Reports of Gospel Work and Other Assembly Activities
C. H. Darch, Taunton, England
"The same days there were added unto them about live thousand souls, and they continued steadfastly." Acts 2. 41-42.
Commenting on this passage nearly 400 years ago, John Calvin declared:—
"This example ought to make us not a little ashamed. For whereas there was a great multitude converted to Christ with one sermon, a hundred sermons can scarce move a few of us; and whereas Luke saith that they continued, there is scarce one amongst ten that doth show even a mean desire to profit and go forward."
One of the early indications of a steadfast continuance is a desire to be baptized, and it is a great encouragement to read in the reports that follow of baptisms which have taken place in various parts of the British Isles. We have heard of baptisms in quite a number of West of England assemblies during recent weeks. In town and city halls indoor baptisteries were used, but in at least one instance the candidates were immersed in a village stream.
It might be unwise to compile statistics in this connection, even if it were possible to do so, but we may be sure that in these Islands thousands confess their Lord in this way every year, and most of them are received into assembly fellowship. Some of these converts are brought to the Lord by agencies other than gospel preaching; many date their conversion from an evangelistic mission or other special effort; it may well be that the majority are saved as a result of the "routine" gospel testimony of assemblies, and especially in the Sunday Schools.
We cannot rightly assess the value of this widespread work, but "the Day will declare it." Let us therefore be "always abounding in the work of the Lord," confident that "our labour is not in vain in the Lord."
N. M. B.
LONDON MOBILE UNITS
The various Mobile Evangelistic Units maintain their activities in and around London and are experiencing blessing in the witness, in spite of opposition at times. The Festival of Britain is being exploited for witnessing in the gospel.
In early July, 1950 a small band of believers went out in faith into the Gobions (L.C.C.) housing estate, with a portable organ, a loudspeaker, and a red banner denoting "Gobions Sunday School," About 20 children from 3 to 14 years of age gathered round, and as the year went on the number increased slightly each week. In October, 1950, it became necessary to find shelter and, after using unoccupied houses M the estate, arrangements were made to rent the canteen of the Chase. Cross day-school. Same 137 children cow attend the school and five have come out for Christ, one having asked for baptism. The teaching staff consists of three brethren and six sisters, who greatly value the privilege of teaching these young souls the way of "Life."
ASPLEY GUISE, BEDFORDSHIRE
A work for God near Woburn in Bedfordshire was commenced in a very small way. F. Wright and his wife, both converted about fourteen years ago at Welling (Kent), moved during the war to the village of Wavendon, where God worked in their hearts to start a Sunday School in their small cottage. They had never before spoken in public but the Lord sent H. W. O. Atkins of the Counties Evangelistic work to help in the first meeting, then it was left for them to carry on as led by the Spirit of God. The work grew until the place wits too small. The Lord had a larger work for them to do. After much prayer and exercise of heart they acquired a large house with pounds and outbuildings at a village called Aspley Guise. This house contains fourteen bedrooms together with several large reception rooms, and is beautifully situated in the heart of the county of Bedfordshire. The house is to be used as the Lord may lead for aged and lonely saints (commended by assemblies) and also fur missionaries home on furlough who are needing a rest. Stables at the entrance to the grounds have been converted into a Gospel Hall seating 150 people, with new baptistery, etc. installed. The building was opened in April of this year. The whole project is a work of faith, having been embarked upon in dependence upon God for the supply of its every need.
DRAYTON, Nr. PORTSMOUTH
An incidental reference to baptism at a recent gospel meeting had the effect of arousing a number of Bible Class girls to their need of obeying the Lord. As a result, five were baptized and two others await their parents' permission.
We receive reports of blessing resulting from hospital visitation. In one particular instance a brother who has himself undergone a number of operations and feels that this gives him points of contact with patients had a striking experience, A man, who for some years had violently opposed the gospel and staled Jus disbelief in God, upon being challenged that he did not want to go to Heaven replied, "Of course I do, if there is such a place." Scriptures were read concerning Heaven and then the brother said, "You can be sure of getting there if you call upon God to be merciful to a sinner." Thereupon, in a loud voice heard throughout the ward, the patient called "God Lie merciful to me a sinner." His earnest tones and solemn expression convinced the brother that the man's cry was not mockery hut reality. Subsequent visits have proved the genuineness of the conversion.
