Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
A. C. Hinton, Uxbridge
A Saviour God, who causes tidings of His mercy to be taken both to the sad and weary and to the scoffer and the scornful: who graciously answers the long-sustained prayers of His people: who cheers His servants with tidings, after many days, of blessing which has attended their labours: who, if allowed, will over-rule in the details of our service and the circumstances of our lives, such as a car breaking down to further His purposes in Hertfordshire, yea, even to the timing of the arrival of a doll in Africa - the God we know and love to serve. These reports furnish just a few examples of what He has been doing through some of His many servants: they are recorded for His praise.
The last two reports remind us that today the world, in miniature, is in our midst and that we need not leave these shores to enjoy the privilege of enabling those from afar to hear (or, at least, to read) in their own tongues the wonderful works of God.
‘All my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. And go, get thee to them . . . and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord God; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear’, Ezek. 3. 10-11.
Following a Tent Mission held last summer by R. J. Whittern at Flamstead End, Cheshunt, an assembly has been commenced there, meeting in the Community Centre on Sundays and for a Women’s Meeting, and in the homes of some of the believers for other meetings during the week.
For some time prior to the mission concern for the spiritual needs of this large area, where there was then no Gospel witness, had been felt by believers living there and a Gospel Meeting in one of their homes had been commenced in December, 1958. The need was made known to the evangelist whilst he was seeking guidance regarding sites for the summer work. The breakdown of his car at the close of a meeting elsewhere resulted in his spending the night at Cheshunt, instead of returning home as he had intended. Assuredly gathering that the Lord was ordering the way the opportunity was taken to look at possible sites and the tent meetings were commenced in July. Several adults and a few children professed to be saved and special prayer meetings were held regularly to seek guidance as to the commencement of a permanent work. Eventually application to use the Community Centre was made and ten minutes before the last meeting of the mission commenced permission was received, but with no guarantee of permanent use. During the following week a party for the children who had attended the tent meetings was given and the parents were invited later in the evening for showing of slides and a Gospel effort. This touched the hearts of those responsible for the hiring of the hall, and they returned the hiring charge and gave the assembly permission to use the hall at half the usual price.
A number of believers who were not previously in assembly fellowship have since been baptized and added to the company, which now exceeds thirty. A. C. H.
The sisters who maintain the Missionary Sewing Meeting at Holden Park Hall, Southborough, have completed over one thousand garments since the work was resumed in 1955, after being in abeyance for some years. They have been able each year to send an average of thirty parcels, weighing from eleven to twenty-two pounds each, to the Lord’s servants in the foreign field, and also several large cartons of used clothing to displaced persons in Europe. They have rejoiced to see the good hand of the Lord upon them in many ways, including guidance concerning the contents and dispatching of the parcels -even to the extent that two dolls recently arrived just as an African father had come asking if it were possible for one to be given to his little girl.
It is, of course, recognized that a similar activity is carried on by many assemblies but it is hoped that this report will encourage others to engage in this particular service for the Lord. A. C. H.
It is a common lament of Sunday School teachers today that things are not what once they were. The advent of television, with its monopolizing interest of the child mind, coupled with the indifference of so many parents has brought fresh difficulties to the teachers. To hear of an old-established Sunday School where the attendance has doubled in the course of a year is therefore very refreshing. Such has been the experience of the school at Gerston Hall, Paignton, and a fresh target has been set to be reached by Easter. A bus is chartered which tours outlying estates, eventually arriving with a load of boisterous children, who, although often severely taxing the patience of their teachers, provide splendid soil for the sowing of the good seed. Awards are offered to those who succeed in the task of recruiting their playmates and the additional expenditure incurred is esteemed of little concern when weighed against the potential harvest resulting from the sowing. A mission conducted by T. G. Moore, resulted in professions of conversion. He was very ill at the time but God gave His servant sufficient strength to preach.
