Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
"The seed is the word of God", Luke 8. n.
"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which livedi and abideth for ever", 1 Peter 1. 23.
We must always remember that it is only the Word of God that can bring spiritual blessing to a soul, whether saved or unsaved. The Word alone contains within itself that which can issue in spiritual life, even as does a seed, and anything that distracts a person from the Word will not be to profit.
The task of the believer is to be acquainted with the Word so well that the sense can be given, as was done in Nehemiah 8, when those who listened understood the Word as the result. Is this the outcome of every gathering today, or do souls go away with no clear understanding of the teaching of the Word of God?
Northern Ireland. Buckna is a tiny village in Co. Antrim at the foot of Slimish mountain. The assembly is not large but has endeavoured to keep active in Gospel witness. J. Duff and E. Wishart held two months of meetings recently and were encouraged by fair numbers and by the salvation of three teenage girls.
A. McShane and N. Turkington held special meetings at Drumreagh, a country district between Coalisland and Dungannon. The assembly is small and in a different area. Indeed the hall was burnt down some time ago and these were the first Gospel meetings in the new hall. All concerned were encouraged to know that some professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
There has been quite a bit of trouble in the town of Lurgan over the last three years. Despite this J. Brown and J. Lennox saw good numbers during a special effort in the Gospel Hall. A number told of having been saved as a result of the meetings.
Omagh is another town where there has been trouble and bombing. Here also some professed salvation during meetings taken by W. Nesbitt.
T. McKelvey and J. Hutchinson had a Gospel effort at Glen-gormleyj on the outskirts of Belfast. The meetings continued nightly for seven weeks and the assembly was encouraged as some blessing was seen.
A number professed salvation when S. Jennings was the preacher during meetings at Ardmore, near Lurgan.
Northern Scotland. The small company of believers at Footdee Hall, Aberdeen, was much encouraged by special meetings conducted by H. German. This is the oldest assembly in this city.
R. Walker spent a profitable fortnight in Holburn Hall, Aberdeen, in the New Year. There was a good interest and many, both old and young, attended.
The youngest assembly in Aberdeen is that at Fernilea Gospel Hall which commenced only some six years ago. There is already a tradition in this gathering of vigorous outreach work and the believers make every effort to win the unsaved. The hall is situated in the middle of two housing schemes which is ideal for work among teenagers and children. R. McLuckie held a Gospel campaign there in the spring.
On the Moray Firth S. Stewart and J. Gordon have been encouraged by the reception to the Gospel at Lossiemouth. Their portable hall was pitched in a housing scheme in the town and a good interest continued over many weeks among both grown-ups and youngsters.
Mid-Scotland. The believers in the assembly at Cowdenbeath, Fife, have been encouraged by the growing interest among the children. Each week some three hundred and fifty children hear the Gospel in either Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath or Hill-of-Beath. The growing number of teenagers within this number has been a cause of prayer as well as thanksgiving. In the goodness of God one or two have trusted the Saviour, and one fellow in his late teens has come out for the Lord in a marked way.
During February J. Campbell laboured in the small township of Glencarse, between Perth and Dundee. A keen interest was evident among the young folk and although adults were slow to respond at first a fair number attended latterly especially on Lord's Day evenings. Door to door visiting proved the most effective way of reaching adults, homes being opened for discussion. One couple of high nobility found great interest in the simple message of the Gospel compared with the ritual and ceremony of the High Episcopal Church. J. Hay laboured in Auchterarder, close to Glcncaglcs, for five weeks and found things very difficult. Children were attentive but much trouble was experienced from teenage groups who tried to upset the meetings. However nearly fifty of these continued to attend, and the workers were assured that their labour had not been in vain in the Lord.
Southern Scotland. In Ayrshire a number of assemblies have had a Gospel-orientated winter.
First, the second phase of the county effort was launched at Hurlford last September. The assembly there is left with one brother who spends parts of die time in hospital, so J. Grant found the going difficult. Youngsters were very unruly and this may have prevented the adults from attending.
Then, before these meetings were completely over, P. Brandon started in Prestwick in an effort which was wholeheartedly supported by both assemblies. As many as eighty believers were found at the early morning prayer meetings. Thursday evenings were reserved for young people while the older believers gathered for prayer in another hall. The evangelist called on bingo and dance halls and was given tie opportunity to speak briefly with the result that some came to tile Gospel meetings. Quite a number professed faith in the Lord Jesus including a fair number from a local Episcopal church.
In November D. Hinchcliffe and P. Davey were at Victoria Hall, Ayr, different evenings being set aside for different groups of people. Coffee bars had the effect of encouraging young believers to learn the practice of witnessing. Various people were counselled and a few professed faith in a risen Christ.
Dalmellington is another assembly which has known better days. J. Stubbs and D. Locke started there at the beginning of the year and continued for two months during which they saw unsaved people and backsliders attend and one from each group blessed. The evangelists found a ready entrance into the homes and some fifty children regularly attended their meetings.
At the end of January J. Clunas commenced in Annbank for about a month. The believers brought many folk to the meetings and new contacts were made. The final week was very difficult as the district had its worst snow fall for many years. However there was not one night when strangers were not present. The community consists of two villages and two meetings were held each Lord's Day, one in the Gospel Hall and the other in a church hall at the other end of the jocality. These were attended by folk whom it would have been difficult to get into the Gospel Hall. Results were disappointing, there being one elderly backslider restored while his wife was saved. Since these meetings two teenagers have been baptised.
For the last few years representatives from assemblies in Glasgow and the counties of Ayr, Renfrew and Lanark have met to discuss the challenge of the need of men and women for the Gospel. Many-different methods have been disclosed and many suggestions made. A whole day was spent in March when about fifty met and had a most profitable time.
After a meeting for senior citizens last year in a village in one of the southern shires, an old man of eighty-six was so disturbed about his soul's eternal destiny that he could not sleep for a week. At the end of that period he trusted the Saviour. He has testified to this to more than one believer and has given evidence of being born again by a concern for the welfare of others.
Do our lives give similar evidence that we have started a new life, that we have been born into a new family?
Somerset. How often is the baptistry in your assembly hall opened? That at Waterloo Street Gospel Hall, Weston-super-Mare, was used five times during the past twelve months. On the latest occasion three young folk from one family, the parents unsaved, brought joy to the heart of their Saviour by identifying themselves with His death, burial and resurrection in this way.
Cornwall. This county has presented many disappointments to God's servants over the years. Although encouraged in many ways J. Hadley, whose labours have chiefly been in this county} has found difficulty concerning housing. At present he is living with his family in two caravans parked in the centre of Bodmin. The site is one which the believers in the seven assemblies in Cornwall have been exercised to purchase. Their aim is to erect accommodation which would not only provide for an evangelist but would also include a large room on the ground floor which could be used for gatherings of the Lord's people on the principles laid down in the New Testament.
Once again we would ask readers to bear in mind, when deciding on the venue of their holidays, the needs of the small isolated companies of the Lord's people. During the winter months their numbers may not reach two figures, and your fellowship would give great encouragement.