Gospel Work and other Activities
Stephen Baker, Manchester
I know that it is unusual for me to write an editorial for this section of the magazine but I really feel that I must as there is so much encouraging news around but not all of it is captured in the reports that are sent to me. Regularly, in many assemblies, young people are being baptized, souls are being saved and people are bringing friends to meetings to hear the gospel. Assemblies are reaching out in many different ways but in each case the gospel is being preached. Some assemblies are reaching the youth of our nation with special meetings; some are reaching an older generation. Again, there are assemblies that have seen blessing among children and couples. All in all, I have heard of at least twenty baptisms in the last three months and a similar number of conversions many of whom are not yet baptized. Add to that the people you have heard about and think of the numbers that are saved every day across the globe. God is working and souls are being saved. We should be thrilled and excited; rejoicing in the Lord and ready to meet the next challenge as we set out to reach souls and to help the people of God grow in their faith. May the Lord be glorified and the saints encouraged as you read of some of the work that the Lord is doing in our day!
ENGLAND: MIDLANDS AND SOUTH
Winshill Gospel Hall, Burton on Trent, held a week of children¡¯s meetings in April. Leaflets went out into the two local junior schools, and over the week a good number of children came along. The meetings started with twenty-four children coming along but the numbers grew to a maximum of thirty-four another evening. Brethren from the assembly at Winshill took the responsibility of speaking to the children from the life of Moses. The children were very well behaved and learned memory verses from John chapter 3 verses 14-17. As a result, some of the children have continued to come along on a Sunday afternoons and also to the gospel meetings. The week following the meetings a boy aged eight, connected to a family in the assembly, came to know the Lord. Please continue to pray that the seed that is sown in these young hearts will fall upon good ground.
The assembly at Winshill has also started a work aimed at reaching the youth in their community. The believers distributed leaflets in the local area over a couple of weeks and also extended invitations by word of mouth. As a result of this hard work there were twenty-six lads (in the age range 8-13) came along the first night. They all showed a good interest in the message. It is interesting to note that only six of the total had any connection to the Hall. The local saints were encouraged by the interest shown on the first night and feel that it is worth continuing, should the interest attendance be maintained.
During the month of May the believers at Spencer Bridge Road, Northampton, had a series of Gospel Meetings with Joe Baxter from Livingston, Scotland. As a result, they are rejoicing that a precious soul, Peter, who made a profession of faith in Christ and many others heard the gospel soundly preached. Please remember Peter in your prayers; he will need as lot of support in days to come as he has many problems to face. Most are due to his previous lifestyle. There were between thirty-five and fifty people who attended the meetings each night and of those there were between five and seventeen unsaved. The local assembly really appreciated the support that was given.
PLEASE PRAY for the various means of spreading the message of the gospel that were used:
¡ñ A radio interview with Joe Baxter.
¡ñ Door-to-door visits by Joe Baxter and a local brother, Howard Hughes.
¡ñ A visit to the inmates at a local prison who attended the Bible class held with Joe and Howard ¨C this is a weekly event for Howard.
¡ñ The meetings, please pray for the following people: Sam (who listened intently every evening); her partner, Mark; Johnny; Greg; Albert; Frank; Elaine; Vince; Pat; Dave; Leah (and her young daughter Sineah); Lizzie and Naomi.
The small assembly at Wainscott Gospel Hall, Rochester, Kent, held their annual children¡¯s holiday club in April. It ran for five mornings starting with activities, moving on to crafts and finishing with a time of singing, quizzes and a story on the life of David. Most of the assembly participated in the event and a good number of children attended. Three brethren shared responsibility for teaching the lessons, some were done in a graphic way which really held the children¡¯s attention. A text was given to the children each day to memorize and to colour; prizes were given for the best colouring. Children accrued points during the week and these were translated into prizes. On the Friday evening a prize-giving was held with parents and friends invited. A good number attended and Ian Jackson gave the closing address. Overall, a successful event with children attending who do not come to the regular weekly meetings. The holiday club takes a lot of planning and preparation and a lot of work for the week, but the saints consider it to be very worthwhile. The assembly also maintains an active gospel testimony in the village with children¡¯s meetings weekly on Sunday late morning and on a Friday evening. A senior citizen and family gospel meeting with tea is held on the last Sunday of the month with good numbers attending. On one Thursday morning each month a coffee morning is held and this attracts a different group of people from the village. Refreshments are served, conversations take place and a brief gospel message is given. Tracts are regularly distributed in the area.
