The following report was received from Steve and Judy Buckeridge
Bible Distribution Report
We have been distributing Bibles now for five years and in that time approximately two thousand Bibles have been sent out, in response to requests received. We are grateful to the Lord to have therefore had the opportunity to send out ‘a Bible a day’ since starting the work. During that time two hundred and eighty Bibles have gone into the local area in East Berkshire, primarily to Slough.
The last year has been the least busy with one hundred or so being sent out. However, about half of those in the last twelve months have gone into the nearby area and therefore we continue to have the privilege of each week taking the word of God to someone in the locality. The local Bibles are normally ‘hand delivered’ with an invitation to the meetings and opportunity for discussion.
The Lord has fully met the needs of the work and we are grateful for the continued prayer and practical support of a number of fellow saints.
There are also a couple of additional aspects to the work. Occasionally there are ad hoc opportunities to give away sizeable numbers of Bibles such as the Holiday Bible Club prizegiving and a Christmas event at the airport. We also have a stock of literature (calendars, texts, tracts, etc.) which are also requested with the Bibles from time to time.
The requests for Bibles come from a wide spectrum of people (racially, socially and 25 spiritually). Some are requested by unsaved people, others by those who profess to be the Lord’s but have lost interest in spiritual things. Sometimes it is those who have recently arrived in the UK with very little; at other times those about to go back to (or with relatives in) countries where the scriptures are not readily available. All of these people had a strong enough desire for a Bible to make the effort to phone or email us. We have to leave the precise purpose of the request with the Lord who says, ‘My ways are higher than your ways’, Isa. 55. 9.
We are conscious of how the number of Bibles we have sent out has been decreasing over the last three years and at the same time our family and other areas of service have increased. We are also aware that the distribution of the word of God is vital and there is still an interest in the UK for it. Our original desire was to take Bibles into the local area and to have half of those we distribute going to Slough. This has been achieved. We have to leave the overall number distributed with the Lord who knows what we are capable of doing.
Coleford Gospel Hall (Nr. Bath, Somerset)
The saints in Coleford had a Holiday Bible Club in the February half-term break. Fifty- seven children attended over the week. Each morning the children did a craft which was associated with a message from Mark Lacey on Bible Feasts (parties). As well as this each day the children took home an associated Bible activity sheet to be completed; this earned them extra points. Many of the parents helped their children complete the activity sheet which was a great way to ensure that Bible truth was being presented to the adults as well as to the children. On the Sunday following, a Family Service and Prizegiving was arranged. This was attended by seventy- five people in total. The believers are not aware of any professions being made, but many children showed a keen interest. The good news is that attendance at the Sunday School and Friday Club for youngsters over 10 has increased as a result. The believers have asked us to pray that the Lord will continue to speak through the spoken and written communications of the gospel.
The believers from Coleford have been distributing the Via magazine in their local area. People in the area are generally open to receive the literature. There have been some exceptions. One man said that if Richard Dawkins was an atheist he was ten times more so! He didn’t want the leaflet but took nearly an hour with a diatribe on why religion was a device of medieval governments to control the masses – during which there was an opportunity to interject with the gospel message! Please pray that this man will be saved.
Carlisle (report from Keith Bullock of the Carlisle Assembly)
The Lord has wonderfully answered prayer with regards to our open-air work here in Carlisle. Last year we were approached by the City Centre Manager informing us that as from November 1st 2006, the council would be enforcing the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environmental Act 2005, which meant that it was an offence to distribute free literature on the streets without written permission. Failure to have the permission would result in an ‘on the spot’ fine.
As a result we contacted the Christian Institute who referred us to the Act, and to where it clearly states that ‘The regulations DO NOT APPLY to those distributing printed matter on behalf of a CHARITY, or where the distribution is for POLITICAL PURPOSES OR FOR THE PURPOSES OF A RELIGION OR BELIEF’
As a result a letter was sent to the department of the council concerned, and subsequently we had a phone call from the City Centre manager apologising for their misunderstanding of the Act, and informing us that we were free to distribute literature where and when we liked. We are pressing to get this put in writing. He also informed us that there would not be a problem with our display board as long as we had public liability insurance (which we had).
Praise the Lord! This means we are free to share the gospel on the streets unhindered by the authorities (at least on this particular issue). However, we must not be complacent. Things may well change in the future, as we live in an environment that is more and more anti-Christian. Laws that are being pushed through Parliament, as we speak, are set to make our Christian testimony and faithfulness to God’s word, even more difficult. Having said this we must never forget that we are on the victory side. God is Sovereign!!
A copy of the relevant section of the Act i s a v a i l a b l e f ro m K e i t h B u l l o c k ([email protected]). It may prove useful to any who may be involved in the distribution of Christian literature at any time. The Act is obviously a Bill of Parliament, and so applies to every council.
