Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
Answering a knock at the door a believer was confronted by a lady, a Jehovah's Witness. He clearly set before her the Gospel in all its fulness. She listened and then asked, "If you have such a wonderful message, why have not you been round to my door to tell me about it?". Unsaved folk are quite justified in assessing the value of the Gospel to us by our keenness in making it known. How do we appear, both as individuals and as companies of believers, in the light of such an assessment?
In the following reports we read of the appalling spiritual need in the villages and hamlets of our land - what are we doing about it? We also read of the power of our risen Lord to transform lives - do we really believe it?
Cornwall. J. Hadley writes of his burden about the villages, some of which are now more cut off as far as transport is concerned than they were eighty years ago. So many villages are without any form of Gospel witness as "chapels" are closing on every hand leaving the believers more isolated than ever. Our brother's concern is to see New Testament churches raised up throughout Cornwall. The new assembly at Bodmin is developing - there is a monthly distribution of Gospel literature and monthly ministry meetings were held throughout the winter for the building up of local believers.
Yet there is no gathering on the north coast between Newquay and Bideford, and between Newquay and the south coast there is only the new small company at Bodmin. While there are areas of moorland, it must be recognized that the whole area is spiritually barren and lifeless, with isolated believers dotted here and there and just one or two places have spiritual life. Hence the exercise of our brother, which we trust all readers will share.
In the light of the above it will be appreciated why importance is attached to the work started at Bude, between Newquay and Bideford. For the first three months no one came in to the meetings from the town. In January three local folk came, and each month since has seen some local ones present and contacts are being made.
The small assembly at Saltash has been encouraged by believers from other parts being added to their number. Four young believers have recently been baptized.
Devon. There are Gospel Halls in the villages of Ugborough and Ermington in the south of this county, but very few believers to maintain the testimony. They need our prayers.
J. Hadley spent two weeks in door to door work in these villages, leaving portions of the Word of God where contact was made. While he felt it a privilege to encourage these isolated believers it increased his burden for the needs of the villages of our land. Do we really care?
Lanarkshire. The young man who is the subject of this report was of no mean ability, but drink held him fast in its grip. His life was composed simply of working and drinking, for he spent all his leisure time in clubs and public houses. The particular Thursday with which we are concerned was no exception. He had been drinking since about 2 p.m., and now it was after 8 p.m. For no explicable reason he edged his way down the bar to where a man was standing with a crucifix in his jacket lapel. This was a Roman Catholic. The young man was transfixed on the spot as the crucifix seemed to grow into an abnormal size. He put down his drink at once, saying, "I've had enough of this life with its uselessness; I want to commit my life to Christ, take me to one of the Christians!"
The Roman Catholic agreed to do this but found the first Christian they visited was not in. On their way to another they passed the Gospel Hall where the believers were just coming out from the prayer meeting. The two of them went in, and the Roman Catholic having explained the position left the young man in the hands of the brethren. As he went he exhorted the young man to carry out his original decision and commit his life to Christ.
The brethren spoke to the young man at length, going over the way of salvation and praying with him. Since it was evident that he had been drinking heavily they asked him to meet them the next night. This he did, reiterating that he believed the same as they did but that he had not the courage to go outside and shout it publicly.
It became evident that he had actually been saved in the public house, and his life in the days that followed gave witness to this. Only a week later he publicly stated in the open air that he was saved. In six weeks time he was baptized, along with another young man. The believers used this event to get thirty unsaved folk in to witness this act of obedience and his public acknowledgement of the Lordship of Christ. These included the Roman Catholic who was invited by the young man personally, and who left the meeting with tears running down his cheeks. A young sister was so moved that she also asked for baptism. Twenty unsaved folk watched her take this step the following week.
The Lord is surely Sovereign and who can limit His power?
London. The assembly at Alexandra Hall, Hornsey, was much encouraged as a result of a three-week Gospel campaign held in April and May. This was conducted by J. Smyth and followed much prayer and preparatory work. Over six hundred homes in the vicinity were visited and tracts were distributed to passers-by, the glad result being that many unsaved came into the nightly meetings.
Finn contacts were made among the adults as a result of the clear and powerful presentation of the message of salvation. Some were truly concerned about the claims of Christ and the welfare of their souls. Although there was only one known case of a profession of faith the believers were not discouraged.