In March, the saints in the assembly at Saltash, Cornwall, had the joy of seeing six young people obey the Lord in baptism in the presence of many unbelievers and believers. The young people have each been given a copy of True Discipleship by William MacDonald. Two of the young ladies have been received into the assembly. Please pray for the preservation and blessing of these young believers.
Liverpool: City of Culture 2008
Many of our readers may be aware that the City of Liverpool is ¡®European City of Culture¡¯ for 2008. When the city achieved this status two young brethren (Andrew Dutton and Jeremy Singer) decided that it would be a good idea to write a leaflet to hand out at major events in the city to get the message of the gospel across to as many people as possible. At that stage they did not envisage putting one of these leaflets into every home in the city but over the intervening months the Lord opened the door for this to happen. In conjunction with the leaflet a website was set up (www.goodnews4liverpool.com). On the website people can listen to a gospel message (a podcast), read a gospel blog, read the leaflet on-line in French, German or Spanish or make a request for more information or a Bible. In addition to this, the leaflet offered a P.O. Box address to write to and a mobile phone number to call for more information. The response has been outstanding in many ways. Over 150 Bibles have been posted or hand delivered to people¡¯s homes and many phone calls have been received requesting further information and details of ¡®gospel events¡¯. Many believers from a wide range of backgrounds have phoned to say thank you for the leaflet going out into so many homes; some have asked for leaflets to give out themselves. In total, around 330,000 leaflets will have been distributed (DV) by the time you read this report; the majority were delivered by the Royal Mail and a smaller number by local assemblies. As you would imagine there were a number of calls from people who did not like a gospel leaflet being sent out by Direct Mail and one of the brethren was even asked to go on to BBC Radio Merseyside to be questioned about why this project had been undertaken. The believers in Liverpool would appreciate the prayers of God¡¯s people that the Lord will bless many with salvation and would like to express their thanks publically to the Lord and His people for their support in this project.
Street Meetings in Liverpool
There have been regular lunch-time street meetings held in the city since last September. The help and support of a number of believers who are studying at the university has been much appreciated. Generally, on Tuesday lunch times, the street meetings have been held on the university campus (during term time) and on Fridays in the city centre. Over the months, many tracts have been distributed at the meetings and a number of conversations have been held. There have also been those that have opposed the message of the gospel. Please pray that those who have heard the word of God will be convicted of sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of the names to pray for are Tom, Ann, Mike, Mark and Mandy. Also, please pray for continued liberty and freedom to preach in the various locations.
Crete Hall, Donaldson Street, Liverpool
The believers at Crete Hall, Liverpool, held two weeks gospel meetings in May. They were very well supported and the interest shown was most encouraging. The meetings were preceded by a number of weeks of door-to-door visitation when some brethren from surrounding assemblies gathered on Wednesdays and Thursdays to visit homes in the area. There were a number of longstanding contacts of the Hall that attended on most nights and also some new contacts that came as a result of the door-to-door work. The Lord¡¯s help and blessing were evident during the meetings. A teenage boy, who is the grandson of one of the believers, professed salvation. Please pray for the continued interest in the message of the gospel and for blessing in this area.
Planned Summer Outreach, DV, in Liverpool
(At the time of writing, the following events had not taken place)
PLEASE PRAY for the outreach activities in and around Liverpool planned in the will of the Lord:
The believers at Larkhill Gospel Hall are planning a week of children¡¯s meetings from 28th July.
David Street Gospel Hall is planning a week of children¡¯s meetings from 4th August.
The assembly meeting at Hope Hall, Warrington, is planning a week of children¡¯s meetings from 18th August. Larkhill Gospel Hall is also planning a holiday for their young people¡¯s group to Blaithwaite House Christian Centre, Cumbria, from 25th until 29th August. Jim McMaster has been invited to deliver a series of gospel messages to the young people over the course of the holiday. The believers are grateful to the Lord for continued interest amongst the young people. Most of them have heard the gospel on many occasions. Please pray that their hearts will not be hardened and that the Lord will bless in salvation.
PRAY for the Lord¡¯s help in the practical arrangements and for those who have the responsibility of presenting the word of God to the children and young people. Pray that the Lord will bless in the saving of precious souls.
Lancashire Gospel Tent, Platt Fields Park, Manchester. May 24 to June 26, 2008.
As this report is being drafted, the meetings in the tent are nearly three weeks through a five-week campaign with Roly Pickering, N. Ireland, and David Raggett from Wythenshawe, Manchester, as the Lord¡¯s servants. The location of the tent is in a busy park close to many university student lodgings, thus giving opportunity every day to give out invitations and tracts to the many that pass the entrance of the tent.
