Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
"Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters", Isa. 32. 20.
This report reviews much of the gospel work engaged in during summer months. There is evidence of the tremendous variety of ways in which every opportunity possible has been taken to present Christ to the people, it is one of tha most comprehensive reports we have had, and again our appreciation goes to those who have gathered and sent in valuable items of news. The conning of the Lord draws near. Each opportunity takes its character from this imminent and certain fact. "All waters" suggests that there is no place, no occasion, where to sow the good seed of God's precious Word would beout of place. The writer was in conversation with a brother recently after a gospel meeting. Six years ago this man came to Christ— in Dartmoor prison. Listening to an evangelist sharing the gospel with him, he said he was left no choice. He was gloriously saved. His marriage was on the rocks but when he left prison he made a new start and since then his wife has been saved. With two children they now have a happy Christian home. Let this conversion speak for itself!
Southern Ireland. From Albert Gray comes news of summer Postal Sunday School activities. The annual work at Parklands Caravan Site, Co. WEXFORD, was organized and there were some encouragements. During the nine weeks spent there., the daily children's meetings were well attended. Contacts made were good, and there is real evidence that the Lord is working on this caravan site. One girl, saved last year, is going on well. Her mother, who is a Roman Catholic, spoke of the great change in her life. Such testimonies give great joy.
The effect of the postal strike was felt in the Sunday School camp. Numbers were very small this year, but two pupils professed conversion during camp. Door-to-door activities in DONEGAL by teams of workers were encouraging. One girl found the Saviour. At PORT ARLINGTON door-to-door and open air work went well, and "Sunshine Corner" for the children was well attended. Much prayer is asked for the Postal Sunday School work at MOUNTMELLICK. The postal strike and shortage of staff create problems of continuity. The Lord has given much help with workers, and prayer is being answered.
Northern Ireland. In the Gospel Hall at BALLYWATERMOY, J. Hawthorne and M. Stewart held six weeks special gospel meetings. The assembly has maintained an active gospel testimony over the years, and the meetings were well attended. No known cases of conversion were seen. In the tent at RANDALSTOWN, J. Brown and J. Lennox conducted eight weeks of gospel meetings. Good numbers attended, and a special bus was laid on to bring folk from a nearby town. Sadly, although the gospel was faithfully preached, there was little to encourage. At the village of AHOGHILL a new hall has been built, and twelve weeks special meetings were held by J. Martin and S. Maze (West Indies). A good interest was shown, and a number came to the Lord. Some of these have since been baptized and received into fellowship.
Scotland. There is good news of blessing from Scotland. Albert Leckie conducted two weeks gospel meetings at FORTH. A fair number attended, and a middle aged lady came to know Christ. Tom Aitken sends news of the conversion of a woman in the locality, having no husband but with four children to keep. One evening she went into a "local" for a drink. While sitting by the bar she began to talk to a man who was sitting by her. He confessed to her that he was a Christian and should not be there. However he told her of the Saviour and eventually she was saved. Since then they have married and go on together with the Lord. How great is the grace of our God !
The Hebron Hall Youth Camp was held at STONEHAVEN at the end of July. There were about 80 campers and 30 workers, and the ministry given was challenging and helpful. There were a number who came to Christ, and others received spiritual help. Open-air services were held during June in the town of WHITHORN and the villages of GARLIES-TON and WHAUPHILL. There was encouragement as many gathered to listen.
A gospel tent was pitched in the new village of MINNIGAFF, and John Gordon of Hopeman conducted meetings. There was a good response, and the tent was well filled each night. A number professed to have trusted Christ. A joyful time was had when, before a large crowd, a young man was baptized in the Solway. Village work was done in GLENLURE with some interesting contacts. Stewart McKenzie, with a team of young people, held two weeks outreach at STRANRAER. Childrens open air meetings were held in the local park. Door-to-door visitations, open-air work in housing schemes, and indoor adult meetings made for a busy time. The Lord gave His blessing when three women trusted Christ. From DUMFRIES comes news of the baptism of five young people. They came from non-assembly backgrounds and a number of relatives came to the service. One brother decided to be baptized at his home town of Ayr, as his parents live there. He "went home to tell"—let us pray for permanent blessing.