Teachers from many Sunday Schools in and around Exeter met at Buller Road Gospel Hall in April for fellowship and mutual encouragement in this great work. The morning session was spent in prayer and praise, whilst the afternoon was given over to questions, which proved to be disappointingly few, and during the evening the Word was ministered having particular regard to Sunday School work.
The young people's weekly rally at "Charterhouse," a Christian Guest House, has been quite a feature of youth work at Teignmouth in connection with the assembly. Some 60 to 80 people gather, with A. J. Williams as leader, in a distinctly spiritual atmosphere and have listened to helpful addresses from such men as C. E. Stokes and Luther Rees, the latter giving seven addresses on the Second Coining. Once a month the rally is held in Bitton Street Gospel Hall, which is fairly well filled. Encouraging results are in evidence, and the impression made upon the assembly is decidedly good. Three now await baptism, a tract band is being formed, and during the summer open-air meetings are being held in adjoining villages.
The sixth annual Whitsun Convention in connection with the Gospel Hall, Tavistock, was held at Gulworthy, in a large marquee erected in the grounds of a private house. The speakers were Aneurin Ward (S. Wales), Wesley J. King (Essex), and Charles Gahan (Somerset). The Convention was well attended, mainly by Tavistock and Plymouth people hut some came from places as far away as Exeter and Newquay, All agreed that they had spent a most profitable and enjoyable day. This annual Convention is becoming quite well known in the district, and this year the local Press asked for information about it. They published a summary of the addresses, which occupied half a column.
The Small Heath Tract Team find their sphere of usefulness widening, and much good work ia now being done by correspondence with inquirers. Through the Lord's goodness in meeting the need they have been enabled to build-up stocks of attractive tracts, out of which they have supplied distributors in other areas; cheering news reaches them of useful contacts made in this way. They will gladly send free supplies to any who will distribute them prayerfully. Requests (with remittance to cover postage only) should be sent to E. Lealan, 34 Yardley Green Road, Birmingham 9.
In the month of April a very successful residential conference was held for young believers of Aberdeen assemblies. Over (id keen young Christians gathered for u week at Fetteresso Castle Guest House, some 16 miles south of the city, where A. P. Campbell (who with his wife acted as host and hostess) introduced studies on various themes in the Epistle to the Romans, and on each occasion helpful discussions followed. Missionary interest was fostered by the presence of Wesley Crawford and his wife (Bihar, N. India), both of whom gave reports of the work in which they have been engaged. Gospel witness was given, both in the open air and indoors, in the neighbouring town of Stonehaven. The conveners feel sure that the happy fellowship enjoyed and the sound instruction received will prove of lasting benefit to all who were privileged to be present at the Convention.
On Saturday, April 21st, a large company gathered in Victoria Gospel Hall, Aberdeen, to bid farewell to Miss Jean Jappy who has been commended by the assembly for the Lord's work in Lwela (Northern Rhodesia). Representatives were present from all the city assemblies and from as far afield as Inverness, Peterhead and Elgin. Messages of encouragement were given by eve brethren, each of whom stressed the value of the Lord's presence, especially in spheres of service far removed from the constant fellowship of numbers of like-minded believers, James Cordiner, of Victoria Hall, briefly recounted some facts regarding Miss Jappy's conversion, call to service, and conviction of Clod's clear guidance.
During the first fortnight in April a series of meetings for the ministry of the Word was held in Fountain Hall, Aberdeen. The speaker was F. Cundick, of Luton, and the subjects were taken from the Gospel according to John, Large companies testified to the spiritual help received at these gatherings. (R. Walker)
Harry Burness writes o£ blessing among saved and unsaved in Westray, Papa Westray and Strapinsay (Orkney). Some were baptized and received into fellowship. Our brother also had profitable meetings in Buckie.
Sam Thompson, of Newtownards, although not fully recovered from his recent illness, was wonderfully helped and encouraged in the gospel campaign which he conducted in Hebron Hall, Larkhall. This large hall was well filled on most evenings. Several souls were saved, a remarkable feature being that most o these were gathered-in during the first week of the effort. Much hard work was done and the energy with which the effort was begun was maintained to the end. The missioner made many interesting contacts with the people in their homes and was able to take the gospel to many individually, among them some who were sick and unable to attend the meetings.
