Reports of Gospel Work
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
“Behold, here am I”, Genesis 22. 1
We do well to consider the above words, used by Abraham, Moses, Samuel and others, before reading the following reports. The full force of the phrase is “Behold me”, or Here am I”, and the speaker is in each case stressing not only that he is there but that he is available for instant service, no matter what form that service may take. As a result, Abraham finds himself on the way to Mount Moriah and Moses on the road to Egypt, as they are taken up by God on the ground of this statement.
Are we as completely ready to obey the commands of our God as they were of old? As we are reminded in the pages that follow of the great need for the Gospel in our land, are we prepared to place our- selves at God’s disposal for Him to use as and when He pleases?
The example of the perfect Servant is summarised in the words “Here am I, send me”. We should seek grace and strength to say the same.
Ayrshire - Drongan
The most manifest blessing during the past two months has been at Drongan, and the Lord used a fatal accident to begin this work. The young folk from the assembly had been out to supper one evening and while returning home were involved in an accident when one of their number a sixteen year old girl, was killed. This greatly sobered the young ones and the following Lord’s Day two young men, one her prospective brother-in-law, sought baptism, while her particular chum professed conversion. The next Thursday another prospective relation attended an assembly prayer meeting in Ayr and found the Saviour, while the following Lord’s Day three young girls professed to have found the Saviour.
Thus we are reminded that our God uses even the tragedies of this life; to bring blessing to others and glory to His Name. Also it gives us cause to reflect that not one of us knows how soon we shall be in the presence of our Lord, there to give an account of our stewardship here, as to our time, our money, the Gospel, indeed everything. Are we living in the reality of this?
Ayrshire - Annbank
Steadily growing interest was evident during the visit of J. Hutchinson to Annbank, and by the end of the second week two dozen unsaved were under the sound of the Gospel.
While the usual advertising was done, the workers found that few strangers came entirely on their own; most people had to be either brought or, at least, accompanied. Selective visitation of homes with previous connections with the believers seems to bring more folk in than merely knocking at a multitude of doors with a general invitation. Previous sick visiting, especially of Sunday School scholars, and letters of sympathy sent in times of bereavement, provide such opportunities.
Once again this brings to our notice the importance of Gospel work among the young - not only as a means to their eternal blessing but also to gain entrance into the homes and thus reach the adult members Of the family.
In the village of Bellaghy, Co. Derry, where there is a small assembly, J. Thompson and J. Ritchie had ten weeks of Gospel meetings in a portable hall. Every home for miles around was visited more than once but it proved a very difficult area. Nevertheless there was encouragement and three professed faith in the Lord Jesus.
A number of miles across country there is another small assembly at Quilly, and in the Gospel Hall there J. Martin and T. McNeill had a special effort lasting three months. Here again a number professed to have been saved including all three members of one family.
The assembly at Ballycastle, on the north Antrim coast, is small and scattered. Recently an encouraging time was experienced as A. Lyttle and J. Brown spoke of the Saviour for eight weeks. All were encouraged in the salvation of four strangers.
The village of Rasharkin, in the same county, has a comparatively hew hall but the assembly is small and weak. Recently a young school teacher and two other young business men from Ballymena held two weeks of special meetings, mainly for the children. Over fifty attended nightly and the numbers in Sunday School have greatly increased as a result. A weekend children’s meeting has also been started.
Bangor is a fairly large seaside town on the shores of Belfast Lough in Co. Down. Early this year J. G. Hutchinson commenced a special series with the Gospel in the Central Hall which continued with good interest for seven weeks. The believers rejoiced as some backsliders were restored and a number professed faith in Christ, including some who had been the subject of many prayers. One has already been received into fellowship as a result.
Over forty years ago the assembly, in Ebenezer Hall, Belfast, commended J. Craig to full time missionary work in the Argentine and in more recent years T. Bentley for work in Malaya. Both of these brethren are now home on furlough and joined together for Gospel meetings in Ebenezer Hall. For seven weeks there were good attendances and some conversions.
In the same city H. German was at the Apsley Street hall for four weeks, and again God was pleased to give encouragement as several professed faith in the Saviour.
Special services for children were held by the assemblies in Larkhall during three weeks in February under the leadership of J. Fraser.
In order to reach as many as possible the meetings were held in three different districts, starting in the area with the smallest hall and ending in Hebron Hall. The idea was that as more youngsters became aware of the meetings numbers would increase. This conception proved correct, and during the final week over three hundred and sixty were present. Children were taken to and from the halls in private cars and the Gospel van with the addition of two hired coaches in the last week.
The results of special prayer meetings during several preceding weeks were seen in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, at least seven making a profession of faith. Each evening, for about ten minutes, a small class was taken in a lesser hall by a local brother with a view to showing those children concerned about salvation what it means to be a Christian.
