Reports Section - Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
“Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” “Who is my neighbour?”
Have you ever stood outside your local school as the children go home and wondered how many of them know anything of the Saviour’s concern for them? Or, when visiting the local shopping centre, have you considered the latter end of the crowds all around you? For these are our neighbours, and our Master has so arranged our lives that we find ourselves among them. Therefore we should seek to fulfil His purpose and minister to their spiritual needs.
Through many doors invitations are being put for a free Bible study course - but it is a course of error. On the street corner the literature of another false cult is being sold. Where are the heralds of the truth of the Gospel?
A report from one mobile unit states that the vehicle was unable to go out on many occasions owing to the lack of workers. Even when this was possible the team often numbered only two or three. The homecall of ageing brethren appears to be leaving great gaps in the ranks of those working in the open-air, and this should not be. We are debtors to make known the Gospel, and will soon have to give account as to how we have discharged our debt.
We do not often have news from this county and it is especially encouraging to tell of a new work at Wantage, a small but expanding market town some fifteen miles south of Oxford.
A few believers meet in the home of one of their number both to remember their Lord and also to carry on a Gospel work among young and old, blessing having been seen in both spheres. One lad has been baptised and his mother saved. Several teenagers have come not only to the Gospel meetings but also to special ministry meetings held from time to time on Saturday evenings. A recent visit by B. Sutton gave much encouragement.
As we rejoice in the setting up of such a testimony our thoughts must surely go to the many towns in Berkshire and other counties which are still waiting for the Lord’s people to bring the Gospel to them in all its fullness. What is our responsibility in this?
We must apologise for an error in the last issue where we placed Yeovil in Dorset.
Although believers are not to give special attention themselves to days and seasons it is foolish to ignore the opportunities such occasions give for reaching the unsaved. Of the many special efforts made last Christmas Day we would mention that at Somerton, Somerset. To the joy of all, widespread personal invitations resulted in the hall being full as the simple story of the coming of the Saviour was told forth. Many who came had never been in the hall before, the greater part being unconverted; another special feature was the number of men present.
This is a town which has expanded greatly in recent years but, while other quarters of the area had assembly testimonies such was not the case in the north-west. Here a Sunday School had been carried on in the home of believers supported by the Curzon Street assembly but as the older children grew up and some were converted there was great difficulty in meeting their spiritual needs. This led to a growing concern among families living in the area that a local testimony should be established.
It proved possible to rent the Memorial Hall, Park Lane, Allestree, where the believers first remembered their Lord in the way that He desires last June. A Sunday School was then started, in addition to the one in the home, and subsequently a Gospel work commenced. The two schools now number some sixty scholars.
The believers are exploring the possible purchase of a site on which to erect a hall but, as is often the case, suitable sites are both scarce and expensive.
Enniskillen is the county town of Co. Fermanagh and here the assembly has grown a good deal of late years. A special effort in the Gospel was conducted by A. Lyttle and J. Brown, the latter recently commended from Cookstown. Numbers were encouraging including a good proportion of unsaved who showed an interest, and a few of these made a profession of salvation.
In Co. Tyrone R. Jordan had seven weeks of Gospel meetings in the Aughavey district, using a converted Nissen hut for a hall. The local folk came in well and some professed salvation.
The meetings mentioned in the last issue taken by R. Beattie and S. Lewis continued to be well attended yet there was no visible result. Such country districts have especial need of our prayers.
A portable hall was erected by J. Martin on the outskirts of Dromore, Co. Down, where there is a strong assembly. A long spell of meetings produced large attendances being well supported by believers from around, and the Lord was pleased to give encouragement in the salvation of a number.
The use of the Orange Hall at Glebe, near the village of Ahoghill, Co. Antrim, has been willingly granted time and again over the years for Gospel work, and just recently another such effort was conducted in this fine hall by T. McKelvey and J. G. Hutchinson. The hall was filled nightly, good numbers attending from the surrounding farming district. As the meetings continued for eight weeks there was rejoicing as souls professed to be saved and there were some interesting cases of conversion. Following this campaign the evangelists spent a week in the Gospel Hall at nearby Ballybollan with a view to helping and encouraging the believers.
The New Year season was a time of spiritual refreshing and challenge to the believers as they listened to the ministry of the Word by R. Walker. During his stay of a week he was also able to visit many of the Lord’s people who were unable either by sickness or isolation to get to the meetings.
In the island of Bressay lying just across the harbour from Lerwick, the witness begun in December 1965 has gone on consistently each fortnight with an eight o’clock meeting.
H. Burness and S. Stewart spent four weeks during the winter with the children at Buckie, Banffshire. Numbers were good and there were some who professed faith in the Saviour. During the rest of the winter they, together with J. Gordan, have been seeking to reach the country districts. At Craigellechie the response was good considering that it is only a village, and on parents’ night some sixty gathered.
At Keith interest grew slowly probably because the weather was extremely poor. In many of these places there were once assembly gatherings which are now long gone. The prayer of many believers is that as the witness goes forth to young and old both indoors and in the open-air the light may be rekindled in many such spots.
Following the Gospel effort in Loan Hall, Stevenston, mentioned in the last issue when over twenty professed conversion, at least a dozen have been baptised and added to the assembly. Most of those reached were young folk in their teens, among them some from Christian homes who had reached the stage of resenting the Gospel. Also worthy of remark was the number of young men concerned.
A second baptism has taken place in the new hall at Crosshouse, when the large number of villagers who still attend the Gospel meeting had the subject of baptism explained within the Gospel context. The Sunday School and Bible Class have already doubled in numbers now totalling some two hundred.
For five weeks at the end of last year J. Aitken told forth the Gospel in Stonehouse. Unsaved were present from the first night and in all four spoke of being saved.
D. Craig spent two weeks in Forgewood Hall, Motherwell, telling the good news of salvation, towards the year end. Every house in the district was visited and many local residents came to hear the message as a result, some hearing the Gospel for the first time. The believers were much encouraged as one girl professed salvation and was followed by her younger sister.
The level of our worship as we gather to remember our Lord depends upon our personal appreciation of Him. Meditation upon the opening chapters of Leviticus where the offerings are brought before us is a sure way of increasing our knowledge of Him. Following the New Year conference in Dunnikier Hall, Kirkcaldy, A. Leckie continued for a week dealing with the sweet savour offerings. The meetings were well attended and the ministry appreciated.