Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
"Until He find it", Luke 15.4.
These words, taken out of the context of the parable of the lost sheep, speak volumes concerning the patience and persistence of the Shepherd who sought that which was lost. Devotion and determination are in the words as well as desire for the salvation of the sheep. In reporting on the work of the Lord, repetition is inevitable. Evangelical activities are repeatedly engaged in. and each year accounts of camps and tent campaigns are given. As we read, we may say, that we have heard it all before. But is such repetition wasted? No, indeed I If young people come back year after year to camp, the ministry of the Shepherd can be imitated—we can pursue them until they come. Many of us can testify to the fact that the Spirit of God pursued us long and often before we finally accepted the Saviour. Let us read these reports about faithful workers for the Lord, seeking to feel something of their unflagging efforts to reach those who are lost.
In reading, you may find that there are echoes of the past. Then remember to pray often for those who, with determination and love, seek those who tread the road that leads away from God.
Southern Ireland. The work in the MIDLANDS of Eire continues, especially the work of Postal Sunday School from Mountmellick where Bert and Wendy Gray, with their team, work together. About 10,000 lessons are sent out each month, and the witness has been referred to as a lighthouse of testimony, based on New Testament principles, right in the Midlands of Ireland. A witness to the great population of Roman Catholic children and adults is maintained. The work at PARKLANDS Caravan site was affected by the weather this year, and the number of holiday makers was fewer. However, from 50-100 children gathered daily in the meetings at Parklands, and 20-50 children at Courtdown site – a new venture this year. It was encouraging to meet at Parklands children who return every year as well as making new contacts. Some who have trusted Christ in the past are going on well. Prayer is needed for the Courtdown work—people were suspicious of motives, and the children were quite ignorant of the Scriptures. These labours and the Postal Sunday School Camps prove a great means of reaching the children for Christ and prayer would be valued. H. Tickner, London, reports on some meetings in the South. At SKIBBEREEN a series of meetings on 1 Peter was held in the Gospel Hall. The interest and attendance was good. A young woman, the subject of much concern and prayer, and who trusted Christ about two years ago, stayed behind for serious counselling. A number of Roman Catholic homes were visited, the outcome of various contacts made during the years. Good meetings were also held in DUBLIN and CORK.
Northern Ireland. News of open-air meetings in seaside resorts. In CARN-LOUGH Albert Aiken had 2 weeks assisted by visiting brethren. Harry Andrews had one week in PORTSTEWART, Jim Graham and Samuel Thompson conducted meetings on the sea front in BANGOR, Co. Down, in connection with Central Hall, Bangor. The weather was not too favourable, but not one of the meetings had to be cancelled. There were definite signs of the Lords hand at work. There have been a number of tent campaigns. At KILLINCHY, Co. Down, Jim Hutchin-son and Gilbert Stewart had large numbers. In BELFAST, the Ormeau Road assembly had permission to erect a large tent for two weeks in the Botanic Gardens, and Harry Andrews had meetings each night and an afternoon Sunday School where large numbers attended. There were those who were saved. A Roman Catholic girl, who was concerned about eternal matters and was working in the garden, heard the preaching and stood outside the tent to listen. After the meeting she came in and professed faith in Christ saying that she never knew before that Jesus died for her sins. The interest was such that the City Council granted an extra week for meetings. On the closing night the brethren had to stand outside to let the people find a place. Very many strangers and church people came in, and at least five professed faith in Christ. A rota of brethren guarded the tent from vandals but the Lord answered prayer—they were not really needed. Meetings were held by Eric Wishart in BROOMHEDGE, near Lisburn. Bill Armstrong and Ron Cunningham held meetings in the Community Centre at MONKSTON beside Cloughfern Gospel Hall, and at least three professed faith in the Lord. Prayer is requested for all assembly activity in the North—some pursued under very difficult conditions.
