Sandy Jack, Eastbourne
The small assembly at Bethesda, Kitty Briggs Lane, Grantham, commenced an outreach work through a literature stall in the town centre street market. Although the weather was inclement at the start of the day it brightened up later and provided an excellent opportunity for the believers to speak to people from the town and surrounding villages.
The believers were very encouraged by the overall response and literature was given out to a variety of age groups – the ‘Test your IQ’ tract proving particularly popular. Quite a few invitations to the assembly’s children’s work were also taken and prayer is requested that some might respond and attend the meetings.
As the market drew to its close there was also an opportunity to speak to other market traders and some were prepared to accept literature. It is planned to continue this work on the first Saturday of each month and the believers pray that the seed sown might bear fruit.
A man who engaged in conversation at the stall came to the Breaking of Bread meeting the following Sunday and after the meeting he expressed his thanks for the kindness and politeness shown because when he ‘spoke to some priests they had no time for him.’ He has so many things going on in his mind, but he has been given an invitation to discuss Christ/Christianity and his response is awaited.
Stephen and Carole Baker spent the first two months of this year focusing on gospel outreach in Community Halls in the area where they live: Stockbridge Village, Deysbrook Village and Newsham Park. The first two may sound very rural but they certainly are not. The plan was to use the halls on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to introduce people in the community to the gospel. A number of contacts were made and they would appreciate your prayers for Josie, Christine, Peter and Sharon, Elsie, Charlie, Samantha, John, Peter, Yvonne, Jo, Maureen, Sue and Joanne. They are currently continuing in Stockbridge on Wednesdays and Newsham on Thursdays.
The assembly at Canon Court, Fetcham, recently celebrated the 75th Anniversary of its founding and a day of fellowship was arranged. At two meetings many believers from surrounding assemblies attended together with a number of those who had fellowshipped there before moving from the district. There were reports of the history of the assembly and ministry of the word at two sessions was by Roy Hill. The work there continues to prosper and on Sunday evenings around fifty and sometimes as many asseventy gather to hear the gospel.
The Eastbourne Bible Readings have been held every year since 1949 to encourage serious study of the scriptures and teaching of New Testament truth. Most of those attending the studies stay at the hotel in which the meetings are held and also take the opportunity to enjoy times of fellowship. Most of the meetings take the form of conversational Bible Readings. This year the studies, conducted by John Riddle and David West were in Matthew’s Gospel.
The assembly at Marine Hall, Eastbourne, held two weeks of gospel meetings in June, with Blair Martin. It was an encouraging time. Having felt the deep need for being dependent on the Lord, a number of Saturday morning prayer meetings were convened prior to the series. As they were praying for the Lord to save souls, they had the joy of hearing of two souls that had professed Christ, one of whom, it seems had been saved two years previously in meetings held by Blair. Every night there were visitors in and they are seeing an interest from some in baptism. Please pray the Lord will continue to work.
The Conference held at Bethany, Cheltenham, this year was another source of information for prayer, really interesting contacts made and enlightening reports from John Frost of Tottenham and Ken Cowell of Japan about his work among the Japanese in Milton Keynes. John Scarsbrook closed the conference with ministry of a high standard, challenging all to total commitment in our service for the Master, in body, mind and heart.
For the fourth year the assembly at Bethany Hall, Glenburn, Prestwick, held a holiday club for children in the area, during the first week in April. The response was terrific and over seventy-five children came each day. There was great help from the younger people in the assembly and others who came to give support. A local brother, Colin Cairnie, was responsible to give lessons on the life of Moses each day and teach the children the ten commandments. Great attention was given during the story time, and some parents also sat in during the week. On the Friday morning about eighteen or so parents and grandparents also came for coffee and heard the word of God. Pray that God will bless in salvation.
Joe Baxter spent two weeks visiting homes around High Parks Gospel Hall, Hamilton, in June and had a number of interesting conversations, and although no one came into the gospel meetings as a result, the Lord knows the value and results of sowing the seed.
