Gospel Work and other Activities
Sandy Jack, Eastbourne
ENGLAND: MIDLANDS AND SOUTH
During the summer the assembly at Coleford extended the Gospel Hall building, virtually doubling the size of the meeting room and updating the toilet and disabled facilities. After the project finished in September, an Open Morning was held, which resulted in a steady stream of local residents coming in to see the new building. A creation display was used to get people thinking and many contacts were renewed. A well-attended children’s mission was also conducted by Robert Plant which concluded with a Prizegiving and Family Service attended by over seventy people, the majority being outsiders. The new space is much better suited to the logistics of a serving a light tea after the family service! The improvements have also gone down well with the weekly Mums and Toddlers outreach, allowing lots more room for the children’s playthings. The building will be well used for the other regular activities which include a weekly Ladies meeting, a fortnightly Friday Club for youngsters above ten years of age and the gospel meeting on Sunday evenings. It is the assembly’s prayer that the new facilities will help the contact and outreach possibilities and that bridges will be built resulting in souls being won for the Lord Jesus.
At the request of the assemblies at Truro and St. Austell our brother Peter Brandon conducted two weeks of evangelistic and teaching meetings in the area.
His visit proved to be a season of tender and nourishing ministry to strengthen the hearts and hands of the small companies of saints. The believers were greatly encouraged to see a larger number come together for the conference meetings in Truro than have been seen for a number of years. There was a real sense of the Lord’s presence and this continued in the two evening meetings that followed. Our brother gave much-needed counsel regarding recovery in a work for God and was able to strengthen the faith of two younger men needing help with assurance.
At St. Austell the work was more of a pastoral nature and the time spent with needy saints praying, reading and counselling. A visit to a Care Home and involvement in the evangelistic work of the assembly was a great encouragement to all. Several helpful conversations took place. A great deal of time was spent in prayer, particularly in the light of the rebuilding project for the new Hall to be completed in April 2010, DV.
Last summer the assembly in Lyme Regis started a monthly coffee morning, on the Friday before their Sunday tea meetings. Quite a few local people who have lived in the area for decades, but never entered the premises, have been along, and the believers are praying that these will start attending on Sundays. A lady contacted as a result of door-knocking, researched the assembly website and called for in for coffee. She is a married mum in her thirties, with a two-yearold daughter for whom she is seeking a sound moral education!
Recent Sundays have seen the number of outsiders attending the gospel meeting exceeding the number in fellowship! Several have to be fetched and taken home, up to three miles away, and the saints are struggling to cope with the requests from other people who wish to come.
The assembly at Marine Hall, Eastbourne, held a Young People’s weekend in September. The subject for the Bible Studies on the Saturday was ‘The Charismatic Christian’. The day was comprised of a number of sessions covering the importance and significance of Pentecost, the nature of spiritual gifts, the place of sign gifts and ended with a Bible Reading on 1 Corinthians chapter 13. Ian Jackson conducted the studies and it was encouraging to see over fifty young people from as far away as Zurich, Northampton and Exeter so keen to get to grips with such an important area of truth. The assembly was also greatly encouraged, especially when so many young men contributed audibly in worship at the Breaking of Bread meeting the following morning. In October the assembly also held a Friday night meeting when Peter Atkinson from the Isle of Wight gave a talk illustrated with PowerPoint slides on ‘The Sussex Martyrs’. There were again over fifty people in the Hall, many of whom had never been in before. Whilst it was good to be reminded of what people of a past generation gave for their faith, it was also a great opportunity for Peter as he reminded folk of the great price that was paid for freedom.
Stephen Baker (Liverpool) held a second series of gospel meetings, entitled ‘Discover the Truth’, with the small company in Kirkby-in-Ashfield during October. The focus this year was, ‘What does the future hold for you?’ Assisted by the young men of the assembly who shared in the preaching, they held open-air meetings in the pedestrian shopping precinct most days, together with leaflet distribution and door-to-door work. All 8,500 homes in the town had invitations and a verse from the word of God delivered to them. A number of those spoken to accepted a gospel message on CD, a copy of Ultimate Questions or a portion of the scriptures.
Although response by people of the town in attending the gospel meetings was limited, the assembly was encouraged by the support of local believers and the knowledge that a number had been reached with the gospel.
