Sandy Jack, Eastbourne
In August, the assembly at Hesters Way, Cheltenham, ran a Holiday Bible Club with Philip Dean leading the team. There was a good response to the many invitations given out. By the end of the week numbers attending doubled. The sisters worked to give a varied programme of tasks in the hour of crafts before the hour of Bible Club. These activities were related to the theme of the week; the story of Joseph being hated by his brothers, put in a pit, sold in to Egypt and ending in the palace. The children were brilliant with memory verses and quizzes. The week ended with a full hall for the Friday night prize-giving. On the Sunday the hall was full again and the gospel presented by Philip Dean and Jonathan Luker of North Leigh.
The Lancashire Gospel Tent was pitched in Sefton Park, Liverpool, during June. Stephen Baker conducted children’s meetings in the tent for two weeks and Ian Jackson preached the gospel to the adults for four weeks. Please pray for Kim and Vicky in particular – two teenagers who were interested in private but easily distracted when among the crowd of teenagers.
Newsham Park Chapel, Liverpool, had two weeks of intense gospel outreach led by Thomas Jennings. The combined team of eleven from the USA, Ireland, and Canada contacted 11,000 homes in the immediate neighbourhood of the hall and had conversations regarding spiritual issues with hundreds of people. They distributed around fifty Bibles as well as assisting and encouraging in the ongoing assembly activities.
A number of people from the area came to hear the gospel preached using PowerPoint presentations on astronomy and one man placed his faith in the Lord Jesus. To date twenty requests have been received for more information.
In August a two-week series of gospel meetings was conducted by Dan Gillies and Terry Topley in Bicester.
A Bible Exhibition in the Gospel Hall, Wallington, saw about 335 children and 75 adults (including 40 teachers and assistants) attending. It provided a number of opportunities to answer questions from visitors and the feedback from one school contact was that ‘she had only heard positive comments from the children who had come to the Bible Exhibition’. The Mitcham Junction assembly, and especially those who maintain this outreach in Wellington were greatly encouraged.
The Postal Bible School had a stand at the Birmingham and Staffordshire Agricultural Show. This is the fourteenth time that Postal Bible School has been present at the Show. This year the presentation was supported by a team of eight for each day.
On the Wednesday, the stall was opened at 9.00 a.m. and the first children turned up about 9.30 a.m; these were two girls who immediately asked for the quiz – the younger girl also took a ‘starter’ lesson and, having obtained parents’ permission (who were responsible for a neighbouring stall), set about it straightaway and came back for help with the lesson on two occasions.
There was steady interest throughout the morning and afternoon, which resulted in about seventy young people filling out the quiz and taking away items in a plastic bag (inscribed with the Postman Pat logo), such as a Bible bookmark, a text for colouring, a Mars bar, and not least - an application form. Opportunity was taken during the period of quiz completion, to talk with the parents, and to explain the Postal Bible School scheme. People came from a selection of districts, including Milton Keynes, Shrewsbury, Cheadle, and Scunthorpe.
Amongst the people with whom conversations were held were, the Bishop of Stafford, who showed a great interest in the PBS lesson material, and a Radio Stoke reporter who included an item on the next Sunday morning programme.
The Thursday brought examples of the various barriers to the interest in and acceptance of the gospel. One show official, in denial of an ‘after life’, rejected any significance in the message, claiming ‘When you are dead, you are done with’. The response of the English Scooter Association enthusiast was, ‘You mustn’t be too serious about it’. He thought that all religions are ‘Okay’ as long as they were not extreme. He was, however, happy to accept the UCB Bible reading notes.
In contrast, there was the West Indian woman that was employed as a doorkeeper for one of the sponsoring organisations of the Show. She had been there for the 2010 Show and, in a simple conversation with her then, reference had been made to Psalm 84 and the rather special importance of a ‘doorkeeper’ role. What a thrill it was when this young lady came looking for the Postal Bible School stall, and with a smile related that when she had gone home after the conversation, she had looked up the verse in a Bible and had started to think again about spiritual things. During the year she had also started to go to church. Two of the team were able to explain to her the way of salvation before she went back to her ‘door-keeping’ taking some helpful literature.
