Gospel Work and other Activities
Stephen Baker, Manchester
Midlands and South
For the past thirteen years Eastbourne Borough Council has staged ‘AIRBOURNE - ‘The UK’s biggest seafront airshow’. The local press claim that over the four-day period of the show there are over 800,000 visitors to the town. The assembly which meets at Marine Hall, Eastbourne decided that this was too good an opportunity to be missed, and therefore application was made to the Council to have a marquee on the Airshow site. This was granted, and the entire assembly took up the exercise with enthusiasm, from the eldest to the youngest.
Preparations included having carrier bags printed with the name of the Hall and an illustration on one side and John 3. 16 on the other, cassettes and CDs of gospel messages, a special cassette/CD of Bible Stories for Children, a special ‘Welcome to Eastbourne’ tract, picture texts in A4 and A5 sizes, John 3. 16 stickers for children and a variety of Christian literature.
The believers had no direct control over the site of the marquee, but the one allocated was the best that they could have hoped for - immediately opposite one of the site entrances, so that everyone coming in that way was confronted with a 10ft x 2ft banner reading – ‘WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED’. An identical banner was fixed to the side of the tent for the benefit of those approaching from the other direction. The assembly were grateful for the help and expertise of Stan and Beryl Burditt, and for help from all available members of the assembly.
Everything on offer at the marquee was free - which was a great surprise to most people - and over the four days over 7,000 tracts and 3,000 A6 size John 3. 16 cards were distributed all over the site and the seafront, and approximately 300 cassettes, 500 CDs, 550 picture texts, 150 Ultimate Questions, 200 John’s Gospels, 500 carrier bags, 750 stickers and numerous bookmarks and other items were given away. Each carrier bag contained a replypaid application card for a Bible Correspondence Course, and one reply arrived on the first day after the show!
Three people attended the assembly gospel meeting on the Sunday night - the last day of the show. Only eternity will tell the full results, but the assembly intend - in the will of the Lord - to continue this exercise on a regular basis. By the time this report was written a further nine applications for Bible Correspondence Courses had been received, making ten in all - five adults and five children.
Nothampton Balloon Festival
See pages 14-15 for full story
This year again the Green Pastures tent was erected as a witness at the Northampton Balloon Festival. The large tent had a balloon with John. 3. 16. on the top which was a beacon of hope in a sea of worldly pleasure. Again this year a few thousand people visited the tent, a small proportion of those who came to the festival ground. The theme was ‘Who is Jesus?’ and new displays were produced to depict Him as God, Creator, Saviour and the Coming One. As in previous years there was a Postal Bible School corner for children and others and a Creation table which generated some interest. Free refreshments were provided.
This year, for the first time, the believers had the joy and encouragement of seeing one young man ‘A’, who after speaking to helpers for nearly an hour, make a profession of faith at the tent. Another man, ‘M’, a member of the festival security team, took some literature, and was witnessed to by one of his team colleagues who was a believer. He also made a profession after being at the tent. Please pray for both young men that they might grow spiritually. Pray for a young Moldovan man, ‘S’ and his girl friend ‘L’. He saw that foreign language copies of Ultimate Questions were available and asked for a copy in Romanian, he also took some other literature as well. ‘L’ was given some tracts in Russian and she asked for a Bible in Russian which she received on returning to the tent the following night. Many good conversations were had and one man, ‘G’, has already visited the assembly at Spencer Bridge Road as a result. Follow up visits are scheduled to see ‘M’ and also ‘T’, a Zimbabwean lady who had a long discussion with helpers at the tent.
There has been a large influx of Polish people to the town and a noticeable number of these visited the tent. Supplies of tracts and Ultimate Questions in this language were available to give to these folks. Many other foreign-languagespeaking visitors from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Far East also received literature in their mother tongue. Despite being commanded ‘to go into all the world and preach the gospel’ the believers felt that God had been gracious in bringing ‘all the world’ to them at this festival.
POINTS FOR PRAYER
- Pray that the seed sown in Eastbourne will bear fruit;
- Pray for the many gospel meetings held in tents over the summer;
- Pray that the work started at the Balloon Festival will bear fruit in many hearts.
Snippits of news
After six weeks of door to door work by the local assembly in Bicester four weeks of gospel meetings were commenced with Al Christopherson (Iowa, USA) and Murray Pratt (Ontario, Canada) in late August in the Village Hall in Ambrosden, a village three miles east of Bicester. Meetings were held there last year and as a result of the good response this is a follow up series. The assembly in Bicester takes a stall at the Bicester Town Market every Friday to distribute free literature and make contacts.