In August the assembly at Spencer Bridge Road, Northampton, held a Young People’s weekend with Ian Rees. The subjects taken up were Marriage, Choosing a Partner, A Christian Marriage, Same-sex Relationships and Singleness.
At the end of September the believers meeting at Clifton Hall, South Norwood, London, had two weeks of special outreach in the gospel using the Bible Exhibition from the assembly at Hildenborough. The mornings were reserved for visits from schools while the afternoons and early evenings were open for visits from the public at large. Although seven schools were informed of the exhibition only two responded and eight classes attended, six from the local Catholic school and two from a Church of England school, a total of over 200 children. During the week the saints stood outside the Hall and invited passers-by into the exhibition and almost 300 adults and a further 100 children came in. The exhibition was a tremendous opportunity to present the gospel and many people were personally witnessed to by this means. The folk who came in were drawn from a wide variety of people, some believers, a few Muslims, a Rastafarian, a vicar who was something of an expert on New Testament Greek texts but totally ignorant of the teaching of the tabernacle, to mention but a few. In conjunction with the exhibition, gospel meetings were held from Thursday to Sunday each week, conducted by Peter Brandon. Although many folk promised to attend the meetings, sadly very few did. Of those who came one man made a profession of faith, and a lady who attends a Pentecostal church spoke of receiving the assurance of salvation. Please pray for these folk; the man has a lot of problems in his life and although he has been in contact with the assembly since the meetings it is proving difficult to have regular contact with him. The lady spoke of being unhappy in the Pentecostal church which she attends, complaining that many of the members seemed very shallow in their spiritual experience and lacking in reality. She was encouraged to read her Bible and find for herself the divine pattern of gathering and to seek by prayer where God would have her gather. The believers were greatly encouraged by these two incidents and give glory to God for the many excellent opportunities they had to speak of the Saviour.
In October, the assembly in Bermondsey Gospel Hall, held the London Young People’s Day with Mark Hill. They studied the Christian’s walk in Ephesians.
Graham Swift of the Larkhill assembly continues to work among the homeless in Liverpool City Centre. A number of other believers give help from time to time, and between thirty and fifty people come in each week. A meal is provided and then they listen to a short gospel message. Please pray that they will live long enough to repent of their sin and believe the gospel as life for these people is very uncertain.
In early October there were meetings in Fountain Hall, Woodside, Aberdeen, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for two weeks. The original intention was to hire a room in or near the university and target students, with subjects advertised that might catch their attention. However, all attempts to get a suitable venue proved fruitless, so the meetings were held in the Hall. The believing students worked very hard setting up a stall in the university and manning it at lunchtimes, and providing transport for any who wanted to attend at night. A few responded to the invitation, but much more encouraging was the response from people from around the Hall, with some attending who had never been inside the Hall before. One or two showed particular interest and we look to the Lord to save them.
The assembly in Holburn Gospel Hall had children’s meetings during the first two weeks in September, with Gordon McCracken. This was a follow-up to a week with the Aberdeen Bible Exhibition. Some 300 children attended the exhibition from around twelve local primary schools. Over the two weeks around eightyfive children attended the meetings. The memory verse for the period was Romans chapter 6 verse 23. On the last evening almost all the children publicly and individually repeated the verse. A good number of parents attended the Prize-giving evening, most of whom would never have been in the Hall before. Gordon also spoke at fourteen school assemblies during the two weeks. The children all heard a clear gospel message each evening and prayer is requested that the word may have taken root in some young hearts.
Stephen Grant was at Gardenstown for two weeks of gospel meetings in October. The local assembly was greatly encouraged by the numbers who came in to support the meetings, from different assemblies, but mostly from different denominations in the village. We believe that impressions were made on these dear believers. Some unbelievers also attended each evening. The good seed has been sown, and we look to the Lord for the increase.
After a year of having no children’s work the believers at High Parks Gospel Hall, Hamilton, arranged a week of children’s meetings with Robert Plant. The Hall is situated right on the edge of an area of the town with many challenging social needs and many families who know nothing of the love of the Saviour. Over the week there were between ten and fourteen children who came in and it is the hope of the saints this will help build some contacts for the future. Our brother was also able to visit two schools in the area and take assemblies. The week of children’s meetings was followed by a week of ministry on the book of Nehemiah by Paul Williams.
