Report of Gospel Work & Other Assembly Activity
The Promise. " Co ye . . . and, lo, I am with you alway." Matt. 26. 19.
The Fulfilment. A.D. 33. "The Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following." Mark 16. 20.
A.D. 41. " The hand of the Lord was with them ; ami a great number believed and turned unto the Lord." Acts 11. 21.
A.D. 1954. Sec below.
This section is designed to interest and encourage the Lord's people and to stimulate prayer and praise by recording, so far as the space available permits, something of what He has been doing recently, throughout the British Isles, as a result of assembly activities—both normal and special. To quote a contributor to the Magazine (Vol. 5, No. 3), " Even in these days there are, without question, great possibilities for an assembly which, with God's help seeks to put New Testament principles into living and loving practice." We trust that readers will be proving the truth of this and that we shall be able to tell what God has done—for the profit and joy of us all.
There is also a message for us individually in the report from Wales, which illustrates the far-reaching results in blessing to souls and glory to our Lord which can follow one personal act of obedience. Let us, too, remember that one act of disobedience may, in like manner, commence a chain of happenings hurtful to others and dishonouring to Him. (A. C. H.)
DURHAM The assembly at West Rainton obtained the use of the Cospcl Van for a week in the late summer in order to contact people outside the scope of their local gospel effort. Although only 2J hours each evening were available, several villages and hamlets were reached ; houses were visited with carefully-selected tracts and open-air meetings held. The tracts were very well received on all occasions and the gospel was presented at each place to attentive audiences. The number of men who listened was particularly gratifying. Saturday was reserved for West Rainton, when help was given by brethren and sisters from the assemblies at Gateshead and Sunderland. Here also there was an excellent hearing for the Word at the various '" Stands " and localized literature was left at the houses.
The Van proved to be a boon in enabling the assembly to take the gospel to people they had not been able to reach for a long time. As regards results our brethren remark " although we cannot say that anyone was converted, we can say that many people heard the gospel and read literature, which they have not heard or read for many years. The Sunday School lies an increased attendance as a result of repeated invitations over the loudspeaker to parents, asking them to send their children along." (J. H. H.)
LANCASHIRE The saints at Swinton, near Manchester-have recently had the joy of labouring in the gospel with J. Cuthbertson of Musselburgh, Midlothian. Times of blessing were experienced in prayer before the effort commenced and in the open-air meetings and prayer before each gospel service. Over 15 persons, old and young, professed faith in Christ. Several of these afterwards came regularly to the meetings, which were all well attended, unsaved being present every time the gospel was preached. At the final meeting the new converts were confirmed in their faith, and saints were blessed anew, through an address to believers from 1 Peter 1. At this meeting one further soul came to Christ. Much of the fruit of this campaign was gathered in by our brother during home-to-home visitation. He spared neither legs nor voice in this work, and gave himself unstintedly to the winning of souls by prayer, preaching and private conversation. But, as he would have it, all the glory be to God.
ABERDEEN The approach of winter brought the re-commencement of the young people's ministry-meeting on Saturday evenings in Victoria Hall, instead of the open-air meeting at Hadden Street. A few are again to continue in the open air at this spot on Sunday evenings. Last year, a gospel meeting for young folk in Hebron Hall on Sundays was encouraging, numerically and otherwise. These meetings are held after the ordinary gospel-meeting. This season, as before, large numbers aimlessly wandering about the streets are thus reached with the gospel.
This winter, efforts are being focussed on the post-war housing estates, some of them satellite towns reckoned to accommodate a population of as many as 20,000 when completed. The local authority is anxious to encourage work of this nature, particularly amongst the young. Children's meetings are now conducted weekly in the school-halls of Garthdec, Tullos and Kilicorth. In the last-mentioned, the work is now in its third successive year. A Sunday School in the Northfield district has now entered upon its second year. It is pleasing to record that in each area the interest is very keen, the attendances sometimes straining the limits of seating capacity.
STORNOWAY Harry Burncss, evangelist, has recently visited Stornoway, the principal town of the Island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Some two years ago, a wave of blessing spread over this part and shortly after this the assembly there was able to build a fine new hall. Our brother has seen some conversions and believers blessed through ministry on " The Tabernacle," illustrated by a wall chart. (C. R. T.; M. S. R. B.)
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND A Gospel Mission was held in the new Sydney Hall, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, for about two weeks last month. It was conducted by Dr. George McDonald, home on furlough from Belgian Congo. The new hall is situated in a large and expanding building area. There was considerable interest and the numbers attending were quite encouraging. It was felt that the effort was well worth while. (T. E. J. A.)
LONDON The London Village Workers continued throughout the summer the work of taking the gospel to the people in the villages around. About 40 brethren were so engaged every Saturday, with door-to-door tract distribution and open-air meetings for children and for adults. Little of the work proved to be spectacular, but some interesting cases are reported. A girl converted during the visit to Wrotham (Kent) in 1952 was cared for by the assembly at Kltham and had recently been baptized. Her witness at home had evidently made an impression and her mother was present at the baptism, confessing that she herself was a backslider. At Mickleham (Surrey) an elderly man was contacted who was confined to his cottage. He showed great interest in the message and said that he could not remember anyone coming to him before with such a message during the 14 years he had resided there. The isolated row of cottages where he lives had not been noticed on previous visits to this village. A man left his gardening on a new housing estate for 20 minutes and listened as he was earnestly urged to receive the Saviour, and other similar cases occurred.(S. H. S.)
