Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
“By all means save some”
Walking through a street market in the north of London, jostled by young and old of various nationalities, a passer-by would be attracted by a stall displaying portions of the Word of God, tracts and Gospel books. The smaller items are free and are much in demand, while now and again there is a sale of a Bible or book. This stall is the result of the exercise of two young brethren concerning the unsaved living in their locality. Commencing in much fear and trepidation, they have been encouraged by the attitude both of the market supervisors and of the other stall holders.
In another area on a Saturday afternoon would be seen a few believers holding an open air Sunday School on a green in the centre of a housing estate, while others went from door to door seeking to interest adults in eternal matters and also invite them to send their children to the assembly Sunday School. The results have been seen on the following afternoon as fresh scholars come to hear of the Saviour.
Or we could visit a village in Lanarkshire one evening and watch three brethren calling at various homes. They were inviting folk to the assembly Gospel meeting, not just indiscriminately but those with whom they had made some contact in the past.
Transfer our thoughts now to an ocean liner on its way to the southern hemisphere. Each morning some twenty or more adults gather for Bible study. Their knowledge of the Word varies considerably and it is doubtful if some know the Saviour, but all listen keenly as the passage is first expounded and then discussed. On Lord’s Days some seventy children attend a Sunday School arranged by the same brother, a fellow-passenger. A certificate was printed on the ship’s press for the scholars to keep as proof that they attended Sunday School at sea.
In each case the believers concerned have sought to reach those with whom their Lord has brought them into contact, and the fruit of their sowing will only be known in the glory. Let us each seek to be faithful in using the openings the Lord gives us for making known the word of the Gospel concerning His Son.
The open air work on the promenade at the popular holiday resort of Newcastle, Co. Down, was once again the responsibility of C. McEwen and J. G. Hutchinson. A good deal of dry weather made it pleasant for all concerned and many heard the plain Gospel message as it was told forth twice a day. Since the meetings finished, news has been received of some professing conversion. Quite recently the evangelists heard of a couple in fellowship in a Scottish assembly who were saved ten years ago at similar meetings.
Similar meetings were held in Bangor by S. Thompson for some weeks with a good deal of interest and blessing. Good numbers also gathered in Central Hall on the Lord’s Days to listen to the evangelist. The same hall was the venue for a week of ministry meetings taken by J. Hunter and J. G. Hutchinson when both the major and minor halls were packed to capacity.
A. Lyttle and J. Brown have spent most of the first nine months of this year working towards the north of Co. Antrim. From Ballycastle on the north coast they moved twenty miles inland to Clough, and more recently have been using a portable hall erected between these two places in a country district named Ballyweaney. Neighbouring assemblies gave good support and a fair number of the local folk came, but it was several weeks before there were any known results. Eventually a number told of accepting the Saviour.
Once again the “Auld Lammas Fair” at Ballycastle gave the opportunity for reaching out with the Gospel, and three open air meetings were held, each lasting nearly two hours. Hundreds heard the Gospel in its simplicity and large numbers of tracts were distributed.
Although now over eighty years of age, F. Knox still labours much in the highly favoured city of Belfast. Some months ago he held a Gospel effort in a hall over some shops, helped by W. Glenn. Attendances were good and some professed conversion. Towards the end of the summer he had a tent pitched in the city and proclaimed the Word of Life with the help of another local brother. Good numbers came nightly and again God was pleased to move in blessing.
The assembly at Timperley was refreshed through a tent campaign conducted by N. Mellish and B. Deen. There were some nine professions of salvation, mostly from teenagers. There has been a considerable increase in the numbers attending Sunday School and the believers have started a weeknight meeting for children and teenagers.
The same brethren then pitched the tent in Heaton Park, Prestwich, a predominantly Jewish area where the work was very hard. There is no assembly within miles and few known believers live in the area. In spite of the number of contacts made in door-to-door work, attendances were thin, the teenage work seeming to be the most fruitful.
As a result of the tent work at Denton reported in the last issue, a Sunday School has been started in the home of a believer. Three of the girls who professed faith in the Saviour are progressing well. Negotiations are now in progress with regard to a room where it is hoped to commence a testimony.
The Manchester Village Workers have just completed their 68th season of work in the villages, having visited twenty-two during the past summer, over one thousand tracts having been distributed in each. Every village has its contacts and the open air testimonies ensure that most hear the Gospel clearly presented. There was an average of a dozen workers, representing ten assemblies. Are there not other towns where there is a need for the saints to enlarge their borders by engaging in similar work?
At Forfar, the county town of Angus, where there is a small assembly, three evangelists have shared the labours of a tent campaign, H. Burness, S. Stewart and J. Campbell. All have been encouraged as eight persons have claimed to have found the Saviour.