The assembly based at Red Row, Northumberland, was encouraged at their conference in 2006 when seven unsaved ladies attended the Gospel meeting following personal invitations to hear Joe Baxter preach the gospel. Following on from that the assembly proposes, God willing, to hold three ‘special’ gospel meetings on the first Sunday in April, July and October to be taken by local brethren. The assembly would value prayer for this exercise.
The assembly at Hemsworth took The Open Air Mission Bible Exhibition into some local schools in March this year. This work in the schools has been going on every year for five years now. The number of children reached in the week is in the region of nine hundred.
The assembly in Newsham Park, Liverpool, was encouraged recently when a lady who was contacted through door to door work believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. The lady has made good progress but she has some personal problems and as a result would appreciate the prayers of the saints.
Larkhill assembly in Liverpool are also rejoicing over a girl in her twenties coming to the Lord Jesus after Phil Coulson preached on a Friday night in March.
We have been reminded that another busy season in the Lord’s work at Faskally House, Pitlochry, has begun. For ten years now this facility in the Scottish Highlands has been well used for different assembly based events such as Camps, Weekend Retreats, Midweek Breaks and Families’ Holidays. Please pray that as in previous years, the preaching and teaching of God’s word to young and old will bring blessing to many. The trustees also request prayer that as the present managers, Arthur and Christine Pollard, have intimated their intention to relinquish this responsibility around the end of 2007, a suitable replacement will be found at the right time. Anyone who wishes further information should contact the Secretary, R. Cargill, 45 Braehead, St Monans, Fife, KY10 2AL; tel. 01333 730379.
The assembly at Plains was invited to an open day organized to promote the launch of the local Community Council. This involved many local organisations setting up stalls to display their involvement in the community. The assembly was able to have a stall with Bibles, texts and a whole variety of gospel literature. The reception and number of interesting contacts exceeded the believer’s expectations, with the stock of Bibles being cleaned out in the first hour! A quick ‘phone call replenished the stock and further distribution was made. A large quantity of literature was also distributed. The assembly was the only ‘church’ invited to participate, even though the open day was held in the local R.C. School. On the Lord’s Day following the open day two women and the daughter of one of them, attended the gospel meeting, the first time any of the three had ever heard the gospel. Please pray for more of this type of opportunity.
Permission has been granted to locate a portable hall in the town of Dunbar once again during June and July 2007. God willing, Stephen Grant and Jim Paterson, jnr., plan to preach the gospel in the town, with Graeme Paterson having children’s meetings. Prayer is requested for all these meetings. However, prayer is also requested concerning the viability of the hall which is sixteen years old and under the constant pressure of the Scottish weather! The roof has perished and it must be decided whether to repair or replace.
The believers in Treboeth, Swansea, would value prayer for a special outreach into five local junior schools from 23rd to 27th April 2007. With the help of two evangelists they are taking into these schools a Bible Exhibition on ‘The Life of Jesus in the Gospels’. The believers have been well received in the past and are looking to the Lord to really bless His word to these children and staff.
The 2006 Cardiff Christian Holiday Camps (a pre-teens camp and a camp for teenagers) took place at a new venue, Pinewood School, Bourton, near Swindon. In total one hundred and seventy-five young people and leaders attended. This was a learning experience for the school staff, as they were not used to having young people in such numbers and wondered at the impact our camps would have on the village. It was also a nervous time for the workers because of the new location and the need to interact with a new set of teachers.
The prayers that people made were wonderfully answered. The people from the school were impressed by the behaviour, the activities, and the witness of those who attended both camps. The organisers were invited to take the camps back in 2007 and this invitation has been accepted by the Camp Committee.
A summary of both camps follows: The pre-teens camp: the speaker spoke on the topic ‘He was no ordinary Person’, using Moses then the Lord Jesus as examples.
The teenagers camp: Pinewood School was deemed an excellent venue by the workers. The ‘School under-Master’ was very impressed with the way the workers coped with the problems caused by a burst water main, which was not repaired for three days. Though there were no responses during the meetings, the testimony night proved that the Holy Spirit had been at work.
Many prayers were ‘offered up’ for these weeks and the results showed that the Lord was listening, answering and working. May God have all the glory!
The believers in Newcastle West have been reflecting on the past year and are mindful of the Lord’s presence and blessing in the work. They are also grateful for the prayers and practical support of the Lord’s people, without whom they could not continue to serve in this way. The believers wish to express a big ‘thank you’ to all their coworkers around the world. They are often comforted by the realization that they are not in the battle alone and that they personally, and the work, are constantly brought before the throne of grace. It truly is a blessing to belong to the family of God.
