Gospel Work and other Activities
Stephen Baker, Manchester
ENGLAND: MIDLANDS AND SOUTH
Winshill Gospel Hall, Burton on Trent
The believers in the assembly in Winshill had the privilege of hosting the Ayrshire Bible Exhibition during the first few days of November 2007. Doors were opened for them to go into three local junior schools and tell them the wonderful message of the gospel. In total, 327 children were spoken to in these few days and there were teachers and helpers in addition to this number. The exhibition was well received, the children listened intently and good conversations developed. One teacher made specific enquiries about what she had to do to get to heaven. Those involved said that ‘it was wonderful to simply point her to the Saviour who loved her and had died for her’. Each child took home a pack containing the Gospel of John (or Mark), scripture cards, bookmarks, a pencil and a scripture calendar. Please pray that as the gospel has been preached and the word of God taken into the homes of the village of Winshill that the seed might fall upon good ground.
Scripture calendars were distributed throughout the village during December 2007 and January 2008. The calendars were also given out at the old people’s homes that the assembly visits in the village. They were also given to the individuals who come to the ‘OAP teas’ which are held at the hall on a bi-monthly basis.
Eugene Higgins was in Bicester for eight nights of gospel meetings during November 2007. The gospel was preached in a rented Community Centre on a housing estate. On several nights around seventy people came in, this number included more than twenty unsaved folks. These meetings followed up the tent work done in the neighbourhood in the summer of 2007.
Manor Road, Guildford
The believers, meeting at Manor Road, Guildford, certainly had a day to remember for at their 75th Anniversary and Thanksgiving Service on November 11th, 2007. As well as thanking the Lord for the preservation of a testimony to Him for seventy-five years in their premises they were also thanking Him for the substantial building programme that has taken place over the last eighteen months. This provides the assembly with greater flexibility for the service that they are seeking to do in His name.
Eighty-five people (representing every decade of the assembly’s history) were at an ‘All Age Service’ that day. About eighteen of the people present had been baptized in the premises during the seventy-five year history of the assembly. Special mention should be made of Doreen Mersh, who is still in fellowship; she was just seven years old when the assembly moved into the building. Her parents (who were founder members of the assembly) brought her to the meetings in the 1930’s in their pony and trap. Everyone present could have said something positive about the impact of the testimony at Manor Road on their lives. Only eternity will reveal how many, over the years, have come to know Christ as Lord and Saviour in the premises or because of the witness from the assembly.
Bethany Chapel, Lyme Regis, Dorset
Outsiders rarely visited Bethany Chapel in Lyme Regis until the assembly started ‘Carols by Candle-light’ in 1994. At that stage a few friends and neighbours started coming in to the hall to this annual event. Nearly four years ago the believers started monthly tea meetings. The speakers on these occasions were evangelists or persons connected with some aspect of the Lord’s work, who gave a report of that work as well as presenting the gospel. This meant that local believers not in assembly fellowship came along and, as the old adage goes, ‘a crowd attracts a crowd’. During that period the number of unsaved friends and neighbours attending most months gradually increased. Each meeting has been advertised by the delivery of leaflets from house to house, and as many doors as possible are knocked. At first the believers could knock only about 200 doors, but now the number is nearer 400 most months. On average 150 people are spoken to each month. More and more people now know the local believers better and they are becoming increasingly friendly.
Towards the end of 2006 a couple started coming as the first direct result of this doorstep visiting and since then three others have started to attend meetings as a direct result of face to face invitations on their doorsteps. A growing number of both the original contacts, and those ‘cold canvassed’ at their homes, now come on some other Sundays as well.
Since the month of December 2006, the believers have knocked the doors of the majority of the 1500 homes in the town. About 500 homes received a pictorial scripture calendar (on which they are stickers detailing the gospel service). Another 800 homes got an invite to the Carol Service popped through their letterboxes. The Carol Service is now almost ‘standing room only’. With just twelve in fellowship in Lyme Regis (and only three able to go door knocking) the saints are heartily encouraged by all this response, but disappointed that (so far) they are unaware of anybody being saved. Please join them in earnest prayer to that end.
The believers at Bethany Gospel Hall High Wycombe were particularly encouraged during 2007. In May a boy was saved at the Romsey Camp (run by Thames Valley Christian Camps), and then in June a lady was saved, following contact and witness through the weekly Coffee Morning. She was baptized in September. Towards the end of the year five new children started attending Sunday Afternoon Seekers. In the run up to Christmas the assembly held a Christmas Supper, a Christmas Family Service and Children’s Prize Giving, a Carol Service and a Christmas Coffee Morning. Over the four events a total of forty-one unbelievers attended, including children. On each occasion there was a good opportunity to present the gospel and a good number of tracts, books and calendars were distributed.
