Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
Introduction. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength", Isa. 40. 31.
In collecting the reports of the Lord's work at this time of the year, we are conscious that we do not only look back to what has been done. There is a sense of anticipation as those who serve the Lord look forward to the extra opportunities that the summer months offer. In this looking-forward there is an evident waiting upon the Lord for His guidance. Waiting time is not wasted time! We can enter somewhat into the Psalmist's experience when he said to himself, "My soul, wait thou only upon God ; for my expectation is from him", Psa. 62. 5. Space does not allow us to print the many requests for prayer that we receive in the reports. We all feel the vital importance for such prayer, and as evangelists and preachers plan and wait upon the Lord we can wait and watch with them, seeking that the Lord will give an abundant harvest to the labours of His servants in the coming months. One very active gospel preacher wrote concerning evidence of the Lord's blessing in gospel meetings, and as he closed his letter he said, "I felt constrained to write and encourage the saints in the assemblies to pray - pray - pray for His servants".
For the Cardiff area reports can be sent to T. Thomas, 5, Heol Pantyryn, Whitchurch, Cardiff, S. Glam.
Scotland. Some items of news are to hand from Michael Browne in THE ORKNEYS. NORTH RONALDSAY was visited. Every house was contacted, and a Community Centre was used for Gospel meetings. During the visit a force 9-10 gale was blowing, and one night only one person turned up—and heard the gospel. This hard island needs much prayer. Drink is proving the ruination of many lives, both young and old. Visitation work has been done on two housing estates at KlRKWALL with invitations to assembly activities. Following a visit to FAROE last autumn, Michael Browne was invited back for an extended time of ministry at KLAKSWICK. Also meetings were held at SUDUROY and on the small island of VAGAR. Here people from outside the assembly attended. As a result of teaching given on baptism and eternal security, four have been baptized and are now in fellowship. Praise God for this. It is good to hear that all 32 assemblies in the FAROES are happy together with good evangelical outreach, but there is a need for Bible teaching. Our brother stresses that prayer for the northern isles is a priority in the need there.
Evidences that the Lord is at work are given in reports from T. Aitken. A Gospel campaign was held in Bethany Hall, PAISLEY, during February with John Clunas and Alistair Young. Children's meetings were fine with nightly attendances of 130-140 children. Two children made professions. The adult attendances were fair. Two older women came to Christ. One of these hassince brought her husband. Prayer is sought for a deepening of the interest. As a result of ministry meetings held at Hebron, KIRKALDY, by John Clunas, two women were saved and one has asked for baptism. Also a Roman Catholic woman was saved the following week at Greenhills assembly, EAST KIL-BRIDE. A visit to Lanarkshire by David Prosser for a fortnight's ministry and reports proved helpful. A sense of the Lord's blessing was enjoyed.
News of baptism in various places is encouraging. At ANNBANK, during the past 15 months, 10 have so obeyed the Lord. At the beginning of March, four were baptized at GRANGEMOUTH and also four others at SALTCOATS. It is not always that special efforts are rewarded with salvation.
Robert Walker had three weeks good gatherings at GLEN BURN but saw no professions. Peter Brandon was at BALLIS-TON where some hard work was done each night among both young and old, but apparently no one came to Christ. Prayer is much needed for these places. Points of interest from DUMFRIES: Some who have found Christ are seeking to win others for Him. A couple who have enjoyed such blessing from the Lord saw a young woman accepting the Saviour. She is keen to enjoy the fellowship of other believers. At ANNAN John Spiers had good Saturday open-air meetings with the help of workers from MOTHERWELL Prayer is asked for a lady, contacted by a Christian couple in Dumfries. She was a neighbour for 20 years and her children came to Sunday school. Twice she has attended the gospel meeting and has expressed a sense of need for Christ.
North-East England. The North-East Sunday School workers' conference was held in January with John Campbell of Perth as the speaker. Interesting reports of the work were given from several Sunday Schools in the area. An interesting discussion session was held. Problems encountered during the past year were shared, and discussion of helpful suggestions for more effective Sunday School work was enjoyed.
North-West England. At FARN-WORTH near Bolton, Stephen Gillham conducted special children's meetings in a campaign. These were good times. At a Senior Citizens meeting about 50 attended, and about 120 young people were gathered in off the streets for a Saturday Youth Rally.
