able to help in open-air work, so open-air meetings are not held. This new venture should be beneficial in soul and body to those taking part. May the Lord bless it to the villagers also.
Birmingham Young People's Rallies.
These rallies have been, for 35 years, a very bright feature in the life of the younger members of assemblies in the city. The lecture theatre of the Midland Institute is usually filled to its capacity of 300 on alternate Saturday nights. Musical preliminaries are followed by ministry from some well-known brother. During the summer, contact is maintained by an open-air rally on the Lie key Hills, for both ministry and gospel testimony, and as many as 300 to 400 have attended. Recently, summer holiday parties have visited Bournemouth and Paignton.
A grand gospel effort is being made in the Garrison area of Donnington. A meeting for forces and civilians is held each Thursday at 8.0 p.m., and some German P.O.W.'s have been attending. H. Dean and his co-workers are responsible, and many souls have been saved during the past 18 months.
J. M. McAllister.
In connection with the saturday evening rallies in the Picton Hall, a, five-day gospel campaign has been conducted by Harold Wildish, and about 60 people made a profession of faith in Christ. Testimony meetings have also been held. On the first occasion six people were saved. At the second meeting a young man was brought to the Lord. He has since been baptized and brought into fellowship, and has proved a very bright testimony in the factory where he works. Picton Hall has been booked for the winter months of 1948 and 1949, so, God willing, the work will continue in the same building. Harold German and William McNeil commenced a tent mission in the city on July 3rd. The tent, with seating for 1,000, was filled on the opening night, and many stood outside listening. The Liverpool friends feel that the time has come for a revival in their city, and they desire others to join them in prayer for the blessing they expect.
W. R. Wright.
WALES. Send Reports to
Walter A. Norris, 3, Morlais St., Cardiff, or to Harold Thomas, 269, Caerphilly Rd., Cardiff.
Although still not enjoying the best of health, L. H. Tranter continues to visit assemblies in South Wales, and was specially cheered by splendid interest during four weeks' meetings at Tony-pandy. Interest has steadily increased in tent meetings conducted during July at Gwaen - cae - Gurwen, by Aneurin Ward and T. W. Hickley. During the month of June, A. J. Chilcott and J. M. Davies pitched a. tent in Carmarthen, where the assembly is only about 15 in number. The weather was cold and wet, but week-night attendances ranged from 30 to 50, and on Sundays there were 100 or more present. The speakers re-established the authority and fundamental truths of the scripture! There was remarkable liberty in all the meetings, and deep-seated prejudice seemed to be removed. Stan Ford and Handel Evans have been working with a tent is Pembrokeshire. Numbers have steadily increased, and on Sundays the tent has been packed. Quite a number of people, including a young R.A.F. man, have been brought to the Lord. W. A. Norris and V. Trew, helped by W. P. Lessey and L. II. Tranter, have been working tents at Trethomas and Tredegar. Open-air meetings and the children's work have given cheer, but it has proved difficult to get adults to come to the tent. It has been decided to move the Trethomas tent to Machen, three miles distant, and it is hoped that better numbers will attend on the new site. The willing help of christians from neighbouring assemblies has been a great joy to the evangelists, and literature has been distributed during a house-to-house canvas of the district.
Send Reports to A. Mulholland, 6, Commerce Rd., Elgin.
Although the scope of these reports is gospel work in the British Isles, we cannot refrain from recording a visit paid to the Faroe Islands in April last by D. Walker and W. Cordiner. These Danish Islands, 21 in number, lie 190 miles NW of the Shetlands. Among a total population of about 30,000 persons, there are 25 assemblies, with a total of 1,000 believers in fellowship. To reach the same proportions in the British Isles, we should need to multiply the existing assemblies by 30, and have two million persons in fellowship. Four brethren devote all their time to gospel work in the Faroes, and in the larger halls 300 to '100 people attend the meetings. The visitors found that unsaved folk were present at all the meetings they addressed, and four professed faith in Christ during the visit.