Scotland. News of varied activities from Scotland reveals a mixture of problems and progress. George Meikie and David Locke, after having to wait for permission to erect a portable hall in BATHGATE, had a hard time. Adults showed little interest but the children attended quite well. There is no assembly in this place. Children's meetings held in SHIELDHILL area of FALKIRK were well attended each night with some blessing. Homes were opened, and the folk were interested. James Aitken had the joy of leading a woman to Christ at LARKHALL. He was there for one week of his itinerary in Lanarkshire. This lady had been first contacted during a weekend visit two years ago. At PATNA John Spiers and Robert Revie have had well attended meetings in a portable hall. A small assembly meets here, but many villagers came in to hear the gospel. Robert Revie continued the meetings for some time. Hebron Hall Youth Camp gathered at STONEHAVEN, and about 90 young people attended. Ronnie Cairns (ex Japan) gave the Word to them and there were some who professed faith in Christ. All experienced a time of blessing and encouragement. In Augjjst the assembly at BISHOPSTONE held their first annual conference. Jack Hunter, Robert Mc-Pheat and Hugh Scott shared in the ministry. About 270 gathered together, and an Open Air witness was held in the town before the evening session. There was a sense of the Lord's blessing throughout. Wigtown County assemblies began their summer gospel work at LESWALT with John Gordon of Hopeman. The going was hard, uphill work, but many heard the word and a few young people professed faith in Christ. This was followed by a team to NEWTON STEWART. This rousing effort was conducted by John Clunas. A large number of young people heard the gospel, and two teenagers came to the Saviour. At GLENLUCE the going was again very tough, but one or two made professions. Stewart McKenzie spent two weeks in STRANRAER and GLENLUCE with two different teams of young folk involved in outreach work. The days were busy— Bible study and children's meetings in the morning—door-to-door work in the afternoon, then open air work and adult meetings in the evenings. Blessing was seen in each place. The highlight of the visit was the baptizing of a teenage girl, saved two years ago, and a young woman, saved last year. There has been continued blessing in both places. A class for young Christians has commenced in STRANRAER, and a class for teenage girls in GLENLUCE. Prayer would be valued for these needy places. From DUMFRIES comes a call for prayer for two young men, recently baptized, who have left the assembly to seek fellowship elsewhere. There have been two baptized at LEAD-HILLS. The summer camp visited FORT WILLIAM, and was conducted by David Clarkson./ A time of encouragement was enjoyed.
North-East England. We have news of outreach work from Tyneside. The North East Assemblies Outreach enjoyed much blessing during the summer work. For the third year a campaign was held at FOREST HALL assembly. The children showed great interest. Some who had made a profession last year showed great enthusiasm. A group of teenagers, who attended previous campaigns and showed little concern, were greatly moved this year. 11 young men between 18 and 25 years, accepted the Saviour. Don. Threadgold (ex Brazil) was the evangelist, and his ministry to the team was a great source of encouragement. For the assembly at TOWNWALL, Hartlepool, this was the third year of campaign. Children were enthusiastic but adults were few. However one man showed deep concern, and was counselled for a long time by John Wallace, who was the evangelist. This man's wife had recently died of cancer at the age of 32 leaving two small children. Let us pray that he will find comfort and joy in the Saviour. At the assembly in TH ORNLEY, Co. Durham, Archie McMaster was the evangelist. Extra seats were needed here in the small assembly hall, as an average of 70 attended each evening. 34 were counselled between ages of 7 and 17 years. Thornley is a mining community, and during the campaign a young miner was tragically killed in a mine accident. This led to his younger brother attending the meetings and eventually finding salvation in Christ. Pray for him and his family. Five other teenagers made a profession one evening, and this could have been through one of the young men saved at Forest Hall. Giving his testimony, he said that conviction came a long while ago, but he feared the ridicule of his friends. A mid-week children's work has begun as a result of this campaign. Looking forward in the Lord's will, with plans for next year, these folk would value our prayers. YORKSHIRE Sunday School Camp has experienced an increase of young people who want to join in these camps each year. This one-week camp reaches up to 500 young people with the gospel and Bible teaching, and the Lord has blessed the work with many children and teenagers finding Christ. One matter for prayer is the intention, as the Lord leads, to purchase a permanent site in or near Yorkshire. This would need about six to ten acres together with permanent buildings which could be put to Christian use during the rest of the year. Interest and prayer is sought that God's guidance will be known in this venture.
North-West England. In July the Lancashire Gospel Tent was pitched in ECCLES for four weeks. C. Goldfinch and John Burns were the evangelists. Much visitation work was done prior to the campaign, and there was a fair response. On most evenings unsaved were present, and on the final Sunday evening there were about 40 such in the congregation. While there were no definite professions known, during the leaflet distribution 17 people responded to an offer of Emmaus Bible Courses. Prayer is desired for follow-up work.
North Midlands. The counties "Good News " Caravan was at BAKEWELL Show in August. It was manned by workers from the Bakewell, Beighton and Chesterfield assemblies. The heavy rain each day did not hinder the work. Over 4000 gospel tracts and Scripture portions were distributed. Many children took enrolment forms for Postal Sunday Schools. Books and Bible Courses were sold. It proved a worthwhile evangelical effort. From MATL0CK, J. Harrold writes of the Lord working in a week's children's campaign in which the attendances averaged 82 children each day. At the closing family service 1 50 were present, including parents and visitors, and a clear message was given. Sixteen children made professions of faith in Christ. A sister, who was one of those saved earlier this year, came along to help and her daughter was among those who were saved. Her husband came along to the family service. Pray for this family. The open-air meetings— held in the park during the summer were effective in their witness to the people, and about 2000 tracts were given away during this period. Good contacts were made with people, some of whom came from many miles away. Let us praise the Lord for this freedom to witness for Him.