A mission of ten days duration amongst children at Buller Road assembly, Exeter, led by Philip Widdison, also brought its encouragement to the local Christians in seeing many more boys and girls attending the services than had been present for many a day. Apart from two evenings when the weather was unusually stormy the attendance never fell below 100, the average being about 150. Three meetings were arranged for teenagers, about forty to fifty being present on each occasion. Attention was good in all the services and a keen spirit of competition existed, especially in memory text competitions and upon the importance of this feature great emphasis was laid. Flannelgraphs and object lessons helped to maintain the obvious enthusiasm of the young folk to the end. A number of professions of conversion were witnessed. J. MCE.
Two weeks’ Gospel Meetings were held by Jeffrey Harrison at Fforestfach, followed by a week for ministry. Some souls professed faith in the Lord and the believers were refreshed. The Saturday evening meetings there have shown a maintained interest, and the Lord’s people have profited much by the studies. Monthly rallies are also held on Saturday evenings, with encouraging interest, at George Street Hall, Swansea, and at Heol-y-gors.
The Treboeth assembly had a week’s Children’s Meetings with Hugh Thompson. Attendances throughout were good, excellent attention was given, and some of the children returned to say that they had received the Saviour.
At Tonypandy Ben Sutton was much cheered by the interest shown during a series of Gospel Meetings and by the conversion of two who attended. The changed life of one of these created interest and inquiry on the part of the young convert’s mother.
Cardiff. There were good attendances at the Annual New Year Meetings held at the Adamsdown Hall, when the Word was ministered by J. B. Hewitt, W. A. Norris and Frank Holmes. The last-named also had some meetings at Tavistock Street Hall, when the saints were refreshed.
The assembly at Fairwater has held a series of Gospel Meetings with the help of Ben Sutton. Strangers came under the sound of the Word and two women professed faith in the Lord, besides several young ones.
During a fortnight’s Gospel effort in Bethesda Hall, Rhiwbina, A. Leckie saw some very real cases of blessing through personal visitation. W. A. N.
Fairly good numbers attended six weeks’ Gospel Meetings held by W. Bunting and E. Fairfield in Wellington Street Hall, Ballymena. Some professed, and are showing signs of reality, including two who had not been in the habit of attending the hall previously.
Despite much door-to-door visitation, it was very difficult to get the people from the nearby housing estates along during a special effort by S. Thompson and Reg. Jordan in the new hall at Finaghy, Belfast. Nevertheless, some were saved and strangers heard the Gospel.
Our brethren have been cheered in hearing that several have been added to the little assembly at Ballycastle and two at Ballintoy as a result of meetings in the area last year.
One who appeared anxious and was spoken to many years ago professed faith in Christ during a short spell of meetings by T. McKelvey in the Gospel Hall at Larne. Two younger people also professed.
Some Gospel Meetings have been held by W. Nesbitt in the cathedral city of Armagh, where very much prejudice exists as to the Gospel and the assembly position. There was a fair response and a few professions of conversion.
Good interest was shown during a Gospel effort by J. G. Hutchinson at Portadown, where a new hall was recently erected. Many of the townspeople came in and a number, some of whom had been the subjects of many prayers, professed faith in Christ.
For some years a good Sunday School has been carried on in a hall at Drumnahaire, near the village of Loughbrickland, by brethren from the assemblies at Banbridge and Granshaw. Recently, J. Martin had ten weeks’ special Gospel Meetings there, accompanied for part of the time by J. Finegan. Good numbers attended, especially these who had a connection with the Sunday School work, and eight professed to have been saved. Some of these also had long been prayed for. J. S. W.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
The fact that no requests for literature were received by Fred Pontin during the autumn acts as a call to increased prayer. A few young Protestants have been doing Emmaus courses, of which over twelve are now available in the Republic. It is not proving easy to create an interest in this kind of study, but an endeavour is being made to make the courses more widely known.
A series of studies on the Parables, led by our brother in the Gospel Hall, Cork, has been well attended by young Christians. At present a study of the epistle to the Galatians is proving helpful.
Searching yet heartwarming ministry on the theme ‘Back to Bethel’ was given in Cork by Dr. George McDonald.
Bible readings continue fortnightly near Dunmanway, as do the open-air meetings on Wednesdays in Cork City.
H. Winfield Graham writes: I am seeking to help a young man (Roman Catholic) who heard our preaching at a fair. Later he heard the Gospel in the open-air in England,, while serving with the British Army. I am in doubt as to him being saved but he is a seeker and has suffered hardship for his reading of the Bible’. T. E. J. A.