Items of news come from the North. Summer open-air work was conducted on Friday evenings by MORAYand NAIRN assemblies. Tracting the villages prepared for the work, and some good conversations were held. In FORRES the assembly held their summer Sunday afternoon open-air meetings. One feature—opposition was more marked this year. At KINGUSSIE the Highlands and Island Postal Sunday School held their usual summer camp. Three teenage girls were saved, "and the small assembly there was encouraged by the visit. A national magazine gave a free write-up regarding the Postal Sunday School work. The annual Bible readings held at KILRAVOCK Castle in INVERNESS during September proved a great blessing. The ministry was given by J. Harrison and J. Hunter.
North-East England. The North-East Assemblies Outreach has had a busy summer. From FOREST HALL a team of young people engaged in outreach work in preparation for special meetings conducted by Archie McMaster. Children's and adult meetings were well attended. Fifteen people made professions of salvation, including a young lad from York who was on holiday. A one-week campaign was held at NORMANBY with Tom Bathgate. There was good response in door-to-door visitation. The use of the community centre for meetings proved difficult but worthwhile. A happy campaign was held at OLD HARTLEPOOL with the team manning a float at the local carnival by invitation of the organizers. The theme of the float was "Key to Life", and it gave a good opportunity to advertize the two weeks campaign. Many tracts were distributed, and a good interest was shown by the public. Beach meetings were held for the children, and adult meetings were conducted by Fred Kelling. There was a good sense of blessing—eight people came to Christ and many contacts for follow-up work were made. There was a sad note to the summers work—the sudden homecall of Peter Wallace, the chairman of the Outreach Work. He was an active, dedicated servant of the Lord, and will be very much missed in the work. Our prayers go out for the bereaved and also for the needs of the work. At Pall-ion, SUNDERLAND, the assembly made use of a marquee erected for a fete at SEABURN, and offered to them before the fete began. Three children's meetings were hastily arranged, and although the weather was wet, good meetings were held. Open-air meetings for children and adults were held on a local housing estate and good interest was shown.
North-West England. There is good news of the MANCHESTER and District Camp which was held at ABERFOYLE with 175 campers under the care of some 50 leaders. A very good time was enjoyed. The evangelist was Derick Bing-ham from Ireland, and over 20 young people made professions of faith in Christ. Others were counselled. A great challenge was presented to young Christians present. For the following eight weeks a Friday night Camp Christian Fellowship was planned. At the first about 160 were present. There is much prayer that this will prove a lasting work.
An encouraging three W3eks Crusade was held at WAVERTREE with John Clunas and the Merseyside Tent. There were about 30 who came to the Saviour, and many found blessing. In mixed weather conditions, many local Christians rallied to the work. A number of local brethren conducted work amongst children to good effect. RAM I LEES Road Chapel enter their twelfth year of work with the Men's Circle, and these meetings still prove times of happy fellowship.
East-Anglia. We have a report for the first time concerning the work of PETERBOROUGH Postal Sunday School. This work sprang from an exercise by a brother to contact with the gospel children attending a school in which he taught. Thus it was that a number of children were introduced to P.S.S. in association with the local assembly at ORTON. This assembly is in a needy area with a vast new development of housing and industry. Peterborough P.S.S. came into being on October 1st, and lessons are sent to 128 children in East Anglia, with workers uniting to distribute and mark the lessons. They also held their first camp this year at a site near CHEPSTOW, Gwent. with 39 children attending. Ken Rudge from St. Austell gave faithful messages to the children each day and eventually three boys and two girls came to Christ. Let us pray for the growth and strengthening of this good work.
Midlands. There is news from Ivor Powell of a three weeks campaign at UPPER BODDINGTON. There was a good interest from the children, but quite outstanding was the interest of the parents in this small village. On open nights about 20 came along with the children, and the final Sunday saw the tent comfortably filled with many local people in attendance. Two Christians living in nearby villages found encouragement, and one girl who had recently trusted Christ was encouraged in her new-found faith.