Excellent numbers gathered during a series of gospel meetings conducted by A. J. Chilcott, of Swansea, in the Evangelistic Hall, Llanelly, Carm., after Easter. Souls were saved and the Lord's people helped and encouraged. The Lord granted help to His people through addresses on "The Local Church" given in the new tall at Caerphilly by J. H. Large. Some strangers attended and showed interest. The Annual Home-Workers' Conference, held in the Ebenezer Hall on Saturday, May 5th, wast well attended and interesting reports were given by Dart. Cameron, T. W. Hickley, John Dan. Jones and E. W. Spender, and Reuben Scammell ministered the Word to profit.
North Wales Assemblies' united ministry meetings held during February and March proved a great success, and fortnightly meetings have been arranged from October, to March.
BELFAST, N. IRELAND
In the early spring of this year a series of special gospel meetings was held in Fortwilliam Hall, Belfast, by Victor Cirel, of Cardiff. The campaign was preceded by much prayer and preparation of heart on the part of the local assembly. During the work prior to the meetings, the assembly gathered for prayer every evening and the sisters held special prayer-meetings every Wednesday afternoon during the campaign. Occasionally ail night, as well as early morning, prayer-meetings were held. In addition, invitations and tracts were distributed to over 2,500 homes. It is not surprising therefore to record that the Lord took account of the exercise and activities of His people by blessing the preaching of the Word to many unsaved souls. Many Sunday School scholars were saved and three members of one family—a father and two sons—professed conversion. A man for whom the assembly prayed all night was saved the following day. Four more people were saved during the last meeting of the campaign. Since then five of the converts have been baptized and received into fellowship. Others have been making honest inquiries for baptism.
The sentiments of the assembly at Ballyhackamore, Belfast, were voiced by one of the elder brethren when at the final meeting of the five weeks of special gospel meetings he asked the congregation to stand and sing the doxology. The sincerity and fervour with which they responded were indicative of their gratitude to the Lord for a most heartening and successful gospel campaign. The speaker was Harold German, who preached powerfully six evenings a week to large congregations. Special prayer-meetings preceded the campaign, and a short time of prayer was held before and after each meeting. The houses in the neighbourhood were systematically visited, and interest taken in the meetings was gratifying. Throughout the campaign there was a feeling of expectancy and of spiritual liberty and when the meetings were over at least 18 souls had professed conversion. A few of them were senior scholars of the Sunday School for whom much prayer had been made. The evangelist also gave four addresses to Christians on Lord's-day afternoons. A talk on baptism was extremely helpful, especially to young converts. As a result a few believers have expressed the desire to be baptized and to be received into local fellowship.
Co. CORK, EIRE
George J. Pirie, of Aberdeen, writes of Messing in Skibbereen (Co. Cork) and district during the early part, of the year. After a time of ministry five: young people were baptized, including two young men saved as a insult of the gospel meetings. Prayer is requested fin behalf of believers scattered throughout Eire, very often with little opportunity of fellowship.
Co. DONEGAL, EIRE
Samuel Lewis writes: "Brother Flanagan and I arc still labouring in Co. Donegal. We finished at Ballyholey after having good meetings for seven or eight weeks. The people attended well and two or three gave evidence of concern, but although we lingered on in the hope of decisions, no profession was made. We moved the halt to a place called Drumaneany in the Castlefin direction where there appears to be an interest, the people; attending the meetings fairly well. Also in our house-to-house visitation we get a fairly good reception and I am glad to say that, on the whole, there is a good reception on the part of Roman Catholics. We have our caravan and it is a great boon to us."
A mission in Merrion Hall, Dublin, conducted by Stun. Ford, was well advertised in the Press and by poster, as well as by other means. For four weeks the gospel was preached with great power and plainness. Large numbers of strangers came in night by night and it was felt the effort was well worth while. (Our brother lias also held an intensive Tent Campaign at Dagenham, Essex, taking advantage of the Festival of Britain. Interest was good from the start, and early blessing was experienced.)