Gospel Work and other Activities
Stephen Baker, Manchester
ENGLAND: MIDLANDS AND SOUTH
Four weeks of tent meetings took place in a park in Bicester from 23rd July until 20th August. Leslie Craig from Northern Ireland conducted children's meetings in the tent for the first two weeks. Up to fifty children attended most nights. Eugene Higgins from Philadelphia, USA, preached the gospel. He used a large chart, displaying a plan of future events as predicted in the word of God to illustrate his messages during the first two weeks. Over one hundred different visitors attended and there was blessing in salvation. Prayer would be especially valued for a couple called ‘M’ and ‘A’. Despite a Christian upbringing ‘A’ realized she was not saved and attended the meetings wanting to be saved. Various children of believers were also on the believers’ hearts, and at least two of them were anxious at times during the meetings.
Weymouth and Chickerell
For the first time in eighteen years John Maxwell (from Swindon) was unable to conduct a beach mission on Weymouth's beaches during the first two weeks of August. As most people who are involved in the work of the Lord are aware, as one door closes another door of opportunity opens and John was able to concentrate on helping the local assemblies in and around Weymouth. John did evangelistic work at Bethany Gospel Hall, Weymouth, and door-todoor work and evangelism at Chickerell Gospel Hall.
Among those reached at Chickerell was a gypsy family which consisted of a grandma, grandad and grandson. This family attended the Chickerell Gospel Hall on the Lord's Day for the gospel meeting. The grandparents also brought along two further grandchildren. Please pray for ‘D’, the grandad, who is a believer and also for the grandson ‘J’ who says he is a believer but is prevented by his father from attending any meetings. ‘D’ has attended the meeting now on two occasions, please pray that this might continue.
John was also able to distribute tracts at the Weymouth Carnival and had some good personal conversations there.
^^^ PRAYER POINTS ^^^
- That the children who heard the gospel in the tent in Bicester will be saved.
- That ‘A’ from Bicester will be saved.
- That soldier ‘R’ will come to Christ for salvation.
- That ‘K’ from Northampton will get to know ‘the God of all comfort’.
Northampton Balloon Festival 2006
The assemblies in Northampton again raised their ‘Green Pastures’ tent as a witness at this year’s event between 18th and 20th August, the 'John 3. 16 balloon’ stood out on the field as a beacon set on a hill.
The Lord’s goodness was seen this year in providing the means to buy a new caravan and gazebo for use at the event. This proved invaluable to the workers in the inclement weather which was experienced during the weekend. Numbers at the event were down compared to previous years but numbers coming into the tent did not appear have been affected significantly. All who came in saw displays dealing with ‘Who is Jesus?’
As in previous years many good conversations were held with visitors and a lot of literature was handed out in addition to the ‘exit pack’ given to each visitor. A good number of soldiers, from their recruitment stand, came in and one in particular, ‘R’, had a number on conversations with a helper. Please pray that he might respond positively to what he heard. An elderly man, ‘K’, whose wife died recently, spent some time talking to helpers and was struggling to come to terms with his loss. He was given the booklet About Death, please pray for him. ‘A’ was a young lady from one of the other stands at the festival. She saw the ‘John 3. 16 balloon’ and was challenged about her spiritual state. She said she was a believer but felt she had backslidden (but didn’t use that word) she came to the tent and asked to speak to a lady helper. The conversation lasted some while. Please pray that ‘A’ might regain the joy of her salvation.
As the town of Northampton now has a large central and eastern European population a lot of Polish, Lithuanian and Latvian tracts were given out together with many other foreign language tracts. Please pray for these and all the seed sown during the weekend.
The City of Liverpool
The believers at Larkhill Gospel Hall, Liverpool, held a week of children’s meetings during the summer. Attendance was encouraging and new contacts were made with local families. The believers at Larkhill also took their young people’s group to Bassenfell Manor Christian Centre, Cumbria, for four days at the end of August. Stephen Baker presented a series of gospel messages and the young people were very attentive. There was one young man who was visibly challenged by the messages; a number of conversations were held and he realizes his need. He is well known in the district around the hall and has heard the gospel on many occasions. Please pray that he will put his trust in the Lord Jesus; what a testimony he could be in the district! Please pray for the other young people who heard the gospel.
