Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
As this section of the magazine is reached in another issue, may we ask what your reactions have been to the reports in previous issues? As you have read of what other believers are seeking to do to spread the knowledge of the Gospel, have you been stirred up to be exercised yourself about the need in your locality? If not, the section has failed in its purpose.
Is your heart not stirred by the thought of children growing up with no knowledge of the love of the Saviour for them, or of their need of Him? All that many will hear at day-school is the deriding of the Bible and of our God. Thus they will be easy prey for the evils that await many of them at college and university. Are you not going to tell them of what is right and eternal, the truth of which God has made you a trustee?
Even a tract can accomplish much. An assembly in the Midlands recently had the joy of baptising a mother and her son. The former had been saved by reading a tract put through her letterbox.
Northern Ireland. S. Thompson and R. Jordan preached the Gospel for six weeks in the Gospel hall at Ballyclare, Co. Antrim, towards the end of the winter. Considering the inclement weather and the incidence of 'flu, the attendances were very good from the outset and on the later Lord's Days it was necessary to bring in extra seats. God was pleased to bless His Word, and the assembly was refreshed and encouraged as two men in their twenties, as well as a boy and a girl, professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Following good meetings in Broughshane, A. Lyttle and J. Brown moved a few miles further up the Braid valley and commenced Gospel meetings in the hall in Buckna, also in Co. Antrim. The local believers and those from neighbouring assemblies gave good support. Many homes were visited by the evangelists and literature left, yet there were no known cases of conversion.
J. K. Duff and N. Tinsley held Gospel meetings for several weeks in a portable hall some miles out from the town of Comber, Co. Down. Although the response on the whole was not encouraging, some of the local folk came and heard the plain message of the Gospel.
A portable hall was also used by J. Martin for a special effort in the Gospel in Limavady, Co. Derry. Dr. Sloan joined in the meetings whenever he was able. Despite the effort made in visitation and other ways the response from the local people was somewhat disappointing. Yet God was pleased to bless in the salvation of some who had been brought from a distance as well as some members of the families of believers.
Two reports from Co. Armagh demonstrate how we must leave the result of our preaching with our God. At Ballysheil it proved difficult to get the local folk to attend in spite of the faithful preaching of A. McShane and N. Turkington.
At Ardmore, a few miles from Lurgan, T. McKelvey and J. G. Hutchinson had a good spell of meetings. For a farming community the late spring is not considered a very good time for such meetings as the farmers are very busy. However from the start there was a good interest, a number of unsaved attended and some professed conversion.
Believers cannot grow without spiritual food. The believers in many parts of the north have enjoyed the helpful and edifying ministry of T. E. Wilson, formerly of Angola. The Donegall Road Hall in Belfast, from which our brother was commended to the work in Africa nearly half a century ago, was packed nightly as he ministered the Word of God.
Southern England. For some time brethren in the south have felt that there was a need for conversational Bible Readings in the Bournemouth area, such having proved so helpful in other parts of the country.
After prayerful consideration such readings were commenced in the Queen's Hall, Bath Road, Bournemouth in October last, and the last of the 1968/69 series will be on 2 Timothy 4 on 2nd August next.
Numbers have been very encouraging - between 60 and 80 at each gathering. Have you considered such a time of fellowship over the Word of God in your area?
London. The believers at Uxbridge, Middlesex, held their seventh all-day Bible reading on the Saturday of the Spring Holiday, and although numbers were lower than usual there was an abundance of contribution and discussion. The passage considered was the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians. In these days much error is being taught concerning the coming again of our Lord. Some say that the church must pass through the tribulation 5 others propound a theory that we are living in the millennium. As the believers considered this letter to the Thessalonians they were once again brought face to face with the clear truth of the Word of God, the indisputable fact that we wait for our Lord out of heaven to take us to be with Him in glory; that the dark days of the tribulation will follow this event, and that after this the Lord will come back to earth with His saints to bring about His millennial reign. Hearts rejoiced to reconsider these wondrous themes.
During the intervals for lunch and tea open air meetings were held in the crowded bus station. Indifference, and even contempt, was the average response.
Southern Scotland, There has been joy among the believers at Dumfries as a young man was convicted by the Holy Spirit and could not rest until he had settled the question "Where are you going?" Has each reader settled this question, as to where we shall go when we leave this life? The same Spirit moved five young people and an older brother and sister to rejoice their Saviour by being baptised.
A Missionary Conference and Exhibition held by the believers in fellowship at Dumbarton was a great success. The hall was filled to overflowing by those wishing to see the exhibits and pictures illustrating die work, as well as listening to reports.
The Helensburgh assembly has received permission to commence a work for young folk in a local school on the Churchill naval estate. May this encourage others elsewhere to launch out in a similar way!