Meetings have been held every evening with numbers varying between forty to seventy during the week and up to 130 on a Saturday night. The really encouraging aspect has been the number of unbelievers present; not a night passed without there being at least 60% and on occasions up to 90%. We can only look to the Lord that He will cause those who have heard (some, no doubt, for the first time) to take heed to the message faithfully preached and return to hear more of the glorious gospel.
During the first week (school half-term holiday) a Bible Club was held in the afternoons. Sadly, of the twenty to thirty children that attended, very few were from the immediate locality, the majority being ¡®bussed-in¡¯ by the saints from assemblies that are reasonably close by. The Children¡¯s Meetings then carried on for a further week in the evenings with lower numbers.
Before and during the ¡®meeting hour¡¯ at least two experienced brethren are outside the tent speaking to those that pass by and many good conversations are held. A small table with Bibles and booklets is on display and the scriptures have been asked for not only in English but also in Arabic. A number of Ultimate Questions booklets by John Blanchard have been requested and taken in Chinese, Mongolian, Chichewa (Malawi) and Farsi, (Iraq). We do trust that they will be read and encourage people to come to the meetings to hear more about the way of salvation.
Plains, during the last week in February the assembly hosted the Ayrshire Bible Exhibition. This was well attended with almost 450 children from local schools coming during the day, and some others attended in the evenings. Many of the local villagers were impressed with the quality of scripture information available. Following the exhibition three weeks of gospel meetings were held. Jack Hay, Comrie, was the preacher. Attendance at the meetings was not as good as previously experienced although there were strangers present most evenings to hear the gospel faithfully preached. At the end of the second week the prizegiving for the children¡¯s work was held with a good number of villagers present. During the last week of the meetings one eleven-year-old girl asked for baptism. The baptism was held at the end of March with a good number of unsaved present, including schoolfriends and their families. Once again Jack Hay clearly presented the word of God.
The Aberdeenshire Bible Exhibition was hosted by local believers in Newmachar, Aberdeenshire, during the Easter Weekend as part of an ongoing gospel work in the village. An overview of the Bible and the message of salvation were presented in a very clear and visual way. Around 100 locals visited the event which was a real encouragement and a youth event was also well attended by children and their parents. Free literature was taken away by some visitors, others reading it while enjoying refreshments in the adjoining area. One young couple showed an interest and have since trusted Christ as Saviour.
Please pray for the ongoing work in the village, especially with the children and for the young couple that their faith will prove genuine and that they will continue to grow.
From 1st to 13th May the ¡®Life Exhibition¡¯ was held in Ebenezer, Grangetown, Cardiff. This was a joint effort shared by three assemblies: Ebenezer, Leckwith Gospel Hall, and Llandaff North Christian Centre. A total of eleven schools kindly sent classes to the Exhibition, mostly years five and six, though a couple of year four classes did attend.
Nearly 800 children visited the Exhibition and the grand total rose to 913 when adults and evening visitors were added. Each child who attended was given a project pack designed to link with the Exhibition and the local educational curriculum, which will allow the local believers to carry out ¡®followup¡¯ work with all the schools. It was an extremely rewarding time, and there were positive comments from all the schools who that attended. It takes a bit of local organizing but the saints in the assemblies involved would recommend the Exhibition to all who may be interested.
Ballysillan Gospel Hall, Belfast. In the month of March the believers in Ballysillan had two weeks of gospel meetings with brother Norrie Emerson. Each night many unsaved came along. Some nights as many as twelve to fifteen unsaved were present. We should praise the Lord for this. One lady received the Lord as her personal Saviour, and another man was restored to the Lord. The saints continue to be encouraged as the lady has since requested baptism and assembly fellowship.
ISLE OF MAN
Three brethren joined Gary Woods and the believers in the Isle of Man for a period of tract distribution during the TT motorcycle races at the end of May. Thousands of fans received tracts in the evenings as they congregated in central Douglas and the promenade areas.
Leslie Craig of Northern Ireland and Gary Woods had gospel meetings in June in a rented hall in the village of Ballabeg. The numbers of people coming to the meetings were small and none of the local villagers attended.
It is normal practice for Gary and the saints on the Isle of Man to have a tract stand at two agricultural shows during the summer and at Tynwald Day (National Day). Please pray that the Lord will bless this outreach.
The annual open-air week in the Isle of Man this year is from the 2-9 August. The local saints would appreciate the prayers of the Lord¡¯s people for this activity.
