Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
The following reports are meant to stir each reader to prayer and to produce heart searching as to whether we are personally discharging our responsibility to those around us in the setting forth of the Word of God.
The workers with the S.E. London Mobile Unit spent a week at Hythe in Kent. Of 140 children contacted, only 25 had any connection with church or Sunday School. With more workers, more children would have been contacted.
Yorkshire. During the past two years the believers who previously met in the Akeds Road Gospel Hall, Halifax, have passed through difficult days. All the houses surrounding the old hall were demolished and the assembly met in the homes of various believers. On many occasions it seemed unlikely that the testimony would continue, but God has now provided a converted store in the centre of a residential area, the address being 35 Albert Road. The believers have already seen the Lord's hand moving in blessing among them.
For five years there has been a Sunday School work at Skellow, Doncaster, mainly in a private residence as no other premises were available. There are some ten thousand inhabitants in this thickly populated mining area and during the last two years the believers have tracted the district twice and preached the Gospel in the streets during the summer. Their desire has been to have a building where they could gather as a local assembly and the Lord has now set His seal of approval upon this exercise. A i acre site of waste land was offered by the National Coal Board and a prefabricated building is to be delivered during January. It is hoped that the hall will be in use during the spring and that it will enable the believers to make Christ known in the area in an even more effective way.
Ayrshire. The county summer effort last year was restricted to the first part of the season since staggered holidays made it increasingly difficult to conduct a successful effort during the second part. Instead a county winter effort was planned, the venue chosen being Ardrossan where there is a little assembly. P. Harding spent the month of November there, the town having been prepared for the visit by a team of young believers on the Saturdays of October. The little assembly worked hard and the county assemblies gave their usual support, the result being that there was not an evening when strangers were not present. The provision of a bus by one of the believers greatly helped the children's meetings which grew to over one hundred.
At the same time J. Clunas was conducting meetings some eight miles along the coast in Irvine, and there were never fewer than twenty unsaved present. On the first night two young folk professed conversion and later the son of a British Israelite minister told of his salvation. The meetings on Lord's Day evenings were packed out.
J. Hutchinson had been in Prestwick for a fortnight during October where the meetings attracted the largest number of unsaved seen for years. Only one person professed to have been saved, a Roman Catholic girl.
Renfrewshire. During September the believers at Bethany Hall, Gourock, were greatly encouraged during a visit by G. Miller. Attendances were good with unsaved present each evening while the children's services which preceded them nightly were overcrowded. Some eight persons professed faith during the month, four teenagers were baptised and the interest of one backslider was revived. The Lord's servant often was able to reason from the Word of God with those who were concerned into the late hours. The campaign was the culmination of months of preparation since the believers moved into a new hall and all rejoice that the interest has continued since the campaign finished.
Lanarkshire. A young brother living in a village where there is no assembly testimony has been encouraged by the attendances at a children's meeting he has commenced. On the first night there were more children present than there are on the roll at the village school.
Are the children in the district where the Lord has caused you to live given the opportunity of being taught the Word of God and of growing up in the knowledge of Him as Saviour? If not what are you doing to remedy this lack?
Wigtownshire. The little assembly at Creetown was cheered during October by the visit of a party of believers from Glenburn, Prestwick. There are many such small gatherings up and down the land who could be greatly encouraged and strengthened by help from assemblies which are numerically stronger.
Dunbartonshire. A brother who had but recently been saved and brought into fellowship was tragically killed. The service in the hall was packed to overflowing and the brief message made a lasting impression on the town.
Is every reader as ready to leave this life if suddenly taken from it as this brother was? Only by availing oneself of the value of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross can we be made fit for God's presence.
Five young girls professed faith in Christ in Helensburgh and one girl was saved during the first children's meeting of this winter season.
Fifeshire. J. Campbell was responsible for special Gospel meetings in Union Hall, Gowdenbeath, during the second half of October. Unsaved folk were present each night and on the last Lord's Day over twenty listened to the Gospel. The evangelist had some good contacts as he went from door to door and a number of these people were collected and brought by car to the meetings. One Roman Catholic couple who had never before attended any other form of service than their own came to the final meeting.
The average attendance at the children's meetings was nearly one hundred and both the Sunday School and weeknight children's meeting numbers have increased since the campaign.
J. Smythe preached at Kelty during the month of October and once again unsaved souls were present nearly every evening. Backsliders came as well some nights. The message was challenging to both sinner and believer yet the adults failed to respond to the call of God. The evangelist was appalled at the careless attitude of the local folk to eternal matters as he met them on their door-steps.
