Sandy Jack, Eastbourne
Since January of this year, the assembly in Kirkby-in-Ashfield has been involved in a town centre outreach in the Idlewells Shopping Centre in Sutton-in-Ashfield, a neighbouring town. Permission was given to set up a table in the Centre from which they could give out free gospel literature. The table is in a great position, next to the coffee shop, and sees regular footfall.
The believers have been very encouraged by the overall response with many useful contacts made. There have been a number of people who have been along to the Gospel Hall since – some on an occasional basis and some regularly. Apart from conversations with those needing the gospel, a number of believers have also been spoken to, and a few have taken the opportunity to attend Bible teaching at the Hall.
Please pray that permission might continue to be granted for this outreach.
At the end of April and with the help of Jonathan Black of London, the assembly was given the opportunity to set up a Bible Exhibition in one of the schools in the town of Kirkby. They were given sole use of a sports hall, which offered ample space and a range of facilities. During the course of four days, parents, governors, and every pupil in the school came through the exhibition – over 500 people. Two other schools also sent pupils. Although the response from parents was minimal, there was very positive feedback from the pupils and teachers, ranging from the Foundation classes through to Year 6. The assembly is are hoping to follow up the head teacher’s invitation to visit the school for other activities, personnel permitting!
Please pray for continuing access to this and other schools to take the message of the Bible to a rising generation.
The football match outreach work which Crete Gospel Hall, Liverpool, runs when Liverpool Football Club (LFC) play at home, has been very encouraging during this winter season. Thousands of leaflets are handed out on a match day and many conversations take place over a cup of tea or coffee with fans. Some come back each week which makes it easier to develop contacts. The tracts which have been written by local believers on a LFC theme attract a lot of attention. We are regularly asked for supplies by believers so that they can hand them out when they come across LFC fans. This year the tract had the title, ‘Could this be the year?’ This was warmly welcomed by the fans, and many hoped that this would the case. However, they discovered that fulfilled dreams cannot be certain, despite their faith in the team. We trust that they will discover that faith in Christ has a guaranteed result! The offer of a free bible, by texting the word ‘BIBLE’, which is on the back of each leaflet, has resulted in over twenty Bibles being sent out this year so far.
A team of believers, Andy Little, ‘JP’, Geoff Cox, Trevor Howard and Clive Williams attended the Hereford Fair to preach the gospel and although the weather was very unsettled, this didn’t hinder any of the activities over the three days.
On arrival, a man called Reg was waiting for them at the preaching position. On speaking with him, it was discovered he has been coming there to listen for over twenty years! Sadly, Reg seems no nearer to salvation now than he was when he first came. His health is deteriorating so he was urged to trust the Saviour.
At last year’s Fair, Andy had a very interesting conversation with Luis, who was definitely searching. This year Luis returned to find Andy, and to tell him that since last year he has become a Christian and was baptized last Sunday; he even showed some photos of his baptism. Luis kept speaking about the Lord, and His grace to him.
Dan, a young man, came up and asked Geoff a question about the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality. It was not a threatening question, but came from a real interest. Geoff said that the Bible standard was one man, one woman, and that everything outside that was wrong. They had a lovely, gentle, and friendly conversation. He asked how God forgives, and Geoff shared the gospel; he then said that forgiveness was one thing, but could God change lives. They looked at 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 9-11, and how God had changed many; he listened well as Geoff told him the problem was our sinful hearts which only God could forgive. At the end, he took an Ultimate Questions booklet.
A group of four people listened to Clive for a while. Three of them walked off, but the fourth, Terry, stayed, and Geoff spoke with him. He said that there was no proof that Jesus existed, which Geoff dealt with. Then, he asked why Jesus didn’t protect April Jones, the young girl who was murdered recently in Wales. Geoff tried to deal with this sympathetically, saying that we cannot always understand these things but that God allows such things and always brings good out of them. Geoff reminded him that God had to watch His own Son die on the cross. Then, he moved on to the fact that if God were to stop all wrong he would have to turn all of us into robots. Geoff shared the gospel and, at that point, one of the three, an older man, came back and listened. Eventually, Terry accepted a couple of leaflets.
Adam listened to the preaching, and Andy then spoke to him. He said that he had been a bad lad growing up, but had changed, and was now reading his Bible and prayed. Adam is now a dad and hopes that his son will have respect for God. Andy was able to share the gospel, and speak about knowing the one we pray to, and enjoying a relationship with Him rather than just asking Him for His help when we are in trouble. He seemed to relate to this, and said that he would like to know God. Andy encouraged him to keep reading his Bible, and gave him a booklet which he was pleased to receive. Cain was a young lad on his bike who listened to Clive. He said that he ‘believed in Jesus’ and when JP asked him what that meant, he was very vague. After a conversation about Hebrews chapter 2 verse 3, Cain accepted a John’s Gospel.