For some time a number of believers in Aberdeen have been concerned about the establishing of an assembly which would cover the new housing estates to the west of the city. In the goodness of God they first met together in June at Summerhill, and this gathering has been largely responsible for the tent work in that part of Aberdeen this summer. Once again the children responded well, some accepting the Saviour, with adults proving very difficult to reach. Teenagers came in large numbers to their own meetings and it is felt that impressions were made.
Because of the encouraging response, the Ayrshire tent remained at West Kilbride for the whole summer, J. Grant being responsible for the last five weeks. Although numbers were reduced owing to holidays the Lord’s presence was felt and the evangelist found many open doors in the village. For the last two Lord’s Days the public hall had again to be hired to provide room. A woman saved earlier this summer was diligent in bringing friends to the meetings and eventually her husband came also.
A man was attracted by the open air witness at Portpatrick and accepted the Saviour. He has since been baptised, as has a woman saved at Creetown during meetings held by young men on holiday during the Glasgow fair fortnight.
The Lanarkshire tent was pitched in Coatshill, a very populous area where it created great interest. Many of the local folk came to hear the preaching, some night after night. R. Jordan saw no outstanding results from his labours, but it was felt that blessing must result from the attendance of those who had never heard the Gospel before.
Resulting from the campaign at Johnstone, Renfrewshire, the believers meeting at Dimity Street have been encouraged to recommence the Sunday School which had been discontinued for a number of years. It is a matter of concern that so many assemblies have no Sunday School; it may be that this report will cause you to think as to your responsibility in this matter. How are the children to hear of the Saviour?
Door to door visitation has often proved the most effective way of gaining new scholars for the Sunday School. The believers at Helensburgh have tried this, and at the naval base a bus collects the children and returns them after school.
J. Aitken held a month’s tent meetings in Annan, Dumfries. There was some visible fruit as well as great interest among the youngsters, and it is hoped that this can be fostered and maintained.
At the “Tell Yorkshire” report meeting in September, emphasis was laid on the need to reach parents with the Gospel through their children. Adults who will not listen to the preaching of the Word nevertheless are often prepared to hearken to what their children learn of the Scriptures.
It was reported that the work at Garforth has not grown, but three years of Bible readings in homes have resulted in an obvious establishing in the faith.
The report of the “Next Towns” team working from Ripon was most stimulating. Contact was made with those in the villages who had shown an interest last year; children’s meetings were held in local schoolrooms, and army camps and coffee bars were visited. One day school teacher said that the impact of the team’s visit had been felt by all. Some twenty young people in all spoke of accepting the Saviour.
Persistent prayer and hard work have resulted in some encouragement in the town of Llandovery, where a Gospel witness has been maintained in association with the Mobile Unit. During August tent meetings for both children and adults were held by D. Tucker, assisted by brethren from the Swansea area. Blessing was seen among young and old.
One young man was given a booklet and through reading it was brought under conviction of sin, and has now been saved.
A mission was recently conducted in the village of Frettenham, some six miles from Norwich. A testimony has been maintained there for many years, the responsibility being taken by believers in fellowship at New Wensum Hall, Norwich. In recent years, however, numbers have decreased in both the Sunday School and the Lord’s Day evening Gospel witness, although a healthy work among the womenfolk has continued. At the end of September a team from Norwich held a week of meetings, and up to forty youngsters came each night. On a special youth night over sixty were present, mostly teenagers from the village. Several trusted the Saviour and it is hoped that the work will be continued.
As a reminder of the many camps that have been held during August, we mentioned that at Callander, Perthshire, held by the young people from Hebron Hall, Port Glasgow. In the mornings there was ministry based on the journeys of Paul, while in the evenings the Gospel was presented. With some fifty campers the workers rejoiced in the salvation of four, one a Roman Catholic lad who shows definite signs of new life.
Postal Sunday Schools
The number of scholars in the South Wales Postal School has doubled during the past year, there now being some two hundred. There is also a growing response from adults, and their interest has been encouraging as they have asked for points to be explained.
A letter received from the mother of one little scholar is worthy of consideration; “I am a grave doubter of orthodox religions but I admire and envy a faith great enough to do such tiresome work without asking for money. If you had asked for money I would have ignored you ... I would like F. to have the faith I do not have”. How important it is that unsaved folk should never have ground for thinking that believers are seeking their money.
Several of the scholars have accepted the Saviour. These young folk are cut off from any assembly and need our prayers. A number of the children are from Catholic families and the workers are exercised that the parents will continue to allow them to complete the lessons.