This report was submitted by brother Wendell Webb of Bandon, Ireland. This update follows Wendell¡¯s recent visit to Armenia and as a result he wishes to encourage all the saints to rejoice with him in what the Lord is doing in that land.
On my arrival at Yerevan airport I was met at 4.30 a.m. by brother Toros Pilibosian, (Guimri Assembly) and two brethren from the Yerevan assembly. We immediately left for Guimri and had a pleasant two-hour car journey. After some discussion it was clear that we should conduct some gospel meetings, commencing on the Lord¡¯s Day. It was lovely to sit with the saints on the Lord¡¯s Day morning to remember Him. The Sunday School followed and it was a great blessing to see so many children attend. After a time of chorus singing they divided into a number of classes for teaching.
The short series of gospel meetings commenced that evening and was well attended by the believers. Some nights as many as fifteen to twenty unsaved attended, and they faithfully came each night. A medical doctor attended with two of his children, and on the second night we rejoiced when he told Toros that at his first gospel meeting on Easter Sunday night he got saved. Toros was responsible for the gospel that night. The next night he returned with his wife and sister.
On the final night a married sixteenyear- old girl, who had gone through the Sunday School, stayed back with her grandmother (who is in fellowship). She asked to be saved and it was a joy to point her to Christ. Please do pray for Karene.
The second half of my visit was spent in Yerevan (the capital). There the desire was to have ministry meetings and these were planned for three nights. The interest in the word was evident. To see young people with their note books and Bibles, drinking in the word, is most refreshing. Also it is good to see the saints going on for the Lord, older believers with younger, all keen to learn. It was indeed a profitable time spent around the word The gospel meeting followed the Lord¡¯s Supper and a good number gathered, including many unsaved; one or two for the first time.
On the Lord¡¯s Day afternoon, we went to the village of Divin, 40 kms. outside the city of Yerevan. The exercise and burden here was for gospel meetings. Nearly thirty people were packed into the little bedroom for the first meeting and at the end eight people remained behind and indicated they wanted to be saved, six ladies, and two men. By their prayers of repentance it would appear that a number of them were really genuine. The second night two men stayed back, again requesting to be saved. One man whose wife was saved the night before, is an uncle to Yasha, who himself was saved two years ago. He told us that his uncle persecuted him when he got saved ¨C he shouted and mocked him in every way possible trying to turn him away from reading the Bible. The Lord was speaking to him and, after some questions, he asked if he could pray in his native Assyrian tongue, which he did, and what a wonderful prayer of repentance! The people in this village are of Assyrian background. Then the second, younger, man wanted repentance explained, and on understanding this he openly prayed for salvation. Each night the room was full. On the final night there was some simple teaching for all the saints.
There is some very good news about Yasha and Anna who were among the first group of six to be saved in Divin two years ago. After their baptism in May 2006 they asked for prayer that the Lord would give them a child, as they were experiencing difficulties. That prayer was answered in March. This is a special cause to give thanks to all those who prayed, as in the twoyear intervening period she first lost twins, then the heart-beat of the next baby stopped and they lost this baby too. During the next pregnancy, again it was discovered that the baby¡¯s heart had also stopped. Before they went to the hospital to have the baby removed they got down before the Lord in prayer and laid their ¡®complaint¡¯ before Him. Imagine their delight when the doctor informed them that the baby¡¯s heart was back to normal! Maximus, their healthy son, was born soon afterwards! This is a wonderful testimony to the goodness of God in answering prayer for the couple and also to the saints and to the unbelievers in the village and surrounding area. There is great joy. Thank you for praying for them.
Much was accomplished and help was given to the saints materially, which is greatly appreciated. Continue to pray for the ongoing work, and the heavy burden that falls on the shoulders of the elders in both assemblies which have been established within the last eight to nine years. Pray especially for those recently saved, that they will know the joy of the Lord, and their professions will prove to be for the Lord¡¯s glory.
Thank you, Michael
Michael Jones joined Precious Seed Trust in 1980 and took over the responsibilities of Treasurer later that year. He also acted as secretary and maintained the mailing list for the magazine and did the paperwork associated with the book sales. All this has been a huge commitment on his part and a service to the Trust and to the Lord which is, frankly, beyond computation! A year ago he gave up responsibility for accounting for our book publications and at the end of this month he relinquishes the rest of his responsibilities with us. He will, however, remain on the committee where his experience will continue to be at our disposal.
We thank Michael and his longsuffering wife, Jean, for the extraordinary service rendered over many years and wish them well for the future.
The new treasurer is Howard Coles and Howard's previous role as secretary will be taken up by John Scarsbrook.