What follows is a summary of some of the gospel outreach that is currently taking place in Northern Ireland.
Andrew Grieve and Donald Armstrong are preaching in Sandringham, Carrickfergus. They have been preaching for five weeks and are quite encouraged by the numbers attending the meetings.
Malcolm Radcliffe and John Rogers have been preaching in Ballywatermoy. Neighbouring assemblies have supported the meetings well and the saints are looking expectantly to the Lord for blessing in salvation.
Leslie Craig has been preaching for a couple of weeks in Wallace Avenue, Lisburn. The believers have been encouraged by the clear presentation of the gospel and by the number of unbelievers present.
Blair Martin and John Fleck preached for five weeks in Dunmurry, Belfast. The hall was full every night. This was as a result of a great response from the locality with many unbelievers being present each night.
Ballywalter – C. Law and A. Colgan had well attended meetings in a portable hall sited on N. Trimble’s farm. The Lord blessed the meetings.
Temple – J. Rogers and D. McGarvey had very good meetings in association with the Ballymagarrick assembly.
Armagh – W. Fenton and M. Campbell had meetings here in which souls professed to be saved.
Mullafergnan – T. Wallace and R. Pickering had well attended meetings.
Dromore, Co. Down – T. Meekin and M. Bingham have just commenced gospel meetings here.
Lungs – S. Wells and J. Fleck have just commenced gospel meetings in John Fleck’s new portable hall (which replaces the one destroyed by fire when he was having meetings in Ballymoney).
Limavady – A. Caldwell and D. McGarvey are continuing to have gospel meetings here.
Lower Windsor Avenue, Belfast – W. Fenton and M. McKillen have commenced gospel meetings in a portable hall in a large car park. Currently many students are attending. Please pray that many will be saved.
Ballymena (Harryville) – Gospel meetings commenced in the middle of April at Slaght in a portable hall. The preachers are W. Fenton and M. McKillen. Please pray for help and blessing in the meetings.
Ahoghill, Co. Antrim, N. Ireland – The assembly had the Ayrshire Bible Exhibition with them from the 16th to the 20th of April 2007.
Portrush – Gospel meetings started here at the beginning of March. The preachers are D. Scott and I. McClean. The meetings are as a result of the strong desire of the believers to see local people reached with the gospel.
Ian Jackson spent February with the assembly in Jersey distributing gospel tracts. The local believers arranged for Ian to record seven morning thoughts for the day for BBC Radio Jersey. The Thoughts for the Day were broadcast at the end of April: they contain a simple gospel message. This was a great opportunity for the gospel.
Two lunchtime apologetics events in the Pomme D'or Hotel were also arranged. These were well attended and there were many present who are unbelievers. Most of these had never been to the gospel meeting at Belmont Hall and probably never would and so the believers felt that the effort was worthwhile. There was a great opportunity to present the gospel and prayer would be valued that the Lord would bless His word.
Termoli, Molise Region, Italy
The Molise region is in south-eastern Italy by the Adriatic Sea. The work there consists of autonomous New Testament assemblies, linked with other New Testament assemblies established in many other parts of the country. Forty-one years ago some brethren took the message of the gospel to the little town of Termoli. At that stage no evangelistic witness had ever been established there before. For the first three years it was difficult to overcome the mistrust of the local people (who were influenced by the local religious leaders) but after that, a few people started to show a genuine interest and the first two conversions took place.
In the autumn of 1968 the opening of a small public meeting place provoked a strong negative reaction. Many threats were made and the brethren were told, ‘You’ll have to escape by night and go back to where you came from’. It was in this climate that the first open-air meetings were organized. These triggered strong opposition from both the local authorities and the police. Nothing like this had been seen in Termoli before. The Police superintendent argued that ‘the gospel should be preached in churches, not in the streets’. The local believers replied, ‘No sir! Jesus and the apostles preached the gospel mainly in the streets and the Italian Constitution authorizes preaching both in private and in public. You are trying to deprive us of this right’. Every pretext was made to hinder the meetings and for several years believers were allowed to use only non-central areas of town. As a result of this tense situation the owner of the hall the believers were renting asked them to vacate the premises. The believers decided to take a step of faith and purchase premises. The Lord opened the door and suitable premises were found in the centre of the town near the railway station.
More people were being saved and five years later the adjacent premises came up for sale. More steps of faith were taken, more problems were overcome and the additional building was purchased and linked to the existing one. This provided facilities for children’s work and work with young people.
Over the years the town of Termoli has grown and thankfully so has the local assembly. There is now a need to relocate and build a new building as the current building is now on a main road which is both noisy and dangerous for people coming to the meetings.