Gospel Work and Other Activities
Sandy Jack, Eastbourne
Surrey The assembly at Manor Road Evangelical Church, Guildford, held a holiday Bible club in February. Twentytwo children were present on the Monday increasing to thirty-three on the Tuesday and thirty-eight on the Wednesday. As in previous years, there was a great team of helpers including five from the Young People’s Group. A core team of four had prepared well and their enthusiasm throughout the week brought a great response from the children.
The attention of the children during the two talks each morning was a delight to see and the saints are praying that they will all store up God’s word in their hearts and be aware of its application in their lives. Many of the children learned the memory verse (Colossians chapter 1 verse 16) perfectly and were made aware that everything was created by and for the Lord Jesus. There was a good turnout of parents for the prize-giving on the Wednesday and they were most appreciative of the time their children had enjoyed.
Devon The very small assembly in Appledore continues a work among overseas pupils from a local day and boarding school. Most of the pupils have come from Hong Kong. The main contact is on Friday evenings when dinner is provided, (almost invariably including rice), and then there is a time of singing and Bible study. The students listen well for an hour and are keen to practice their English in answering and asking questions. The evening is finished with Chinese tea. For the last three years, one or two have come regularly to the Bible class on the Lord’s Day. Chinese Christian literature is passed on from time to time, including Bibles. Some stay at weekends or half-term in the home of a couple in the meeting. Assistance with their studies, university applications, interviews, is also given. Currently five attend regularly, with one other occasionally. The saints also keep in touch with eight others who used to be at the school, but have moved to UK universities or other schools. Literature and notes on the Bible are sent to some weekly, and passages and verses almost daily to others. The saints have also met the parents of two; one German, one Chinese. Only one of the students so far, has arrived in UK with a definite testimony. Currently, a further three are believers, two of whom wish to be baptized, but have encountered parental opposition; three others have professed salvation. Prayer would be valued, especially for the sister in the meeting who carries the responsibility for the entertaining.
Staffordshire The Living Word Postal Bible School based in Stoke-on-Trent had a stand at the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Show on 27th and 28th May. The exhibition had panels illustrating the material available, the process involved and the opportunity available to young people. A team of fourteen workers were present on each day. Emmaus Courses were also included – to cater for an older age group. A simple competition was offered to young people passing the stall and approximately eighty children were contacted in this way on each of the days. Opportunity was taken to chat with the parents as the children were completing the competition. Other passers-by were offered gospel literature and while there were some who declined, many others were happy to receive it. Soon after the weekend a number of application forms were received.
The assembly at Winshill had a week of children’s meetings with Robert Plant. He had the opportunity of going into a number of schools throughout the week taking assemblies and spoke to a total of twelve hundred children. He was given a welcome at all the schools that the assembly had spoken to and some have shown an interest in having the Ayrshire Bible Exhibition, which is planned for November. As far as meetings in the hall were concerned the number of children attending was not large but numbers were greater than those who would normally attend. Payer would be appreciated for the Lord’s blessing upon the seed sown.
Gloucestershire The combined Cheltenham and Gloucester Easter Conference was held in Bethany Gospel Hall, Cheltenham, and included reports from India and Wembley from Nitish Patel and an insight into the work in and around Liverpool by Stephen Baker. The conference concluded with searching and challenging ministry from Alan Gamble as to the importance of keeping the assembly Christ-centred.
Perthshire Jack Hay has continued to visit schools: St Ninian’s (Perth), Abernethy, and Muthill. In particular at Muthill, this is the only opportunity that many of these young people have to hear anything of a spiritual nature. Recently, a young male temporary teacher at Muthill said that he found that his class there knew much more about the Bible than where he had been teaching at Dunblane.
Caithness Stuart McGahie and Dan Gilles had a series of gospel meetings in Wick. A number of locals attended, some of them very needy, and some are still going to the regular meetings.
Lanarkshire During the month of March the assembly at High Parks Gospel Hall, Hamilton, had two weeks of children’s meetings with Robert Plant. The numbers attending varied but there was a core who attended nightly and showed a keen interest in listening and learning the memory text. The assembly also hosted the Ayrshire Bible Exhibition during the first week of the children’s work. Over three hundred children from various schools in the town visited the exhibition along with their teachers; all showed a keen interest. Robert was able to visit several schools during the fortnight to take the school assemblies. This was much appreciated by teachers and pupils. During these activities much seed was sown in the hearts of many young folks.
West Lothian The assembly in West End Gospel Hall, Whitburn, held two weeks’ gospel meetings in April/May with Blair Martin and Paul McCauley and the series was entitled ‘ETERNITY . . . WHERE?’ Taking advantage of the fact that during the General Election many posters would be put up, the believers put posters on lamp posts in the town, distributed tracts, and placed adverts in the local press and in local supermarkets.