A special effort at Shotts, Lanarkshire, produced a mixed reception for J. Aitken as he visited the neighbourhood. Some invited him into their homes and gave him a good hearing; others shut their doors when they saw him coming carrying his Bible, and never even answered his knock. As a result of this visiting however one young man, who had backslidden some years ago, attended the meetings together with his wife. A number of unsaved from outside the town attended, but there were no known cases of conversion.
Ministry meetings at Burnbank taken by J. H. Large were enjoyed by the believers. Young people from the assemblies in this shire plan to evangelise the Leadhills area during July. At least twenty hope to "camp" in the area for that purpose.
In the last issue we reported on the salvation of a few young girls at Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire. The believers have been further encouraged by one or two young Christian couples moving into the area, and trust that this may herald blessing in the tent campaign to be held at Port William by J. Burns.
Two years ago an old lady handed over possession of a little mission hall in Skelmorlie, to the Largs assembly, in order to guarantee the continuance of a Gospel witness in that village. The believers have attempted to fulfil this responsibility, and at the beginning of May special meetings were held by R. Walker with this end in view.
For many years Netherall, Largs, has been the venue of a week of meetings in May. During the last war the premises were requisitioned and the meetings were transferred to Ayr. So successful were they that when Netherhall was re-opened the meetings at Ayr were continued, occupying the week after those at Largs. This year a large number came from a wide area, E. W. Rogers and A. Leckie being responsible for the ministry. The Lord's Day evening meeting at the start of the week was marked by the baptism of seven young believers.
The assembly at Victoria Hall, Ayr, has now received planning permission for a new hall to be erected on a housing estate.
Essex. Although we reported a similar venture to the following last year, we have no hesitation in including this report in the hope that it will stimulate others to similar activity in the Gospel at holiday times.
Leaving Eastbrook Hall, Waltham Abbey after a short prayer meeting at 7.30 a.m., on Good Friday, some thirty young believers with two mobile units ventured out into the villages and estates of Essex with the Gospel. For the ensuing twelve hours they endeavoured to tract every house as well as the passers-by, and there were many contacts, which were not unfavourable as far as the adults and children were concerned. Young folk were completely indifferent to the claims of God however. All felt that a very fruitful day had been spent.
South Wales. The following report just missed the last issue, but we especially rejoice to know of activity in areas where the number of assemblies is small. In a special effort at Carmarthen Town interest increased as the meetings progressed, unsaved and backsliders both being among those attending.
Young believers from assemblies at Mumbles and Swansea propose to open a coffee bar in an effort to contact teenagers.
Republic of Ireland. During the coming summer months it is hoped to consolidate the work done among Roman Catholics during the past few years. Many Bibles and Scripture portions have been distributed and sold during that time, and by going back over the same ground it is hoped to establish contact with some who can be visited regularly.
A. Barker still continues to work among the believers in the Sligo area, looking forward to the time when an assembly will be functioning in that locality in spite of the difficulties and opposition.
The work of the Lord in the Republic has extended in two ways this year. The Bible correspondence courses for Roman Catholics have grown in circulation remarkably. In the first three months of this year over two thousand lessons of various types have been returned for marking, and each one necessitated the reading of the Scriptures. In one small town in the west, nearly five hundred young people have completed preliminary lessons. The standard of answers is high, and some come from youngsters in college and convents.
The second venture is the acquisition of a bookshop in Dublin, and this promises the opportunity to consolidate many previous contacts and to provide an opportunity to meet those concerned about the emptiness of what they know as religion. In addition rapidly increasing numbers of teaching clergy and nuns are purchasing literature and aids to Bible teaching for use in schools throughout Ireland. Literature is a most powerful weapon, and can reach into convents and schools where the Lord's servants would never obtain foothold.
Coventry. Gospel work among those from overseas is often very hard. The assembly of believers at Church Street, Coventry, recently had the joy of baptising a young man from India who had been attending the hall for some time and had been saved during that period. His family, not believers, were all present to witness his act of obedience.
East Anglia. More than two years ago a report appeared in this section concerning the assembly in a town which was rapidly expanding as an overspill area of London. There were only a few in fellowship and this restricted their activities in the Gospel, although they had been able to erect a new hall. They were exercised that believers might be amongst those coming to live in the town.
At that time a brother in the south of England was asked by his employers if he would transfer to King's Lynn, the town in question, but he declined. Shortly after he read of the need while perusing this magazine, and he was caused to consider whether in fact it was the Lord's will for him to transfer. Without taking any action, he was again asked if he would move, and on finding that housing was available to his requirements he agreed to go. He has filled a great need and the assembly are thankful to the Lord for the way in which He answered their prayers.
Has the Lord been speaking to you in the course of these reports in one way or another?