The team was encouraged by a number of passers-by who graciously accepted literature, parents who accepted application forms for their children, and by Christian visitors to the stall, who clearly understood what was being made available in the vital task of reaching out to young people with the scriptures.
One of the saddest events during the summer was the death of the Red Arrows pilot, Jon Egging, at the Bournemouth Air Festival. One week prior to that event the Red Arrows had been at Eastbourne and many thousands of people watched the display unaware that eternity would soon be a reality for one of the pilots. During the four-day air show at Eastbourne, the believers had the opportunity to hand out thousands of postcards to visitors. These postcards are rarely ever refused by the public and on every one there is a scripture verse! All the hotels on the seafront are keen to have the postcards for their guests as well. Only the Lord knows where they end up and who reads them; His word is not bound!
Opportunity was taken at the four-day, Royal Bath & West Show to witness to more than 160,000 attendees. Over 6,000 tracts were given out and a display celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible offered many openings for conversation.
Over the past year, and particularly in recent months, the assembly in Adamsdown, Cardiff, has seen much blessing in the work with children and young people for which they give thanks to the Lord; it has been a great encouragement to them to continue in prayer and service.
Throughout the year forty-five children attended Sunday School and as in previous years, attendance was very variable: anything between ten and twenty-four children each week. Behaviour and attention was generally good considering that many children come from broken homes. The children were taught five memory verses throughout the year and most of the regulars knew them all well by the end.
The assembly has for many years arranged a Holiday Bible Club during the first week of August. This year it was arranged again and it was a very encouraging but tiring week with the largest number of children they have ever had. Fifty children attended (more than in the whole year of Sunday School!): fifteen were children the workers had never seen before. The sessions commenced with craft and somehow the workers managed to find sufficient craft activities and materials to occupy them all. After light refreshments the children participated in quizzes and chorus time before listening to a Bible story. The subject this year was ‘Saved!’, and they were told five scripture stories of men who proved that ‘The Lord saves’, 1 Sam 17. 47. They were also taught two appropriate memory verses, Acts 16. 31 and Ephesians 2. 8.
It was particularly encouraging to have some parents also stay for the whole session. Some had never been in the hall before, so it was a wonderful opportunity to build bridges.
Recently the believers have had the great joy of hearing of two brothers who attended the Sunday School and the Gospel Meeting for some years, profess faith in the Saviour. The older lad, after hearing ministry on the Lord’s coming again from Eric Parmenter in Deri, and the younger brother the following week.
The assembly was very encouraged by the commitment and enthusiasm of the younger members with the work amongst the children.
In the middle of August the young people of the assembly at Treboeth Gospel Hall, with the help of a few older ones, ran a Children’s Holiday Bible Club for a week. Each day the children enjoyed a time of singing and various activities before the Bible Story Time, and a quiz on the previous day’s stories. The theme was a visit to ‘Luke Street’ where they were invited into the houses of Jairus, Zacchaeus, Mary and Martha, and the house where the lame man was let down through the roof. Eighty-five children were reached in total and there were seven or eight mothers attending every day. There was one very encouraging contact with a mother who said she had made a profession of faith many years ago when Peter Brandon was preaching. All contact had been lost with her for a number of years, but now she is back in the locality just in time for another visit from Peter Brandon to the assembly. Please pray she will come along to hear him again.
A week of meetings were held at Northfields, Newcastle, in July at which hundreds of unsaved were reached over the two weeks and on several nights a bishop from the Catholic church attended. As well as the lost, there were also many needy believers attending and on several nights time was taken in counselling those who have been badly damaged by the cruelty of others. How thankful we should be that the Lord is not only ‘able to save’, Heb. 7. 25, but also ‘able to succour [to run to the help of] those who are tempted’, Heb. 2. 18!
