Sandy Jack, Eastbourne
Titanic Opportunities - the City of Liverpool hosted an event in memory of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic called ‘Sea Odyssey’. This was a major success with thousands of people out and about in the city over one weekend (21-22 April). Local saints arranged to have a special leaflet about Titanic and its links to Liverpool, written and printed. This was distributed over the weekend. The leaflet proved to be very popular. As it was perceived as a tourist brochure, people were queuing up to receive one!
Jubilee Celebrations - many of the assemblies in Liverpool have taken advantage of the Jubilee celebrations by having a Community Tea for the local residents. This has been very popular with many people hearing the gospel and receiving Jubilee-style tracts. Some of the local sisters arranged a lunch for all believers over seventy years of age, on Sunday the 3rd June. The younger members of the assemblies served the older saints, which made for a good time of fellowship.
During the Jubilee Bank Holiday week in June the assembly in Southport arranged to have a week of open-air meetings in the town centre followed by meetings indoors in the evening. The theme of the Jubilee celebrations was used, and an invite was designed to look like an invitation to the Coronation. Over eight hundred invitations were given out to local residents along with a copy of the Jubilee Tract written by Jonathan Black of Bermondsey. This was a great opportunity to present the gospel.
The Olympic Torch - as the Olympic Torch passed through Liverpool and on through the Mersey Tunnel to Birkenhead and the Wirral, a team of believers gathered to give out a specially-written leaflet about the Olympic Torch. Three places were manned: City Centre, St. George’s Hall, and Pier Head; also for the Torch’s return journey on the Mersey Ferry from the Wirral Peninsula. This was another great opportunity to spread the word of God.
The assembly at Harrow commenced a coffee morning at the end of 2011. This outreach work is called Open Door, and the exercise is to invite contacts and local residents into the hall to get to know them better, and to speak to them about the gospel when an opportunity arises. Leading on from this work, the assembly hopes at some point to run a simple Bible study course for unbelievers who have an interest in finding out more about the scriptures.
The numbers of visitors attending Open Door each week is usually between five and seven although on one occasion nine came along. Those who attend all come regularly, and one man who had never been in the hall before has yet to miss a week. The assembly has also been encouraged by the support of believers from other places, including a couple on holiday from Germany, who travelled across from Islington to be with them on two occasions.
The assembly at Kirkby-in-Ashfield have held a series of Friday-night meetings, once a month, with the young people in the locality. They covered the subject of Bible covenants, and also aspects of prophecy.
After much prayer, and a lengthy wait, the assembly at Seymour Gospel Hall, St Austell, conducted a week of gospel outreach in five of the Primary Schools in the town at the end of April, using the Open Air Mission’s Exhibition entitled, ‘The Life of Christ’. The groundwork was done by local saints approaching the schools to host the exhibition. They were delighted when, after some follow-up, schools committed themselves to it, and filled the week’s time-table fully.
The exhibition consists of eighteen boards that cover the whole gospel story, and about seven costumes for various characters in it to be portrayed, and to tell their part of the story as the presentation proceeds. This really worked, and the children were held almost spellbound for three-quarters of an hour as the Lord’s life in embryo was revealed to them. Keith Bullock of the Open Air Mission led the presentation as the disciple Simon Peter. Following this, a questionnaire was handed out, and the children were engaged for another twenty minutes with frantic asking of questions to get correct answers. Even the exchanges during the presentation were evidence of the engagement of eye and thought made by the children through this lively and interactive method of getting the message over. The ‘Take Home Pack’ provided parents and children with an introduction to the work of the assembly for youth as well as scriptural puzzles and a competition to enter if they chose to.
The response has been very encouraging. Staff comments such as, ‘You must do a follow up for us, it was terrific’, and ‘We had a marvellous afternoon’s work as a result, really great!’. Several ‘Thank You’ cards have been received, and links with the schools deepened, including invitations to take morning assemblies have followed the visit.
The assembly has also been greatly encouraged to find that its Care Home visitation work has mushroomed over the past two years. So much so, that five such homes are visited for an hour-long service each month, and they have had to say to others, ‘We can’t help’. They have discovered a number of isolated believers in these homes who delight in the spiritual input the visits provide, and for at least two ‘entertainment managers’, the monthly visit is proclaimed as the highlight of their programme. It’s a joy to know that such openings exist and a welcome is to be found for the things of the Lord.