NORTHERN SCOTLAND SHETLAND ISLANDS
The Gospel Campaign by John Burns in the isolated area of Sandwick, mentioned in the last issue., continued for three weeks and although there were no professions of conversion the meetings were of great spiritual profit, and a decided ‘furtherance of the gospel’. The prayerful interest and active co-operation of the small assembly in Hoswick meant much to our brother and was in a large measure responsible for the deep interest created in the district. Very stormy weather prevailed but the attendance at all meetings was very good and on the Sunday evenings companies of 200-300 gathered in the Carnegie Public Hall. Arrangements were made to pick up by bus those who had a distance to walk. The work of visitation played a prominent part in the campaign.
During visitation in a neighbouring district, the evangelist learned for the first time that a young married woman had been saved when he conducted meetings there six years before. J. H. Y. S.
For a number of years, Torry assembly has been responsible for two children’s meetings in new housing schemes. Recently, a special series of children’s services was conducted for the first time in each. In the Kirkhill district, Dan Cameron had an encouraging week in the school hall, where quite a number of children who had never attended before assembled. In the Kincorth district, also in a school, Robert R. Walker saw several children profess faith in Christ during a fortnight’s mission.
A series of addresses has been given by Harry Bell on 2 Corinthians in Fountain Hall. Despite a very severe storm during the first week, attendances were large and appreciative. c. R. T.; M. S. R. B.
Robert R. Walker had the privilege of conducting a three weeks’ Gospel Campaign in the Gospel Hall, Bowhill, where a small assembly witnesses in a fine new hall to a community of several thousand. In addition to the distribution of almost 2,500 handbills to homes and individuals, personal letters were sent out to parents and friends of many regular attendants at the children’s meetings. To the great encouragement of the workers, a man in his 50’s responded to this invitation on the very first night, and continued to attend regularly. Accepting Christ as Saviour he immediately owned Him as Lord, not only by the testimony of his lips but also of his life, the Lord enabling him to conquer the tobacco habit in which he had indulged for forty-five years. Towards the close of the campaign it was the evangelist’s joy to baptize this brother and also a teenage lad who professed to be saved on the first Sunday evening.
Concurrently with this effort, an attempt was made to further the work undertaken last summer by John Burns at Kinglassie. Interested individuals were visited and meetings held in a local hall. One woman professed faith in Christ and several others are concerned. A. T. C.
SOUTHERN SCOTLAND AYRSHIRE
A recent visit to Irvine by J. Anderson on a Sunday evening brought great joy when he compared it with a similar visit made twelve years ago. Nine brethren, a goodly proportion of them young, engaged in prayer in the half-hour preceding the Gospel Meeting and a number of unsaved people were present, including some ‘fished in’ off the street by an enthusiastic young brother. This was additional to a Gospel Meeting conducted in the Community Centre of the nearby village of Girdle Toll, which is normally attended by a score or so of unsaved villagers.
Conversions of individuals are reported from Dairy and New Cumnock.
The work amongst the children at Ebenezer Hall, Burnbank, is giving encouragement: a boy, aged 12, accepted Christ on the last Lord’s Day of 1959. As usual, there was a large gathering at the Sunday School Soiree when many parents heard some good Gospel pieces repeated by the children and J. Watson gave an excellent message which was suitable for both adults and children.
The young men who carry on a work in the local lodging-house also find very much to cheer them. The manager gives considerable help in many ways and ensures perfect order for the services. On Christmas Eve thirty of the men listened to a Gospel message by W. Kerr, after partaking of a good meal provided by the sisters. When there is no service at the lodging-house some of the men come to the hall.
Special ministry meetings on the subject ‘The Birth and the Growth of the Church’ were held recently. Interest was good throughout and the believers were edified.
A good number of young folk have been added to the assembly at Kilbarchan during the last few months, most of them being children of believing parents.
The holding of a conference on Christmas Day at Hebron Hall, Port Glasgow, was a new venture. An encouraging number attended and helpful ministry was given by J. Hunter, A. Naismith and J. Lightbody. The brethren feel that this was a successful experiment and similar efforts may be made in future years. J. D.
