‘… pray for us, that the WORD of the LORD may have free course and be glorified’, 2 Thess. 3. 1.
Many evangelists today, while making use of the many open doors to the gospel that are often there, are conscious of the subtle hindrances that impede its progress. The atmosphere created by comparative religious thought, the influence of liberal theology, and always the apathy created by social ills, militate against the penetration of the testimony into the lives of people in need of Christ. In his movements, Paul was sensitive to these hindrances. ‘Pray for us’, was his cry. He knew that the gospel that he preached was essentially the word of the Lord, divine authority was behind it, divine power was in it, divine life was its vital possibility. ‘That it may have free course and be glorified’. He felt that only prayer could release the life-changing possibilities contained in the same message. Let us pray for this in our desperately needy society today. All of these reports highlight in one way or another, the call to PRAY. Let us listen again, ‘Brethren pray for us’.
Some very interesting items come from J. Graham in Belfast. They remind us that God is still bringing blessing into lives in these troubled parts. The Belfast Easter Conference was held again in the Lisburn Leisure Centre and the Assembly Buildings, Belfast. Large numbers gathered for the ministry of the word and for the report meetings. Home reports were given by A. McShane, R. Eadie, T. Topley and J. G. Hutchinson, and work in foreign fields was covered by J. Anderson, T. W. Wright, J. Finegan and J. Milne. Twelve brethren shared in the ministry of the word and in the preaching of the gospel. The gospel was clearly preached by S. Ferguson to a large audience on the closing evening. The conveners have been greatly encouraged by the large numbers of young people attending, with an evident interest in spiritual things.
Each night during eight weeks of meetings at Glengormley, J. G. Hutchinson and A. Aiken saw the hall packed, and experienced the Lord’s hand in salvation. At the assembly at Comber, Co. Down, the believers were encouraged when they saw a man of eighty get the assurance of salvation and his son profess faith in Christ, on the last night of some meetings. G. McKinley and P. Chambers saw a good number of unsaved attending in meetings in Killyleagh. At Moneyrea, R. Pickering preached faithfully for four weeks. There was good local interest, and also good support from other assemblies.
In Co. Antrim, at Straid, meetings were conducted by W. Boyd and T. Meekin, and at Kingsmore, when S. Jennings and J. Flynn were the preachers.
In Co. Fermanagh, E. Stewart and J. Kells held meetings at Curren; the half-yearly conference at Enniskillen saw a large number attending. On the following Lord’s day, three young men were baptised. The believers at Bellaghy and Limavady have held their annual conferences, and the week-end conference at Portstewart was well attended.
The assembly at Bloomfield, in Belfast, had six weeks of well attended meetings with J. Hay, and R. McLuckie had two weeks’ at Castlereagh. J. Flanigan had two weeks in Fortwilliam, with a large chart on the Book of Revelation. The hall was well filled each evening. There is news of an interesting case of conversion in Fortwilliam. A sister there had a brother in the Hospice who was terminally ill. He was prayed for and visited by a number of brethren, but as his condition deteriorated it seemed impossible to get through to him. He had been cradled in the gospel and agreed with everything that was said. Then, on his own, after being at a service in the Hospice and again visited, he professed to have trusted Christ as his Saviour, and told one of the brethren that he was now depending on the death of Christ to take him to heaven. Ten days later he passed suddenly into the presence of the Lord. The medical profession said he should have died on at least three occasions, and when they expressed surprise that he had survived, they were told that God had answered prayer and kept Victor alive until he was eventually saved.
It is good to receive reports on the work of the Lord in the South. On a recent visit to some of the West coast places, one was very consious of the overwhelming size of Roman Catholic influence. Adrian Webb has provided us with some items of interest. The St. Patrick’s Day conference at Bandon was exceptionally well attended, considering it fell in the middle of the week. Ministry was given by J. Hunter and J. AlIen. Paul Williams (Cheshunt) gave a missionary report on his labours for the Lord in Eastern Europe. Prayer would be valued that this conference, which is an encouragement to many, may continue. There is a great need for the work among the children in Sunday Schools in various assemblies. Many children come from non-Christian homes, and this gives an excellent opportunity to reach not only them but their parents with the gospel. The annual prizegiving gatherings provide excellent ways of proclaiming the gospel to parents. They hear the children recite scripture verses etc. and this has proved effective on many occasions. Pray for the Sunday Schools of Eire.
The work of the Postal Bible School is now in the hands of Noel and Liza McMeekin, Corbeagh, Co. Caven. They have given the following information about the work. Fifteen prizegivings were held throughout the country in March and April. Whilst this is hard and tiring work, there has been great encourage-ment in the numbers who attended. In Monaghan there were 280 students and their parents on one night, and reverent attention was given as God’s word was presented. The Postal Bible School has not had a prizegiving in Dublin for years. A small hotel was booked and 40 seats were available. Prayer was made that the Lord would allow a few to attend! Over 70, mainly from Roman Catholic backgrounds, attended. Clearly the Lord answered prayer in a wonderful way. At a prizegiving at Bandon, Noel and Liza were encouraged to meet a man of 45 who is from a Roman Catholic background, and as he studied he saw the truth of believer’s baptism. He has since been baptized at the Gospel Hall in Cork.