The twelfth annual residential Yorkshire Bible Study Week was held at Sneaton Castle Centre, Whitby. Ian Jackson was the speaker. Bible Readings were held each morning on the Epistle to the Colossians and ministry on ‘Future Events’ was given in the evenings. A group of almost 100 believers from all parts of the UK enjoyed the profitable meetings and times of warm fellowship. During the week an open-air gospel effort was held in the town of Whitby; literature was distributed and the gospel preached.
Airedale, West Yorkshire
The small assembly in Airedale was encouraged when a ten-year-old girl professed faith in Christ during a week of children’s meetings conducted by Philip Kaye.
The assembly at Lossiemouth had four excellent and profitable nights of prophetical ministry with brother Phil Coulson of Forres. The first night saw Phil showing that the Bible can be trusted by looking at the Old Testament prophecies that have been fulfilled to the letter. In particular, the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy in relation to the great city of Tyre. This laid a good foundation on which to believe that all prophecy that still has to be fulfilled will be fulfilled. On subsequent nights he described political, religious and military events that will soon overtake this world, then ecological, social and economic events that are to follow. He concluded the studies by looking at the millennial reign of our Lord Jesus and the new world order of peace, prosperity and happiness to be experienced during that time. The meetings were well supported by neighbouring assemblies but the most encouraging aspect was to see on most nights, over twenty dear believers from the denominations, all of whom were amazed at how simply these difficult matters had been presented.
Llandaff North Gospel Hall
A Community Impact Day was held at Llandaff North on Saturday, 8th September 2007. In previous years this event was held on a nearby housing estate but this year the venue was moved to a public open space just 100 metres from the Gospel Hall. The Lord blessed with a gloriously sunny and warm day that resulted in more than 600 people passing through the area. Children’s evangelism took place during the day with Bible stories being told by Roger Brind of Llandaff North and Mike Thomas of the Rumney assembly. Three large gazebos were erected and tables and chairs to seat more than 100 people were put out. Many interesting conversations were engaged in and a great deal of literature was taken away by the people who stopped to talk. The aim was to make the people of the district aware of the gospel activity that was about to recommence in the Gospel Hall. Some of the people who had stopped to talk had attended the Gospel Hall years ago and promised to revisit within the next couple of weeks. Others had no previous contact but promised to send their children along or to come themselves. The number of children attending the Children’s Club on Thursdays increased as a result, as did the number of ladies attending the Friendship Hour on Tuesday afternoons. The local believers’ prayer is that those that they have been in contact with should be won for Christ.
The saints in Rumney feel that they have much for which to praise the Lord, not least for His faithfulness to them in the many areas of the work in east Cardiff. Over the past eighteen months or so the believers have seen the Lord’s hand in blessing. The assembly ran an evangelistic outreach course which was successful in seeing a good number of people coming to the events. A few were saved and some people took the opportunity to come back to the Lord. The children’s work and youth work in the assembly continues to flourish with between eighty and ninety children attending each Friday night and an ongoing contact with up to forty young people has been established. The saints have been thrilled to see the young people grow in faith and had the privilege of baptizing eleven of them. The assembly continues to look to the Lord for leading and guiding as they reach out to their community in various ways with the love of God. They are very aware that the task is great and that they are unable to do it alone.
From the 29th October to the 1st November the believers in the assembly in Canton, Cardiff, had a half-term holiday club outreach for the children of the district. A number of schools accepted the invitation leaflets and passed them to the children under their charge. An average of fifteen children attended each day over the four sessions from Monday to Thursday. The saints were really thrilled when three mothers and one older sister stayed with the children each day. On the last day a ‘Prize-Giving’ followed on from the morning session and again a number of parents attended. Matthew Edwards of the Open Air Mission led the meetings each day with a Bible verse to learn and a Bible story. This was interspersed with choruses. About halfway through the morning there was a break. Basic craft activities were run and biscuits and drinks were served. After this the children returned to the main hall for a few final choruses, awards for the points collected for answering questions and reciting the memory verse, and a closing prayer. All the believers in the assembly gave their full support and help throughout the week.
The believers in Maesteg have just concluded six weeks of visits to the local comprehensive schools in Bridgend County Borough; over 3,000 pupils went through a programme in the six schools which included a Roman Catholic school. There was a positive response from pupils and staff and many have logged onto the ‘Gsuslive’ website and followed up on some of the issues addressed in the programme. A number of Christian pupils expressed appreciation and were strengthened in their faith.