The assembly in Harryville, Ballymena, arranged children’s meetings at the end of August which were held in a Community Hall in Tullygarley. Over 100 children came to the meetings and many adults as well. In Ahoghill the assembly had four weeks of gospel meetings concluding in October. A few local people came in and one man professed faith in Christ.
The assembly at Ballymagarrick also had gospel meetings in a portable hall at Temple during October and November. In Glengormley, John Rogers and Ivan Gordon had gospel meetings at the end of October. A local woman professed to be saved on the first night of the meetings. Brian Currie and Jack Palmer have been preaching the gospel in Banbridge.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Michael and Shirley McKillen were commended to the Lord’s work by their assembly in Bangor, Co. Down, in 2003. They spent two years working alongside Noel and Liza McMeekin (Postal Bible School) in Co. Monaghan, Rep. of Ireland. During that time the Lord challenged them about the need to see new assemblies started in Ireland. In November 2005 they moved to Gorey, Co. Wexford. This former market town in the south-east of Ireland has experienced rapid population growth in the last ten years, becoming a commuter town for Dublin; it has had relatively little evangelical input over the years.
Over the last four years the McKillens have engaged in various works in an effort to communicate the gospel – including literature distribution, schools’ work, public meetings, and summer teams. An after-school children’s Bible Club has been established. This has proved to be an excellent point of contact with many parents. As a result, and through friendships made at a local school, an evangelistic Bible study was established in their home. Through these studies several women have professed faith in Christ and others continue to show a keen interest. A Bible Study for believers was also started. The Lord has blessed these studies and numbers have grown from three or four people to about ten or twelve every Thursday evening.
In April 2008 a group of about ten believers began to meet informally every Sunday evening in Michael and Shirley’s house, in order to provide regular fellowship and as a possible beginning of a new assembly. Initially these meetings presented an opportunity for fellowship and worship but after a few months a time of systematic Bible teaching was also introduced. They have enjoyed the reality of the Lord working amongst the group and have had the joy of baptizing several believers in recent times. Although progress is often painfully slow, these Sunday meetings have grown and strengthened over the months. Attendance can be very erratic, but numbers can reach up to eighteen adults and about ten children. As a result the Christians have been seeking a more suitable venue in which to meet. They now plan to rent a firstfloor premises in the middle of the town. It is intended, in the will of the Lord, that this move will coincide with the more ‘formal’ establishment of an assembly.
Please pray for help and wisdom as the truth of the church and discipleship is explained from the scriptures. Pray too for the spiritual growth of this infant assembly. Nearly all those attending are first-generation believers from a Roman Catholic background. For many, the scars of past sins are deep and the associated issues that arise are often very complex. Satan constantly seeks to undermine and destroy the work and the challenges are huge – but God is able. Pray that the Lord will be greatly glorified through His work in this corner of Ireland.
It was a great joy to witness the baptism of one of the Logos school students. Upon asking for baptism he was interviewed and could clearly tell of the day when a teacher challenged him about salvation. That day, after arriving home, he trusted the Lord as Saviour. The baptismal service took place on the sea shore with assembly members, students and friends gathered around, and many holidaymakers looking on. The baptism was conducted by Gary Love and a short message given. All returned to the Gospel Hall where a service was conducted at which Colin Clarke spoke on the meaning of baptism and afterwards, during refreshments, many asked questions about baptism.
At the school Graduation event the ‘Barnabas Award’, an award that goes to a student chosen for kindness and consideration to others, was awarded this year to a sixteen-year-old girl from Uzbekistan. Stirred by the truth of the gospel message she longs to have the peace and joy that she sees in the lives of her Christian friends, but she is a Muslim. She understands that for her to accept Christ means being totally rejected by her whole family. Please pray for this precious girl’s salvation and for her family as well.
The assembly in Gaborone has had two weeks of gospel meetings at the Block 8 Hall, Gaborone West, and it was a joy to see quite a few unsaved come in. Some were old Sunday School students, some were neighbours from the area, and others were those that had been invited by the believers to come along. Some have heard the gospel over a very long time and haven’t yet realized their need.