Noel and Liza also work with the Summertime Outreach in Co. Wicklow and Co. Wexford, where they meet twice a day with young people from the caravan parks. This is another valuable outlet for the gospel resulting in bringing large numbers in touch with the gospel. Much of this work was formerly carried on by Bert and Wendy Gray, and they would value prayer in their redefined role with P. B.S. in editing the lessons, etc.
News from Jim McLatchie of work in the South West. The Ayrshire Gospel Outreach was conducted for three weeks in May and June at the Haycocks Housing Estate, Stevenston. John Grant was the evangelist and on most evenings unsaved were present. Children’s meetings also were held and there was a good interest among the young people. It was felt that God was speaking to some who gathered, but no definite professions were made. Prayer is that others will reap the fruit of this activity. During May, Jim McMaster and lan Robertson had four week’s encouraging activities in the gospel in fellowship with the Dreghorn assembly. An average of 50 children attended the children’s meetings each evening, and gave excellent attention to the messages. The adult meetings were also well attended with good numbers of unsaved from the locality, some of them coming regularly. A young man professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He does need much prayer. Visitation was good, and many meaningful conversations were enjoyed. All involved in the meetings were grateful to the Lord for the help and encouragement given. A number of young brothers and sisters are meeting every second Saturday morning for tracting and open air witness, in villages where there is no assembly testimony.
There has been some encouragement for an elderly couple who have sought to maintain a testimony at Park Hall, Dunoon. A young couple and their family have moved into the area and some others have given help in visiting the homes around. It is good to hear of a reversal of the closing of some assemblies, which we have had to report in recent times. One or two items from other parts of the country. George Forbes had encouraging meetings in Newmilns. Numbers were good as was the interest shown. One man who attended the gospel meetings trusted in the Saviour. At a series of meetings in Galston, numbers were not so good as in previous years, but behaviour and interest were excellent. Joe Baxter was engaged in visiting in Uphall and Polmont, tracting and visiting as usual. A young lady saved and baptized in Kirkintilloch stays here, so there are efforts to come to the little assembly. Pioneering in Polmont continues with the monthly meeting and unsaved still attend. Hugh Keirs speaks of tracting in the town of Arbroath. There is a good response in the area and some good contacts which the assembly will follow up.
We have reports from the Cumbria Gospel Outreach of work in these areas. David Richards had three weeks outreach with the assembly at Backbarrow in May. There were meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays with children’s and adult’s meetings. The children’s meetings were encouraging, although numbers were small, but attention was good. Adult attendance was disappointing. The ladies’ work was very encouraging. Over 40 attended the ‘Open House’ and between 30 - 40 the coffee morning each Wednesday. There was a good interest in the gospel. A Catholic lady attended the final coffee morning and admitted to being impressed by the message. Visitation work was useful, and it was possible in the hospital in Ulverston to speak to a number of patients and visitors on the wards. A welcome was given at a local Eventide Home and the gospel was well received. Reception on the doors was good, and our brother was able to enter a number of homes to read the scriptures and pray. We also have a report of special meetings, conducted in Westfield, Workington, by John Skingley. Children’s meetings were held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. From a very small number in the first week, numbers grew through advertising, and sharing morning assembly in a local school with Basil Deen, and the numbers grew to 35. The behaviour of the children at times was restless , but they listened well to the bible lessons. During the second week two mothers attended every night, listening carefully and showing signs of real interest. Into the third week the interest continued and two more mothers attended each evening. Adult meetings proved difficult for most of the times, but some unsaved were brought in. Door to door visitation proved effective and a number of open air meetings were held in the neighbourhood. Coffee mornings were held on two of the Tuesdays and Thursdays and were well attended. The mini-bus proved useful for ferrying people from a local residential home. The support from all around was a cause for encourage-ment and thanksgiving. Pray that fruit may be seen.
News of the Lancashire Gospel Tent from Gerald Bourne. The first month of outreach in Prestwich, Manchester, came to an end with the wish that it could have continued longer. The visitation proved effective with a good number from the district coming into the tent. Ian Robertson and Jim McMaster made many contacts which resulted in good conversations. In spite of the unsettled weather, numbers in the meetings were good, and believers travelled long distances to support the campaign. The gospel was preached with clarity and power on Sunday to Thursday evenings, and up to the final three nights, four adult professions were made. Friday night was Youth Night , and the tent was filled, not only with supporting young believers, but with a good number in off the street. Perhaps the outstanding feature of this work was the ‘bridge building’ in relationship with these teenagers, by the two evangelists. Like a number today, these youngsters have little or no knowledge of the bible, and dabble in drugs and the occult. As a result of school visitation, the fifth form of the local high school was allowed to visit the tent for a session instead of their normal R. E. lesson. 55 pupils and 3 teachers were served with coffee etc. after which Ian Robertson spoke for 20 minutes. This was followed by questions. This is the first time that such an opportunity has been given. Children’s meetings were conducted from Monday to Friday by Jim McMaster, and the children listened well and were well behaved. It was obviously a new experience to some of the them, and they learned the bible verses of scriptures previously unknown.