David Street Gospel Hall also held a series of children’s meetings which were well attended. In addition, special gospel meetings were held in two local elderly people’s homes; there was interest and various conversations took place. Please pray for the contacts made.
A week of children’s meetings was held at Bethany Hall, Huyton, and the believers were encouraged by the interest from the district. The children were well behaved and attentive. A new contact was made with a local family who have promised to return to the Sunday school. The assembly were delighted when three new believers approached them and asked for baptism.
^^^ PRAYER POINTS ^^^
- For the children’s work that has taken place in Liverpool over the summer months.
- For the young man from Larkhill who is being spoken to by the Lord but is not yet saved.
- For the new contacts that have been made as a result of the meetings.
Lanarkshire’s annual summer gospel campaigns were held for three weeks at Muirhead, Glasgow, and three weeks at Low Waters, Hamilton. The preacher was Roly Pickering from Dromore, N. Ireland. Each month over the winter, brethren had met for prayer, and a lot of literature was distributed in these areas before the meetings began.
The saints from the small assembly in Muirhead worked hard and had anticipated God moving. A good number of unsaved folks attended the meetings and the gospel was faithfully preached. The result was that there was a real sense of the Lord’s presence in the meetings. The support of assemblies in Lanarkshire and from the East end of Glasgow was appreciated, as they too brought unsaved folks with them. Open-air meetings preceded the gospel meeting each evening.
There had been a lot of prayer and visiting by the assembly workers from the Low Waters assembly prior to the campaign. Sadly, there was not a lot of response from those who live in the surrounding area. The hall was well filled each evening with unsaved people always present. The support of the assemblies in Lanarkshire was really appreciated and is to be commended. The gospel was preached faithfully and the atmosphere was such that on quite a few evenings people were reluctant to move from their seats at the end of the meeting.
In both Low Waters and Muirhead the work of tract distribution and door-to-door visitation was carried out by Roy Marshall. Roy was ably helped by a number of brethren from Uddingston, Chapelhall and Greengairs.
Gospel Open-Air Rallies were held on Saturday afternoons at Muirhead, Overtown, Greengairs, Low Waters and Kirkmuirhill. The weather was favourable, and good numbers of believers gave support. In the evening various brethren ministered to the saints who had come.
The North East
The assembly at Cullen was encouraged during gospel meetings with Stephen Grant for four weeks from the end of May. A good number of people heard the word very clearly and interestingly presented each night. For many this was the first time they had heard the gospel. The use of a central venue, with local believers inviting passers-by in each night, proved an effective means of bringing both local folks and visitors into the meetings. Each Monday evening the local primary school was used as the venue and a ‘walk through display’ on the evening’s topic was set up. A good number were contacted as a result of this approach. After the meetings a gentleman, who spoke of being awakened at the meetings, trusted the Saviour after attending the regular gospel meeting in Fraserburgh.
The East Coast
Once again this summer, bookstalls were set up during the local Harbour Gala Days at St. Monans in June, at Arbroath in July and at the Perth Show and the Kinross Show in August. These were good opportunities to distribute gospel literature and to engage people in conversation about spiritual things.
Holiday Clubs for children were held for a week of the summer holidays in Lochee, Dundee, Abbott Hall Dunfermline, and in St. Monans. Good numbers of children and many of their parents were reached in this way at each place.
The St. Monans assembly is systematically distributing a tract with a reply card to each home in the villages along the coast of the East Neuk of Fife, and the small townships inland, where there is very little gospel witness.
A small team of believers visited the city of St. Andrews from 5th to 11th August. They set up a bookstall and provided light refreshments in the St. Andrews Gospel Hall (kindly granted by the trustees for this purpose). Over ninety individuals heard the gospel presented in conversation, through reading leaflets and on CDs with recorded testimonies. A number came for a second and third visit. A small number of believers from different denominational affiliations also benefited from the Bible teaching. The travelling people from the Lammas Fair were visited and were given copies of John’s Gospel. Some fifty to sixty children and a number of adults heard the gospel at children’s meetings on the East Sands. We give thanks that a place so privileged over the centuries had yet another opportunity and we know that God will bless His word.
