Sandy Jack, Eastbourne
The gospel radio programme on local university radio is a work which Stephen Baker has embarked on. This is a one-hour programme on Mondays from 19:00. People can access the programme via the Internet at www.radiohope.co.uk (The Living Hope Show), or local people can access the programme via the radio on MW 1350. Please continue to pray for this potentially fruitful means of outreach. Stephen readily admits to being a complete amateur at this type of outreach, and needs lots of prayer and patience as he tries to get it right. ‘There have been lots of hiccups over the weeks and learning to keep things short and snappy so that our audience will keep tuned in is a challenge’. The University is not very helpful when it comes to listener statistics but other similar radio stations have a listening audience of over 20,000. People are listening and we will leave ‘how many’ in the Lord’s hands, and pray for fruit in due season. Please pray for Ernie, Kazia, Gary and Dean who have all been involved in helping get the radio work off the ground – these people are unbelievers; please pray that their exposure to what is being done might speak to them.
The small assembly in Salisbury (only four in fellowship), had a week working with local schools during which over 1,500 children heard the gospel.
At the end of 2012, after much prayer and discussion, the assembly at Gorey recognized elders for the very first time. It was encouraging to see how seriously the young believers took this task. God worked in very real and powerful ways as they addressed this crucial issue, and it was a thrill to see the oneness of mind among the Christians in acknowledging three men to take up this work. The task these men face is huge. Pray that they would have an ever closer walk with the Lord, and thus know the wisdom, grace, love, and courage they will need for this task.
The past few months have seen increased spiritual maturity in many of the believers. One of the greatest proofs of this maturing being the obvious love and care demonstrated for each other. As they have endeavoured to keep centred on Christ and His word a beautiful sense of family has blossomed. As this young church grows they are increasingly under pressure for space in their current premises. They have been trying to find a new place to rent but, so far, been unable to find anything suitable. Please pray that the Lord would make their next move very clear.
The work among the children and young people has also been encouraging. Those attending the youth club have been challenged by the claims of the gospel on their lives. The Sunday School is having a positive impact in the lives of the children belonging to the assembly. The Schools’ work, which has lain dormant for almost 2 years, has suddenly sprung to life again in recent months. A school principal asked if Michael McKillen would come and teach the Bible over six one-hour lessons. Whilst he was doing this, the teacher recommended the lessons to another local school. As a result Michael was able to teach in that school for the very first time. A third school has now also taken this on. All the classes have responded enthusiastically to the teaching. Most interestingly, one principal, who is involved in running the local Catholic parish youth group, has asked if Michael would come and teach the young people in that group. This has been provisionally arranged for September and is a potentially massive opening for the gospel. Please pray for blessing and for wisdom in handling this opportunity.
As noted in our last edition, one of the first events after the assembly at Newcastle West moved into their new building was the baptism of Gerry and Nadina McCall. It is a thrill to report that on May 19th Nadina’s mother, Phil, was saved. It is truly exciting to see the Lord working in this family. Furthermore, one day a few weeks ago a woman showed up at the hall to find out more; she had seen the story the local paper had run on the meeting. Simone came out to the meeting that Thursday night and has kept coming. A Bible study was started with her, and, over the weeks, she came out of the spiritual fog, and is now saved and baptized. Simone brought her neighbour, Grace, for the baptism. Grace enjoyed her time and said she wanted to come out to the meetings with Simone. Please pray that this will be the means of this lady’s salvation. Pray also for Simone’s two children, that they too will come to know the Saviour.
At Easter, the assembly at Port Elizabeth ran a bookstall at their four-day Easter conference. This was the first time in twenty years that this had been offered in Port Elizabeth, and the interest and uptake was most encouraging. They sold out of many basic and fundamental books, as well as seeing a good interest in study Bibles. There are quite a few younger believers in the Eastern Cape with an appetite for the word of God, and many hours were spent in discussion in homes after the formal meetings were ended each day.
The assembly in Belhar, Mitchell’s Plain, have recently conducted a series of meetings with David McKillen on, ‘The Foundation of the Church’. This included positive teaching to counter the massive influence of Pentecostal and extreme charismatic error which abounds in the area. Three Saturday ‘Study Days’ were also convened in order to help younger believers in how to study, and what materials to use. The assembly in Belhar is the youngest in the Province, established from outreach work and cottage meetings in the north of the Mitchell’s Plain area. It is a little more than ten years old. There are only two more senior brothers and some of the elders are younger men. These saints really feel their need of support and, from a small beginning, the interest in the ministry and teaching grew nightly and the hall filled. Six other assemblies supported the Study Days with their young people.
Samuel Davidson accompanied by two local brethren, Jerson and Rosinor, undertook a week’s visit to the city of Macapá, which is about a 28-hour boat journey down river in the neighbouring state of Amapá. This is a small assembly, which was formed about three years ago. They are seeking to follow New Testament principles, and faithfully continue to preach the gospel. They are in the final stages of constructing a new gospel hall in a poor district of the city. A paralyzed man, Sr. Osvaldo, who was saved some time ago, was recently baptized, and is now in very happy fellowship.
The assemblies in the Santarém region carry on steadily in their gospel witness, and there has been a little fruit seen this year. One special encouragement has been that a number of professing believers, who have been contacted through the bookshop, are now meeting with the Santarém assemblies. Although not yet in fellowship, because of family problems, they nevertheless show great joy in having found what they had been seeking for. Please pray for Sr. Afonso, Sr. Junior and their families.