The assembly at Cregagh Street, Belfast, was greatly encouraged during four weeks of gospel meetings with John Rogers and Paul McCauley. Many unbelievers came in to hear the gospel, and they had the joy of hearing of some professing faith in Christ.
David Williamson and Kenneth Newell held gospel meetings with the small assembly at Albertbridge Road, Belfast. Some local unsaved people came into the meetings. Prayer is valued for this very needy area.
Leslie Craig and Terry Topley had encouraging gospel meetings with the assembly at Clonkeen, and are looking to the Lord for blessing.
Ian and Rebecca Rees report from Narberth, Pembrokeshire, ‘Work on the boys’ dorm building, which had been suspended from May of last year, resumed once again as Rebecca and I scrubbed ceilings, and walls ready to be re-painted. The walls had got very damp over the winter, but now that the roof has been re-slated, the outside walls re-pointed, and the heating restored, we hope to be able to white-wash walls, and ceilings, and then sand down, and paint the floor boards. A carpenter has been building new timber window-frames, too, as the present wooden ones are all rotten. The pressure point for us was that we were due to run another residential weekend for youngsters at the beginning of May. This was our annual Berean residential YP weekend for youngsters, held over the May Bank Holiday weekend. All told, there were forty of us for the weekend, twenty-three boys, thirteen girls, and four adults to run the weekend. The boys were able to sleep in their dorms, even though the work was not quite finished. The weekend seemed to go very well. The theme was Discipleship Today and the discussion groups were enthusiastically supported. It was also a thrill for us to have the help of two believers who have started attending the Pulpit meetings in Tenby, and came along to join in with the youngsters.
I have now been preaching in Tenby for thirteen consecutive Sunday evenings. The community centre in Augustus Place, which we hire on an hourly basis, has been ideal. I am preaching through Genesis, and we have had an average of ten people in to listen to “the Pulpit”, as the venture is called, during each of the Sunday evenings. Several of these make no profession of faith, but seem to come back each week for more. Do please continue to pray for this work, that it may result in a new assembly of believers gathering to the name of the Lord in Tenby. There seems to be a consistent core of six people who are either dissatisfied with the preaching they hear elsewhere, and are very supportive of this new venture, or who have no church membership at all, and come because they have no Bible knowledge either. We have also booked a stand for the Pembrokeshire Show, which is to run from the 14-16th August. We were able to meet a number of people there last year, and hope to do the same again this year.
We were also thrilled when our Sara and Joel were baptized in Carmarthen. Both have come into fellowship there. They were baptized along with another youngster, Iwan Rees, from Carmarthen. The Hall was packed, with many having to stand in the foyer, or the kitchen. This was a real encouragement to all in the Carmarthen meeting’
A number of believers visited the Drumcolliher Show. This is a village fair to raise money for the local cancer respite hospice. The good weather throughout the afternoon helped bring people to the fair. There were a number of good conversations and many people received gospel literature. A nun stopped by, and also a local man in his 70’s who admitted after listening to the gospel that he had never heard the message before. A good number of children’s packs were also distributed.
This was the first show for which the Exhibition unit (shown above) has been used. Andrew Shanks had hoped to be able to visit some local markets with the trailer, however the opportunities for this have not yet opened up. The believers continue to seek the Lord’s will in this matter. They also plan to use the trailer this year for all the visits to agricultural shows across the South of Ireland.
The assembly in Newcastle West held their annual Holiday Bible Club from the 2nd-6th April, and were encouraged with thirty-two children coming each day. Twenty of these children were either there for the first time, or hadn’t come in over a year. To see a number of parents at the prizegiving was a cause for rejoicing. Please pray for one lady, ‘S’, who had brought one of her sons to the club, and has since brought both her sons along to Sunday School. This lady has now stayed during the gospel meeting as Sunday School is going on.
In May they also had a week-long visit from some American and Canadian believers. They distributed gospel literature into every home in Newcastle West, and a number of surrounding villages, and rural areas. They were also able to help with door-to-door work, and from this a number of contacts have been made to ‘call back’.
