Sandy Jack, Eastbourne
Stephen Baker has been working with the assembly in Haydock. This has involved door-to-door visits followed by five nights of gospel meetings. This is a small and struggling assembly and they would appreciate your prayers.
The small assemblies in Ellesmere Port and in Heswall have also had gospel meetings and Stephen has visited door-to-door as well. It was really hard to get people to listen to the gospel, both when visiting around the doors and in the halls. A couple of people came into the meetings in Ellesmere Port, but no one came into the meetings in Heswall. All of the meetings were well supported by believers and a couple of unsaved people were brought along from other areas. Since the beginning of the year Stephen has had the opportunity to publish a regular column in two local community newspapers/magazines in Heswall and West Kirkby. The total readership is just short of 30,000 so this has proved to be a great opportunity to spread the gospel.
The assembly at Mill Lane Gospel Hall, Cheshunt, held their February half-term Holiday Bible Club and had a happy time with over thirty children attending. Lessons were drawn from the life of Joseph.
A week of gospel activity in March at Ely with David Tinkler gave the opportunity of visiting nearly all the junior schools in the city and in the local villages, including a new opportunity to visit a school whose new head had been a deputy at a previously visited school. He asked that his new school might be included in the schedule.
The assembly in Gorey are thankful for the blessings of the past few months. They commenced a new ‘Christianity Explored’ study in January and have been encouraged by the attendance which has included a few new contacts. Some have continued on with a further study on Tuesday nights, perhaps the biggest encouragement was the husband of one of the sisters in fellowship. This was the first time he had ever come to a study. He seems aware of his need of Christ but has yet to profess faith. It would be a marvellous blessing to him, his family, and the assembly if he got saved. Another encouraging aspect of these studies was the attendance of three believers who had been away from fellowship. One of them has been restored. Please pray that his wife and the other brother will soon follow.
Forty-one young people attended the Easter Bible Camp in April and Andrew Thompson delivered four challenging messages from the life of Jonah. Many positive conversations were had. There is so much potential with this group – pray that the Lord would move among them powerfully.
Recently, a local primary school invited Michael McKillen to teach through the Bible. After teaching about the Ten Commandments it was moving to hear one student ask, ’Does that mean that we’re not all going to heaven?’ How good it was to speak about God’s provision for our sin.
Bearing in mind recent tragic events in Nepal, Charles Davidson, who has visited the country, writes, ‘Our two-day trip to Kathmandu was a blessing for more than one reason. A dozen believers had come to receive us at the airport. Most of them were elders from the assemblies in the Kathmandu valley. There are five assemblies in the valley; Kathmandu, Kapan, Machhegaon, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur. We had a profitable conversation over dinner and we went to Lalitpur to stay with brother Raj and his family’.
‘The next day, we had a plan to visit all the five assembly halls. Some Korean believers from the US were conducting training on coping with disaster in all of the assemblies. Our visit was a bit of a distraction, but they graciously managed to fit us in. Brother Maheshwar Hamal volunteered to give his twenty-nine year old car, which had undergone a major repair and was taken out of the workshop just the same day. It was noisy, but somehow managed to pull through the day. Brother Heerakazi, leaving his ailing father at home, came with us as our driver. Two brothers, Ram Saran and Dinesh patiently accompanied us throughout the whole day. Dinesh had to leave the construction work of his makeshift house that he is building which is very, very urgent’.
‘Machhegaon Assembly is perhaps the biggest assembly in Kathmandu in terms of number of believers in fellowship and the size of the hall. Over 140 people gather in the weekly meetings. Brethren Peter and Bir Bahadur are two elders in the assembly. There are some major cracks in the building. Che, a Korean missionary who is in fellowship there, said that one of the main pillars has to be re-erected, and engineers from Nepal and Korea inspected the building separately and have given the go-ahead for repair work. They want to start the reconstruction as soon as the government allows. At least twenty-nine believing families are living in tents as their houses are damaged’.
‘Kathmandu Assembly is the oldest assembly in the capital city of Nepal. Brother Lee, a missionary from Korea, came with his wife Lee Yun Sook and pioneered the work in Kathmandu. The Lord blessed their labour and that of other brethren. Some years later brother Choi Guen Min, another missionary from Korea, came with his family to join the mission. While Lee went back to Korea last year after almost two decades of ministry in Kathmandu, Che plans to stay a bit longer. The assembly hall is fine. Around eighty people gather in the hall for weekly meetings’.
‘Kapan Assembly. Brother Dhruba, who has been serving the Lord with his wife Kim, is in fellowship in this assembly. The rented building is not in very good shape. While Dhruba was showing us the hall, his wife was anxiously going up and down the stairs telling us to cut short our inspection. Three believing families who were living in the top floor of the same building have vacated their rooms. The assembly is meeting in a tent on Dhruba’s property, where they want to construct a hall later. A few metres away, a seven-storey building was razed to the ground, with a church meeting going on and at least twenty-six believers were killed. Quite a few buildings have been damaged in this area, a few of them have been reduced to rubble. That explains the believers’ nervousness’.
‘Bhaktapur Assembly. Bhaktapur is the smallest district in Nepal, and located within the Kathmandu valley. Brother Anand Lepcha, a commended worker from Lalitpur Assembly, has been labouring in this assembly. It is the youngest and, therefore, the smallest assembly in the valley. Their rented hall is perfectly fine. There are eighteen believers in fellowship, who started gathering eighteen months ago. The work is promising. Brother Anand has a sweet family’.