There were many conversations with groups of young people, some spoke with the team several times as they passed by. Several of these young people confessed that they had never heard this message of the gospel before, and, thankfully, many of these young people took literature away promising to read it.
At the Hereford town centre open-air meeting, Sam stopped, and listened for quite a time. Trevor spoke to him afterwards, and a long conversation followed. Sam proved to be very interested in the message of the Bible, and was pleased to have his many questions answered. He was pleased to receive literature at the end of the conversation. During the two hours of witnessing, it was encouraging to see the number of passing showmen, from the near-by fair, who were prepared to come up and speak with Clive, whom they recognized from other fairs.
Helen listened for some time, and, when engaged in conversation, she said that she ‘believed all these things’. Talking to her, it was obvious that she didn’t believe such things and is a spiritualist. She kept referring to the angels and karma. Hard going, but opportunity was given to share the gospel!
The assembly at Mill Lane, Cheshunt held their annual Holiday Bible Club during the February half-term and, again, it proved to be a very happy and profitable time with the children. The theme this year was some of ‘God’s Wonderful Sevens’: Creation, Jericho, Naaman, seven loaves, and the seventh hour. The children soon got into the swing of the talks, and learned and contributed well. As always, the learning of the memory verses, and completing the worksheets, was excellent. Since the Holiday Bible Club, the assembly has seen new children coming to Sunday school, although, sadly, some of the others have not been as regular as they were.
During March, David Tinkler spent a week with the believers at Ely, Cambridgeshire, and visited most of the Infant/Junior schools in the city and surrounding villages. It is always a busy but very enjoyable week, with great fellowship and good opportunities to speak of the Lord.
The assembly at Gardenstown has been encouraged with the profession of faith of a young man, who had been attending the gospel meeting for over a year. Please pray that his conversion will cause others in this village, his friends and family, some of who have been coming to the gospel meetings, to consider their own need of the Saviour.
The assembly in Carmarthen ran a Holiday Bible Club during the February half-term. A good number of children came along. The assembly has not had a Sunday School for many years, but one has now been started. Some of those children who attended the Bible Club come along, and the assembly is thrilled to see a weekly children’s work recommence. Some children have even shown an interest in going to Camp this summer. A youth evening has been running for a year or so now, once a fortnight on a Friday. Up to thirty attend this youth night. The young men in fellowship have also recently agreed to use the other Friday evenings in the month to tract towns and villages around Carmarthen. On one of these Fridays recently, every house in the town of Whitland was leafleted with a gospel tract and an invitation to the gospel meeting in Carmarthen. With so many youngsters attending, the assembly is drawing up plans to renovate the hall. It is thrilling to go to Saturday night meetings and conferences in the area and find large numbers of teenagers attending, sometimes more youngsters under thirty years of age than ‘oldsters’ over thirty! It has been a real encouragement, too, to hear young men, recently-baptized, taking part in morning-meeting worship, and beginning to preach the gospel with depth and understanding. The Lord has blessed, with much encouragement in the assemblies in this part of West Wales. Please pray that nothing comes in to hinder this work. There are several hard-working shepherds and gifted Bible teachers in the assemblies in this area who are teaching and shepherding the youngsters in their assemblies and the results are plain to see.
In relation to the work in Tenby, Ian and Rebecca Rees write: ‘Various key moments in our witness at the Pulpit in Tenby have been passing. This Easter holiday we held our first Holiday Bible Club. Known as the FROG CLUB, (Fully Rely On God) we were able to use the basement of Deer Park Baptist Church for four mornings leading up to Good Friday. Although we did not have huge numbers attending, despite having distributed 500 leaflets to the Primary Schools in Tenby, we did have about 10 children there every day, and we have been told that is a good response from Tenby families! Ian goes into Tenby Junior School to take school assemblies twice a month, as well as doing Welsh reading with the children, and he is starting a weekly Bible Club in this school during Thursday lunchtimes. It may be that the FROG club, and this weekly Bible Club, will result in the start of a weekly children’s meeting in Tenby. The facilities at the Baptist Church were second to none, and they have very kindly offered us their basement for youth work whenever we need it, ‘no strings attached’. The building is a beautiful grade 2 listed building in the centre of Tenby, and seats several hundred people. There are about twenty-three left in membership, and they are more than willing for us to use their facilities as they have not used them for some time now. We are grateful to them, and to the Lord, for their kindness. Several of them come to “The Pulpit” every Sunday evening’.