David and Helen McKillen report as follows:
2012 began with an intensive period of gospel calendar distribution on the streets of Cape Town. The full-colour gospel poster calendars, with contact details and assembly meeting times etc., in many languages, have attracted the interest of many local assemblies. We assisted in the delivery and distribution of over 35,000 calendars locally in January and into February; at bus stations, on the sea fronts, at 24-hour filling stations, and in door-to-door work around many assembly halls. In the goodness of the Lord, we know of over thirty requests for Bible Study material, many other enquiries, not a few visitors at various assembly meetings – including some to observe the Breaking of Bread for the first time – and most gloriously of all, the news of two souls coming to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus through conviction from calendar texts they received. We know of calendars still being distributed – the total print run was over 200,000 – and some assemblies ordered reprints in February. We already have enquiries for 2013 and we do need the prayers of the Lord’s people for wisdom as how best to cope, financially and logistically, with this increasing demand. It is a mighty tool in the realm of the “printed word” and almost universally acceptable. Our local 24-hour filling station has just finished – at the end of March – the distribution to customers of over 2,000 Poster Calendars. The great wonder is this very busy forecourt and shop is owned by a devout Muslim family, yet the staff [some of whom are believers] are permitted to give gospel calendars to all who will receive them.
A dear sister, who is a seamstress in our largest city referral hospital, has been distributing calendars there for four years. From the testimony of this work, she was asked if she could provide Bibles for adults and children within the hospital. She was given space in a room to operate for a few hours each week. We gladly supplied the variety of English, Afrikaans and Xhosa Bibles we thought would be suitable and she set up the little stall last month. We have been greatly surprised at how the Lord has used this outlet in a massive hospital, and the demand for Bibles has far exceeded our expectations. Last week she was asked for two copies of Believers Bible Commentary by staff in the hospital. This is, for a local worker here, a significant investment in monetary terms, and we are thankful that in an unexpected quarter we can, through the labour of others, “cast [our] bread upon the waters”, expecting the Lord to further bless this seed-sowing in such a needy sphere.
Following on from the introduction of a large colour Chart on “Revelation and End Time Events” and accompanying notes and study material with the ministry given, we were greatly encouraged at the response in the assembly where we commenced. We provide a leaflet for door-to-door distribution before each series, as well as notes each night and an A4 booklet at the end. We have a question box and the questions submitted are either answered within the ministry, or at a question and discussion night at the conclusion. The chart is a 4-metre full-colour version of Harry Ironside’s Revelation Chart, and is a wonderful focal point and backdrop to the ministry. The interest and attendance – many from outside assembly circles and many unbelievers – was most encouraging, and the Lord blessed in salvation at the end of the first series. We have seen a real reawakening of interest in prophetic teaching in this area as a result and, in the will of the Lord, further series are planned.
I have just finished a month-long prophecy series in the two assemblies most local to where we live, in the Southern Peninsula part of Cape Town. Steenberg and Grassy Park Assemblies arranged to combine for the duration and requested two weeks in each hall, with the meetings moving venue mid-series. The interest has been excellent, and numbers have increased five-fold compared with normal attendance. We are seeing many believers coming in from denominations and confessing that they have had no teaching on any prophetic position in a generation, and the appetite for prophetic exposition is a huge encouragement in what is a very weighty undertaking. Four other local assemblies subsequently put off their week-night meeting to attend, and in the last two weeks, we have seen the building packed. The Lord has given much enablement and strength in a very weighty subject.’
Jonathan Kelso reports, ‘As I reflect on the past five days or so, I can see so much of the Lord’s hand at work. On Sunday afternoon I was feeling a little deflated in mind and spirit; I went for a walk down into the gypsy quarters of Orlat and spoke to some people I knew, gave out some gospel leaflets which I brought with me, and then climbed up a grassy hill from which you can enjoy a panoramic view of the village. Just three days later, more than ninety people attended the weekly gospel meeting. I spoke on the coming again of the Lord Jesus and the urgent need to prepare for His soon return. Most of the people listened well, some very intently, and yet all left without anyone that we are aware of accepting God’s way of salvation. Most of the people who were in attendance have now heard the gospel on numerous occasions, but are still not saved. As I looked down upon the little gypsy homes spread out immediately below the hill and looked at the Romanian houses, church spires and people going about their business, I couldn’t but think of the Lord Jesus as He looked and wept over the city of Jerusalem.