The small assembly at Nantgarw enjoyed God’s blessing in October and November and were really encouraged as a result. Two young men were baptized and one asked to come into the fellowship of the assembly. On the night of the second baptism the mother of one of these young men professed faith in Christ. The believers would value prayer that the Lord would help them to guide these who are young in the faith. They also ask for prayer that those who regularly come under the sound of the gospel will be saved.
Michael and Shirley McKillen have been working in Gorey in recent years. Shirley has made a lot of good contacts with a number of Brazilians who are working in the area and arranged a meeting in her home while Harry Reid (her father) was visiting. There were between thirty and forty in the house; the majority were unsaved and so it was a good opportunity to present the gospel. Most of them cannot speak English and they paid good attention and listened reverently as Harry preached the message to them in Portuguese.
While there, Harry and Jean found out that there were some Brazilian families at two places on the west coast of Ireland. Around 400 at Athenry (about half-an-hour’s drive east of Galway) and also many more at a place called Gort (thirty miles south of Galway). It is estimated that about 3,000 Brazilians live in that area. Harry and Jean drove across and visited the two locations, made some interesting contacts and distributed tracts and booklets. Both places had Brazilian shops which seemed a good place to start. There is a marketplace in Gort where some Brazilians seemed to be happy to receive the literature in Portuguese. Harry and Jean plan to revisit the area in the near future and would value the prayers of the saints that they will see fruit in the gospel as they seek to sow the ‘good seed’ and try to make contacts amongst the Brazilians in the South of Ireland.
Overseas – Christian Schools
This is a summary of the latest developments in the work of the Logos School and a request for prayer for new appointments and vacancies to be filled.
Peter Ross who had been the Principal for twelve years has retired, believing the Lord to have called him to the work which his late father was engaged in at St. Andrews, in Scotland. During his years as Principal, Peter made a major contribution to the progress of the Logos School. His initiative in setting up a link with Cambridge University and the introduction of IGCSE and A Level examinations has put it academically on a par with the best schools in Cyprus.
The school is delighted that the Governors have appointed Gary Love as the new Principal. Gary is originally from Ballymoney, in Northern Ireland, where he was in assembly fellowship. It would seem that the Lord guided Gary to the Logos School twelve years ago, and he became head of the primary department in 2002.
Gary is an active member of the assembly at Limassol, as are many of the teaching staff in the school. The assembly has recently commenced a youth work on Friday evenings reaching out to some of the local children as well as to pupils from the school. This work is prospering with around fifty attending. It has also been a means of contacting some parents and bringing them under the sound of the gospel. Gary’s ability as teacher and organizer, together with his great ‘people skills’, were amply demonstrated during his years as Head of the primary department, and his appointment as Principal has been very well received by the teaching staff. He has been assured of their support as he now undertakes his new responsibilities. The members of the Logos Trust in the UK fully support Gary and it is their desire to see the school prosper and to find the funds that will be necessary to move forward in compliance with Cypriot and EU legislation.
The well-qualified and dedicated staff, who are all believers called to this missionary situation, gladly serve for meagre salaries in order that the ministry may reach out to underprivileged children.
Other news - Eli Banta and his wife Suzanne (together with their young child, Jarred, two years old) from Ontario, Canada, joined the school in September as Boarding House Parents. Eli also takes up the position of Physics teacher and will also teach some Maths.
Sarah McKeown, from Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, has joined the school as the new French teacher.
The Logos School has an excellent reputation among parents for discipline and it’s scholastic achievements are good, particularly among low achievers and those who have only a faltering grasp of English. The school continues to attain good grades at all levels.
The Lord has been good and many young souls have been won for Him during the school’s thirty-four year existence. Many teachers have spoken of spiritual blessing during their service there and the school has been a real testimony in the local community.
Please note for prayer and action - teachers required commencing September 2008:
A) Primary teachers required.
B) Secondary teachers required – applicants should be able to teach either one or a combination of: Religious Studies, Maths, Physics, Geography, History, English, and Physical Education.
C) Urgently required a primary teacher for maternity leave from mid-February to June 2008; suitable for teachers currently doing supply work.
Enquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Canaan School of Cambodia (www.canaanschool.org)
The following report has been provided by the assembly at Bethesda Hall, Ang Mo Kio, Singapore, regarding Christian School work in Cambodia.