Republic of Ireland
Summer has seen many outreach opportunities at shows and fairs. In Newcastle West, due to the severe weather and strong winds, it was decided that it would be unwise to put up the marquee for the day. This is the first time in five years this has happened and while it was disappointing, there were encouragements from other shows. In Dungarvan, County Waterford, while it was not the busiest of shows, it did end well with a long talk with a lady who lives near Waterford. Only four weeks previously she had met someone from the Waterford Fellowship at the Tall Ships event. David and Beth Wilson and two helpers from a team they were hosting helped for the day.
A good day was also had at the Cappamore show and a lot of material was given out. There were also some very interesting conversations with both visitors to the show and other exhibitors.
At the Cork show the marquee was set up on Thursday morning for the show to start Friday, only to receive a phone call late Thursday evening from the show organiser to say they had placed the marquee in the wrong area and could it be moved early Friday morning. The alternative site was one near to the public entrance and what a blessing that was!
Friday and Saturday morning proved to be quiet with not many people around, however, from 11.30 a.m. on Saturday and then all day Sunday there were multitudes of people passing by. There were many good conversations about the gospel and it was an encouragement to see New Testaments and John’s Gospels being taken. Hundreds of John 3. 16 shopping bags were given out and it was a joy to see people walking around the show using these bags.
In Antigua the assemblies in St. Johns are seeking to witness faithfully and maintain assembly principles. The work in Shiloh Gospel Hall also sustains an outreach work in Five Islands Village and good contacts are made through continuing literature distribution and an evening gospel meeting.
The assembly meeting in Bethel Gospel Hall have a three-part Bible study divided into ages. The Lord’s Day meetings were full to overflowing with old and young and there is always an enthusiastic response to the word.
In St. Lucia the assembly in Castries hold a gospel meeting outside the Hall with a loud speaker-system that reaches half the town. The small assembly in Soufriere suffered severely in the 2009 hurricane that did so much damage in the island. All had their homes destroyed and are even now living in temporary accommodation. One family lives in the Gospel Hall.
Klang Gospel Hall celebrated one hundred years of God’s faithfulness with a thanksgiving service held on 16th September 2011 and the publication of a centenary souvenir book.
The Bethesda (Ang Mo Kio) assembly, which is the largest assembly in Singapore, held its annual Family Bible Camp in The Pines Resort Hotel in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia in June. Around 300 (including many young believers) attended for a week of intensive Bible study. The teaching ministry was shared by Roy Hill and Kenneth Wong.
The assembly now also has the opportunity of preaching the gospel on radio through TWR and the messages started being broadcast in October. They are at peak listening time 8.30 – 9 p.m. on five evenings each week for a year. About 80% of the messages will be given by brother Kenneth Wong and prayer is requested that through this ministry many will find the Saviour and believers be encouraged.
The believers in Thrissur, Kerala, have held a Inauguration and Thanksgiving Service on completion of a new hall.
Lutsk Gospel Hall has just had its 8th summer conference. This was held from July 8th - 17th and conducted by Paul McClarty (Kingsmoss, N. Ireland) and James Colledge (Pamber Heath, England). A large number of believers and unsaved attended from the UK, Ireland, America and different parts of Ukraine. Over the eight-day period there were six ministry meetings, four Bible Readings, eleven gospel meetings, six children’s meetings and one baptism (see photo - Olga who was baptized with her mother, father and brother – who are all in assembly fellowship). Thousands of gospel tracts were distributed in Lutsk and surrounding villages. Brother McClarty took up the book of James and his ministry was exceptional and very much appreciated. Brother Colledge spoke to up to eighty-six children daily and was very faithful in preaching the gospel; we have no doubt God will use the seed that has been sown. The conference was truly a time of blessing for saints and unsaved, a number of whom expressed an interest in salvation.