From the Logos School, Gary Love writes, ‘Forty years after the Turkish invasion, Cyprus is again in the spotlight as it struggles with its huge financial debt. Many believers have been in contact with us, concerned for the school’s wellbeing and wondering how the situation is affecting the Lord’s work through the Logos School; we appreciate their concern. Although we were initially told that schools would be exempt from a tax cut, over the weekend of 21st April this decision was reversed.
Many Cypriots have suffered heavy financial losses due to bank closures; there are individuals and businesses that have lost millions. Property prices are expected to fall, but at the moment all valuation of property, whether land or buildings, has been suspended. Clearly, we must wait until the market settles before we can move forward with the possible erection of new school buildings.
It will be over the next few months and years that the impact of the proposed financial changes will begin to show. The economy of Cyprus is expected to contract by over 10% in the next year. Unemployment, already at 15%, may double as a result. Unemployment benefit only lasts for about 7 months. Many families will begin to struggle to pay bills, including school fees. Please pray for wisdom as we attempt to discern genuine cases of need.
Many of our students now see the Logos School as a place of security and peace, coming from a home where one parent may already be unemployed, while the other knows that there is every likelihood that he or she, too, will soon be out of work. Cyprus needs your prayers.
On a more cheerful note, last week we were delighted to hear of a young man in the school giving his life to the Lord. Eric is fifteen, and in Grade 10. He is a Cypriot and has been in Logos since Kindergarten. This year he has been showing a particular interest in extracurricular clubs and activities, and many of the teachers had been praying for him, as he seemed to be ‘not far from the kingdom”’
In their free time, some of our female teachers continue to work among the girls, many of whom are Muslim. The girls’ parents allow them to attend ‘out of school’ meetings so long as there are no males present! A little while ago, a Friday evening and Saturday morning were given to Bible study and discussion, and several girls had honest and encouraging chats with their teachers. Remember, in particular, Anna and Neneh who both said they would like to be saved, but have not yet taken the step of faith.
Pray for a Lebanese boy whose parents are divorced. Over the past two years he has longed to see his father who lives in Lebanon. All his father’s promises to visit him have been broken. Recently, during an RE lesson, he said, ‘In my religion (Islam) we believe that Jesus was a prophet, but I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Saviour of the world!’
Remember an Italian-French girl who came to Cyprus specifically to attend Logos School, encouraged to do so by the daughter of one of our teachers. She was saved in Romania, and has a bright testimony among her peers. She is earnestly seeking the salvation of her mother and father. Her father is now threatening to send her to a non-religious school in France because, he says, she is being brainwashed at Logos.
Pray for a Russian student whose father was diagnosed with inoperable stomach cancer in Moscow, and is now being given chemotherapy in Israel. Please pray for his salvation as an ex-teacher of Logos school witnesses to him!’
Nicu and Lavinia live in the village of Gura Raului with their two children Mihiala and Nicusor. Nicu comes from a family of fifteen brothers and sisters, who are interspersed throughout the gypsy community in the village.
Some months ago Nicu lost his job as a refuse collector; he is an alcoholic and some drink-related incident led to his expulsion from work. This was a terrible blow and has resulted in additional hardship for the family. The winter months were very difficult for them – living off meagre benefits, Nicu struggling with his drink problem, hungry children, and much stress.
Jonathan Kelso took Nicu into Sibiu in search of work, but it came to nothing. Things were getting desperate for the family. Nicu managed to get occasional work in the forest, cutting wood, but he broke his collar bone and was unable to work for weeks. Lavinia decided she must do something, so she went to Sibiu to find work and, after making a few enquires, Lavinia was told she could begin work the next day as a cleaner at the station. It seemed like good news, but, after working long hours for two months or so, it became evident that most of her monthly wage was being ‘eaten’ up in bus fares to and from Gura Raului, and she was no better off. Lavinia was suffering every day from extreme headaches and finally she ended up sick.
Nicu recovered enough from his shoulder injury to go back to occasional work in the forest, but soon after – more problems! Jonathan received a phone call from Nicu’s mother-in-law, Floarea, reporting that he had fallen in the forest, and his hand had been badly cut by the chainsaw he was using. Going as quickly as was possible to their home, with the first aid kit and not knowing what to expect, Jonathan discovered that the damage to his right hand was severe, and he was losing quite a lot of blood. It didn’t help matters that there was also a fair amount of alcohol in his system. For the next two weeks, Nicu’s injury was attended to; applying new dressings and bandages regularly. It was clear that Nicu was affected by the care shown and, one day, he made it known that he wanted to be saved. It was a joy to hear this young man ask God for forgiveness and for salvation, and that God would also save his family.
Becoming a Christian was a very courageous step for Nicu and it was clear that he would require much support and prayer along the way. Lavinia was sympathetic to the gospel, but, at this stage, she was not prepared to take the step of faith required. Nicu had prayed for her; was God going to answer this man’s cry? He so much needed her for support, but her decision had to be very personal.
At the end of May, Lavinia waited after the morning meeting finished. She spoke with Ruth and made her intentions clear – she wanted to be saved! Ruth brought her back home and read and discussed the important issues regarding salvation, and, in a simple prayer, Lavinia asked the Lord to save her.