The meetings on Lord’s Day were held at 4pm to encourage families that the assembly had built up contact with to come along and as a result twelve unsaved adults, one backslider and seventeen children attended on the first Lord’s Day.
Throughout the week they were greatly encouraged with at least three or four unsaved in each night and although they are not aware of anyone making a profession of faith, about twenty-four unsaved adults were in the hall over the three weeks with one particular family continuing to come on subsequent Lord’s Days.
In recent years the assembly at Poplar Road Gospel Hall, Tredegar, has seen numbers plummet to only four saints in fellowship – two brethren and two sisters – and, often due to ill health, only the two brethren would be in attendance at the meetings. These two brethren refused to ‘close the door’ and one brother did all the preaching during outreaches into the local geriatric hospital and a neighbouring old people’s home. In the last six months the Lord has graciously increased the number in fellowship in the assembly to seven. Prayer is made regularly and the gospel faithfully preached. They have also enjoyed much blessing from the ministry of God’s word, with much needed encouragement. There has been an increase in the numbers of visiting saints at these meetings as well. They also have had times of informal fellowship with a tea, singing and epilogue which have been of great blessing, drawing them to each other in love. At Christmas, one hundred and forty-four Christmas card invitations were distributed to the homes nearest to the hall and they saw twenty-one attend the Carol Service as a result. One gentleman has continued to come on a Sunday night for the gospel meeting.
Since Christmas, the believers have given out five hundred texted calendars again to those homes close to the hall, as well as a thousand tracts and they are now waiting on the Lord as regards recommencing a children’s work which although ceased only five years ago had seen twenty-five youngsters attending the gospel meeting.
County Londonderry The assembly which meet at Aughrim Gospel Hall in Castledawson had the privilege of two weeks of meetings with Professor David Gooding. The subject was ‘Approach to God; lessons from the ancient Jewish tabernacle’. They were illustrated with a model and PowerPoint slides. Good numbers were in attendance every evening from a wide range of church backgrounds. The assembly also held its Annual Conference in March where Drew Craig and Neville Chambers gave challenging and practical ministry.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
County Limerick Over the past two years the assemblyhas been using the new community centre (Desmond Complex) for its kids club; it is a great facility and central to the town. They have felt the need to move to a larger place to accommodate the youth work which was started last winter. They had thought of moving it to the Desmond Complex, but knew that it would be added expense for the assembly. After discussing with everyone it was agreed that the Lord seemed to be leading them to move into the Desmond Complex. Having set an amount they were prepared to pay and the days the centre would be needed, they found all their requirements agreed to, and in addition they were told to use the centre’s cups, plates, coffee, tea, etc., as this was all part of the price.
Pray that as this move is made the assembly will see more come in from the community and that the work will grow.
This year at Easter they held a Kids Club for the first week of the holiday. Thirty-seven children were taken out for the week. The club ran from 10am to 1pm each day. It consisted of games, crafts, snack, singing, memory verse, Bible story and a quiz. The children all seemed to enjoy themselves. On the Friday, parents were invited and it was good to see thirteen turn out. After the club, tea and coffee were provided and there was some time to chat with the parents. All the comments were positive and all said they would send their kids along to the regular club. How good to know of thirteen new homes reached with the gospel!
Armenia The work on the house purchased in Dvin for the meetings is progressing well. It is a joy to see and to watch the local brethren plan out and oversee the work and the building should be ready for use by August/September, God willing.
Eveta, who was mentioned in our last issue, continues to grow in the Lord. Continue to pray for Yasha and Argam, the two brethren there, who need teaching and help in the scriptures so that they can be a help to those around them all so recently saved. Belita and her daughter Varsig were saved last year and Wendell Webb had the great joy of speaking at their baptism on the 7th May.
Wendell also had ministry meetings with the saints in Yerevan as well as in the village of Dvin. The believers were very receptive to the word spoken. One meeting was on the subject of baptism and, as on other occasions, there were unsaved and unbaptized present. One family we might pray for is Samuel’s - his wife and daughter are not baptized. This family were saved some time ago but Samuel and his wife think that because they were ‘baptized’ as infants, believer’s baptism is not necessary. Armene, their daughter, sees the truth of believer’s baptism and wants to obey the Lord. Some nights after the meeting while visiting the home, it emerged in discussion that the mother now has a clearer understanding of the truth, and thankfully the father is also more open to further discussion. Hopefully soon he will see that it is the Lord’s command for him too. Samuel is the brother of an elder in the assembly at Artur.