During late June and into July, gospel meetings were held in Dunbar, East Lothian, using a portable hall. Stephen Grant and Jim Paterson, jnr., were responsible for the preaching with Robert Miller sharing on two of the weekends. There were a number of unsaved present each night, with two men in particular showing an interest in spiritual matters. One of these men is Iranian although he has been in the UK since 1973, and in spite of trying various denominations while living in Edinburgh, claimed never to have heard the gospel until he came to these meetings. The brethren from Mayfield assembly arranged to collect him for their weekly gospel meeting.
Children's meetings were also held in Dunbar in a portable hall. A group of boys in their early teens attended each evening. These boys showed good interest and contact will be maintained with them to keep the gospel fresh in their minds. Graeme Paterson was responsible for this work.
^^^ PRAYER POINTS ^^^
- For the people who heard the gospel in Muirhead and Low Waters.
- For the open-air witness which took place in Lanarkshire over the summer months.
- For ongoing blessing as a result of the gospel campaign in Cullen.
- That the Lord will bless the various Holiday Clubs that were run by assemblies.
- That the Lord will bless the outreach in Dunbar and St. Andrews.
Paul Young from Maesteg writes: ‘I have been asked to take eight funerals in as many weeks here in Maesteg. Seven of them were for people who, as far as we can tell, were unsaved and two were brothers aged thirty-one and twenty-three who died in sad circumstances. There is always a tension between trying to be comforting to grieving relatives and being faithful to the word of God. We pray that words spoken will cause people to think about their own eternal destiny’.
A series of lectures took place recently in Athlone in the centre of Ireland. These were held in a neutral venue and were publicized under the banner of ‘A Trial’. The aim was to expose unsaved people from all sorts of backgrounds to the truth of scripture and the gospel and cause them to set aside formal religion and turn to Christ for salvation. The message was given in the tradition of apologetic preaching.
A few extracts of people's comments and responses follow:
The writer of the report explains, ‘I decided to not take any chances with his (one of the visiting speaker’s) accommodation, so we walked to his B&B to pick up the key. I introduced him to the little old landlady, ‘M’, who immediately referred to him as the 'minister'. As she showed us to the room she asked a few questions about what we were up to, and why. Our answers seemed to strike a cord with her and very suddenly she said, “Tell me more; I need to know about this”. I can't remember the exact flow of conversation, but she sat Brian Griffiths and me down beside her and continued to ask many earnest, honest, but confused, questions. She quite openly told us she had a problem with alcohol, and we judged the last few years of her life had been very hard. She told us she felt lost, that she needed God, but not religion and wondered did we know what she was trying to say. ‘M’ agreed to come to the meeting that night, but at Marshall's (Marshall Megaughin) lecture she was under the influence of another spirit, a much crueller one than we'd hoped. We are pleased to say that she came out to the meeting last night without a hint of booze and was all the more sensible for it. Please pray for this dear lady as she struggles with cruel memories, a strong penchant for alcohol and the claims of Christ.
Marshall gave a most interesting lecture on Tuesday night; he has a quite remarkable grasp of church history, and used his knowledge of Irish history to tremendous effect. He had this Irish audience hanging on every word. He passionately appealed to them to use the 'right' they have to examine their religion, because their eternal destinies were at stake. He explained that men's religion fails every time, only Christ can bring us to God and God to us.
There were lots of interesting characters at these meetings, but I cannot possibly write about them all, I can only give you a sample.
One lady who has really affected the team has been ‘D’. She arrived for the first time, in response to an invite card through her door. She was rather irate and whispered quite loudly to one of the team members about the bad signposts; she wasn't able easily to find the lecture. She wasn't as late on Wednesday night, but was equally as irritated about our incompetence. Ashleigh Rogers offered to walk her to the car park, to see which way she had come and to see if we were just as useless as she was intimating. It turns out she has bad eyesight, and apologised to Ashleigh . . . in case you are wondering. In the matter of the signposts we are not incompetent as charged. On a much more important level, she was observed listening intently every night since Tuesday, she sits bolt upright, tip-toed, her back doesn't touch the seat and she barely blinks during the presentation and seems to absorb the lecture. Her husband is not pleased with her being here; he thinks she should be happy with what she has in Rome. She has such an interesting story, God has been working in her life for over a decade and she seems to have grasped salvation in Christ.