The Sunday School prize-giving season has also been a real encouragement – twelve prize-givings in all! It has been great to see the children receive New Testaments for saying quite a lot of verses. This year Clark Logan chose the passage on the salvation of the Philippian jailor and it was lovely to see children committing to memory such clear verses which point to a simple trust and belief. The saints do appreciate the privilege of the liberty they have in Botswana to bring God’s word to children.
The assembly which was in Cahul used to meet in a local music hall; however, the authorities have stopped them meeting there as they say it has been turned into a church. They are now meeting in the nearby village of Roshu but are continuing to look for suitable premises back in Cahul. Dear sister Natasha, who with her family under the Soviet regime suffered deportation to Siberia, and who was the first believer in the village, has gone to be with the Lord. Her funeral was a good opportunity for preaching the gospel. In September, four brothers from the UK visited and were a blessing. They helped in the work of the gospel. The believers have revisited a medical college and had a good time with the students. About ten to fifteen young people came along, they were glad to see the Christians again. One of the believers was stopped by a girl in the street and she asked him if he recognized her. She was called Lilia; last year she wanted to commit suicide! She has given up college and is now married. She had many questions; praise the Lord that she is alive; but she needs salvation.
The believers have also been to Reni in the south of Ukraine and distributed John 3.16 Seed Sowers texts and also visited another three villages not far from Roshu. One evening a teacher phoned and was interested in the gospel and another girl wrote; she is now doing Bible Study with us. They also have a Postal Bible School work with 430 students. This takes a lot of time to keep going.
Ukraine is the world’s 44th-largest country and the biggest country in Europe. It is located in the very heart of Europe (with Europe’s geographical centre near the town of Rakhiv, western Ukraine).
The assembly in Lutsk commenced in the spring of 2002 with twenty-one believers who had separated themselves from all religious denominations. Through consistent gospel preaching and repeated ministry of assembly truths, the Lord has blessed and numbers have grown. They have experienced, as all assemblies do, times of blessing and discouragement, hope and despair.
From Lutsk the gospel has moved out to surrounding villages and in three of these there are now believers who are in the Lutsk assembly. Every Lord’s Day brother Timothy Sloan travels out to the furthest village, a round trip of ninety minutes, to bring nine saved and unsaved to the breaking of bread meeting at 10.00 a.m. Others travel to the assembly meetings by train and bus. Pray for this work as they go around villages door to door, into schools, hospitals, prisons and sanatoriums to preach the gospel.
In Lutsk the gospel has been preached in schools, apartments, hotel rooms, and old people’s homes as well as the Hall itself. There is a little tract stand that is used on the streets and this is an ideal way to reach many. Since September 2008 both sides of a billboard in the centre of town have been rented and a new monthly scripture text is displayed. The activities of the assembly are well advertised; nothing is hidden; address, telephone numbers, times of meetings and a new website www.nta.lutsk.ua are on the billboard and on all literature published.
Over the years more than 200,000 gospel tracts and 60,000 Seed Sowers texts have been published, together with a number of books - The Role of Women in a Local Church (D. Gilliland), Going on for God (D. Hinton, D. Newell), Autonomy and Authority (Michael Browne) and Reception to God’s Assembly (W. Bunting). Just recently 20,000 copies of Who we are and what we Believe have been printed and proved to be very beneficial.
The assembly also feeds approximately 100 children each day and looks after the needs of forty special needs children. The 100 children receive their hot meal after having a Bible lesson. As a result of this work, children have been saved and three eighteen-yearold girls have been baptized and two of them received into fellowship. One of these young sisters is now a teacher and is really dedicated to her work. Pray that the Lord will continue to bless in salvation.
Conference time in Lutsk has always been a time of blessing. Over the years various speakers have helped: Jim Baker, Stephen Baker, Harold Hatt, Ian Jackson, John Hall, Phil Coulson, John Prins, James Colledge and Michael Wilkie. This year they had seven people from Moldova, six from Slovakia, one from Serbia, thirty-three from the UK and over 120 from different parts of Ukraine. One man professed salvation, two believers were baptized and the ministry on ‘Seven Principles from Acts 2’ was very beneficial.