Republic of Ireland
Over the past year the assembly in Gorey have been enjoying consecutive teaching through Mark’s Gospel and have recently commenced studies in James. The Lord is blessing through the teaching each Lord’s Day. The local brothers who share in this responsibility have continued to rise to the task and have been a blessing to many. Thursday night studies in Hebrews have grown in size and it has been heartening to see the consistent interest in the word. As the group grows there is an increasing variety of needs represented. Please pray that wisdom will be given as how best to meet these needs.
Over the past few months the saints have been thrilled at seeing new believers being used to lead others to Christ and how the Lord is working in families. In January it was noticed that Marina’s husband, Eric, was attending meetings much more regularly than before. It transpired that he had trusted the Lord over the Christmas holidays. He is an obviously changed man, with a love for hearing the word preached, and has recently started to attend Bible Studies for the first time. Ian, who lost his business at the end of 2010 due to the recession, continues to mature in the Lord and loves reading the word and sharing the gospel. In a total change of direction, he now operates a mobile fast food trailer. He calls the trailer his ‘outpost for the gospel’ and is witnessing and distributing gospel CDs and literature to many customers. He does all this within a stone’s throw from the house he grew up in - a remarkable witness. In March he was able to share the gospel over a number of weeks with one of his brothers, Kieran, who has since professed faith in Christ. Pray that Kieran will grow and use the opportunities for fellowship and Bible study. Continue to pray for the salvation of Ian’s wife, Karen, who has been remarkably supportive of his stand for the gospel in his new business. Another man from the assembly, Peter, has been used in bringing his brother, William, who lives in Dublin to the Lord. In May, Christine had her in-laws, from Italy, staying with her. Her 79-year-old mother-in-law believes in heaven and hell and that, as a sinner, she was going to hell because she did not attend the Catholic church, having been forbidden to do so by her Communist husband. As she heard the gospel for the first time, she sat with tears in her eyes, saying ‘Bella, bella’. Pray for Michelene, her husband and Christine’s immediate family. Pray for the assembly too - in the midst of these wonderful blessings they face ongoing struggles in establishing biblical patterns, maintaining unity, and in the nurturing of new believers towards spiritual maturity.
Evangelistic Bible studies have been perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the work in recent months. Having concluded a ‘Bible for Beginners’ course in December there was much enthusiasm among the believers who helped out, to start another course in the new year. So in January they did, and were pleased to have four new people join them. Two of the four were believers who simply enjoyed hearing the gospel laid out in clear biblical terms. Rachael, who had been on the previous course, came again and Noreen, a lady in her sixties, came as a result of seeing an ad in a local paper. Her husband had died in 2010 and she was seeking comfort and answers. She has expressed how much the study has helped her but she still seems to be unable to accept that salvation is fully dependant on Christ. The other new attendee is Liz B, who lives two doors away from Michael and Shirley McKillen. They have had little meaningful conversation with her over the years but when they returned home from a Christmas break she stopped Shirley outside the house and said how she had been waiting all holidays to talk. She called herself a ‘lapsed Catholic’ but that she wanted her youngest child to be taught the Bible (Corrie has since started coming to Seekers Club). When Shirley then invited her to the Bible study she replied, ‘That is just what I am looking for’. She has been along every night and really seems to be grasping the truth. Please pray for her salvation.
The saints commenced a ‘Christianity Explained’ course in May because all those who attended the aforementioned beginners course wanted to study further. Six new unbelievers (Glen, Damien, and Ruth, Lori, Liz and Mary) have also come along. Pray that God will gloriously save these people, some of whom come from very difficult backgrounds.
Some will remember Liz K, who began attending studies several years ago and has experienced much tragedy in life. She has been diagnosed with cancer and is currently undergoing treatment. Pray that she will know the reality of Christ in her life and that wisdom and compassion will be shown in caring for her.
In April, the saints in Newcastle West, held a Holiday Bible Club. Thirty children came along. This included five new children and one who hadn’t been along since last year. On the last day a prize-giving was held and unsaved parents came and heard the gospel message.
The BSI seminars entitled ‘Digging deeper’ have been going on the Dublin area for a number of years. There are four meetings per year each having three sessions on the Saturday. The day starts at 10.30 and finishes at 15.30 with a break for lunch. The format makes it possible for consecutive ministry and this is appreciated by the attendance of believers from not only the Dublin area but also from as far away as N. Ireland.