The WORCESTER Postal Sunday School Camp-out had a good time at MORTHOE, although the weather could have been better. About 75 campers attended, with Doug. Barnett bringing daily Bible messages. There was a deep sense of blessing both to campers and officers, and many were counselled about spiritual matters. Several professed faith in the Lord, and other young Christians were helped on their way. The Postal Sunday School Rally was held at STOURPORT in September. About 130 parents and children enjoyed a river trip., and after tea 1 50 gathered for the Rally. A powerful gospel message was given by Bob Telford. A sense of encouragement was felt as certificates for consistent lesson work were distributed. There is cause for praise and prayer in these activities.
London and South-East. We have interesting news from S. Mountstevens regarding 4A- weeks meetings on MARGATE sands. There were many enquirers, and many portions of Scripture were accepted. Four teenagers came to question the Word, but went away thoughtfully after accepting literature. Local children came down to the beach whatever the weather and were very willing to listen. This sustained effort needs much follow-up in prayer. The work in the villages continues. A combined barbecue for three villages brought together about 80 children, and the gospel was given to them. At another, three lads came for help and seemed particularly moved by the message. Monthly follow-up work to village missions continues. After a Youth Club epilogue a young girl listened and trusted the Lord. She was quite shy but said, "Uncle Sid, as a result of what I heard tonight, I am trusting the Lord". This conversion brought much encouragement to the workers.
There is news of the united witness of London Evangelistic Mobile Unit, held at Trafalgar Square on September 15th. Three Units were represented, and J. Heap led the Rally. It was a fine afternoon and there was a shifting congregation of thousands. The Units were well supported by Christians at the Square and the messages were listened to with more than usual interest. About fifty attended the report meeting afterwards at Orange Street Church. Reports were given by the workers representing each Unit. Encouraging items were spoken of from each area. The closing message was given by H. Duckworth of Dereham.
South and West. At B RID PORT a stand was acquired for the first time at the Melplax Agricultural Show. This was arranged and monitored by Stephen Gillham with many helpers from various assemblies. A special children's stand was set up, and this proved of great interest with its competitors and prizes for all. Much gospel literature was distributed and several interesting contacts were made. Afterwards the Counties Exhibition Van moved to the DORCHESTER Show and again many were contacted as Christian literature was distributed. These local shows give great opportunity to contact people from a wide surrounding area.
At WEYMOUTH the young people took advantage of a local carnival to stage a special gospel outreach. 7000 tracts and 3000 Flexi Gospel Records were distributed along the mile long processional route to the sea front. The summer Schools Outreach among foreign students from many countries concluded at the end of August after three months hard and intense personal work. Many showed in-, terest, and several professed faith in Christ. Several took Bibles back with them, with a promise to study them. We follow them with our.prayers.
At STURMINSTER NEWTON, after many months of prayer and preparation, a fortnight's Tent Crusade was held. At first the work was slow and hard, but things improved during the second week, and the children responded well. Stephen Gillham again held special Adventure Club meetings at the neighbouring village' of MARNHULL each morning, and it was good to see children who had attended for the past two or three years showing a keen interest.
South Wales. A variety of items are to hand. The South Wales Annual Study Conference was held in BATH. Helpful ministry was given by W. Craig and M. Rimmer. The winter programme of events begins in SWANSEA and District assemblies.. Meetings in various Eventide Homes will be shared among teams from the different assemblies. Studies in Bible characters from Old and New Testaments will be the theme of Saturday ministry meetings at FFORESTFACH and the Evangelistic Hall, LLANELL1. The believers in TYCROES, near Ammanford, were greatly encouraged with attendances at a series of Gospel Services. Owing to the indisposition of John Baker, local brethren stood in and gave help. One man accepted Christ.
Blessing was experienced at the GOWER Camp this year with much fruitfulness. A few girls made decisions for Christ, one of whom has been since baptized. At the boys camp, all the boys present (some 34) stood to give their testimony at the testimony meeting. Of these, not a few said that they had trusted Christ during this year's camp. There have been five baptisms since. Prayer is much requested that the work shall be genuine and lasting. From the assembly at HEOL-Y-GORS, an outreach to children was organized on the Townhill Estate, SWANSEA. The Holiday Club, with daily study through a project done in Luke's Gospel, proved very effective, and about 50-65 came together each day. A large display of the work was made on the Friday evening, and a number of parents gathered with the children. This proved to be a very encouraging new venture.