During the autumn J. Campbell and M. Newman commenced Gospel work at Auchtermuchty with a portable hall. At first the children's meetings were good while interest in the adult's gatherings trailed behind. Then a married woman was saved; she brought another two women who were also saved. Then her sister, a nurse, professed. A. Pollard, commended from Lanarkshire to work in Angus, gave help in this series of meetings.
Gloucestershire. J. Burns conducted a fortnight's campaign among the children at Bethany Hall, Cheltenham, during September. Leaflets were distributed outside the schools in die area and attendances averaged one hundred nightly, with some parents present at the final prizegiving night. Attention was good throughout.
A special feature of the evangelist's visit was organized by a believer who contacted the local school head teachers who seemed to have been unaware of the existence of the local assembly. Several of these were pleased to allow the evangelist to conduct morning assembly thus enabling over two thousand scholars and their teachers to be challenged by the message of the Gospel.
Isle of Wight. The gathering of over 200,000 young fans for the Festival of modern music last autumn gave opportunities for some believers to bring spiritual realities before them. Their impressions are worth pondering.
While there were freaks, anarchists and the depraved among them in considerable numbers, the majority are back in their ordinary clothes at school or at work, those with whom we mix every day. For a brief week-end their needs had seemed to be met, but it has not turned out that way in the end although they are convinced that somehow their search for truth was near its goal. They are now feelmg let down. Only Christ can satisfy these youngsters; we are the only ones who can take the message. "How shall they hear without a preacher?", Romans 10. 14.
The believers spent their time in personal work or preaching. The visits to the tents or makeshift camps of groups of young folk led to many conversations in which Christ was exalted as Lord and Saviour. It was obvious that these young people had a totally inadequate concept of Christianity.
As the festival drew to a close long queues formed for the buses and ferries. As believers went along these queues there were rejections of the proffered tracts but many more hands reached out and requests were made for booklets and Gospels.
Northern Ireland. Five weeks of special Gospel meetings were held in Central Hall, Bangor, by S. McBride and J. Finegan. The evangelists distributed much Gospel literature and fair numbers attended but there were no known results.
At Ballymena, Co. Antrim, four weeks of Gospel meetings in the Wellington St. Hall were taken by R. Walker. Numbers were fair and several spoke of accepting the Saviour including some from the Sunday School.
A portable hall was erected in Lurgan, Co. Armagh, and fairly good numbers listened to A. McShane. Some blessing was seen as a result.
J. Hawethorne and A. Lyttle held a special series of meetings with the small assembly at Tassagh. Although this is a country district there was a good interest and attendances were most encouraging.
Kells village in Co. Antrim is the district where the great Revival of 1859 began. J. Grant and S. Jennings had encouraging Gospel meetings in the Gospel Hall and some professed conversion.
R. McLuckie preached for a month in Ahoghill where some interest was shown by the local folk and one young man made a profession of faith.
Ebenezer Hall, Belfast5 has been the centre of much Gospel activity and blessing over the years. S. Thompson recently held another Gospel effort there but numbers were not as good as usual. It is possible that the unsettled conditions in the city over recent months were the cause of this.
Lancashire. Throughout 1970 a series of monthly Bible studies were held in Astley Bridge Hall, Bolton, the general theme being "The importance and purpose of prayer". The ministry was shared by a number of brethren and younger believers were particularly m mind.
During November a well attended Gospel campaign was conducted at Mount Chapel, Pendleton, by P. Brandon.
Wales. A missionary week-end brought many believers together at George St. Gospel Hall, Swansea. The reports from various workers stirred prayerful interest in the work overseas.
D. Pearce was encouraged as blessing was seen during a special effort at Treboeth Hall, Swansea.
The distribution of leaflets advertising the Postal Sunday School has been achieved by day visits from die base at Swansea. There are obviously parts of Wales that cannot be reached in this limited period. Last summer some young believers camped in four selected parts of Mid-Wales and distributed leaflets in the area. All were encouraged by the excellent response. A similar operation is planned for the summer of this year in the will of the Lord, the area in mind being north of Dolgellau. Those who go may be required to live in tents if caravans are not available. The aim is to make a complete distribution in Wales inside nine years. If you feel that you could assist in this work next July, you are invited to write to 19 Druidstone Way, Penllergaer, Swansea.