‘The need for our own premises is becoming more evident as we extend the work in Tenby. We were unable to use the community centre for the FROG club, as it is used for judo, karate, keep fit, dog training, etc, during the day. There is an old chapel up for sale in Tenby, fully-renovated with superb kitchen, toilets, etc, but it is very pricey. The biggest problem in Tenby is that it is a very small, historic town, and planning permission and land to build a hall would be very difficult to get. Some have suggested buying an old shop and doing it up, but that would need change of use, which is not always easy to get either. We know the Lord is in these things, and if we get the right guidance from Him everything will fall into place. We have booked the community centre for evening meetings on Thursdays starting in the first week of June this year. We have also asked to use the centre from 5.00 pm on the first Sunday of the month to arrange a tea followed by the meeting at 6.30pm. We were thrilled at the last tea when a friend of one of our regulars attended for the first time, remained for the meeting, and asked me several questions afterwards. His lady friend, who invited him, thought it a wonderful answer to prayer that he came to tea, let alone stay to the meeting. Deer Park Baptist church has again offered us their basement and the contents of two huge walk-in cupboards full of equipment for a mother and toddlers group and a youth evening. Rebecca would love to start a mother and toddler group with the help of Alwina, a lovely Christian mum. Alwina and her husband, Wiyu, recently left membership of the Baptist church in Tenby, and are seeking fellowship with the Blue Street assembly, Carmarthen, with a view to helping us start an assembly in Tenby, DV. They are a big encouragement to us. We have also thought about starting a coffee morning in Tenby, as well as a regular book-stand. It would be good for us to have premises of our own from which to run these things. Having said that, not having our own premises, has advantages too. We have no heavy overheads, and people feel less threatened coming in to a community centre for meetings than they would if we had our own hall. The Lord knows, but do please pray with us that we might know how to proceed wisely’.
Ian also continues bi-weekly visits to Aberystwyth on Monday evenings during term times. They have been going through Ezra/Nehemiah/Haggai/Zechariah with a small group of students there.
Jabe Nicholson writes, ‘We have just returned from Day 2 involved in tornado relief in Louisville, MS, thirty miles southeast of our home. In the area where we we re working both days (each day with a team of college students who attend our Bible study) the devastation was almost complete. The EF4 tornado was traveling in excess of 170 miles per hour as it swept through the neighbourhood’. ‘The house where we worked yesterday was completely removed from its concrete base, with the exception of a few bricks at the bottom of the fireplace. We spent the day cutting up trees, removing branches, sorting through household items (almost all of it ruined), and gathering out items like metal to be salvaged. When we left, each family received a Bible with the names of the workers in the front. We also left them our rakes, shovels, etc’. ‘Many of the people are quite traumatized, as you can imagine. I talked with a teacher I knew from one of the schools I visit with supplies. Her aunt worked in a daycare centre in Louisvillle. All the children had been picked up but one. When the storm hit, she protected the child with her body. She was killed but the child’s life was saved. A graphic picture of Another who saved others, though He did not save Himself’.
‘We were able to contact the main distribution centre there on the first day, and get their list of needed items. I took the team to Walmart and filled the truck with newborn diapers/nappies, bread, peanut butter, bleach, laundry powder, children’s socks and underwear, and many other items. The centre was very grateful and surprised when they asked who was donating it. “It’s from the Lord”, I said. “You’re the first person so far that just gave the Lord the honour”, the supervisor replied. But I know there are many of God’s dear people here, giving of their time, energy, and material help who would want the Lord to have the glory, too’. ‘No atheist organizations in sight for some reason. Mostly, it is the people of God who are cleaning up, feeding the workers and the homeless, and caring for the ones who have lost so much. Interestingly, the owners of the place where we worked today told us they were believers, but that this experience, especially the love of the saints in helping them, had moved them to “recommit their lives to the Lord”. In the coming weeks, I hope to make regular contact with the distribution centres in each town hit by the worst of the storms. That way I can just bring the things they need at that time. Every day is a different shopping list. Generally, this also gives me the privilege of leaving “Hope in the Storms of Life” CDs to be distributed to the folks in need’.
Timothy and Jenna Stevenson write, ‘We had five weeks of gospel meetings at the beginning of the year in Xalapa city centre. We were encouraged to see good interest, as we counted more than thirty people attending the hall for the first time. God drew near and blessed His word, not only to sinners, but to others obtaining assurance of salvation. We recently baptized a twenty-three-year-old man, in a lagoon outside the city. He trusted Christ on the last day of 2013 during our visit to the conference in Ciudad del Carmen, where David and Penelope Alves serve the Lord. We continue with weekly open-air meetings in three different locations in Xalapa, and the large town of Coatepec. We enjoy our weekly visits to an Alcoholics Anonymous centre each Tuesday, and each Friday in Coatepec when many listen attentively to the gospel. Pray for Jonathan, a recovering alcoholic, who asked me this week how he could be saved. We also continue, when possible, to visit the towns of San Juan and Actopan. Yesterday, we visited the government offices in Xalapa to ask permission to preach in Parque Juarez, in the city centre. A recent ban prohibits any kind of religious activities, but we may obtain special permission. Pray that the Lord’s will may be done, as we know that even the king’s heart is in His hand’.