The four sessions for 2010-11 were studies on outstanding Bible Characters and the speakers were Danny Crookes, Mike Tardive, Keith Keyser and Roy Hill. The 2011-12 session is on the Book of Revelation and the speakers are David MacLeod (USA) on 24th September; Bill Steveley on 12th November; John Grant on 4th February; and Uel Crothers on 31st March.
The meetings are held in The High School, Rathgar, Dublin. There is a helpful website - www.diggingdeeper.info
In Naples, on Sunday 5th June four young believers obeyed the Lord in baptism. Just over a year ago, Emanuele, (mentioned in the last PSI issue) was an alcoholic and very aggressive. Never would the saints have dreamed that one day he would be baptized! How great is the Lord’s power and love! Giulia (pronounced Julia) is a young lady from a broken home, a life of sorrow and lack of love, who came to immerse herself in the boundless love of the Lord. Enza is a young lady who was converted about ten years ago, but went away from the Lord due to going out with and eventually marrying a non-Christian. She came back to the Lord about a year ago, and is to be baptized although she is eight months pregnant! Brenda is a 16-year-old girl who trusted the Lord during the preaching at the last baptisms in February. Her mum has also started to come along, as has her younger sister on a few occasions.
Please do pray for the assembly, that the Lord would bless it with His power and, for those baptized, that the Lord would bless and keep them.
The summer months give varied opportunities for evangelism. Every Sunday evening open-air meetings are held on the sea front where thousands of passers-by have the opportunity to stop and hear the gospel. These really are wonderful opportunities. The young people are keen to go into the various housing estates and try to do some open-air children’s meetings. If this goes ahead, it will be a tremendous challenge for them in many ways. The believers hope also to arrange varied evenings where they can spend time together over supper, when non-Christians are introduced to a Christian environment. They have found this aspect of pre-evangelism extremely useful in getting to know people and breaking down barriers.
The assembly in Roshu is going on well and the saints are still looking for a place to meet in Cahul. The work with children and teenagers goes on and they have been encouraged to see some new faces at the meetings. Please pray for Misha as he takes a lot of responsibility in teaching them.
The work in the schools is more difficult at this time of year because the students have their exams, but even so there have been some good opportunities. In the Professional School for Boys about twenty are still glad to hear the gospel and ask questions. It is not the same at the SPP for girls. It is still closed to the gospel, but the saints do still hand out gospel tracts. Recently four brothers from Scotland helped deliver Seed Sowers around fifteen villages and there was a really good response. Some have started a Bible course. There are now 1200 doing the Bible course and the numbers are growing.
At Lutsk, the building of a hall is slowly continuing. The workforce has been reduced from six or seven to two to three working Monday to Friday from 08.00 to 19.00 and on Saturday 08.00 to 16.00. God willing before the conference in July the believers hope to have all the windows and roller shutters in place and all the outside walls insulated and rough plastered. If the weather is nice in early autumn, they hope to fine plaster and paint the outside and before winter sets in, to buy a wood-burning boiler so that there is heat in the building to allow them to continue over the winter months.
In April 2012 the assembly will celebrate its 10th anniversary and a finished Gospel Hall will be a great asset to the work of the Lord.
Around one hundred children are fed every day after they get their Bible lesson and, whilst God has never failed to provide, what is more important is having a hundred young souls to preach the gospel to each day. Pray for their salvation. Over the years some have been saved and baptized as a result of this work and God can still save! Please also pray for forty special needs children who are provided for, twice a month.
Over the last eight years 218,000 gospel tracts have been printed, (18,000 were printed in April 2011), 120,000 Seed Sowers along with books, booklets, laminated A4 posters, bookmarks and invitations. At present the saints also have access to 150 titles including books by A. McShane, D. Gilliland, Michael Brown, John Ritchie, D. Newell and D. Hinton, W. McDonald, A. M. S. Gooding, D. Gooding, J. Heading and many more. Soon, John Ritchie’s booklets Focus On in Ukrainian and five of Leslie Craig’s latest gospel tracts in Ukrainian will be ready for the printers. Do continue to pray for the monthly billboard poster (2 sides) which is displayed in the centre of town.
Jabe Nicholson writes from Mississippi, ‘Down in this neck of the woods, at least, you can have a serious conversation about spiritual things just about any time of the day. I had a gospel meeting in the middle of Wal-Mart on Friday with a group of employees.