The Liverpool assemblies' winter Rallies held at Bethany, HUYTON, during the winter months have been successful despite severe weather conditions, and the ministry has been much appreciated. The series of monthly Bible Readings held at David Street Chapel have also been well attended and valued. Similar Rallies and Bible Readings have also been held in various halls in the WIRRAL with much profit. Ken Lindsay held a special mission at HORWICH near Bolton. Some blessing was seen in the children's effort and door-to-door visitation. A special Senior Citizens tea was held on the Lord's Day; these stayed later for a special meeting.
Midlands. News is to hand from Ruth Bourne in BIRMINGHAM of interesting developments in the work among immigrants. A burden has been felt for some time regarding the need for a Bengali Christian man to reside in the area, and also for the commencement of a meeting for non-English speaking people. Prayer has been made and it would seem that in part it has been answered as Shammin, a convert from Islam, has come to the Bible College to study. On his very first visit he was able to lead a man to the Lord. This man purchased a Bible 5 years ago—an encouragement to those who distribute God's Word. Prayer is still needed as to the commencement of a meeting. The Bengali records are being provided by Gospel Recordings press, and will be available soon. Visiting in the homes continues, with encouraging contacts made but always with the reminder that much prayer is needed for these dear folk. The weather and the caretakers' strike at the school, plus a steep rise in the hire cost of the school, have disrupted the children's work. But investigation proved useful—a cheaper rate than before seems possible and God has supplied new helpers, so there is much to praise God for! Let us remember continually this vital "missionary" effort.
A mission was held at SKELLOW, near Doncaster, with Ivor Powell, to celebrate the 8th birthday of the assembly there. This assembly is on a huge needy estate. A good response came from the children who attended well, but few adults came in from the estate. There was good support from Christians in the area.
It is always good to hear news of blessing in the "ordinary" work of an assembly. Folk at Southcrest, REDD ITCH, have had encouragement in that two married couples have been baptized recently. One couple was restored after a long lapse from the Lord, and requested baptism. The other couple present a quite thrilling story. The husband was saved following a gospel meeting, and his wife came to the Lord two weeks afterwards. Moreover, a young wife was saved through the testimony of a sister who was her neighbour. Moving not far away in the county, her husband has been eventually saved and both are now baptized and in the fellowship of a local church, How valuable is the love of personal caring and witness!
South Midlands. From Hillview Evangelical Church, HUCCLECOTE Glos., comes an interesting item of news. A "Fellowship Weekend"—held at the hall with all the folk in fellowship—extended from Friday evening until Sunday evening. Four main sessions made up the event. Then there was a Family service, guest service and various outings, and also a programme for boys and girls was arranged. Douglas Willis of Runcorn conducted the teaching sessions with ministry to encourage the believers to go on in the things of the Lord. Roger Chilvers, writing about this, says that beyond all the organized events was the value of just spending time together in fellowship as families, and with those involved in the assembly. In the outreach work here, a series of ten "home evangelistic evenings" has been planned. Several homes of people in the assembly have been opened for such work, and from the church invitations have been given to nearest neighbours to each home. These are proving useful, and dozens of folk who have never been contacted before are being brought into contact with Christ. Roger Chilvers also reports on good contacts with local schools. Searching questions continue to be asked by senior school children. A recent 6th form debate led several to write for further information. Two 14 year old boys at another school asked how they could become Christians. With joy on the part of the evangelist, it was good to lead them to the Lord in the lunch break.
From Ken Brighton comes news of blessing at Cherith Gospel Hall, HIGH WY-COMBE. There has been a spirit of awaking and expectancy of the Lord's blessing. "Believing prayer is the order of the day." A whole family has come to know Christ as Saviour, and on consecutive Sundays souls have been saved. There is a spirit of praise and thanksgiving—a call to rejoice with them. Visits to schools in the Oxford area continue. Christian teachers in various schools are a great help in this, as they persuade the heads to give invitations for teaching or to conduct school assemblies. In this connection we hear of a work designed to provide Christian books for schools. We hear of a shortage of school text books, but there is a desperate need for books and Bibles in all schools. Over a wide area to date, 210 schools have been visited with about 15,000 books and Bibles. These are supplied free of charge. Colleges also, and even Dartmoor Prison, have taken advantage of the free offer, as well as one rehabilitation centre. This work makes openings for other contacts and needs much thought and constant prayer.
