Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
An elderly man, who had been visited by a believer on a number of occasions, recently stated that he was wholly trusting in the Saviour who died for him. He said that the Scriptures were coming to his mind clearly that he had heard preached many years ago by a Mr. Melville, a missionary from China.
May each reader be constrained to continue sowing the good Seed of the Word, trusting that it will in due time bear fruit to the glory of our Lord and Saviour.
A small Sunday School started in the home of a believer at Bridgwater has now grown into a gathering of some 150 youngsters in a school which is hired on a large estate. Several are believed to have been converted and a Bible Class has been commenced to cater for these.
Every work for the Lord must start in a small way, and it may be that our Master is waiting for some readers to launch such a work among the young of their district.
The assembly at Chattenden has witnessed for 50 years, but for various reasons numbers drastically declined during the last few years until only a handful were left. In January three weeks of special meetings were held by T. Bathgate, some 60 children coming nightly. Many parents came on the Lord’s Day evenings, which was a great encouragement. This led to the re-commencement of a women’s meeting which had ceased some ten years before. The possibility of a tent campaign during the summer is now being explored.
For several months S. Stewart and J. Gordon laboured with much encouragement at Portnockie, a fishing town in Banffshire on the Moray Firth. There is no assembly in the town but the fisherfolk came in such numbers that it was necessary to take a larger hall. Many, both old and young, listened attentively to the Gospel, and some professed conversion.
A few miles westward at the market town of Elgin, G. Miller saw a number of strangers coming to meetings in the suburb of New Elgin. Three were converted and a married couple restored to fellowship.
A. Swanson was responsible for the Gospel meeting each Lord’s Day in February at the fishing port of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. Three men professed faith in Christ, and since then there have been two other conversions.
The new hall at Fernielea, Aberdeen, was opened in February, sited amid new development in one of the outlying areas of the city. It was an occasion of note, for it marked the only new assembly to be planted in Aberdeen for fifty years, and that despite the fact that the city has spread its borders considerably during that period.
F. Pontin tells of a new Bible competition which is to encourage folk to read the Scriptures. Nearly 600 people, all of whom have previously had New Testaments, have received the competition which involves answering a question on the first chapter of each book of the New Testament. Prizes have been offered and it is hoped that many young folk will enter.
Another form of outreach has been the National Essay Competition, in which students and teachers are undertaking an intensive study of the book of the Acts in order to find out what believers of those days believed. It is the prayer of those concerned that through the study of the living Word they might find the Saviour.
R. McPheat was at Calderbank, Airdrie, for four weeks when well attended meetings included many unsaved from the village. The Lord gave fruitful seasons and as a result a weeknight Gospel meeting has been started which has proved successful.
A married couple were saved and baptised during the visit of J. Ritchie to Crossmichael, Dumfries. He then moved to Gatehouse, Kirkcudbright, where interest grew although the actual villagers were reluctant to attend. In Dumfries a young lad spoke of accepting the Saviour, and encouraging times were experienced at Lockerbie among the children with an increasing interest being evidenced.
For the fourth time within seven years there has been a Gospel campaign in Union Hall, Uddingston, Lanarkshire. The three weeks of meetings by H. Murphy were preceded by much prayer, invitation and personal visitation, with the result that from the start there was great interest. There was a deep sense of the presence of God, and some evenings it was almost impossible to seat all who came. At least five souls were saved, and all the believers felt that the next campaign should be planned as soon as possible.
Victoria Hall, Clydebank, was badly damaged during the winter storms, and the believers joined with those meeting at Miller St. Hall until the completion of the roof repairs. This did not cause a stop in their efforts in the Gospel however, for they rented a classroom in a day-school for Sunday School work which has brought good response. Both these assemblies have Gospel meetings on alternate Saturdays, with some results. The assembly at Helensburgh continue with a monthly Gospel rally which attracts a goodly number of churchgoers and is very encouraging.
The little assembly in Tarbolton, Ayrshire, was reduced in numbers last year to seven. Then, for the first time in its forty years’ history, weeknight children’s meetings were started with an attendance often reaching one hundred. Two young brethren from Kilmarnock then became exercised about the need for Gospel meetings and with a team of helpers aroused such an interest in the village that the best meetings that could be remembered took place. A forty-five minute meeting was held at a later hour than usual and sometimes a dozen unsaved were present. This interest was maintained throughout the winter. Among those taking an interest in this venture was a small group of nurses who have revived meetings in the hospital after a lapse of years and have seen three young nurses profess conversion.
Believing that believers put more effort into reaching their fellows during special efforts the brethren at Annbank arranged for G. Waugh to preach on prophetic matters during the Lord’s Days of February. A small number of strangers were thus attracted under the sound of the Gospel.
S. Ford was at James Street Hall, Ayr, during November. Several times a company came from Pollockshaws, Glasgow, and several of their number trusted the Saviour. Another who did so was a traveller in the town on business.
S. Thompson and R. Jordan held a long and fruitful spell of meetings in the town of Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, when good numbers of local folk attended. The Lord was pleased to bless His Word, and upwards of a dozen people, mainly adults without assembly connections, professed faith in Christ.
A new hall was erected in the village of Rasharkin a few years ago, but the assembly is small and it has been difficult to attract folk in. Last winter two young business men and a schoolteacher from Ballymena, about nine miles away, held two weeks of children’s meetings and visited every house. Good numbers came and the work was followed up by seven weeks of Gospel meetings. All concerned were encouraged by a number stating that they had found the Saviour.
W. Nesbitt and S. Ferguson had seven weeks of Gospel meetings in the Ebenezer Hall, Bangor, Co. Down. The hall is in a densely populated area, but despite much work it was difficult to get many unsaved in, but several professed faith in the Saviour.
Edenberry is a small village reached by a cul-de-sac road about a mile long. R. Beattie and J. Hawthorne made known the Gospel in the new hall erected a short time ago, but although there were good numbers of local folk all concerned were disappointed that there were no known cases of conversion.
The assembly meeting in the Castlereagh district of Belfast recently built a new hall. The district is growing quickly and a new hall was needed. An opening series of meetings was taken by H. German. Fairly good numbers of local people came and several professed to have been saved.
Two brethren from Belfast tried a series of meetings in the Parkgate Gospel Hall but found it difficult to get the people in. Nevertheless the Word has been proclaimed, the Seed has been sown.
As an example of the work undertaken among younger ones during the winter months we would mention that carried on at Curzon Street, Derby. The meetings were advertised by attractively printed cards, and following this over seventy were present, although this number was not maintained. Awards were made at intervals to maintain interest, and the Word of God was taught in various ways. A serial story was used to encourage children to come regularly. The highlights were visits made to a neighbouring assembly’s children’s gathering, at which the visitors rendered items, and refreshments were provided.
A pioneer effort to reach children during the week was made at South Wingfield. Cards were given to the ninety scholars at the village school with the co-operation of the headmaster, and some forty were present at the meetings. Encouraged by the response the believers are exercised to maintain contact with the children during the summer months.