D, Walker has also been working in Aberdeenshire with John Smith, visiting remote villages with a gospel car. David Kirk has had good attendances at gospel meetings in the Insch district of Aberdeenshire. Harry Burness and Joe Merson, helped by David Walker, have been taking the gospel to the workers in the Hydro-Electric Scheme at Glen Affric. They have found it difficult to gain a response, and would especially value prayer. P. F. Bruce and A. Ingrum are working the Dumbartonshire area, visiting the homes, distributing literature, and holding meetings as they have opportunity. They are meeting with hostility in some instances. At one place the minister advised his flock to avoid the meetings. Perhaps this counter-activity is a sign that blessing is on the way.
CENTRAL and SOUTH SCOTLAND.
Send Reports to Andrew McNeish, M.A., Mayfield, Bellshill Rd., Uddingston, Glasgow.
Alexandria Assembly, Dumbartonshire.
This small assembly has been much encouraged by the unexpected gift of a very suitable hall. The building is described as having a frontage of red sandstone, a hall capable of seating 310 people, and a small hall seating about 30. Regarding its acquisition, Mr. Sinclair, of Alexandria, writes of a hasty summons by phone one evening to the bedside of a christian gentleman who asked him to come because he was in great distress. On reaching his home he found that he was distressed, not because he was dying, for all was well with his soul, but because the mission with which he was connected was in a very low state, and he greatly feared that the hall would fall into the hands of those who would use it for purposes very different from those for which his father had built it. He told Mr. Sinclair that he would be greatly relieved if he would accept the hall for gospel work. Greatly surprised at such a generous otter, Mr. Sinclair said he would accept the hall for the assembly. After the transfer was completed, the donor passed away in peace. The little assembly desires to make the fullest use of the new facilities, and to go forward in the work of spreading the gospel.
Lanarkshire Gospel Tent.
This year a new tent has been purchased, and pitched for the first part of the season at Stonehouse. The campaign there was opened by a conference on May 29th. Suitable ministry was given by W. Whitelaw and V. Brown, and by the evangelists in charge of the work -John and James Hutchinson (father and son). It has been encouraging to see unsaved people attending the meetings. A few have professed conversion and some backsliders have been restored,
A new experiment in reaching children has been tried this year in Ayrshire. In the gospel tent, which has been pitched in Lochside, G. I. Stewart has had meetings for children nightly for three weeks, and Dan Cameron has followed for a further three weeks. Mr. Stewart writes of having as many as 450 boys and girls under the canvas and of the great joy of seeing 'the mellowing effect of the gospel' on the lives of the children attending, some of whom were known to their chums as 'tough guys'. He adds: 'Although work among children is largely a matter of sowing, yet we saw fruit'. Some assemblies are making it possible to reach large numbers of children with the gospel through having open-air meetings for them at recreation grounds in housing schemes and other suitable places. Recently at Birkenshaw, near Uddingston, about 200 children flocked eagerly to hear the gospel message suitably presented by Sam. Lander and others.
Send Reports to David Craig, 4, Fishers Lane, Broughshane Rd., Ballymena.
Messrs. Wallace and McElvie had six weeks' tent meetings at Clogher, Co. Down, and considerable interest was shown. Samuel Thompson found an exceptional response at Tully and Moorfieds during May and June, and a number were saved. He is now working with Mr. Peacock among the holiday-makers at Newcastle. The tent which John Norris and Jim Shanks have been using outside Bangor was filled on several occasions, and souls were saved. The gospel was well received from Harold Paisley at the Pargate Hall, Belfast, and there were some conversions. Interest was aroused at Portrush during an eleven weeks' mission conducted by Mr. Ball. David Craig has had meetings in the Central Hall, Hangar, followed by a tent mission at Crumkill, near Ballymena. Fred Bingham is continuing a tent mission near Castledawson, Co. Berry.
Send Reports to C. H. Darch, Netherlea, Tamar Avenue, Taunton.