The mission of the Canaan School of Cambodia (CSC) is to share the gospel with the Cambodians through the provision of education. The school is founded on the belief that a major thrust for evangelism and discipleship for Christ can happen through the classroom with the impact of committed Christian educators. The CSC comprises two parts. No 1: Canaan Technical School (CTS) and No 2: Sangkhim Canaan School (SCS). Sangkhim means ‘hope’ in Khmer. The CTS, located in Phnom Penh, was established by Kim Han Sik in 1998 to provide short courses in the English and Korean languages, sewing and computer skills. Kim Han Sik is a commended missionary from an assembly in South Korea. CTS provides opportunities for gospel outreach to the Khmer people and through the outreach effort believers have been added to the Boeng Trabek Assembly (BTB) in Phnom Penh. There are now four assemblies in the other Provinces. Today, more than 100 teenagers and adults attend classes at CTS to learn English, Korean and computer skills. The school plans to start Chinese and Japanese classes if they can find suitable teachers. The students do not pay fees and are encouraged to attend the gospel meeting at the ‘BTB’ assembly on Sundays. The believers at ‘BTB’ assembly are reaching out to CTS students with friendship and the gospel.
The second school is the SCS. This is a new work to provide formal education for the Khmer children (K1 to Grade 6). The school board hopes to extend it to Grade 12. SCS’s mission is to provide a quality educa-tion in the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, and physical dimensions of life, to instill in each student a biblical worldview, a respect for people of all cultures and religions, and a desire for academic excellence. SCS will be one of the few Christian schools in Cambodia catering for ordinary Cambodians. The curriculum will be taught mainly in Khmer. The students will take the same national examinations as all other Cambodian children in the public school system. The school curriculum will be supplemented by English classes, Life-plus programs, Bible lessons and enrichment modules. While all religious backgrounds are welcomed, SCS embraces a Christian worldview, believing that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ can transform lives. The teachers and school administrators will translate their faith into action for students by having daily Bible classes and voluntary Bible studies. The school also provides weekly Christian services and encourages students to participate in the local church activities. The new SCS project is spearheaded by a small group of believers from Bethesda Hall (AMK, Singapore). They formed the Executive Committee (EXCO) who will decide on the management policy of the school. There is also a School Advisory Board (SAB) comprised of representatives from overseas assemblies who support the vision and mission of SCS. The school board hopes to build and start this new school with kindergarten classes starting in August 2008 with K1 and K2 classes for fifty children. Each year, as the students move on to the next level, a new class will be started. So in seven years, the school will have kindergarten (K1 and 2) and primary classes (Grades 1 to 6). The school will then extend (DV) to provide secondary school education (Grades 7 to 12). The ‘EXCO’ have recently identified a suitable plot of land with existing buildings on it in Kampong Channang, a suburban province 100km north of Phnom Penh.
Update on Myanmar (B>urma)
Extracts from transcripts of two letters from brethren who visit regularly – for the purposes of safety the writers’ names are not disclosed.
Last month (writing October 2007) I returned from a three-week trip to Myanmar. I left the country a few days after the first protests began. I was there when the main provocation occurred, when the government suddenly doubled the fuel price. The people on the streets said that they believed that the military dictatorship purposefully was inviting riots in order to step in and flex their military muscle and thereby justify marshall law. Today there are over sixty autonomous, indigenous congregations spread across six of the eight states of Myanmar. They are all in happy fellowship and there is a nice spirit of co-labouring. I was hosted by the nephew of the man who was the instrument God used in the awakening and church planting work. God is faithful. It is so encouraging to see these simple meetings. Many of the congregations there are large. The oldest meeting in Yangon has 300 believers in fellowship, but another 500 visitors come on Sunday mornings. It was a sight! They believe that government spies may be attending their meetings. The believers are not underground, but labour under considerable difficulty. They understand the exhortation, ‘Be ye therefore as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves’.
Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ,
I thank God for giving me a clear phone line access to one of the believers at Yangon this evening. He has informed me that by the grace of God almost all the saints in Yangon are safe. The brother and his family stay at an apartment off the street where the unrest has taken place. He informed me that only recently he and his family have moved back to his present home. They were previously staying at another location to avoid any harassment from the police and the military. The situation at Yangon is quite tense but there is now some level of normality. The military at Yangon do not allow gatherings (I suppose public gatherings) of more than five people. Most of the New Testament assemblies in Yangon do not have an official ‘church’ building and therefore are subject to checks and investigations by the police. Due to the unrest, the assembly in Yangon did not break bread last Lord’s Day but in the future they intend to break bread at a believer’s home instead of in the usual meeting hall.
^^^ PRAYER POINTS ^^^
Here are the prayer requests given by the brother:
- Thank God for the safety of believers and their families during the civil unrest.
- Pray that there will be no hindrances to meetings and gatherings of the saints in the halls (and believers’ homes).
- Pray for peace and stability in Myanmar that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ may be preached and taught.