Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
We have a God who delights to take up a life that is wholly given over to Him and use it for His glory. Too often we think that an organised effort is needed for the salvation of souls.
The revival in Ireland in the middle of the last century had its origin in the exercise of a sister to bring before the cottagers of Co. Antrim their need of a Saviour. In the course of her visits she was listened to by a young man who was convicted of his sin as a result, and thus the revival commenced. Have we the same desire to bring before others their awful position in the sight of a holy God?
"We are the Lord's, let us for Him be living,
To Him our body and our soul belong] To Him our heart and voice would still be giving The witness we are His - untiring song."
To encourage one another as to what our God can accomplish through avenues open to us all we print the following items.
Three young men were walking along a street in the north of England when they noticed a piece torn off a tract. Picking it up they read the words "After death, what?", followed by "It is appointed unto men once to die and after this . . ." and the rest of the verse was missing. They were arrested by these words and wished to know both the answer to the question and the rest of the quotation. They went to the Gospel Hall where special meetings were in progress, left at the end of the meeting and then returned as the hall was being shut. They asked if they could talk wide someone and the evangelists were delighted to oblige, speaking and praying with them for a long while. They left most concerned and awakened as to the realities of eternity.
Some may feel that tracting is not their sphere of service. In that case the following incident may give us cause to think, as personal witness day by day is that which our Lord and Saviour requires of us all.
While an evangelist was holding Gospel meetings, again in the north, a lady and her husband approached him enquiring if he knew of a young married girl who had come from the same village as himself but had been called home to glory while in a Glasgow infirmary some years previously. On being told that he was in fact related to this person, the lady said that she had been saved while nursing the relative in the months prior to her decease. Moreover what made her conversion even more remarkable was the fact that she was a Jewess. Then she told the evangelist that she knew personally of at least two other nurses who had been saved through the testimony of this sister in hospital. Thus it pleased the Lord to bring these facts to light some nine years after He had taken this sister to be with Him.
Should not this challenge our hearts as to what effect our lives have on those with whom the Lord brings us into contact day by day?
"O kindle within us a holy desire.
Like that which was found in Thy people of old, Who tasted Thy love, and whose hearts were on fire While they waited, in patience, Thy face to behold."
South Wales. During the past two years some eighteen believers have been baptised and received into fellowship by the believers at the Bethesda Gospel Hall, Whitchurch, Cardiff. Most of these were young people, and a large percentage had no connection with the assembly apart from the Sunday School. Thus there are no grounds for regarding 1969 as a day of small tilings, and we should all be encouraged to serve our Lord faithfully and diligently.
Northern Ireland. D. Kane and W. Nesbitt had a spell of Gospel meetings in a tent erected at Sandy Row, the predominantly Protestant area of Belfast. Although the district is thickly populated and every effort was made in visitation it was not easy to get the local folk interested. However some local unsaved people did attend and God was pleased to bestow blessing.
At Ardmore, Co. Armagh, T. McKelvey and J. G. Hutchinson preached the Gospel for six weeks. The assembly has a nice hall almost on the edge of Lough Neagh and has kept active in the Gospel over the years. On this occasion God was pleased to give a good measure of interest from the start, the hall being filled nightly. Several professed conversion and the evangelists hope to be able to return there for some meetings for believers.
Good meetings were experienced by J. Thompson and J. Hawthorne in a portable hall erected near the town of Magherafclt. Numbers were such that the hall had to be enlarged. A boy of 11 whose parents are in the assembly meeting in this town was killed in an accident, and this seemed to speak with a loud voice to many. The gatherings were fruitful and some professed conversion, including an uncle of the boy referred to above.
How would each reader fare if we were to be suddenly taken from this scene into eternity? Would it mean to be absent from the body and to be present with our Lord?
A portable hall was erected at Sandholes, Co. Tyrone, which is some distance from the nearest assembly at Tullylagan. R. Beattie and S. McBride conducted a lengthy series of Gospel meetings and it was felt that many were stirred up as to the realities of eternal things.