Midlands. From Ivor Powell comes news of a Tent Mission in the village of CLIPSTON, near Market Harborough, during August. It was described as one of the best village missions ever conducted. The interest was keen, and there were conversions among children and adults. A keen Christian family who live in the village have opened their home for a fortnightly Bible Study. Prayer is needed that the work will grow. In the tent campaign conducted by Frank Lonneyand John Baker at LUDLOW (see last issue), the meetings as a whole were encouraging with about 70-100 children attending the meetings. Two older boys and a girl professed faith in Christ, and are now doing Emmaus Courses. There were 19 children at the first Sunday School in the Portakabin. The prayers of the local believers, who would ask us to join with them, are that the work will grow amidst the problems of apathy among the adults. The old Gospel Hall at Ludlow has been sold, and the foundations of the new hall to be built on this estate have been laid. As sufficient funds are available, the building will proceed. This is indeed a venture of faith from a few faithful Christians—let us uphold them in our prayers. The Worcestershire Postal Sunday School Camp Out visited MORTHOE again this year. Bob Telford was the evangelist, and about 76 campers and 28 workers made up the camp. The Lord answered the many prayers offered, and the weather was good with safety and smooth running making for an enjoyable time. There were those who trusted the Saviour, and others renewed their commitment to Christ. One encouraging feature of the camp was that three former Postal Sunday Scholars, who had been saved and baptized, acted as tent leaders. God does wonderful things —let us pray that more will be seen. At Russell Street, GLOUCESTER, a children's campaign, conducted by Phil Lambert, was encouraging to the small assembly. There are difficulties in conducting children's work in a hall in the city centre, but about 50 children came together each evening showing a good interest. The closing family service was well attended and workers are praying that the blessing will continue in the weekly Bible Club.
East Anglia. News comes to hand regarding NORFOLK Postal Sunday School, a recently commenced branch of this work. This was the result of a burden felt by various believers, to reach children in many places in the County who do not attend Sunday School and who have no contact with Bible teaching. The material used is the range of lessons supplied by the Bible Educational Services, Ireland. Following publicity at the Royal Norfolk Show they now have over 100 scholars. More news of progress will be forthcoming, but let us pray for this labour of faith that it will prove effective. In many places in the British Isles, this form of evangelism and Bible instruction is growing, and we can praise God that many young people are finding Christ through this means.
London Area. We have news of South-East London Christian Camps. Each of the six camps was attended by an average of 32 campers and helpers mainly from the assemblies in South East London and North West Kent. Most of these saw some accepting the Saviour, whilst others were encouraged to go on in spiritual things. At least four young people have asked for baptism, and one has led her sister to the Lord since camp. There is much to encourage in this work and it is expected, in the will of the Lord, to enlarge the camps to take almost 300 campers and 120 helpers spread over 7 camps. Prayer would be valued.
South-East England. News from S. Mountstevens of a four-week children's mission on MARGATE beach. Despite poor weather, only two meetings were lost and 80 to 85 children gathered daily. Much interest was shown, Scripture portions were taken and Scriptures were memorized. On the final day, two girls said that they had written down and learnt all the texts taught during the mission— they could say them word perfect. A man and a woman on holiday asked for the choruses, sung during the mission, to be written out for them. They attended each day and were not believers in the Lord Jesus. Pray that these Scripture choruses may be used and also for follow-up work in the district.
South and West England. News of the DORSET Adventure Time Camp. This year the camp was extended for a three week period, and Stephen Gillham reports that the Lord met all the needs in a wonderful way. In spite of some difficult weather, camp equipment was preserved and the Lord kept all the campers safe—there was no interruption. 158 boys and girls from all over Dorset came together, and there was a marked unity of mind and purpose amongst leaders and officers. Several came to know the Lord. Young Christians were helped and strengthened in their faith and great blessing was experienced. Praise the Lord for answered prayer. In the village of EAST CHALDON, Reg Whittern conducted the annual HERTFORDSHIRE Young People's Camp. After separate camps for girls and boys, the final week was given over to a Family Camp. Nearly 200 people, representing 40 different families, came together and tremendous fellowship was enjoyed. In addition to separate meetings for children and teenagers, Roy Wood gave helpful talks each day on 1 Peter and also related experiences as a missionary in Angola and Zaire. A number of unsaved of all ages were contacted, and there were many who felt help and blessing. Again the overseas student work in WEYMOUTH proved very profitable, and young people from all parts of Europe were brought into contact with the Word. Much literature was distributed and some of those who showed interest were put in touch with Christians in their own country. Wet weather disrupted open-air meetings on WEYMOUTH sands this year. Many meetings had to be cancelled, but it was good to have Council permission to engage in this work. Pray that it will continue.
South Wales. Blessing was experienced in the Camps from CARDIFF—a number of children made professions or asked for baptism and fellowship in a local assembly. Literature was distributed and a testimony given, at Agricultural Shows at COWBRIDGE, BARRY and BUILTH WELLS. Many conversations were held on spiritual matters as a cup of tea was enjoyed. There were conversions and help was given to those who made serious enquiries. Rhiwbina assembly held a special one week holiday Bible Club where a concentrated effort was made to get children along. Attendances were very good and a keen interest in Bible lessons was sustained throughout the week.