Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
Correction. We deeply regret that the report in the previous issue under Birmingham contained a serious error. Through no fault of the correspondent concerned the death of one who had been under the sound of the Gospel was described as suicide when it was actually an accidental death. We are conscious of the grief that this has caused and offer our sincere apologies.
We would remind readers that the brethren whose names appear in this section from time to time are in no way responsible to the Committee of Precious Seed, neither do they receive any financial support from the magazine. Our aim is to encourage a prayerful interest in the work of the Gospel by recounting what God hath wrought and to increase exercise concerning our personal responsibility to make the Gospel known.
All Gospel outreach should have as its aim not only the salvation of sinners but also that those saved should be instructed in the Word of God and subsequently gather according to the principles laid down in the New Testament.
As an example, about two years ago a number of brethren from Lanark and Carluke commenced a children's work in the village of Carstairs. A good interest was shown and there has been some blessing. Following on from this there has been some exercise to extend the work to the adults and Gospel meetings will start in September. Four weeks of meetings have been arranged and, depending upon the response, they may be continued. It may well be, the believers feel, that the time is ripe for a Gospel testimony to be started, followed by the forming of a local assembly of believers.
The Power of the Word. Do we really believe that it is the Word of God that brings conviction of sin through the work of the Holy Spirit? (John 16. 7-11). Do we act up to this belief or do we try other media of our own choice?
A small assembly has been using public advertising sites in their particular country town to display the Word of God. This action has produced a number of results. A girl of fifteen was awakened to her spiritual need by one of the large Gospel texts and has recently been brought to a knowledge of the Lord as Saviour.
The town is now much more aware of the existence of the testimony as the name and address appears on two of the sites. The town has military personnel on the outskirts and newcomers, both to the town and the camps, soon find the Gospel Hall through noticing the arresting placards. Moreover the whole project has given an added impetus to Gospel work and the placards are the topic of prayer.
A small poster 30 ins. by 20 ins. costs less than a daily newspaper to maintain, and there are numerous sites throughout the country that could be used in this way. The Scripture Gift Mission will provide the posters free if the site is rented.
Brethren, what excuse shall we use at the judgment seat of Christ in this matter? Let us be up and doing.
Essex. A two weeks children's mission was conducted by R. J. Whittern at the Gospel Hall, Braintree, last April. The average attendance was nearly two hundred and the Family Services were particularly encouraging with good numbers of parents and friends hearing the Gospel. A number of the children professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the work of the assembly has been strengthened. Several visits were made by the evangelist to local senior schools when films were shown and questions invited. These were well received by both pupils and staff.
Hampshire. The assembly in Waterlooville has been established for some fourteen years, the believers meeting in a little hall behind a house. Their original intention was to purchase the site, pull down the buildings and build a new hall. However when the site was purchased it became clear that the Lord's will was for them to sell it and purchase another hall in the locality which had increased seating capacity.
The assembly has a thriving work among the children in the district and a well attended meeting for ministry during the winter months. The new hall is situated on the edge of a council estate which is now being increased by several hundred dwellings.
Cornwall. J. Hadley visited St. Cleer in June when an average of thirty children attended. Even though there was a lot of rain this did not deter the adults. One man was saved and there was an evident desire for God's Word from local believers who had continued with the cottage meetings started last year.
The evangelist visited a lady who was confined to a wheel chair who questioned him about baptism. She had been assured by a local preacher that baptism was not necessary. J. Hadley went through the Scriptures with her and advised her that, health permitting, she should be baptized. When the news of the baptism was announced in the tent a lady stood up exclaiming, 'That's my sister ... I wish to be baptized also'. To the joy of all, others followed suit and seven obeyed their Lord in this way at St. Austell together with two local believers.
How important to maintain the truth of baptism today. There would appear to have been no unbaptized believers in apostolic times, and the same should apply today.
Merseyside. For the third year in succession fifteen Liverpool assemblies united in holding a tent crusade during June. The Corporation were most helpful in providing a central site, and the tent, seating one thousand, was comfortably full most nights.
The evangelist, J. Clunas, preached with power and many trusted the Saviour from all age groups. The three Youth Nights proved exceptionally fruitful, the Spirit moving among a number of boys in a boarding school close to the tent. Some twenty of these came to the early morning prayer meetings. Children's meetings were held throughout the period and large numbers of youngsters were reached.
Northern Ireland. The troubles over the last three years have made all types of Gospel work difficult. In many parts people are reluctant to leave their homes in the evenings, and it would seem that the political situation fills their minds to the exclusion of all else. While a number of special efforts have been held in different parts, comparatively few appear to be saved. Ulster needs our prayers.
A. Lyttle and J. Hawthorne had several weeks of well attended Gospel meetings in Ballyclarej Co. Antrim, yet only heard of one who accepted the Saviour.
At Cullbackey, a village about three miles from Ballymena, a tent was pitched where fair numbers listened to the preaching of S. Jennings and his brother. Two professed to have accepted the Saviour.
In Broughshane village on the other side of Ballymena seven weeks of well attended meetings were taken by J. Brown and J. Lennox. God gave help with the preaching but all concerned were disappointed as they only knew of one who was saved although quite a number of young people associated with the assemblies around attended regularly.
Numbers were also good at Seapatrick, Co. Down, when E. Wishart and S. Thompson preached and rejoiced in a number of conversions.