From Cornwall comes news of the 'Christ Claims Cornwall Campaign', conducted by Edgar Jackman. During the three months' tour which has been planned, he has been promised the help of a number of young men from different parts of the country, who are willing to devote their summer holiday to gospel work, so that the team - with changing personnel - numbers four or five. A motor car and public address equipment have been provided, and we hear that the workers, hitherto strangers to each other, have found a splendid unity of spirit and purpose. Starting from Burraton, and spending some days in the Liskeard area, the workers then visited Bodmin, distributing hundreds of tracts at the entrances to the Royal Cornwall Agricultural Show. They report a good hearing at their meetings, but would wish for more opportunity for personal contacts. Moving to St. Austell, they have been impressed with the need for work among the children, and during the latter part of July, have been holding children's meetings in and around the Slades Gospel Hall.
Largely as a result of Mr, Pennington's Tent Mission last year the assembly at Shepton Mallet (Somerset) has become active. .Boys and girls who came to the tent have continued to attend a weekly meeting in good numbers. The women's meeting started in the tent has continued fortnightly with maintained interest. A Gospel team visits outlying villages. John James (Dudley) found it hard going at Tiverton, nr, Exeter, but it .is believed that the Lord dealt with some who followed the meetings. Great interest was shown by some from a neighbouring village. Our brother later moved to Goodleigh, near Barnstaple, where despite extremes of weather (either cold and wet, or extremely hot) and counter-attractions, encouraging interest was maintained, and a good work was done, C. McEwen (Exeter) used the 'Chard Tent' at Langport (Somerset) for three weeks. Every house in the town was visited twice, and those in the district around at least once. Friends who brought people over from Martock were rewarded by three professions. The local assembly received blessing and encouragement by seeing unsaved gathered under the sound of the gospel. Open-air meetings were good. Tom Moore and Eric Swinstead revisited Westbury (Wiltshire) and had good meetings with children and adults - it is believed that some passed from death to life. Friends from Westbury were so interested that they followed up the meetings when the tent moved a few miles away. W. Banfield (Swansea) had a moat encouraging time in isolated Riddlecombe (Devon). Nearly everybody in the small village attended and many spoke of blessing received.
During the second half of July William Ward Bate of India was in charge of the tent at Shaldon, S. Devon. Good numbers attended and liberty was enjoyed. Early morning prayer meetings were a vital factor. We believe at least one soul turned to the Lord.
Send Reports to J, Howard Hall, 12, Borough Rd., Jarrow-on-Tyne.
AN OUTSTANDING OPPORTUNITY
Over 100,000 European voluntary workers have already arrived in this country to complete a year of work in industry, agriculture or mining. Larger numbers are on the way: they are housed in thousands of hostels and camps throughout Great Britain.
The languages spoken are mainly Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, German, Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian, with a few others occasionally.
Assemblies are faced with an outstanding opportunity of introducing to these people the gospel which few of them have ever heard. It may be assumed that only a very small percentage of them have ever had in their hands any portion of scripture.
The language barrier does not realty exist; these people are most anxious to learn English and it is always possible to find an interpreter among them.
The warden of camp or hostel should be approached courteously for permission to visit and invitations should be given to attend the gospel service at the local assembly on the following Sunday evening, mentioning that a cup of tea or coffee will be provided with something to eat. A simple chorus can be taught as they want to learn English: 'Into my heart' is a suitable one.
In speaking to these people use the simplest possible words and sentences, avoiding technical phrases such as 'justification by faith', which an unconverted interpreter would not understand. Avoid all reference to Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic Churches and their errors: preach Christ and particularly His atoning death on the cross.
Tracts may be obtained in all necessary languages from Mr. J. C. Harvey, 47. Broadhurst, Ashtead, Surrey. No charge is made: we look to the Lord to supply our needs and He has graciously done so hitherto.
Should any assembly or individual desire to initiate work in a distant E.V.W. Camp and feel deterred by cost of travelling, providing refreshments, etc., please communicate with the writer, to whom some funds have been entrusted for the purpose. Any enquiries addressed to him should be accompanied by a stamped addressed envelope.
Ransome W. Cooper.
20, Arundel Avenue, Sanderstead, Surrey.
E. Goodman & Son, Ltd.. Taunton