Gospel Work and other Activities
Stephen Baker, Manchester
ENGLAND: MIDLANDS AND SOUTH
Airbourne 2006 - Eastbourne
‘The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad’, Ps. 77. 17.
August saw four days outreach at the UK’s largest free air show in Eastbourne. During the four-day event nearly 750,000 people visited the town and for the second year in a row the believers from Marine Hall took the opportunity to operate a tent for the distribution of the scriptures.
This year, as the Red Arrows thundered above the seafront causing the ‘skies to send out a sound’, thousands of pieces of literature, CD’s and booklets were given away, each one of them capable of being an ‘Arrow’ that the Lord can use to bring enlightenment to darkened minds. With so many visitors, who knows how far abroad they have gone? Thankfully, the ‘clouds’ didn’t, ‘pour out water’!
Particularly popular with the young people at the show were a series of A5 postcards which had an attractive photograph of the Red Arrows on one side and a text on the reverse. We are hoping that people will hold onto them longer than a tract.
A CD with PowerPoint presentations was also produced and included in a free goody bag and distributed.
On the second day of the event, a local council official, turned up at the site and was insisting that literature could only be distributed within one metre from the front of the tent. This was a serious challenge, and potentially a great discouragement, however after some discussions, the saints simply moved to other areas where, if they hadn’t been challenged, they may not have thought of going. As a result, the scriptures were put into all the hotels on the seafront and also distributed in the town centre. This is the first such challenge experienced by the saints in Eastbourne and it was encouraging to see the positive and constructive way in which it was responded to.
The saints in Eastbourne are looking to the Lord whose ‘arrows’ have been shot, to make them ‘stick fast’, Ps. 38. 2, in the consciences of the lost.
Wallingford (September 2006)
Ian Jackson had two weeks of gospel meetings in a rented school in the nearby town of Didcot. The meetings were well attended and good numbers of outsiders visited.
Bicester (October 2006)
Alan Barber held a week’s children’s meetings in Bicester. Around fifty children attended each night and were further exposed to the gospel.
Friday Nights @ Winchester
(originally known as “Moriah Ministries”)
This current series marked the beginning of the eleventh year of meetings for teaching of the word of God on Friday evenings in Winchester. The believers who organize the meetings are grateful to the Lord for His goodness to over sixty of the Lord’s servants who have ministered the word so faithfully and to the believers who continue to support the work by their attendance. The following studies have been covered in the meetings: ‘Christ in all the Scriptures’; ‘Leaders among the people of God’; ‘Lessons from Genesis’ and the current series ‘He chose David – The Sweet Psalmist of Israel’. The brethren who organize the meetings would also like to publicly thank the local assembly at the Welcome Hall, Winchester, for the use of their facilities each evening.
In September the believers at Spencer Bridge Road Gospel Hall, Northampton, hosted a day of ministry on the subject ‘Is the local assembly relevant to today’s society?’
The teaching was given by Ian Jackson of Eastbourne and was covered in three sessions under the sub-headings of ‘Personnel - Who makes up a local Assembly?’; ‘Principles - What is a New Testament Christian Assembly?’; and ‘Practices – Can biblical principles be practised today?’
Some eighty people attended; they were from a wide age spectrum. The teaching was well received, serving not only to remind the believers of their ‘heritage’ and privilege in belonging to an assembly of God’s people but also to encourage and challenge as to faithfulness to the assembly and its Head.
If you have internet access and wish to hear the day’s proceedings, you can download them from the Spencer Bridge Road website at www.thegospelhall.org.uk on the ‘Ministry’ page.
During the October school break the assembly at Spencer Bridge Road held their Holiday Bible Club for children. The club lasted for two hours daily and included a craft session in addition to the main spiritual element of the outreach. Attendance was good with a total of some fifty children enrolling with a daily attendance of about thirty five. The theme for the Bible stories was the ‘Five Senses’ each illustrated by a miracle performed by the Lord Jesus. The gospel message in the story was reinforced by a five-minute ‘Cross Reference’ talk dealing with the Lord’s sacrifice at Calvary. The children’s behaviour was excellent throughout the week. At the Parents’ Evening on the Friday some fifteen parents attended and they heard the children sing the choruses and say the memory verses learned throughout the week. They also heard a clear gospel message centred on the cross.
^^^ PRAYER POINTS ^^^
- Pray that the witness in Eastbourne will bear fruit.
- Pray for the work done in Bicester and Wallingford.
- Pray for the seed sown in young hearts and those of the parents who attended the events in Northampton.