A Holiday Bibles Club was held at Bethesda Hall, RHIWBINA, Cardiff, for the second year. About thirty workers from the meeting participated, and good times at the various activities Were enjoyed. More than two-thirds of the children were from non-Christian homes. At the end of the week there was joy as five children expressed the desire to trust the Saviour. Several parents expressed appreciation, and a number came to the final session held in conjunction with Sunday School at which prizes and certificates were presented. A clear gospel message was given. The CARDIFFP.S.S. Camp held at WOOD-CROFT was greatly blessed by the Lord this year. The experience of scholars being with Christian workers was new to many, but at the end of a happy week twelve girls had expressed concern to be saved. These are still being contacted and are searching the Scriptures for themselves. Five of them attended the evening meeting of the Cardiff Missionary Conference. How much prayer they need that the work may be permanent.
At a tent campaign held at TREDEGAR, the tent was well attended each night. Up to 90 children attended, most of them having no assembly background or connections. Some interesting contacts were made. A sixteen year old girl came often, obviously under conviction. A backslider, feeling that he ought to get back to the Lord, needed help. Then a young man converted in September asked for baptism. Prayer is sought for pioneer work in some of the needy valleys of Wales.
Devon and Cornwall. News comes of the work at ASHBURTON, Devon, from Tony Blackburn. The work continues here with the Lord's blessing, and numbers keep up well. Yet age is causing those who have been running the work faithfully for the past 9 years, to feel that they will soon not be able to continue. This is real pioneer work in character, and many unconverted people are being reached. There is need for a married couple to come to live in the town to help with the work.
A number of interesting items come from Cornwall. At LISKEARD John Hadley held two weeks campaign in June. Attendances were small but door-to-door visitation work took place each afternoon. Personal work was carried out at the local weekly market, and farmers and other visitors to the town were contacted. This is a hard place and much prayer is needed. Work goes on at ST. AUSTELL, and the assembly is actively engaged in outreach and work amongst the children. The Postal Sunday School work progresses. It was possible to have a stand at the Royal Cornwall Show at WADEBRIDGE, and during the three days about 550 children were contacted, and of these 220 were given introductory lessons. The returns are beginning to appear in the office, and to date (Sept.) about 30 have enrolled in P.S.S. So much continued prayer is needed as children are reached in this way. A programme of monthly meetings has been arranged on the Fundamentals of the Faith.
From BODMIN comes news of a deep exercise regarding open-air work in the town. Few unsaved ever enter a gospel meeting so regular open-air meetings are held in the town. Two ladies in the meeting have undertaken the work of visitation, and also distribution of tracts. There is solid assembly support for this activity (how vital this is), and it is good to see the young people actively involved. There is a call for much prayer-fellowship, as many will be presented with the claims of Christ. Regarding the building of the hall, rising costs have led to a revision of the plans and these have again been submitted to planning authorities for approval. The burden remains with John Hadley regarding commencement of gospel meetings at ST. CLEER and BUDE. A vision of need demands so much concerted prayer for its realization. Encouraging assemblies, and the Lord had wonderfully numbers were seen in the tent at WHIT-saved them. There is a good work going STONE, and the gospel was faithfully on here with the younger people, and preached there, prayer is sought that they will strengthen.
At TRURO, one Sunday evening in and grow in the Lord's things. August, five young people obeyed the Believers in FALMOUTH have had Lord in baptism. It was a night of cause for encouragement in recent days, rejoicing both for them and the believers The children and young people's work there, and the hall was packed out for the shows signs of growing and parents of the occasion. Many unsaved friends and children are coming to the gospel meetings relatives heard a clear gospel message, at times. Work has begun on the building and the meeting was well supported by of a new school room. Prayer is needed Christians from Cornwall assemblies. Two for the Lord's supplies in this venture of of those baptized had no connections with faith.