Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
We live in days when mankind at large is beginning to reap the inevitable consequences of rebellion against God. The Word of God, together with the principles it contains, have been set to one side, resulting in the present lawlessness and unrest.
How important, therefore, that each company of believers should take every opportunity of making known the character of their God. So often we assume that our audiences know it already, and even when we seek to make it known we often use language that cannot be understood by those not well versed in spiritual matters. The Word of God itself is the best tutor, and we do well to use it as much as possible.
In this connection do we make as much use as possible of posters outside our halls to make known the Word of God? Has every house in our area received a portion of Gospel literature?
Norfolk. During the past summer's work, G. Fenn pitched his wooden tent in the village of Ditchingham, South Norfolk. The children's work was most rewarding. Numbers were not great, but there was a sustained interest for nine weeks. Each year, the children appear to have less knowledge of the Scriptures. For example, a lad of eight years was promised a New Testament; he asked, "What is that?". He also asked during the class, "A Saviour, what do you mean by Saviour?". Little C.T. had never been to Sunday School, but he now shows that his heart has been made responsive to the message. When the evangelist said "Goodbye" to the owner of the pitch, he was told "Our little girl says that this is the best summer she has ever had" - the girl never missed a meeting the whole summer. Then there was Andrew who showed every evidence that he had been saved. His mother, a Sunday School teacher, told the superintendent, "We should do well to have some lessons from Mr. Fenn. He does nothing but teach the Scriptures, and yet keeps the attention of the children all the time". To keep in touch with the young folk, the evangelist supplied them with Emmaus Junior Courses which he will correct. Most of the parents seem to be pleased that their children are continuing to be helped by these courses, and prayer is necessary that these parents who will read the courses may also learn the way of salvation.
Wales. Good numbers attended special Gospel meetings at Treboeth, Swansea, where I. Powell and the workers were encouraged by a few young folk professing conversion. D, Stringer saw blessing during meetings at Mackintosh Hall, Cardiff.
Believers have experienced much joy in taking the Gospel each week to the aged in Eventide Homes. The increasing number of such establishments all over the country provide openings for those with a real heart for the Gospel.
Lancashire. A village Gospel effort was held by D. Leighton at Parbold last autumn. Special prayer meetings and personal invitations resulted in some strangers attending and many others were challenged at coffee mornings. A large percentage of the children in the village attended the children's meetings and some twenty-five teenagers came to the youth night. A number of young folk spoke of their acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.
The same assembly, being in an area far from a Christian bookshop, used this circumstance to contact folk interested in purchasing literature. The hall was kept open all one day with a well stocked display of Scriptures, Christian books, records and cards..An evangelist was in attendance all day, not only to deal with the purchases but also to engage folk in conversation about their spiritual needs. The neighbourhood had previously been circulated and the effort was very successful. Many profitable contacts were made with the villagers and a large quantity of wholesome literature went into local homes. The believers gathering in the meeting room at Skelmersdale held two weeks of meetings for youngsters taken by B. Deen. Up to two hundred attended each evening and listened to the plain presentation of the Word of God. Since the meetings some of the children have joined the Sunday School.
Southern Scotland. Assemblies took their turn to support J. Aitken in a Gospel effort in the village of Coylton, Ayrshire. A fair interest was shown from the start and this was stimulated by the persistent visitation of the evangelist. A woman of sixty with a Christian upbringing professed to have trusted the Saviour as did her recently widowed daughter-in-law. A third profession came from an alcoholic with a broken marriage who was brought by a visiting believer.
The expansion of Irvine New Town has led to the believers losing their hall. They are now meeting in another hall erected a few years ago for Gospel purposes on one of the housing estates. It was felt that the presence of the assembly gave a good opportunity for a Gospel effort and D. Locke and J. Stubbs undertook the responsibility of this. The going was difficult but some of the local folk showed interest.
Because of a small decline in the numbers at Sunday School, Annbank assembly decided to have its first children's campaign. D. McMaster conducted it and in addition was welcomed in the local school.
During October J. Smyth preached at Chapelhallj Lanarkshire, where a very good number of adults and children attended. All were much encouraged to see God at work as quite a number of souls professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. A backslider was restored and many others came under the sound of the Gospel.
D. Barnes preached for three weeks in the Gospel Hall, Livingstone Station, Mid Lothian. Good numbers of children attended and unsaved adults were present most nights. While none made profession of salvation it is believed that a few were seriously impressed.
A campaign lasting four weeks was conducted by R. McPheat in Bethany Hall, Gourock. Attendances were good and a number from an alcoholics rehabilitation centre attended regularly. One of these made a profession of salvation. The interest has been maintained since and a number from the centre continue to attend the normal Gospel service.
The believers at Dumfries have been encouraged by a growing interest among the young folk. Some have professed to have accepted the Saviour and are attending the regular assembly gatherings.