PORTSMOUTH At a special " Parents' Sunday " in October some 250 children and 45 parents listened to J. Williams (Teignmouth) preach the gospel at Pauls-grove. Experience has proved that an occasional meeting of this nature arouses the interest of the parents. The day-school is still being used for Sunday-school and gospel work but it is hoped that a start will be made with the building of a Gospel Hall very soon. At Drayton a children's mission proved a great success. On an average about 100 to 120 children gathered each night to hear John Knight preach the gospel and some ten professed to receive the Saviour. As a result, the Sunday-school increased by about 35 children and the numbers at the week-night Young People's Meeting also increased. (A. C. P.)
ISLE OF WIGHT Nelson Walker (Cowes) reports good numbers gathering in the tent night by night during the summer season. Several souls have been saved and the Lord's people blessed.
SOUTHAMPTON He also tells of a most encouraging time at a gospel campaign at liitternc during the last fortnight of October, so much so that the meetings were extended for an extra four days. A good interest was aroused and maintained, and there was evidence of conviction wrought by the Holy Spirit. University students and servicemen were amongst those attending. Several young people accepted the Saviour.
BIDEFORD, DEVON For some months prior to the fortnight's gospel campaign in November the assembly at North Road, Bideford, came together regularly each week for special prayer, resulting in a real consciousness of the Lord's presence and help. Whilst the meetings were widely advertised, the best results in attendance were obtained by the personal invitation. From the beginning the meetings were marked by real interest and it was encouraging to see a full hall each night, with many strangers present. Very faithful messages were preached by the evangelist, Hob Pettifer, and, whilst there were definite siyns of blessing and some decisions, it was felt that many hearts were moved with real exercise and that further fruit from the effort would definitely be seen.
At the conclusion of the campaign a most encouraging meeting for praise and prayer was held ; praise lor blessing received and prayer for further spiritual exercise and deepened experience of the Lord. (G. II. M.)
WALES A brother in Treforest assembly was made a channel of blessing to a young man at his place of employment. This led to the young man attending the meetings at the hall and to a desire for baptism which took place, in April last. This step of obedience exercised another young man at the same place of employment, who had some time previously professed faith in the Saviour, and lie also desired to be baptized. On the occasion of this second baptism a young woman made known her desire to obey the Lord and was baptized a week later. The mother of the young man who was baptized in April recently confessed faith in Christ during a visit of Cyril Hocking and she, too, has been baptized. Further, on the occasion of a visit of W. E. Davies, two others professed faith in the Lord and a believer was restored. She has since been received back into assembly fellowship. These manifestations of God's grace give much cause for thanksgiving and praise to His Name, and should be an encouragement to believers elsewhere, as anticipated in our last number the assembly at Tondu had the joy of re-opening their gospel-meeting in October, following a series of nightly services for children and adults conducted by Edgar Jack man, when strangers came in to hear the gospel. (H. T.)
BLACKDOWN HILLS The Sixty-sixth Record of the Lord's Work on the Blackdown Hills states that
DEVON AND SOMERSET whilst there is nothing very startling to report, the work has been maintained with a certain amount of spiritual vigour ; there have been a number of baptisms and many evidences that the Lord is still among His people and working, both in saving and sanctifying power. Tent work is by no means as easy as formerly and it has been found increasingly difficult to get people to come in, yet it is not without its encouragements.
COUNTIES During the summer 16 brethren have been working with tent, caravan or amplifier, taking the
EVANGELISTIC gospel message to many remote villages and hamlets from Norfolk to the Isle of Wight.
WORK At the well-attended Annual Report Meetings, accounts were given of souls being saved and built up and of backsliders being restored. At Thcficdd (Herts.) a Bible-study group is now meeting weekly in the village hall as a direct result of the tent work conducted by Neville Johnson. At an estate near Colchester of 3,000 inhabitants -1,000 of them children—every house has been visited and many have heard the gospel message. Many Roman Catholics have been contacted, and nearly all the brethren reported profitable children's meetings. George Gaunt reported valuable contacts at Beach Services at l.ittlehampton, which are being followed up by letter. Many Boys' Camps and hospitals have also been visited With profit. Following services held in Bucks, by Peter Brandon, ministry-meetings are being held in one small village where between 30 and 40 assemble each F'riday in the local Temperance Hall.
Whilst the Spirit of God was striving with men, women, boys and girls the adversary of souls was also busy and at Chalk (North Kent) John Burns was awakened very early one Sunday morning and found the almost-new tent blazing. Although the chairs and organ were salvaged the tent was burned to the ground. but that very evening the assemblies in the district united and a large and impressive open-air meeting was held on the ruins.
LITTLEHAMPTON, The work at Belgrave House Children's SUSSEX Holiday Home and the Boys' Camp at Climping has been carried on for nearly 30 years in fellowship with London assemblies. It was commenced to meet the need felt by Sunday School Superintendents for convalescent and holiday provision for children in their schools. Another summer of blessing at both the Home and the Camp is recorded by E. T. Maddox, the Superintendent. The former was full, with about 35 children, throughout most of the summer and clear evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in many of the young lives was seen. The Camp was attended, in the course of eight weeks, by some 240 older boys in all, about 60 of whom intimated that they had been converted while there. Also, young believers were established and encouraged and there has been great cause for rejoicing. The boys included some from the Mildmay Mission to the Jews. A French Algerian youth of 17 was present for two months : although moved " deep down in his heart " he has gone home without definitely accepting Christ.
The Home is open to receive convalescent children during the winter months. In addition, during recent winters children who are in need of recuperation, sent by Education Authorities, have been admitted. This has proved a very fruitful work among boys and girls not otherwise reached, and concern is felt on account of a falling oil in the number sent.