S. Moore, on a visit from S. Africa, and A. Aitken, held a Gospel effort at Gransha, the home of the former. Here again only one spoke of accepting the Saviour.
S. Thompson and R. Jordan preached in Castlereagh Gospel Hall, Belfast, on the outskirts of the city. Two professed to have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ. Just a few miles away J. Duff and S. Maze held meetings at Purdysburn in an old hall used for Sunday School work, and again the good seed was sown.
May we repeat, Ulster needs your prayers.
Republic of Ireland. J. Noble has been working for the past year from a bookshop in Galway City which, sad to record, is now being sold. Many have purchased copies of God's Word and also taken the free literature offered by the Scripture Gift Mission. On many occasions he has been able to testify as a converted Roman Catholic to the reality of salvation. A little Sunday School has been started in their home.
He now has a literature trailer and for some weeks has been visiting Knock Shrine where there are pilgrimages every week until the end of September. Prayer has been answered in the securing of a site for the trailer.
As J. Elwood visited from door to door in Kilkenny opportunities were available to present the Gospel. The great need is for a home where meetings for Bible Study can be held and where contacts can be brought, as there is no Christian testimony there.
Over three hundred Roman Catholic schools have been circulated with an offer of comprehensive Bible Study Correspondence courses, including some for adults and for teachers.
The summer camps have been a feature of the Postal Sunday School work and many have been saved over the years. A. Barker has put much work into improving the facilities at the site in Sligo, but has now received notice that this use must be terminated. A permanent site is greatly needed in this area.
Workers have been offered the use of the recreation centre in a well equipped caravan park in Co. Wexford and are planning to hold Family Services there during August. Postal S.S. children and their families have been encouraged to take their holidays on this site and it is trusted that other visitors there will join in the services.
Southern Scotland. R. Walker was responsible for a five week campaign held in the town of Kinross in June-July. The assembly is very small indeed in Kinross — almost literally two or three — yet a valiant witness is maintained in this town of some three thousand inhabitants. Sunday School and Bible Class work has been carried on consistently. All were encouraged to see audiences of over one hundred including several local residents. A baptismal service took place one evening when three local adults, previously converted, obeyed this ordinance before a large congregation which included the Provost. That night a member of the Bible Class professed salvation and asked for baptism. This was carried out the following week. Overall the small assembly has been greatly encouraged.
Many happy weeks were spent in the upperward villages of Lanarkshire with the Gospel van. Excellent contacts were made at the doors by J. Aitken and J. Neilson during the day. They were joined in the evening by believers from the surrounding assemblies when many heard the preaching of the Gospel.
A new portable hall is in use in Lanarkshire, the first site being at Allanton, a former mining village where there is no assembly but the brethren from Newmains have maintained a Gospel testimony for many years. Believers gave good support to the effort and many unsaved were present each evening. M. Newman was the evangelist and God was pleased to work in the salvation of a few adults and a number of young folk in their teens.
The work with the Ayrshire tent was far more uphill. N. Mellish and B. Smith found that the people of Muirkirk did not respond to the invitation as had been hoped.
Open air testimony is still of great importance, taking the Gospel to the folk. In Dumfries the young people conduct such a gathering in one of the housing schemes during the week while on Lord's Day evening the Gospel is preached by the riverside. The believers at Helensburgh get a good hearing when the Gospel is preached on the sea front, while the 'shire' open air on Monday evenings is combined with tract distribution.
The little assembly meeting at West End Gospel Hall, Rothesay, Isle of Bute, is now greatly reduced in numbers. For many years there has been no Gospel campaign on the isle but this summer J. Lennox and J. Brown held two weeks of meetings. They visited over one thousand homes with literature and had the joy of seeing one man accept the Saviour. A young lady has since been exercised about gathering with the assembly.
When believers are on holiday they have a great opportunity of helping such faithful small gatherings by seeking them out and encouraging them.
In Wigtownshire the county Gospel work has been concentrated in Leswalt and Kirkcolm. The services in the local hall on a Lord's Day evening did not attract many, but a hearing was obtained in the open-air on weeknights.
There was a good response from local folk during the Gospel campaign led by H. Murphy in the Gospel Hall, Linwood, Renfrewshire. This was a result of the work of the assembly and of young believers from other parts of the shire in tract distribution and visitation. An average of forty came to the weekly gathering for Senior Citizens, and there is every prospect diat this meeting will be carried on in some form next winter. The visits to the High School were also occasions of potential blessing. It is also hoped that some believers who once met with the assembly will return to have fellowship with them again.
London. For twenty-one years the mobile units from London and the Home Counties have combined to hold an open-air witness in Trafalgar Square. The Lord Jesus Christ was clearly set forth as the only answer for mankind in a disintegrating society and the audience included some from every continent. Literature was available for all in their own tongue.
A mother and her teenage son, both mixed up with Jehovah's Witnesses, were spoken to and the son's face lighted up as the simplicity of the Gospel dawned upon him. An Indian doctor showed great concern and asked for someone to call on him. A young man with a chequered past was concerned to get right with God. Yet there were those who at the end still said that they were quite capable of looking after themselves. Is the reader in this category? How foolish to ignore the only One who can make you fit for the presence of God and can give peace of mind even in the present lawless age.
Wales. Over one hundred workers from assemblies in South Wales spent two Saturdays visiting every home in the town of Brecon and distributing literature. Many contacts were made and an open-air witness in the town centre concluded each day's activities.