The opening of a new Gospel Hall on the Delves Estate, Walsall, was recorded in Jan.-Feb., 1959, issue. The work had previously been carried on in a temporary building. A report on the progress of the work during the first year in the new building states that the Sunday School is now firmly established, with over one hundred children attending, and that there is a regular attendance of from fifty to sixty at the Gospel Meetings on Sunday evenings. About twenty-five are present each week at the Women’s Meeting and there are weeknight ministry and young people’s gatherings, in which keen interest is being shown.
On the 6th December last the believers gathered in the hall for the breaking of bread for the first time and they would value a prayerful interest in the establishment of this another assembly in South Staffordshire. P. P. C.
LONDON EVANGELISTIC MOBILE UNITS
We are glad to include from time to time reports of activities of the brethren who engage in this arduous work. God is honouring their efforts as, amidst difficulties, mingled with blessing and encouragements, the good seed is constantly and patiently being sown. The work leads to contacts with a great variety of people and brings the workers into touch with a wide range of needs. The following notes of some experiences of the South-West Area Unit illustrate this and show how help is rendered to believers as well as the Gospel preached to unbelievers.
‘A young man interfered, nearly breaking up meeting: was dealt with by a worker, and finally made a confession of trusting the Saviour. Many interjections, but God helped. A very testing but rewarding evening’.
‘Some refused tracts, but others asked for them: one man violently opposed the preaching: a Roman Catholic showed great interest’.
‘A “drunk” who tried to snatch the microphone from the speaker was spoken to by one of the workers; confessed that he had a church upbringing and that he had sinned against God. With tears in his eyes he left’.
‘Contact was made with a very old and infirm man who said that after a life of thinking upon these things he had come to the conclusion that what was preached was all fairy tales. We encouraged a Church Army worker, an old lady who was the Lord’s and was engaged in personal work’.
‘Many listening: a most loving ending. A deeply interested man was put in touch with the local Christians’.
‘Sad cases; woman with drunken husband spoken to; another woman in sorrow; a backslider dealt with; a worthwhile meeting.’
‘Twelve people came forward to accept Gospels. A lady who appeared distressed asked to speak to the member of the team who had made an appeal. Her husband had died recently through an accident. After careful conversation and prayer in the Unit she accepted the Lord Jesus as her Saviour. A man also claimed to have accepted Christ and promised to attend the local Gospel Meeting’.
‘Many contacts were made, including an Italian who had been in England only a short time. A West Indian, a professed believer, who was seeking a suitable place of worship, was helped. Many refused tracts and sneered’.
‘Workers had long conversations with two orthodox Jews and with a Trade Union secretary who had no personal knowledge of Christ. A young man from Lancashire listened and said the whole thing was a fraud: after a long chat over the Scriptures, his attitude changed completely and he eventually asked how salvation could be his. He made no decision, but was later seen listening again’.
‘Elderly lady expressed great joy at our being there and said that lately she had been thinking much about God and needed further help, and would like to attend a place of worship. Arrangements were made for her to be taken to the local assembly by car. A young girl of 15 also seemed deeply impressed. She said she attended church but had never heard anything like the message given from the Unit. She has since been attending the local assembly hall and has professed faith in the Saviour’.
‘An interesting conversation was held with a West Indian who had drifted away from God: he was urged to attend the local hall. Another West Indian asked for someone to call on him to talk about spiritual things’. A. C. H.
A brother who is working as a hospital orderly writes ‘This is a wonderfhl place for witnessing. There are Italians, Spaniards, Ukranians, Poles, Yugoslavs, Latvians, Estonians and Finlanders, as well as a few Pakistanis, Hindus, Greeks, Dutch and Germans; also a Turkish doctor and some nurses and a doctor from the Philipines, to whom I have witnessed with the help of S.G.M. booklets, Gospels, New Testaments and some Bibles. What a challenge England presents now!’ When he visited a garage the first man he saw was a Turk and the mechanic who worked on the car was a Greek. He comments ‘Let us by all means make use of this wonderful opportunity to put the Scriptures into the hands of these people. One day we must give an account’. A. C. H.