Mid Scotland. A series of Gospel meetings taken by A. Leckie at Cowdenbeath, Fife, was a source of much encouragement. Unsaved were present nightly and some were concerned about their soul. Senior citizen meetings were held on Saturday afternoons and the hall was well filled on each occasion. Two teenage lads professed faith in the Saviour, two senior girls and two boys attending the children's meetings also taking the step. A lady who had been a backslider for many years was restored and it is believed that the Lord is still working in the hearts of at least four others.
Dorset. There are but fourteen believers in fellowship in the assembly at Hamworthy, Poole, with a Sunday School of around thirty scholars. A week in November was devoted to a children's campaign taken by S. Gillham who visited many homes in the area. Numbers rose to over one hundred by the end of the week and many parents came for the final meeting. The Sunday School increased to over fifty as a result, and over one hundred were present at the evening gathering. The evangelist was able to speak at a large school nearby on two occasions.
West of England. Special children's meetings at West Hill Gospel Hall, Plymouth, were preceded by early morning prayer meetings, where the fellowship of believers from other assemblies was appreciated. Invitations were distributed at school gates and numbers rose to about sixty-five. Over twenty parents attended the Gospel meeting on the two Lord's Days. During the second week A. Blackburn had the joy of seeing one or two youngsters stay behind after each meeting and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
Oxfordshire. N. Dougal of Massachusetts preached over four nights at Bicester in October. These meetings were wonderfully blessed by our God. A young man in his early twenties was saved as he sat in the first meeting he attended; he is now avidly reading the Scriptures. A woman of over sixty was restored to the Lord. A fanner from a few miles away came out of much spiritual misery into the assurance of salvation. A prisoner from a nearby prison made definite moves to find peace with his God, and all are waiting to see the fruit of his profession.
North of Scotland. Montrose has been covered in door to door visitation by the two evangelists A. Pollard and D. Gillies and much labour has been expended. The small assembly has been encouraged and instructed, and three have been added to the number in fellowship. There are now two large hoardings in the town displaying the Word of God.
Spain. The door for the Word of God seems to be open in Spain at present. During the past two summers much has been done in connection with the assembly at Valladolid, in central-north Spain, to reach out with the Gospel. In 1972 this took the form of preaching with a tent and the fruit of this was the setting up of a testimony in Toro, where a lovely hall was built last year. In 1973 the emphasis was on Bible and literature distribution. Some villages received the Word in written form wholeheartedly. So often the Jehovah Witnesses had already covered the ground, thus causing confusion. Each year the exercise was rounded off with a week of ministry of the Word.
Nortern Ireland. Despite the terrible problems in the city of Belfast, several weeks of Gospel meetings were held by A. Aiken and J. Graham in the Donegal Road Gospel Hall. They were encouraged to know of two souls who professed faith in Christ.
J. Andrews and H. Andrews held meetings at Kingsbridge Hall in the city and some made a profession of faith. Afterwards they went to Creagagh Street Hall where meetings continued for five weeks. A good number of strangers came, and one girl spoke of accepting the Saviour.
At Ballyhackamore the assembly arranged Gospel meetings which were conducted by D. Bingham. Attendances were good, although one evening, about ten minutes before the end of the meetingj a bomb exploded nearby. The windows on one side of the hall were blown in and on the other side were blown out. Mercifully no one was badly injured and all were encouraged by evidence of blessing.
J. Noble and A. Aiken saw good numbers at Gospel meetings in Aughavey, a country district in Co. Tyrone. The assembly was much encouraged when some who had been the subjects of much prayer told of their salvation, and at the end of the series ten believers were baptized.
J. Noble and M. Radcliffe preached to good numbers in a portable hall near Newry, where the assembly carries on a children's work. In spite of the trouble in the area the believers try to carry on with the Gospel and were encouraged by this last effort.
The old hall in Larne was in a redevelopment area, and during last summer a new building was erected. To mark the opening Gospel meetings were held by T. McKelvey and J. G. Hutchinson. Many folk attended who had never previously entered the hall. Three souls professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, a young married couple and a lady well advanced in years.
Ballywatermoy is an assembly with an interest in the perishing souls around, and consequently they keep active in the Gospel. Recently S. Thompson and R. Jordan preached to good attendances although the hall is in a country district, and several spoke of finding the Saviour.
A. McShane and N. Turkington held Gospel meetings at the Birches in Co. Armagh, and J. Brown and J. Lennox preached in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone. Numbers were encouraging but despite faithful preaching nightly for several weeks there were no known cases of conversion at either of these places.
Bedfordshire. During a week of meetings at Leagrave, Luton, A. Carew was encouraged by a profession of salvation from a girl of fifteen who repented in tears. How necessary it is that there should be true repentance when a soul professes to have been saved; there must be repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.