Sandy Jack, Eastbourne
The believers from Bethany Chapel, Lyme Regis have been encouraged in seeing some confessions of faith from some of the elderly ladies who have been attending the services, and also in discovering some had trusted the Lord many years previously.
They have continued their doorstep conversations, and, as a result, a self-confessed backslider often attends the services. She has a very clear testimony and often brings others of her unsaved family, recently including her husband and teenage son, and is keen that they will be saved. Two young people have been baptized and received into fellowship, and an older couple have joined us from another assembly that closed.
At present, their building is somewhat restrictive, but they have planning permission for some changes, and an extension that will make it more versatile and user friendly.
The believers at Marine Hall, Eastbourne, had the joy of seeing the baptism of a lady who has been coming to the meetings for a number of years. As a result of one of the saints passing to her a copy of Church Doctrine and Practice, (PSI, edited by J. Heading and C. E. Hocking), and her diligent reading of it, reconsidering the teaching of scripture, she asked for baptism and subsequently has been happily received into fellowship. This is the fifth believer whom the assembly have had the privilege to receive into fellowship in the last six months.
Contacts continue to be developed with a local YMCA youth outreach centre and one of the brethren has had some good conversations with both the young people and workers when he has ‘dropped in’ to some of their sessions.
During the February school half-term, Roseford Chapel, Cambridge held a children’s holiday Bible club each morning from Monday to Thursday for five to eleven-year-olds. Invitations were delivered to children via the local schools, who all accepted the literature. In spite of bitterly cold weather, attendance averaged twenty each day.
The theme for the week was ‘Jesus the life changer’, and included the parable of the lost sheep, the resurrection of Lazarus, and the cross and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Each morning began and ended with a time of prayer for the workers. Some mothers stayed each day and helped their children in the learning of memory verses, and several expressed an interest in the Sunday School and regular children’s work.
Some twenty-two children and thirteen parents attended the Thursday evening prize-giving session. Please pray that the Lord will bless the work, and that contact with all those who attended will be maintained and the relationships forged with parents developed.
The assembly in Kennoway held their annual Christmas Carol Service and were delighted to see 120 people present. In addition to the usual carol singing, the children who attend the ‘Good News Club’ performed a play that laid out the Christmas story, and this was followed by a message from Jonathan Blair
They have been encouraged in past months with the number of local people who have been coming along to the meetings. During the summer, believers attended the Kennoway Carnival, and then held their first Family Fun Day which saw over 200 people from the local community coming into the grounds of the hall. Following on from this an Olympic themed service was held which saw over fifty of the people who came to the fun day return to hear the gospel message explained clearly by Richard Smith.
The Lord has also blessed through an increasing interest in the children’s work following on from these summer activities. Attendance at the ‘Good News Club’ has almost trebled and it has been thrilling to see so many children from the surrounding area come in and to see so many parents and carers of the children staying to have a cup of tea/coffee and listen to what the children are being taught.
The assembly in Newcastle West were able to secure a long-term lease on an old retail premises based in the town centre back in October. Following planning permission being granted, along with Fire and Disability Access Certificates, they were able to start the renovation work in mid-December. The Lord has graciously provided at every step of this process and since the beginning of January they been blessed with a number of believers who have travelled to help with the work.
When possession was taken of the building, it was one big open plan unit with an entrance hall. It has been possible to make room for two toilets, a kitchen, meeting room, and a room suitable for children’s work and the fortnightly youth work, as well as storage facilities. They have been particularly encouraged to see the Lord working in salvation.
The opening of the new hall will be on Saturday 18th May, DV, at 5.30pm. The speaker is Willie Burnett from Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
Gerry and Nadina who own the tyre business beside the new hall, and live thirty minutes away from Newcastle West, started coming along to the gospel meeting at the beginning of January. They have two children who also attend Sunday School.
At the beginning of February, Andy Shanks started a Bible study at Gerry and Nadina’s home. Each week the Bible Study has lasted anywhere from two-and-a-half to three hours as they just kept asking questions with a great openness to spiritual things. When Andy went along to one such study in mid-February, Gerry announced that he had been saved and Nadia explained she wasn’t saved but hoped that she would be soon!! By the end of the month, she had taken that step of trusting the Lord and they have both been baptized in the new hall since. This is the first Irish married couple to have been saved locally. A great encouragement!