The interest of the young folk was held not only by quizzes and Bible games but also by a serial missionary story illustrated with a flannelgraph. The Gospel message was driven home by the learning of a memory text at the close of each evening, and many children learnt all fifteen, including references.
The evangelist was given liberty to visit the day schools in the district, both junior and secondary, sometimes speaking to the whole school in assembly and sometimes to individual classes.
The believers are now planning the best way of following up the numerous contacts made.
The believers have also been encouraged at Helensburgh. The rallies held each month are well attended, including many strangers. It is felt that people are now being reached who have never entered the hall before. Is this the case in your assembly?
Three weeks special Gospel meetings were held in Newton Stewart in February when J. Bums was responsible. A little interest was shown and his visiting proved encouraging.
One or two assemblies have recently held Parents Nights for the parents of school children. Some adults have been hearing the Gospel as a result.
Well attended gatherings were also seen in Bethany Hall, Paisley, for three weeks in February when H. Murphy told forth the Gospel. A few souls were saved whilst others were baptised during this period. A feature was the Senior Citizens meeting each Thursday afternoon when all had a very encouraging time.
It might be opportune to remind readers who are associated with some of the larger assemblies to remember in prayer those very small gatherings throughout the land. In Wales particularly there are small groups of believers striving to maintain a testimony for God.
B. Sutton gave help to such a gathering at Pontypridd and interest among the children is being fostered as a result.
North of Scotland
Ullapool, on the west coast, is probably known to many for its scenery, but its inhabitants need the Gospel as much as any. I. Munro spent seven and a half weeks there telling forth the news of salvation and had the joy of seeing seven adults, all married men and women, profess faith in the Lord Jesus. Some had never heard the simple Gospel before, while one young man had never been in a place of worship in his life. One night he did not attend the meetings - and later it was ascertained that this was because he had nothing to wear, his only suit having been sent to be cleaned. Now daily evidences of simple faith give proof of a work of grace. It is proposed to hold monthly ministry meetings that they may be more thoroughly instructed in the Word.
Republic of Ireland
The work of the Postal Sunday School is detailed elsewhere in this issue. The third annual prize-giving in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, was most encouraging as over two hundred scholars and friends gathered from over a wide area. The following day special Gospel meetings were started by G. Stewart and A. Gray in a portable hall in a mountainous district some seven miles from Letterkenny. Quite a number of the scholars live in this area and a good interest was evident from the beginning both by their families and others. The meetings were old fashioned in every respect, from the hall and its situation to the simple preaching of the Gospel truth. Blessing was seen in the salvation of souls, the first who professed being one of the senior postal scholars, which is a cause of thanksgiving to God.
In Co. Leix there is a small assembly where there has been no special effort for six years. In February D. Pierce and M. Newman joined J. Tait and meetings were held for ten days. Many homes were visited and a number came to the meetings. J. Tait had an interesting talk with a priest who invited him to his home.
During the winter door-to-door work continued in the West of Ireland. In addition, open air meetings were arranged in a number of towns when as many as fifty listened throughout, a number being willing to engage in conversation on spiritual matters. Some workers were in the Sligo area for several weeks. The activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses have made this district a very difficult one but they met some encouragement.
The third all-day conversational Bible Reading at Uxbridge, Middlesex, drew a gathering of nearly One hundred believers, a large proportion being young folk. The three sessions were devoted to the study of the three sweet savour offerings detailed in Leviticus 1-3. As on previous occasions, it was felt that the fellowship enjoyed for the whole of one day, the thoughts of all being centred upon the same passage of Scripture, proved most profitable and stimulating.
Bible Readings appear to be on the wane in some parts and this is sad, for there is no other way in which the Word can be taught so effectively and the believers stirred to study if for themselves.
In connection with the “Tell Yorkshire” activities, a team of young believers will be working around Ripon distributing tracts, and holding open air meetings for young and old. Any brethren and sisters who desire to serve their Lord during the period 1st to 23rd July should contact the Secretary, 6 Trap Lane, Sheffield 11, Yorkshire, who will gladly supply further details.
There is still an open door in the Republic of Ireland for Gospel literature distribution, and any desiring to share in this work should obtain details from 34A Fenian Street, Dublin 2.
The Easter holiday provided many opportunities for believers to come together for the ministry of the Word of God. We will report on one only, that at Newent, Gloucestershire. A goodly company listened appreciatively to the ministry of T. Thomas and F. Parr which was both expository and practical. The claims of our exalted Lord were dwelt upon together with His promise to go before His servants in resurrection power. The responsibilities Of the believer in connection with His return included the question, “What will there be in my life that the Master will be able to reward in that day?” In conclusion the glorious fact was stressed that we are linked not just with One who is risen and exalted, but with One who has conquered Satan and in whom all the purposes of God will be headed up.