In Newbury two weeks of gospel meetings were held in a tent on one of the believer’s ground. The evangelists were Paul McAuley and Dan Gillies. The meetings were very well attended with a full tent most nights. The children from the district came each morning to children’s meetings.
A week of gospel meetings were held in the Gospel Hall in Wallingford in September. Blair Martin from Scotland was the speaker.
In June Joe Baxter had three weeks of gospel meetings in Clifton Hall, South Norwood with unsaved present most nights and a lot of door-to-door work being done.
Wembley Gospel Hall held a series of consecutive weekends in June with Nitish Patel. There were very good numbers of Hindus exposed to the gospel in these meetings.
Dr. Mahesh Bandarupalli from Leicester, a converted Hindu guru, gave his testimony in Wembley recently to a very interested audience.
Report on Cornwall
Assemblies Youth Camp 2005
For many years the assembly at St. Austell has been mainly responsible for the work of this camp that has taken place in the harbour town of Fowey for the last twenty-five years. During this period the camp has used both the Primary and Senior school buildings and facilities to operate in for just one week of gospel outreach. The story of its continuation is a record to the faithfulness of the Lord in overruling almost impossible circum-tances.
After some had tried to move it away from its assembly roots, the camp has now been re established as an assembly work for the last four years. This year saw the largest camp since the restart, made up of young people with links to assembly testimony in the county. Most of the personnel also come from local assemblies in Cornwall, but the camp depends upon and has enjoyed, the committed help of believers from other places, who specifically see the need and have a real exercise to help.
This year Mark Hill, from Warsash, gave the spiritual messages and guided the camp into the truths of the gospel as well as basic instruction for younger believers. Several made professions of faith in the Lord Jesus and return to the local assemblies to be supported in their new lives in Christ. What also encouraged the workers was the obvious development evident in some of the young believers from previous years and the excellent contacts made with parents during the week.
The fabulous weather and the obvious enjoyment of the campers was reward enough but prayer would be valued for the small and few assemblies in Cornwall as they seek to continue this vital outreach work as part of their testimony in the County.
Report on Recent Gospel Work in the St. Austell assembly
Earlier this year the assembly at St. Austell booked into three local schools to take the Open Air Mission’s Pilgrim’s Progress Exhibition into them. The Exhibition consists of twenty-four easily mounted colour displays of the whole story of Pilgrim’s Progress including two boards on Christiana’s journey. They are attractively and simply set out and fill the surrounds of any school hall just nicely. The exhibition has with it twelve ‘character costumes’ delightfully realistic and effective when used by workers to support the story as it unfolds. The two main characters, Pilgrim and Hopeful, take the children through their adventures and whatever supporting characters that are available for the presentation appear as it goes through. There was no doubt about it holding the children’s attention for the forty-minute retelling of this great gospel record. Background information on Bunyan is supplied too and the children complete a questionnaire that takes them twenty minutes. At one school a question and answer session took place as well. Groups of seventy to eighty children went through the Exhibition at a time, though one class is preferable! The gospel is clearly and constantly set out as the children meet Pilgrim with his burden and fear of destruction, Evangelist who counsels him to find the ‘wicket gate’, and a host of others that reveal the snares and pitfalls of trying to get to the Heavenly City. The children listen with absorbed and wide-eyed attention.
Over four hundred children heard the gospel in three days. Two schools asked for the Exhibition to be brought again and for morning assemblies to be conducted again. One of the schools wrote of the Exhibition in their weekly news bulletin to parents thanking the assembly for providing such an attractive input into the school’s RE programme. Devoted brethren Keith Bullock and Clive Williams were a tremendous help and immensely sensitive when setting out the gospel through the material. This activity stretched the assembly’s available resources to the limit but the fellowship enjoyed and the encouragement received has proved an immense benefit to vision and faith. The Exhibition is bookable from the Open Air Mission or any of it’s evangelists.
POINTS FOR PRAYER
- Pray that teachers and pupils will come to faith through the Exhibition in the schools;
- Pray that the assembly in St Austell will grow through their testimony.
The Holiday Bible Club held in July in Bethesda Hall, Swinton, Manchester, was very encouraging with numbers of between twenty-five and thirty children coming each evening. Two mothers from the Parent and Toddlers Group came on the first two nights with their toddlers. They had asked if they could come despite the fact that their children were too young for the Bible Club. Another encouraging feature of the meetings was the number of parents who came into the hall each evening to collect the children. A number of good contacts are being developed and the believers were thrilled to have nine unsaved adults in the hall for the prizegiving at the end of the week.