‘Lalitpur Assembly. We had the privilege of having fellowship with this vibrant assembly. Brethren Ram Saran, Dinesh, Maheshwar Hamal and Heerakazi are on the oversight. These brethren faithfully give believers rides back home after the meetings on their motorbikes. They have to make several trips. That is some zeal! Ram Saran has rented out his house to believers. His father’s house, where he was living, is badly damaged. He is living in a tent. He is a gem of a brother, blessed with a perpetual smile. He does not want to ask the believers to vacate his home. Dinesh was living in a rented apartment. He was asked to vacate the place at short notice as his landlord wanted to move in there after his own house was damaged. He is living temporarily in a store on his cousin’s housetop. He is busily constructing a makeshift house on his land. He runs a goldsmith store which has been closed for over a month now. Back in his old place, surrounded by Christian-hating relatives, life is difficult for him. Every house has engraved idols on either side of the main door’.
‘Raj, with his family, runs a boys’ hostel on the ground floor of the building. A sister in the assembly runs a girls’ hostel on the first floor. Most of the children are believers from different parts of Nepal. They are studying in various schools in Kathmandu. The boys are very well trained in various fields. They know haircutting, cobbling shoes and cooking. They are helping Dinesh in the construction and they seem amazingly efficient and skilled in bamboo work too. In our two-day stay, we hardly saw them sitting idle’.
‘The aftershocks are felt daily. The frequency is possibly on the wane – on an average two per day. The assemblies in Kathmandu are blessed with tremendous zeal and love for the Lord and His people. There is a wonderful unity among the local assemblies. Most of the elders are relatively young, but incredibly humble. It was a great learning experience for us. Dewas, my fellow-traveller to Kathmandu, is a new believer. He remarked, “Wow, these brethren are really special!” The fellowship is warm. Evangelistic passion is unmistakable. Little wonder there are now five assemblies in the valley after just eighteen years. The assemblies are involved in planting three assemblies outside Kathmandu. Nepal is hungry for the truth and these dear saints are racing against all odds to reach out to needy souls’.
During the month of February, Jack Hay visited Sri Lanka. Meetings were held in Colombo, Kuliyapitiya, Jaffna, and Vavuniya. A large conference was held at Thunavi Gospel Hall in Jaffna, where our brother taught lessons over four sessions from the life of Hezekiah. These studies were a great blessing to the believers. There has been much growth visible in Jaffna Assembly during the last two or three years. There are now several brothers that take an active part in the assembly. During the month of March, Bill Stevely visited and meetings were held in Valaichenai, Omadiyamadhu, Alamkulam, Vaddan, Soorainagar, Pinnaiyadi, Hatton, and Kuliyapitiya. Very helpful ministry was given at the conference in Valaichenai and a large number attended the gospel meeting in Hatton. Several homes of believers were also visited and encouraging ministry was given from the word of God.
In Matugama, there have been large numbers following the correspondence courses. Recently, some gospel meetings have been held in this area, which is two hours south of Colombo. The last gospel meeting held was attended by approximately 100 people. Please pray that this new work, which was started in the last few months, will see souls saved and a new area of witness established.
In Hatton, the gospel continues to be proclaimed and souls are being saved and coming into fellowship in the local assembly. Great progress has been seen in the children’s outreach work in this area, with several contacts being made through the nursery and the children’s clubs that are conducted there. Satan is very active in this area and a great effort is being made to stop the spread of the gospel. Recently, the assembly vehicle in Hatton was sabotaged while the meeting was in progress. After the meeting, when the elderly saints were being dropped home, it was discovered that the brakes had failed. God preserved the life of the saints and the vehicle was stopped safely. Later, the mechanic showed how the brakes had been tampered with. We would be grateful if you could pray for the protection of the saints, as the Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists are determined to stop the Lord’s work in this area.
The assembly in Giurgiu rented the Art Gallery in an excellent position in the town for two days in April. During the two days, over 350 people attended, of which at least 95% were unbelievers. The first day in particular, there were good numbers of young people. A lot of gospel literature and John’s Gospels were distributed. In the city of Iasi the Bible Exhibition was set up in a gospel hall and four very profitable days were spent with a Christian School [20 classes, 420 pupils]. It was also used in a large Shopping Mall for three days and forty-five believers from five assemblies were a great help. Over 1,500 people visited the Exhibition, including students from North African countries studying in Iasi. Many contacts were made and young assembly believers were greatly encouraged.
Gospel tent work commenced in April near the capital, Bucharest, in the village of Draganeasca and, despite some poor weather, fifty-five children attended the afternoon tent meeting and, during the weekend, over twenty unsaved adults heard the gospel clearly preached. Prayer is valued for the small assembly in Draganeasca and the ongoing work of the gospel.
In the County of Alba, eight nights of Bible studies were held with Paul Williams in the fairly new assembly at Rachita, two meetings with the Spring assembly, a youth conference in Salistea that was very well attended, with excellent interest in the word of God, and the opportunity to preach at baptisms in Câlnic assembly. At Câlnic, nine believers were baptized by immersion, including five young people from Câlnic, a believer from Miercurea Sibiului, and three believers from Dobârca. These three believers from Dobârca all heard the gospel for the first time in tent meetings in Dobârca during the last two summers, one of whom was saved last August in the tent.