Southern Scotland. For several months this spring J. Ritchie and C. Barwick laboured much in the preaching of the Gospel in the border town of Gretna, Dumfriesshire, using a portable hall. All engaged in this work rejoiced as twelve women and two men trusted the Lord as their Saviour. Further cause for thanksgiving was given as, witnessed by a large crowd, five of these women and one man were baptized in the Solway Firth at Gretna on the last Saturday of June. A married couple and their young daughter were among those who gladdened the hearts of their Lord by this act of obedience. Others have now expressed a desire to follow their example, two being elderly ladies, one of 82 years of age.
Has each reader been baptized by immersion, that initial ordinance incumbent upon all believers?
Meetings held by J. Clunas in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, during May and June were fairly well attended, especially the after-church rallies. The village was tracted on two occasions prior to the campaign, when it was sought to get into conversation with folk at their doors. This resulted in a number of unsaved ones coming to the meetings. At least five made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus, including two Roman Catholics on the concluding evening.
The Lanarkshire portable hall was erected at Newmains and "many resorted thither". It was full each Lord's Day evening and on not a few weeknights. On several occasions fifty unsaved folk were present, and there was no evening when there was none. The meetings for the youngsters had an average attendance of about 100, and those for teenagers up to 18. A boy of 14 was saved and has since been baptized and received into fellowship, while a girl of 20 was saved on the last evening.
There has been no assembly testimony in the town of West Calder, Mid-Lothian, for more than thirty years. B. Smith of Edinburgh and J. Stubbs of Malaysia have seen a little interest while tracting and holding Gospel meetings.
A little wave of blessing was reported in this section a few years ago as having taken place in Stevenston, Ayrshire. Most of the young folk saved then are going on well spiritually and, together with others from further afield, can be found most Saturdays during the summer tracting and holding open-air meetings, especially in villages where the assembly is small or where there is no such testimony.
This summer the Ayrshire tent has been pitched at Beith. Three weeks before the commencement, the expected evangelist, B. Sutton, took ill and J. Aitken stepped in. There was a fair interest from the start. After a month a married woman with a teenage family professed to have accepted the Saviour along with a young married man. It was of interest that both previously attended the parish church, Beith being known as a religious place.
For some five years a group of young believers from assemblies in Lanarkshire have spent their Easter and September weekends serving their Lord in the town of Duns, Berwickshire. Having contemplated changing the area they were encouraged this year by seeing six young people saved, and now feel that they should continue in Duns, looking for even greater things. There are many other towns like Duns, where the inhabitants are waiting for the Gospel to be taken to them.
Republic of Ireland. J. Hutchinson preached in Cork for three weeks at the end of June, and in spite of the season of the year there were unsaved folk in every night. An encouraging feature was the number of Roman Catholics who came - at one meeting there were eight. This is regarded as a major break-through.
For thirteen years F. Pontin has been responsible for a Bible shop in Cork. This was closed at the end of May and will be turned into an office, leaving him free for other activities. Monthly leaflets are still sent to some 160 persons who have requested them.
Lancashire. Due to the demolition of the whole area the small assembly meeting at West Park Street, Salford, ceased its witness in June. A bright and vigorous witness had been maintained for about one hundred years, the work being hard through Romanist opposition, yet large numbers of children have always attended the Sunday School and children's meetings. The remaining believers have now joined in fellowship with other assemblies in Manchester.
The commendation of B. Dean to whole time service in this country brings the number commended in this way from the Manchester area to four brethren in the last three years.
Those engaged in the work with the Lancashire Tent were able to look back on the pitch at Maghull and thank their Lord for many blessings. Unsaved folk were present most nights, teenagers and children came in goodly numbers, and some six adults spoke of accepting the Saviour. At the beginning of August the tent was moved to Skelmersdale.
Middlesex. A. Leckie and M. Newman were responsible for special Gospel meetings at Uxendon Hall, Wembley, earlier this summer. The very small assembly worked hard in the distribution of leaflets from door to door and experienced some profitable conversations. The believers also found that the Lord would help even those naturally reluctant to engage in this service. A sprinkling of unsaved were present every evening and good support from other assemblies made them feel inconspicuous. While it was difficult to pinpoint any definite results of conversion, the Lord's people were greatly blessed.
The assembly at Pinner recently rejoiced as six young believers from the Bible class were baptized, thus bearing public witness to their identification with their Lord and Saviour in His death, burial and resurrection. Have we all taken this step?