A lecturer, ‘M’, has attended every night, and takes copious notes. He has declared that he cannot believe in a God of love and has had a few chats with the team. He left one night whispering to one of the team, 'Fantastic, amazing!' He always slips off just before the end of the question time, making it more difficult to engage him in meaningful dialogue. Please pray for him.
‘P’ from Roscommon was only able to make it on Monday night, but has texted every day since. He wants to meet on Sunday night for a chat. Please pray for him.
‘J’ told one of the workers that for the last four days everyone seemed to be talking about God, and the previous night someone had given her a Bible. She brought the worker into the house where they talked at length. A lovely follow-up visit has already happened.
On Wednesday, when the entire team had their most difficult day (in terms of opposition and meeting stark apathy), I was able to encourage them with an exception as I was at one door all afternoon. I ended up in a very genuine middle-aged lady's home in earnest conversation about life, her sad life and eternal life. She said at one point that a JW lady calls round frequently, but that she never ever intends to convert, but rather significantly, if anything, she'd much rather become a Christian. Please pray for ‘L’ that she will be saved.
I will include just one more name for now, another regular, Luc. He is a PhD., an organic chemist from France, and lives and works locally (he arrived here only recently; his wife will be here in a few weeks). He described himself as an agnostic, but has been along every night except Wednesday when France played Portugal in the World Cup. He is open to a visit when these lectures are over and also made many enquiries last night, one about in-depth reading material'.
^^^ PRAYER POINTS ^^^
- There are many individuals to pray for in this extract. Let us pray that the Lord will bless these souls and many more with salvation.
This e-mail was sent to advise believers in the UK of the difficulties that believers in Sri Lanka are facing.
Dear Prayer Partners in Christ
There has been fierce fighting in the North and East of Sri Lanka as you may have heard. The fighting started just south of Trincomalee and has spread to other parts. The Verugal area has been badly affected and fighting is continuing.
There are thirty-eight believers from Verugal who have sought refuge at the Valaichenai assembly premises. They are sleeping in the hall and are being fed and provided for by brother Sivabalan and his family at Valaichenai. All of them managed to get across the frontier before the government closed the border. A few of the men have walked across the border through the jungle. They arrived at Valaichenai after a three-day journey and were very weak and dehydrated.
The rest who were unable to make it across the border have fled their homes to escape the fighting and are staying at a temporary refugee camp in Komatalamadhu. The Air Force has been given the co-ordinates of this camp by the NGO's and hopefully no bombs will be dropped in this area. Some of the believers like the Mahendran family from Verugal are camped in the jungle and are living off the produce of the land.
Everyone is praying for a miracle, so that just like in the Israel-Lebanon conflict a ceasefire is called and people are able to return to their homes. Even though more have been killed in Sri Lanka in the last few weeks than in Lebanon, international eyes have been firmly fixed on the Middle East and not enough pressure has been brought on both sides in Sri Lanka for a ceasefire.
From what we have heard two families have had their homes damaged in the fighting, but none of the believers has been hurt or injured.
Thank you for your prayers.
SNIPETS OF NEWS AND INFORMATION
Two weeks of tent meetings took place in Newbury, in Berkshire. Dan Gillies and Ian Jackson were the evangelists. One young man professed to be saved.
Lower Methil in Scotland had a week's gospel meetings with George Meikle. Some interest was generated through door-to-door work, coffee mornings and in gospel meetings in the evenings.
Kinross assembly had a day of outreach at the Kinross Agricultural Show on 12th August. Gospel meetings started at the end of August with John Riddle from Cheshunt.
The assembly at Ballingry erected a gospel tent at Crosshill at the beginning of August for two weeks. Jack Hay and some local brethren were the preachers.
PAMBER HEATH, Near BASINGSTOKE, HAMPSHIRE
BETHANY CARE TRUST currently has a few RESIDENTIAL BUNGALOWS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
They form part of a new development of ten semi-detached properties surrounding an attractive water feature. The high standard of accommodation comprises a kitchen, lounge/dining room, conservatory, bedroom and shower room on the ground floor with a large family/guest room and en-suite bathroom on the first floor. The local assembly is two minutes walk away. Convenient to local shops, a short bus ride from Basingstoke Shopping Centre and good access to M3/M4 motorways.