Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
Introduction. It is good to put on record the wonderful works of God: "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so", the Psalmist says. There is despair enough among the Lord's people today because of the problems associated with Christian work in local assemblies. Often a stimulus is needed to encourage and strengthen the determination to continue. One method of stimulation is to recount, in an objective way, the movements of the Lord in His work. It is worthy of notice, that on four occasions in the Acts we read of the early evangelists returning to the believers and rehearsing to them those things that God had done. In 14. 27 Paul and Barnabas, having returned to Antioch from their missionary journey, "rehearsed all things that God had done with them and how that He had opened a door of faith unto the Gentiles"; cf. 15. 4, 12; 21. 19. There was no question in these incidents of parading human abilities or skills. It was what God had done that formed the subject of the reports, and it eventually brought glory to Him.
During the many years since its inception, it has been the object of the report section of Precious Seed to do just this. We have been grateful to the many workers who have, in a wonderful way, sent details in of what the Lord is doing. Looking back through the reports it is obvious that many changes have taken place. Many of the Lord's faithful servants whose names have appeared are now at home with the Lord. It is good to look again at these records. But we still need reports. It is hoped that, in due course, we shall again be able to publish the names of those in different areas of the British Isles who will be responsible for receiving information. We are sure that in many local companies of believers God is working, and blessing is being seen. We shall be glad to hear of this for the mutual encouragement of all who are serving the Lord. This is a suitable time to remind readers of that which has been said before at various times. The servants of the Lord who are referred to in this section are in no way responsible to the Committee. The inclusion of any particular item of news is not to be taken as necessarily indicating that the Committee recommends adoption of the methods, designations, etc., employed.
Our sincere gratitude is due to our brother Denis Hinton, who for many years has faithfully conducted this section of the magazine. We look to the Lord for His help and guidance in the future.
Scotland. From J. Chalmers, Whitburn, West Lothian. During March, J. Smyth spent three weeks with the assembly at WHITBURN in a special Gospel effort. Each home in the town was visited by the saints from the local assembly as a preparation for the meetings. A detailed card was left and an invitation given. A good reception from the people was experienced. The meetings were marked by a real sense of the presence and power of God. In the first week eight teenagers and one adult accepted Christ as Saviour. Each night during the meetings there was an average of thirty teenagers and ten adults listening to the Gospel as it was preached. As these people left the meetings, there was evident a sense of challenge and conviction by what they had heard. During the remaining two weeks, attendances were good and eventually two more young people accepted the Saviour. Brother Smyth visited many homes in the locality during each week he was there. With eleven people accepting Christ, and a general sense of conviction among all who came to the meetings, there was a feeling of joy among the saints, and a realisation that their labour "was not in vain in the Lord", 1 Cor. 15. 58. AYR. The Ayr Bible readings for 1977 were held from May 7-13th. Commencing at 4 p.m., again the Readings were held in James Street Gospel Hall. A. Leckie was responsible for leading these readings in the Epistle to the Hebrews. The Lord gave very much help in these, and much profit was derived from the studies in this lovely Epistle. The evening ministry meetings were held in St. Andrews Church (kindly loaned), and ministry on Hebrews was given by, A. Leckie, J. Anderson, J. Dickson, J. Lightbody, R. McPike, D. Clarkson and G. Waugh. It was felt that refreshing, renewing and reviving were gained in these gatherings. Many parts of the British Isles, Canada and America were represented and the numbers were the best ever.
Southern Ireland. From A. Gray, Mountmellick. News of work of Postal Sunday School gives cause for praise and prayer. Sometimes when we are working under extreme pressure, we begin to wonder if it is all worthwhile. Recently (March), when we were having thoughts like these, we received a letter from Albert Aiken who was having meetings along with Jim Hutchinson in Drum Gospel Hall, Co. Monaghan. Apparently they were encouraged by the numbers that were attending the meetings and were impressed by the fact that when visiting homes were well received by parents whose children do the P.S.S. lessons. "The Postal Sunday School not only opens doors for the Gospel, but is a wedge the Lord uses to keep them open".
We recently went to a Protestant School, also in Co. Monaghan, where over one hundred children have been doing Postal Sunday School lessons in their classes. We held a Prizegiving Meeting in the School and it was good to see most of the children choosing Bibles for their prizes. However, local clergy have objected to the children doing the lessons in their class and insist that the teachers follow a course recommended by an inter-church committee. A Christian teacher in another School is not happy with the recommended course because it is not based on the Bible, and is encouraging the children to do P.S.S. lessons at home.
Bristol. From G. P. Hobbs, Bristol Evangelistic Unit. In 1950 the assemblies in Bristol area were exercised to engage in Mobile Unit Evangelism. Since then a purpose built vehicle has been used to further this work. Open-air evangelism in the Bristol area is the main objective of the Unit, although occasionally it does move out of the area. Appointed team leaders are responsible for the formation of their own teams—mainly from an individual assembly. These operate in a designated geographical area. At present there are four "weeknight" teams and five "weekend" teams. Operations extend fairly regularly from April to October each year.