Some three-and-a-half years ago, the Assembly in Werneth took stock of the outreach it was involved in. Up to then the weekly Gospel Service was advertised in a local newspaper and a different gospel verse was put in each week. When the believers first started this it was effective in bringing several visitors in to the Gospel Service. In later years the response was negligible. Tracting of the area (especially around the festival periods) had also taken place, with virtually no response.
In reviewing the circumstances before the Lord, the believers felt that they had to face up to the facts. They were a small assembly, with the average age of members being about seventy-five. In addition to this the Gospel Hall had become surrounded completely, to a radius of about 2 miles by Muslims of various ethnic origins. The local ethnic populations were considerably hostile between themselves. This often resulted in gun fights in the proximity of the Hall, and indeed throughout the town as often depicted in national news reports. Consequently, the believers felt it to be ill advised to distribute tracts on foot.
It was therefore decided to cancel the weekly newspaper advertisements and direct the money into posting a suitable tract into all the homes in the district. To facilitate this, one of the believers took photographs of key parts of the town, and together with some local knowledge sent it to Tel-it in S c o t l a n d who wove the pictures and local knowledge into a gospel message. The tract included a tear-off response section on which were offered several follow-up items.
Each tract was placed in an envelope, labelled with the appropriate checked address and posted. A PO Box number was given to respond to.
To date the believers have posted four thousand tracts and received two responses. The believers have been advised that the recipients are reading the leaflets as they they think that it has been sent by the Local Council! The result is that people are reading the gospel message.
^^^ PRAYER POINTS ^^^
- Pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to the people of Oldham through the distribution of leaflets.
The assembly at Castle Douglas had fifteen nights gospel meetings during September with Robert Miller and Jim Paterson, jnr., sharing the preaching. There was an interest generated in the town through invitations and texts being distributed, and open-air meetings being held each evening. Good numbers of unsaved attended each meeting and one middle-aged woman professed salvation after attending most nights of the first week. The assembly were encouraged at the interest shown, and also appreciated the help and support of believers from other areas in tracting and attending the meetings.
The believers in Shetland were encouraged with the camp work in July 2006. Gordon McCracken and Bogi Vang faithfully presented the gospel to the 9-11 year-olds, over the first two weeks. The biggest number of teenagers came for the third week when Bogi gave basic teaching and preached the gospel. Colin Bissett was responsible for the teaching to the young people on the final weekend. The majority of the campers were not from Christian homes, and the believers’ prayer is that many will be saved, baptized and added to the different assemblies in Shetland.
In August a group of believers organized by Thomas Jennings (N. Ireland) came to help locals evangelize the northern isles of Unst, Yell and Fetlar (1500 population). Homes were visited with tracts, and meetings held on different nights. Two ladies have professed to be saved and good interest has been shown.
In Lerwick Town Hall Dr. Farid Abou Rahme gave talks on ‘Creation’ for three nights. The question and answers sessions proved very interesting and gave opportunity to declare the gospel.
Dan Gillies was with the believers in Fortwilliam for two weeks in the gospel during November. A community hall was used in the Plantation area of the town. Six unbelievers came on the first night and five on the last night, with a few in between. One older man crossed the loch by ferry to attend and wanted to come back but was prevented by high winds. Good contacts were made on the doors, one young man fighting a drugs habit asked for a Bible saying that he had never seen one and that someone had told him that its message changes lives. This was a follow-up to the tent campaign in July when unsaved folks were present most nights. Please pray that God will bless His word and that another opportunity for the tent next summer will be possible.
During November Ian Jackson held a gospel campaign with the assembly in Culloden. Response from the community was disappointing, but several unsaved contacts attended over the three-week period. The believers were greatly encouraged by the powerful and clear gospel preaching as well as practical ministry given when unbelievers were not present. The believers are looking to the Lord for fruit amongst both the unsaved and the saints.
During August and early September, the assembly in Ballingry pitched their gospel tent in the village of Crosshill, the preaching being shared by Jack Hay and local brethren. The interest in these meetings was outstanding with up to thirty-five unsaved people attending, eighteen of them hardly missing a night over the six weeks of the campaign. Many showed signs of deep concern about salvation, and the believers are praying that many may soon take that vital step of faith in Christ.
In St. Andrews during the University Freshers’ week in September, the Gospel Hall, which is close to the campus, was used as it had been the previous month to make contact with students and townsfolk with the gospel. The believers who organized and manned this effort were able to make several good contacts and many items of gospel literature were taken. These contacts are being furthered with the Hall being opened on selected weekends for a supper session followed by a short message from the scriptures, and also as a drop-in centre the following morning.