Cyprus From the Logos School, Limassol, comes a report of the way in which PSP book Stepping Stones is being used. They say, ‘Some time ago, Logos School was given a very generous gift of multiple copies of Stepping Stones, a beautifully illustrated Christian daily devotional book, especially for children. We are glad to report that these books are being put to good use. One mother remarked that her son will not go to sleep until he has read the daily message. Another girl uses her book every night, reading the daily message along with the relevant Bible passage. This is particularly pleasing as she is from a Muslim background and has trusted Christ as her Saviour. She would not normally be permitted to have a Bible in the house, but her mother allows her have one because she needs it for her school lessons.’
Canada After a two-week period, the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the Olympic torch went out. The next time it will be lit will be in preparation for the London games in 2012. During those two weeks there were believers who took the opportunity of taking the gospel to many people. Below are a couple of reports which should encourage us and, for those in the UK, give us some cause for thought as 2012 approaches.
Peter Daley writes, ‘An opportunity arose for my 16-year-old daughter, Sarah Anne, and I to travel from the State of Montana to Vancouver, British Columbia. This was in order to join a number of believers in an evangelistic outreach during the 2010 Winter Olympics on the downtown streets.
Every afternoon we would get together at 16th Avenue Gospel Chapel and travel from there in the Chapel van to downtown Vancouver. We were organized into teams of two or three and then walked to different locations. The streets were teeming with thousands of people and it was not difficult to engage some who were just sitting or standing around. We usually started with a question like, ‘What do you think of the Olympics?’, and then gradually transitioned onto spiritual things. We often were able to leave a booklet or a CD with the persons involved. Two of the conversations seem to illustrate the responses that we had. One was a negative response. The other was positive.
The first example was a conversation with an older lady who was sitting by herself on a bench by the side of a busy street. I sat down near her and started a conversation. She was from Vancouver and had some negative things to say about the Olympics. I noticed that her language had some ‘bad words’ as well. We started talking about spiritual things and when she found out that I had come from 600 miles away to talk to people about these things she became very upset and her language deteriorated even more. She said that she could not understand why a person would come to Vancouver and waste his time talking to people about ‘religious matters’. Our conversation deteriorated to the point that I had to leave. I thought about it afterwards and asked myself, ‘Was it worth it to come all that distance in order to do tell people about the Lord Jesus?’ My answer was two-fold. I believe that the Lord would encourage this type of evangelism. Was he not travelling through Samaria when he spoke to the woman at the well?, John chapter 4. The other thought was that one never knows the result of a conversation. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts, John 16. 8, and we have to leave the response with Him.
The second example was a conversation that I had with a young man. We talked for about 20 to 30 minutes and were able to discuss the gospel and his need to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He listened well and did not seem to be in a hurry to go. We finally parted and I remember his last words were, ‘Thank you, I feel much better now’. Hopefully he will read the material that was given to him and come to know the Saviour.
I’m so thankful that my daughter and I took the time to go and share – only eternity will reveal the results.’
Peter’s daughter, 16-year-old Sarah, encountered challenges such as,
‘When you say that God loves
you, it’s correct, because God is
essentially you. So when you talk
about God’s love, you are, in
essence, speaking of self love.’
‘I don’t care about God, I don’t
care about His love, I don’t care
about heaven or hell, I don’t care
about YOU! What I do care about
is that people like you would leave
me alone and stop trying to force
all your ideas on me!’
‘I hope I’m going to heaven, but I
don’t really know for sure if I am
‘God? Yeah, I believe in God. Just
like I believe in Santa Claus! I
mean, it‘s about as likely that
either one exists!’
‘That’s so great that you’ve found
something that works for you! I
think I’ll just keep believing what I
believe, and you can go ahead
and believe whatever you want!’
This is a sample of some of the responses encountered when sharing the gospel with people during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. With the large amount of negative or apathetic responses, it was good to know that the Holy Spirit is responsible for the actual convicting of people. We were just planting seeds!
A friend and I had the opportunity to talk to a homeless man who had put his trust in Jesus very recently. He was still not entirely sure if he was saved though, so we were able to share 1 John chapter 5 verse 13 with him, ‘These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life’. We went away from that conversation feeling so joyful and blessed! All the discouraging aspects of being rejected pale in comparison to the joy I feel after having a good conversation with someone who is actually open to the gospel!
The night that the Canadian hockey team won against the Swiss team in overtime, downtown was in an uproar! They projected a video onto one of the skyscrapers of the girl who won gold in speed skating. The uproar that resulted drowned out my Dad’s conversation with a man desperately in need of the Saviour. It was interesting to see the contrast. On one hand was a huge crowd of people yelling at a picture on a cement building, waving their nation’s flags and celebrating athletic speed, strength and skill; on the other hand, two men deep in a quiet conversation about the One who died to save the world. The One who crossed cultural and national barriers. The One who said, ‘Blessed are the meek’. Long after the gold medallists from the 2010 Winter Olympics have been forgotten, the power of Jesus’ blood will still be saving souls!
Encouraging and challenging! Will there be some families preparing to serve together in London in 2012?