On Sunday evening Andi and I went to speak with some men in Gura Raului, whom I felt compelled to go and speak to about the Lord. I rang one of their wives, and asked if it would be okay if we came to visit and told her the purpose of the visit. The men I had in mind are brothers from a large family, and are notorious for drinking, abusing their wives, and even sometimes their children. I really felt rebuked in myself because the resentment, and dislike I had built up inside myself against these men had created a barrier, which had prevented me from witnessing to them as I should. That evening when we arrived at Nicoleta’s house, the men I wanted to talk with were working, digging a foundation for an extra room at a property further up the little pad. We were informed that they had been cursing us before we came, and were angry that we dare come to visit in one of their homes. I went and spoke with them, inviting them to come and listen to what I had on my mind; Ovidiu was drunk, and a little abusive; Vali was quite impertinent, but Dan, Nicoleta’s husband, set down his shovel, and came down to hear what I had to say. Another man, Vasile who was visiting in Gura Raului also came, and I spoke to them of the Saviour’s love, and for their need to repent and get right with God. After praying, Dan thanked me for coming, and seemed to be genuine and sincere as he shook my hand, and conveyed his appreciation.
Beside where we have the store and the meeting room in Orlat, there are numerous little garden allotments where the Romanian folk, living in the apartment blocks come to grow their vegetables. These Romanian people have been quite against what we are doing for the gypsies in the area, and as a result, our popularity ratings have not been very high. On Monday, I took my chainsaw and spent three hours cutting wood for one of the local teachers who lives alone. Andi carried the fire wood into her store, and she really was affected by this act of kindness. Another couple of neighbours who saw what we were doing also came and helped, and soon barriers were broken down, and we were able to share some laughs together. The next day, one of these ladies came and asked me if I would possibly have anything for her dry skin and run-down condition. I gave her some moisturising cream and also multivitamins, to her delight; she returned later with a bunch of flowers – her way of saying thanks. Just days before, this same woman had shouted angrily at Andi and me, now she says ‘Hello’, smiles and waves every time we see her! Since then, another man came to me asking if I could weld a broken part on his bicycle seat. Other Romanians have helped us a little as we made the gates for the perimeter fence. I love what Paul says, ‘I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some’, 1 Cor. 9. 22.
Yesterday, and today, have been very busy. One of my activities yesterday evening was treating two girls for hair lice infestation. One of the girls was brought to me by a girl I know, and she introduced Elena to me. Elena has come to live in Orlat only two weeks ago, and is from a broken home in another city around twenty or so miles from here. She is only fourteen years of age; she is four months pregnant and is living in a disused cattle shed. It took a long time to treat her hair, which hadn›t been washed or brushed for ages; her head was alive with lice. Next, I treated her friend, Andea who brought Elena to me and her situation was equally as bad. Please pray that caring for these people and showing them love will draw them closer to the One who loves them best of all - the One whose name is LOVE.’
The saints from the assembly at Avenida Mendonca Furtado arranged to make a visit to Belterra for a gospel meeting. Belterra is about twenty-five miles into the interior, where Samuel and Ann Davidson’s son, Andrew and his wife have been living and working for some time. The believers there had invited many of their friends and neighbours to the meeting, and around one hundred and fifty were present, with many unsaved amongst them. This was too many to fit into the gospel hall, so they brought out the seating, and erected lighting, and had the meeting in the open air. The silent and reverent attention by the people present was very impressive. Please pray that there will be a positive response to the preaching of the gospel in the salvation of precious souls.
Floods have meant around fifty thousand people have lost their homes in the Manaus region. In the lower commercial area of the city, the streets are flooded and there were futile attempts made to try to have the water pumped back into the river. The people in the interior have suffered most, and many have had to leave their houses to stay with friends here in the town until the waters subside. Some of the halls in the interior have been flooded with water; there was three feet of water in the hall at Piracaoeira. Not to be deterred, the saints had the meetings in boats!
It is also good to hear of the baptism of Noe in Manaus, and of the believers gathering at the Amazon’s edge for the baptism of a young man called Wilson who has been attending the assembly at Diamantino in Santarem.
The believers at Jalan Imbi Chapel, Kaula Lumpur marked fifty years of witness in July by producing a magazine, which highlighted the Lord’s gracious, and faithful dealings with them throughout the period.