In November the assembly at Tayport had four weeks in the gospel, with Robert Eadie and Samuel Mayes as the preachers. Around thirty unsaved folks attended the meetings, some on several occasions, among them a group of about ten teenagers who usually gave good attention to the serious preaching of the gospel. Tracts were distributed throughout Tayport, Leuchars and Guardbridge.
In West Fife, Alastair Young visited several schools in and around Cowdenbeath during November, reaching into some new schools in addition to those which have received regular visits in past years.
The assembly in Perth has also been able to expand their school work recently and now have access into about twenty-four primary schools in the area. Through these efforts, and others elsewhere, large numbers of children, and many teachers, hear the gospel message. May the seed sown bear fruit.
The believers in Lossiemouth are delighted to be able to report a young girl of eleven or twelve confessing that she had trusted the Lord in October 2006. She attends the girls’ class and the Scripture Union regularly so it is a particular joy for those who help in this work.
Stephen Baker was with the assembly for the last week in November. He spent the days tracting and visiting, and in the evenings gospel meetings were held. The subjects that were addressed were ‘Called to preach the gospel!’, ‘Don’t all religions lead to God?’, and ‘Why would a good God allow suffering?’ Some good contacts were made on the doors and the local saints were encouraged in their witness for the Lord.
In December the assembly had a Christmas Family Service and on the last Sunday of the year and the first Sunday of the New Year the assembly intend having a special gospel service. The themes are going to be ‘Why He came’ and ‘A new start with Him’.
^^^ PRAYER POINTS ^^^
- Pray for the work done and contacts made in Castle Douglas, Shetland, Culloden, Fort William, Ballingry, St Andrews, Tayport, Cowdenbeath and Perth.
- Please pray that some new contacts will be made and souls saved in Lossiemouth.
Dinas Powys, Cardiff
The assembly here at Bethesda, Dinas Powis, held three nights of carol concerts in the local Parish Hall from the 14th-16th of December. Many attended who did not know Christ as Saviour and we would value prayer that these events would be used of the Lord to build contacts with people from the community and kindle an interest in the gospel.
Two weeks of Gospel meetings were held at Adamsdown Gospel Hall, Cardiff, with evangelists John Baker and David Richards. The evening meetings were for thirty minutes with no singing - simply the presentation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Quite a number of contacts were made, and the saints were encouraged by the fact that there were unsaved people in to every meeting with some attending on several occasions. Good conversations were had during the time of refreshments at the end. The assembly reintroduced coffee mornings on the two Saturdays of the meetings. Again, it was very encouraging to renew contacts with folk from the district, as well as with others who were passing by. Free literature and Bibles were provided, and we look to the Lord to bless the sowing of the good seed of the word of God and that the contacts made might continue their interest.
The Open-Air Mission exhibition - Pilgrim’s Progress - was held at Ebenezer, Cardiff, from Monday 20th to Friday 24th November. The main characters were played by Joe Hayden and Matthew Edwards (both OAM) whilst the remainder were drafted from assembly members.
A total of 208 children and 15 teachers from three local schools attended the exhibition which clearly outlined the way of salvation obtained by coming to the foot of the cross. It was a very enjoyable time and has led to invitations to attend the schools to present prizes and take assemblies.
Please pray that we can use these opportunities to reach youngsters who possibly will not hear the gospel from any other source.
Blair Martin visited Deri for two weeks of gospel meetings in early November. Four visits were made to the local Primary School to conduct assemblies, which had the effect of increasing numbers in the children’s meeting from mid-teens to midtwenties. Two Sunday evening meetings were held in a neighbouring village which saw one woman and three young people come in. At the Gospel Hall, whilst only one adult from the village came in, the Chair of Governors at the local Primary School, there was a good interest shown by a group of teenage boys. In view of this the meetings simply took the form of half-anhour’s direct preaching, after which the saints stayed on for some powerful prayer meetings. On the Friday night of the first week a supper was given for the youths as a ‘Thank you’ for coming and an opportunity to put questions to the speaker. Fourteen youngsters stayed on for over an hour. At the end of the supper an eleven-year-old girl confided that she had been saved in the meeting. She had been to Leicester Camp in the summer and was noted to have shown a good interest there. Her parents are not saved and she will need our prayers. Another teenage boy who paid particularly good attention, pointing to the ‘two roads/destinations chart’, stated ‘I was driving down this road (the broad road) but I got here (pointing to the door) and did a handbrake turn and now I’m going up this road (the narrow road) and I’m going to park up here (heaven)’. Excellent support was shown by the saints from the region bringing unsaved with them. All in all this was an exceptional series that energized the saints.