Visible results seem sparse at times, although over the years definite blessing has been experienced. A written testimony from a sister speaks of this. Walking through St. George's Park she heard the singing of hymns. She was a backslider and was deeply moved. With her friend, she responded later to an invitation to attend the newly opened Speedwell Gospel Hall. She was wonderfully restored to the Lord and her friend was saved. The possibilities of this work are great.
On Easter Saturday the Unit was granted permission to visit the main pedestrianised shopping precinct in Bristol. Literature was distributed during the day (including over 400 copies of John's Gospel and 3,000 tracts) and an Easter Open Air Service was held during the afternoon. Local believers gave support, particularly some young people whose testimony in song attracted attention of shoppers. Several interesting contacts were made.
From Cornwall. SALTASH. A large company gathered at Saltash for the opening of the new hall. There was much cause for praise and thanksgiving to the Lord as the events involved with the building were recounted step by step. Blessing experienced in additions to the assembly had created the need for the new hall, and it was good to record the ways in which the Lord had provided the means for building. J. Hadley worked here for two weeks. The first week was taken up with door-to-door visitation in fellowship with young people of the assembly. Each house in the district was visited. During the second week, children's meetings were held each morning and evening. While there was no evident response interest was good.
BODMIN. The work in Bodmin is slowly progressing with 10-14 teenagers coming regularly out of the average of 18. A youth night is held each Monday evening at the home of J. Hadley and about 15 attend each week. There are a number who attend the meetings quite regularly and are saved. The small assembly pray that the further steps of baptism and fellowship will soon be taken.
TRURO. The assembly at Truro has been much encouraged by the addition recently of a young couple. First of all the wife trusted the Saviour; then eventually her husband followed. Great benefit to the assembly has been reaped through consistent visitation work, this especially bringing increased numbers to the Sunday School.
During the winter months youth fellowship meetings have been held in TRURO, ST. AUSTELL and BODMIN assemblies. About 40 have been present at each gathering and a sense of the Lord's blessing has been felt. The Gospel Tent will be erected, D.V., at Whitstone and surrounding villages for three weeks in June/July, and then at Bodmin for five weeks in July/ August. The County of Cornwall needs much prayer.
Cardiff. On April 1st at Adamsdown Hall, Cardiff (kindly lent), Mr. and Mrs. Frank Lonney were commended to full-time service for the Lord in South Central Wales. For the past three years they have been, in fellowship at Welcome Gospel Hall, Tavistock Street, where their activities in the Lord's work have been many. They are both well known in the smaller assemblies in Glamorgan. The assemblies from Ynysybwl, North Clive Street and Bargoed joined together to give their joint commendation to them. Over 300 gathered for the occasion, many coming from the valleys of South Wales and most of the Cardiff assemblies were represented.
It is the desire of our brother and sister to carry out visitation and Gospel work in Mid. and South Wales, and to help some of the smaller assemblies near Cardiff. They are at present working in Rhayader, where they have visited every house. Meetings for children and teenagers are being held in a rented Hall. A brother and sister from Llanelli assembly have given help. Many prayers for the Lord's guidance and blessing will follow our brother and sister.
In connection with work in South and West Wales, prayer and preparation is already being made for a "Christ for Victory" Campaign to be led by Stan Ford from August 27th to October 31st, D.V. It is proposed to conduct Gospel services at Maesybont, Cardigan, Llangeler, Llan-pumsaint, Neyland, Pembroke Dock, Haverfordwest, Pantyffynon, Swansea and Aberystwyth. This will be an outreach into many areas untouched by the Gospel.-It is hoped to get into school assemblies, works canteens, senior citizens and other groups. We can pray that God will guide in this venture.
For many years, one of the features of the corporate fellowship of the twenty or so assemblies in Cardiff are the Annual Conferences. These are the Homeworkers, Ministry and Missionary Conferences. This year's Homeworkers was very well attended both during the afternoon and evening sessions. The evangelists, M. Rimmer, Birkenhead; C. Holmes, Southampton ; and D. Richards, Nantgarw, gave their reports of varied activities, giving matters for general encouragement. Mr. W. Hunt of Cheam gave helpful and challenging ministry.
Speakers at the Ministry Conference, held in May, were G. Bull, S. Ford and Prof. J. W. Fairbairn. The meetings were very well attended and there was a sense of appreciation for the ministry received. From Ebenezer Hall comes news of open air activity. In order that the whole district be covered during the light summer evenings, mid-week open-air meetings commenced after Easter. Each street is being systematically visited, and messages are spoken over a loud-speaker and literature is distributed. Householders with record-players are offered a free record by "Gospel Recordings". Nearly 200 to date have accepted the offer. Also as a result of the activity, 30 new scholars have begun at Sunday School. "Preach the Word".