London and Home Counties. The
South-West London Evangelical Mobile Unit held its annual retreat at WOKING-HAM in February. Both speakers were from the assembly and the theme was Philip the Evangelist. The present needs of the work were discussed in the last session. Two salient points arose—the perpetual problem of personnel shortage and the urgent need for a new garage to house the Unit. There is a great need to pray with these workers that God will lead others to make up the teams required to meet the demands of the work. A rather sad sequel to an event at the Trafalgar Square Rally last year is reported. Among the visitors were a Scottish young lady and her brother. One of the workers had the joy of leading the lady to Christ. She and her brother attended the Annual Report meeting held in the Orange Street Hall at which Mr. Sookhdes was the speaker. She was directed to Rossmore Hall as she was staying in the neighbourhood, but failed to attend. Since her professed conversion she has not been seen, and has not replied to correspondence. We can pray.
South-Eastern England. In the
THANET area, writes S. Mountstevens, follow-up work continues around the villages where missions were held last year. There is a great interest among the village children in the Word, and parents give them encouragement. One grammar school boy who declared himself an atheist attended the meetings regularly. A Roman Catholic family who would not be allowed to come to "church" can attend the "Rainbow Club" because it is in a hired hall. A young people's rally has commenced at CLIFTON-VILLE assembly. The first was well attended in spite of the bad weather. Prayer is sought for both these on-going activities that there may be lasting results to God's glory.
South-West England. Plans have been going ahead in WEYMOUTH to reach in a definite way the influx of some 7000 foreign students into the town. Over the past two years the work has prospered —earlier reports have detailed this. But there is a desire to make full use of the opportunity to reach these needy people coming into the country. Many believers in the town are making a concentrated effort to grasp this tremendous potential of evangelism. Interest is growing in WYKE REGIS as a result of Stephen Gillham's continued efforts. It is planned in the will of the Lord to erect the tent here in June The assembly is small but with the help from other assemblies it is hoped that a real break through will be made in this hard place. The women's work has proved most fruitful. The work among elderly folk in WEYMOUTH is growing. About seven residential homes are now visited, and regular meetings are held. We can join to pray for God's help and blessing in these activities.
Devon and Cornwall. News of a visit to a local comprehensive school comes from Denis Pierce. This visit gave a great opportunity to point out to fifth formers what the Word says on a variety of subjects relevant to their present needs for salvation. Four Lord's Day visits to PAIGNTON for gospel preaching proved useful—the subject of the messages being "Why I believe the Bible". Denis Pierce expressed a sense of thanksgiving for safety in travelling, especially to meetings and in visitation work in North Devon.
News from Cornish assemblies is quite encouraging. At CARBIS BAY, 39 young people from the assemblies spent a weekend together to study the foundation truths ' of the Epistle to the Romans. The subjects related to practical values of Christian living, and the time was well spent around the Word. These young folk need much prayer—they will form the basis for future assemblies in Cornwall. The result of the public meeting at Carbis Bay regarding the proposal to use a site for new building was a refusal of permission to build. Disappointment but not discouragement was felt, and believers are looking to the Lord for future guidance.
At BODMIN the assembly is now ready for the commencement of the building of their new hall. They are praying that a good builder will be found for the job. John Hadley has a site assured for the tent in the summer at ST. AUSTELL. At PLYMOUTH a report meeting for Postal Sunday School workers was held at Wolsley Hall. Other Postal Sunday Schools were represented, and there was a full hall of interested folk. Albert Gray gave an encouraging word, and spoke of the way in which the Lord is supplying the need in the printing work in Ireland. Each report gave testimony to the faithfulness of God and to the deep interest inspired among the children by the lessons as they study their Bibles. A variety of needs were mentioned, including the constant exercise of revising and arranging the lessons. The various "get-togethers" arranged in connection with the work were proving helpful to both parents and children. Each speaker, as they reported, stressed the need for continual and earnest prayer.
As a footnote to this report it is worthy of note that there are some 8 assemblies in the whole of Cornwall with about 211 believers in the various fellowships. They present a great challenge to our prayers for strengthening and development.
Assembly News. There are still very many assemblies whose halls have no letterbox. Many letters are returned by the Post Office because they cannot deliver, or because gates are locked, and letterboxes cannot be reached, writes Mr. Harry E. Cooper of the Home Workers Fund.
The more books advertised overleaf that are sold quickly, the easier it will be to finance our proposed new production by next Christmas, a 400-page book of daily readings and commentary, taking the reader through the New Testament in one year.