The four children's meetings were particularly well attended and some have been added to the Sunday School and other youth activities of the assembly as a result.
South Wales. The company of believers in the village of Pantyffynon near Ammanford have experienced the blessing of the Lord. Good progress has been made with the erection of their new hall, the previous one having been destroyed by fire. Meetings are at present being held in a chapel building kindly lent to them. Attendances at the Sunday School and Gospel Service are most encouraging. During a visit by the warrior missionary D. T. Morris of Patagonia a young man came out boldly with his profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.
Postal Sunday Schools. In Worcestershire the number of scholars continues to grow, there being nearly four hundred and fifty. Opportunities have been given to speak at morning assembly in two schools and this has proved to give good results. Whilst normal door to door visitation will continue it is hoped to explore this avenue through schools to the full.
A special Bible study week was held in South Wales at Easter for those who have trusted the Saviour through the postal work. For the majority it will be months before they can be with believers again. Among the scholars, is a gentleman of sixty years of age from a village in mid Wales.
In Plymouth the workers are concerned as to how best to deal with recruitment. While there are now over two hundred scholars} the last recruiting effort in the Liskeard area was most disappointing, as there were only three applications from over two thousand forms which were given out.
Mobile Unit Work. The South East London Unit received a letter from a man who had been handed a tract last year, had put it in his diary and forgotten about it. When he came to turn out last year's diary the tract fell out, he read it and was disturbed. There followed an exchange of several letters but without any final conclusions. This should encourage tract distributors.
The team have been encouraged by signs of the Lord's blessing, but with more workers more could have been accomplished.
Mid Wales. The assembly at Aberystwyth now hold their annual conference in May instead of on August bank holiday, partly to avoid traffic problems, but more particularly so that the students in fellowship should have the advantage of a conference held during term time. The catering arrangements were almost entirely in the hands of the students. To a meeting that is situated forty-five miles from its nearest neighbouring assembly, it is encouraging when the Lord's people travel long distances to be present. This year, Mr. S. Beasley, full-time evangelist from Newfoundland, gave an account of the actual ritual associated with the present-day observance of the Jewish passover, using a display laid out on a table for illustrative purposes, and helpfully linking the ritual with the Old and New Testament Scriptures throughout.
Believers used the tea break to witness in the open air on the sea front 5 there was a good hearing as many stopped and listened. The summer will soon be gone - are we using it to make the Saviour known in the open air?
Glamorganshire. The assembly at Glan-y-Llyn held five weeks of Gospel meetings during March and April and were greatly encouraged by the number of unsaved folk who attended. The Gospel message was faithfully proclaimed by Mr. David Richards, who earlier last year was fully commended to the Lord's work by the neighbouring assembly at Nantgarw.
These meetings had been preceded by weekly open air witnesses in each of the villages in the vicinity and since last October the assembly at Glan-y-Llyn, in fellowship with the believers at Nantgarw, have been holding further open air testimonies each fortnight.
By the time this report is published, David Richards will have been joined by Mr. R. Jordan of Belfast for a month's tent campaign at Llanharran. This village has been the scene of much gospel activity during the past few years, particular effort being made by the brethren from Treorchy. The assembly at Llanharran is very small and prayerful fellowship in this work is desired.
Looking a little further ahead, God willing, it is purposed to hold a further six weeks Gospel meetings at Glan-y-Llyn commencing on October 13th, when the meetings will be conducted by Mr. N, Mellish and Mr. D. Richards. "Brethren, pray for us".
Northern Ireland. Following an encouraging spell of Gospel meetings at Creavory, E. Wishart erected a portable hall at Randalston, just a few miles across the country, where he was joined by S. Thompson. No meetings have been conducted in this little town by assembly folk for many years. Good numbers attended and some professed to have been saved, including a number who had heard the Gospel in their youth and had then shown concern, but had not responded at that time. How long-suffering is our God.
J. FJannigan had four weeks of well-attended Gospel meetings at Tully, a few miles from Ballymena. All rejoiced to listen to the clear proclamation of the Gospel.
J. Brown and J. Lennox held well-attended Gospel meetings in Bloomfield Gospel Hall, Belfast, They continued nightly for eleven weeks as some were concerned about their soul's condition. The assembly, which maintains a good interest in Gospel testimony, were encouraged as a number, mostly connected with the gathering, professed to have accepted the Saviour.