David and Helen McKillen from Cape Town, South Africa have been praying for some time about an outreach trip to Namibia, and the way opened up at the end of 2012.
After a very busy December in which they packed and loaded almost 500,000 tracts and calendars for North West Zambia (via Paul and Eunice Poidevin and their new trailer), they loaded up 35,000 calendars for Botswana and Namibia.
Along with Dan and Stella Nguluka from the Maun assembly, they gave out over 10,000 Herero and English calendars, over 20,000 tracts and had many opportunities to present the gospel. It was not unusual to have an ‘open-air meeting’ in a filling station forecourt, with attendants and customers gathered around the Land Rover to hear the gospel message told out from the verses on the different calendars.
Please pray for the land of Namibia. Lying to the north and west of South Africa, easily accessible from Cape Town, with English the official language, it is a land of welcoming people with a ready ear for the gospel; yet it is a land with no assembly workers and no assembly testimony. David and Helen hope to visit again at the end of the year.
Edmund and Agnes Johnston report, ‘The last few years have been a journey of “mountains and valleys, gains and losses”. However, we are encouraged from the scriptures that ”God is faithful”. We are very thankful for the many opportunities there are to open the word of God and share the gospel with both young and old. We are involved with eight orphanages, gypsy camps, schools, and a rehabilitation centre. We visit many individuals, sharing the gospel with them and giving material help. The Euro 2012 football competition provided opportunity for the distribution of many gospel tracts, and during December we gave out 4,000 gospel calendars. The assembly in Lviv is now two-and-a-half years old and all of the members are first generation Christians. They show a willingness to learn more about assembly truth. We rejoice that two more believers were added to the company last year. In October, we enjoyed our second annual conference when our brother Dennis Williamson visited us for one week’.
Timothy and Jenna Stevenson write, ’We have relocated to Merida, almost 2,000 kilometres south-east of our previous home in Guadalajara. Since moving, we have had a very encouraging visit to Cancun, helping with tract distribution and gospel tent meetings. In our own locality, as we distributed calendars, it was evident to us that people are sincerely searching for the truth. False doctrines abound; “angels of light” are propagating empty hopes while, at the same time, emptying the pockets of those already in poverty’.
‘However, we know and are sure, that “God is able”. We commenced gospel meetings last week in a believer’s home, in the Mayan village of Paraiso. It is encouraging to see those who are interested attending each night. Remember Mexico, and us, in your prayers’.
The saints in Gibraltar have had the joy of baptizing and receiving into fellowship a man who was saved during meetings held a few years ago with John Griffiths. The subject on the first evening of the meetings was the Rapture and as John was approaching the platform on the second evening, Steven caught him by the arm and told him that he had been saved the previous evening! He was given booklets on Christian growth, baptism, and the Lord`s Supper to help his development. He devoured these and realized his next step was baptism but was not ready to take the step; he wanted to be absolutely sure that matters relating to his unconverted days had been put behind him. In January of this year he finally made up his mind to get baptized and seek fellowship in the Gibraltar assembly. His wife has been staunchly Roman Catholic but is now attending the meetings quite frequently. Please pray that she and their five children would be saved.
The baptism took place in the sea near Nelson`s Bay on January 27th, 2013, shortly after 10am and Steven had chosen two hymns for the occasion: ‘I`m not ashamed to own my Lord’; and ‘There`s a land that is fairer than day’. Some sang in Spanish others in English but in complete harmony. Although the assembly was only five strong, Steven`s relatives turned out in force and about thirty saw Clive, Steven`s brother both in the flesh and in the Lord, immerse Steven in the sea. It was truly a public witness! Denis Goodwin gave a word on baptism from Acts chapter 2 verses 41-42. 0The believers then made their way to the Hall for the morning meeting at 11am, where Steven was received into assembly fellowship - just forty-five minutes between his baptism and reception! He took part publicly for the first time that morning and there was hardly a dry eye in the place. The assembly has also been blessed by the return of Paco from his daughter`s home in Kent. Paco was a founder member of the assembly but due to his age (95 years), and health problems had to leave Gibraltar for England, but is now back home. The assembly has seven in fellowship, currently, and they would value prayer and the fellowship of visiting believers. They are currently preparing for a gospel series with Alistair Bajel (Scotland) and Sammy Maze (NI).