The assembly in Cregagh Street Gospel Hall, Belfast, concluded six weeks of gospel meetings on 10th December 2006. No one professed to be saved that the believers are aware of. The attendance at the meetings was disappointing. A few locals did come; some came for several nights and there were unbelievers in every night of the meetings. The prachers were Jim and Wesley Martin. Jim Martin had to pull out after three weeks due to ill health and Paul McCauley stood in for the final three weeks. On the final night of the metings a local man who was saved in June was baptized.
David McGarvey and John Rogers have been preaching in a portable hall at Temple (in fellowship with Ballymagarrick assembly). The meetings have continued into 2007. One man has professed to be saved and some others are also concerned about being saved.
Jim and Wesley Martin started gospel meetings in Craigy Hill Gospel Hall, Larne, on 21st January 2007.
Brian Currie and Jackie Palmer commenced gospel meetings in Glenburn Gospel Hall, Belfast, at the beginning of 2007.
Apsley Hall, Belfast, had a series of children’s metings in September. The speakers were Paul Coffey and Henry Wills from Portavogie. Lots of invitations were distributed and despite the numbers being small to start with they increased over the week. Paul Coffey also managed to get access to some of the local primary schools.
Alan Colgan and Clifford Law started gospel meetings in Ballywalter on 14th January 2007 in a portable hall. The assembly is small and longing for blessing.
^^^ PRAYER POINTS ^^^
- Please pray that souls will be saved as a result of the meetings in Cregagh Street Gospel Hall, Belfast.
- Pray that God will save souls as a new series of meetings start in Craigy Hill Gospel Hall, Larne, Glenburn Gospel Hall, Belfast and in Ballywalter.
- Keep praying that the meetings in Temple will generate concern in the hearts of souls that they will be saved.
- Pray that children will be saved a a result of the meetings in Apsley Hall, Belfast.
The following is a report about a brother who we will call ‘Aristarchus’ to protect his personal safety.
‘Ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me’, Acts 20. 34.
I first met Aristarchus, the Berber shepherd boy, when he stood at our gate with a young Arab friend. Like eight million other people, he spoke the mountain language of Morocco and, after two thousand years of Christian history, his people still lacked the New Testament.
Aristarchus had tried to read his friend’s Arabic scriptures but, ‘It’s like being back at school’, he said. When asked if he’d like to help me translate into his own language, he agreed, but urged me not to tell anyone, for it is dangerous work in a Muslim land. We started with Mark’s Gospel and, as I read it back to him in his own tongue, he looked wistful and said, ‘It makes me feel I’m actually standing among the disciples by the Sea of Galilee’. Twelve years later the New Testament was complete and the first person it had led to faith in Christ was Aristarchus himself.
He has been the Lord’s faithful servant ever since and he continues to visit people, teach the word and share his faith throughout the region. Many times he has been harassed by the authorities and by local fanatics, but always answers wisely and graciously. He supports himself with hand-made leatherwork, specializing in beautiful Bible covers with tapestry inlays.
Some suggest that the apostle Paul was a leather worker and it is certain that the apostle to the Gentiles made a point of earning his own living. He set an example of self-support for Christian workers that Aristarchus seeks to follow. Our brother is now married and has been blessed with a baby daughter. As his responsibilities increase, his business has sadly declined and, in recent years, he has received few orders for his leatherwork. He continues to pray for guidance in his witness and the Lord’s provision for his family that many more might be blessed, encouraged and drawn to Christ through him.
Details of all available products and purchases, are via Don Smith who can be contacted on 01249 716133.
SNIPETS OF NEWS AND INFORMATION
New Assembly in Clermont Orlando
For believers visiting the Orlando, Florida area attractions, the assembly meeting together as New Testament Believers’ Fellowship would welcome your fellowship at the Lord’s Supper and assembly meeting. Our assembly has been meeting in the media center of a school in Clermont since March, 2006. Clermont is fairly close to the theme parks, especially for those with accommodations on the southwest side of Orlando. We gather at 9.30 a.m. each Lord’s Day. For more information and directions please contact Lanny Evans at 407-469-2712 or firstname.lastname@example.org
YPS IN CHINESE
News hot off the press – Young Precious Seed (YPS) is now published in Chinese. This is a result of popular demand in South East Asia. 5,000 copies of the first issue of the traditional Chinese eversion were sent to secondary school pupils in Hong Kong in January 2007. Some Chinese saints in the UK have also asked for copies in Chinese.