I was collecting five buggy’s full of relief supplies and so needed people to help me push my growing convoy. For twenty minutes they stood transfixed in the middle of the store as I told the gospel story. Down here “spiritual conversations” are usually about “my church” not about Christ.
I was up helping a couple near a village called Montpelier on Wednesday. Nancy, the wife, was thrown out the front door onto the grass by the tornado. Then the trailer was hurled over her head and smashed to pieces against a row of large trees thirty feet away. Almost everything was destroyed. I heard about her because she works at Lowes in Starkville. Among the things I bought her was a convection oven/toaster, since she lost both her toaster and her stove (and her beds, and chest of drawers, and kitchen table, etc.). She is living with her husband and son in a shed/garage at present. The oven/toaster seems to be a practical help for people trying to make do. They can make a medium-size pizza, cookies, etc., in it as well as heat up things. And they can keep it as a toaster after they get a stove.
When I delivered what she needed (along with laundry detergent, towels, dog food, etc., plus a kitchen table and matching chairs - she said she never had one with matching chairs before - she began to weep. “Why did you buy me new?” she asked. “Why didn’t you get something from the Salvation Army?” My response: If I was looking for something for myself, I might have shopped at the SA, but when I’m shopping for Jesus, He wants you to know how much He loves you. Some people haven’t figured that out from the cross yet, that He loved them enough to die for their sins. So He keeps on giving till we get the point. Don’t thank me for this stuff. It’s from Jesus; it’s just that He doesn’t have a truck so He asked me to be the delivery boy”.
For almost an hour, as we sat there surrounded by the ruins of her life, I shared with Nancy and her son Bob the story of the gospel. I’m welcome back there any time. They promised to listen carefully to the two CDs I gave them. I think one of the keys is not to give stuff as if it were “charity” in the bad sense of the word, handouts for the destitute, but love gifts from the Lord.
Although there are many piles of basics available at relief centres for these people who have lost everything, there are many specific things they need. We win a golden opportunity to share Christ with them if we are willing to spend a little time finding out what they need, hearing their story, sitting with them in the rubble, and giving them a hug or two. A table and chairs (matching) doesn’t hurt either. They long to know that someone cares about THEM.
In April three brothers from the assembly in Nazareth, Israel, made a visit to see how the believers were faring in Egypt. They took funds with them to help them rather than goods, which they believed might be confiscated. Here is a portion of their letter:
‘I don’t know where to start, but we were terribly shocked by what we saw. We went there with an amount of $27,000 and we had to make calls from there to get more money for help. What we saw there is not easy to express in words but we know for sure that the Lord is the only comfort these people can have and need.
Most of our time was spent in the old cemeteries. The Egyptians usually build a large room so when they bury someone they can sit there to get protection from the sun. But now these rooms are occupied with families. Each room is as big as a normal room, and in it live thirty people at least. No bathrooms, no showers, so you can just imagine what they have to go through, especially the families with small children.
We also went to one church that is still existing (a very old house), but we could not go inside because of the smell. People have diseases from not being able to eat for days and not showering for weeks. I could tell you so many things of what we saw, but I prefer to tell you better things.
We had fellowship with hundreds of these people, where they praised the Lord and prayed and sang. We went with some of them to markets and bought food, clothes, and medicine, as much as we could but it was not enough at all, so we will now make a bigger campaign for our brothers there so as to help them more. We also met brothers who ran away from Libya and are now with the brothers in Egypt’.
The assemblies in Ang Mo Kio and Depot Walk together with other local assemblies have taken up a proposal from Trans World Radio to broadcast gospel messages in Singapore and regions around, including south Malaysia and Indonesia. Kenneth Wong will be the evangelist/teacher and the broadcast will be at prime time, 8-8:30pm, Monday to Friday, every week of the year commencing, DV, 3rd October 2011. Prayer is requested for this exciting opportunity
A new website has been set up http://www.goodnewstoolbox.com/ so that gospel outreach material can be publicized. The website offers six different CDs with gospel messages by William MacDonald and Jabe Nicholson. You can listen to the messages on the website and you will be able to see the quality of the packaging.