The work of the Cumbria Gospel Outreach has continued through the summer with the Lord encouraging the believers who are involved in this work. A group of four evangelists had been invited to work with the Lord’s people this summer. They were Frank Lonney of Cardiff, David Locke of Workington, Danny Neen of Whitehaven and Gordon McCracken of Glasgow. People from many different cultures and backgrounds heard the gospel preached in the open air and in market places. The schedule for the workers has been very busy as they presented the gospel at many shows, markets and events across the county. It is encouraging to hear of at least two people professing faith in Christ and of many who are searching and have been given ‘the words of eternal life’, John. 6 . 68.
POINTS FOR PRAYER
- Pray that boys and girls will get saved as a result of the meetings in Swinton;
- Pray that salvation will come to homes in the district of Swinton which will become a light for the Lord Jesus;
- Pray for the new converts in Cumbria; Pray for the salvation of searching souls.
During July, Stephen Grant and Jim Paterson, Jnr., had a series of gospel meetings in the East Lothian town of Dunbar using a portable hall. The meetings were well attended with unsaved present each evening. One elderly man attended each night of the meetings and was clearly concerned. Local believers from a Baptist church also attended regularly and were encouraged by the gospel being preached in the town. Children’s meetings were held each evening, and although numbers were not large, the children who attended showed a good interest. Graeme Paterson helped with the children’s meetings. It was sad to see the lack of biblical knowledge that the children had, however each child received a copy of the scriptures, which for many was the first copy of the Bible that they had ever possessed. The fellowship of saints from various assemblies who travelled to support the meetings was greatly appreciated.
The assembly at Plains have an ongoing work in the schools in the area. Currently they have access into two Primary Schools to hold a weekly assembly, with unlimited scope to preach the gospel. They also have access into the local RC school to distribute Christian literature, and the head teacher brings her daughter to the weekly Children’s Meeting in the Gospel Hall. This is a very unusual situation in the west of Scotland!
Permission has just been granted to become involved in the local Secondary School, with a view to a long term work being developed.
The Renfrewshire ‘Sword Team’
This work developed out of the work of the Renfrewshire Gospel Campaign Committee, which for many years arranged gospel campaigns in Renfrewshire, particularly in towns and villages with little or no assembly testimony.
As numbers dwindled and assemblies closed, this activity became increasingly difficult, finally leading to the demise of the committee. Many, however, felt a Tract Distribution Team should be retained, since a good number of believers from the assemblies (of all age groups) always turned out when leaflets were being distributed.
As a result the Sword Team was initiated. The word ‘sword’ stands for Salvation Words Over Renfrew District.
For five years now the team has met on the last Saturday of the month at 10 a.m., normally at Linwood Gospel Hall, to tract the surrounding areas. Some fifteen to twenty brothers and sisters are actively involved. Many of the tracts that are handed out are designed by the believers to give a local flavour and to stimulate interest. ‘Light and Life’ Text Cards are also used. A website has recently been set up and several people have visited it. This work is a focus not only for evangelism but for fellowship between assemblies in Renfrewshire as the saints work together. Believers of all ages are involved in this work. An extension of this work has been when the Sword Team has attended local Agricultural Shows with a book table and literature stand. Although the team do not see a large response in terms of numbers, they do know of some who have attended gospel meetings as a result of the literature distribution. They see this to be an important venture, reaching thousands who would otherwise never hear the gospel.
The assemblies at Newcastle and Ballywillwill held the annual Northfield Bible Weeks in July. The large tent had been extended during the year to accommodate over 1200 people. The weather was excellent during the fortnight. The ministry was given by Roy Hill, Bristol, and the gospel preached by Peter Brandon, Bedford. Uel Findlay, Belfast, took the children’s meetings. There were professions of salvation every night and the tent was often filled to overflowing. The believers were encouraged and blessed and seek prayer that those converted will be baptized and go on for the Lord.
POINTS FOR PRAYER
- Pray that the souls saved at Northfield will be baptized and go on for the Lord.
PLEASE PRAY FOR THE CURRENT AND PLANNED WORK FOR THE LORD
- Due to contacts made in Dunbar, East Lothian in July and in an endeavour to develop these contacts, S. Grant and J. Paterson, Jnr., plan, DV, to have a gospel meeting in the Dunbar Community Hall on Fridays 28th October, 25th November and 23rd December 2005. It would also be the intention to have a children’s meeting on these nights, with G. Paterson contacting children through the local schools prior to the meetings. Fellowship in prayer would be appreciated for these meetings and for subsequent follow up work being done in the area.
- The assembly at Bloomfield, Belfast, have a number of week’s ministry planned over the winter session. Ian Jackson will be speaking in October, David Gooding in November, John Grant in January 06 and David Gilliland in February 06. Prayer and attendance at these meetings (if you live in the area) would be appreciated.