One or two items come from Peter Smith in Harrogate. He reports that since Christmas the Postal Bible School has grown to nearly 500 pupils with 72 teachers. He speaks of the way in which the Lord daily provides the needs. With the start of the summer comes another batch of contacts via the work of the United Beach Missions, that covers 37 sites around the coasts. Last year nearly 200 children applied, making about 500 over the past 3 years. Of these, 63 have joined for 1 year, 36 for 2 years, and 17 for 3 years. Peter asks that we would pray that the Lord will raise up the 10-15 teachers which will be needed to cope with marking those who join this summer. This is a valuable work and calls for much prayer.
A three week gospel effort was held in the Gospel Hall, Doncaster, in March, aimed particularly at children and parents. Opportunities were given to visit 4 Junior and 2 High Schools. Some 87 children, together with 12-14 parents, attended during the 2 weeks of meetings. Following a week of conventional children’s meetings, the second week contained a varied programme to attract the parents. There were good assembly prayer meetings, and believers worked hard together. VIA magazines were distributed around about 1400 homes. About 4000 homes have been visited in Skellow, north of Doncaster and 3 schools visited. With Philip Kaye a week’s campaign will be held here, D. V.
In March, the assembly at Hope Chapel, Moseley, Birmingham, hosted the annual Bible Quiz for the South Birmingham Sunday Schools. This year, the portion for the children covered the first five chapters of 1 Samuel, and 9 teams of 4 children each, from five different assemblies entered. Worcester impressively won the shield with Hope Chapel being runners up. Many children had the experience of close and careful study of this portion of the bible, and we pray that its value may be more than just taking part in a competition.
Much prayer and preparation went into the 4-day Easter Holiday Club when Ivor Cooper and Bob Telford were the speakers. The hire of two Community Transport minibuses meant it was possible to fetch and return most of the about 70, 5-12 year olds who attended daily. Activities consisted of crafts, swimming, treasure hunts, etc. The one hour teaching time was handled by Bob Telford and Ivor Cooper with singing, quizzes, short videos, memory verses and messages from Luke’s Gospel. The children’s concentration and appreciation of the teaching was great, and prayer is needed that the work started in many of these young lives will continue through the work of Thursday Club and Sunday Lamplighters.
The believers at Tiverton Christian Fellowship, (formerly Selly Oak Gospel Hall), celebrated their 100th. anniversary at the beginning of June. They organized a weekend of special events and meetings. There was sympathetic coverage by the local press and radio and as a result the ‘Open House Time’ was very busy with many local people visiting to see the displays and drink coffee. Each of the meetings was well attended, with each session seeing largely different congregations. Ministry was given by George Lord and live telephone link-ups were made with old friends now in fellowship in Willow Creek, Chicago, and in assemblies in Toronto, Canada. One woman who attended the Sunday School over 25 years ago and now lives in Humberside, decided to revisit her old home after seeing an advertisement for an excursion. In Birmingham she read the newspaper article and as a result came to the Saturday afternoon meeting. George Lord had been the speaker when she last came. She responded to the message by giving her heart to the Lord. There was a good joining together of friends from various parts, and a spirit of thankfulness for the faithfulness and goodness of God.
The Christian Witness Tent was again in evidence at the annual Three Counties Show at Malvern in June. It was wet and very muddy, and it was felt this contributed to the numbers being less than on previous occasions. The theme this time was built around John 3. 16, and literature was designed to emphasize this. There were a good number of useful contacts and conversations enjoyed, and the workers experienced a sense of the Lord’s presence and good fellowship. The Dynamite Club, with the Postal Bible Club, saw about 800 applications for introductory packs and some have already sent their first lessons back. One young girl wrote to say that she had subsequently given her life to the Lord Jesus. Pray for the follow up of this outreach.
A brief but very interesting report comes from Sid Mountstevens. He visited Baldock, Herts., with the tent and was much encouraged with the response. Over 60 children came in on several occasions, and more contacts were made with the parents than on any previous occasions. This was the fifth visit with the tent. A most encouraging feature was the number of older children in, as well as those who gathered in the doorway of the tent. One experience of our brother is worth recording. In 1988, a young lad of 11 years old, wrote on the tent pole that he would like to be a Christian. In tears, he was spoken to, but the call of his friends prevailed. Since that time he hung around the tent, each year, listening but never willing to discuss his concern and evident conviction of that time, except to comment that he likes coming to the tent. This year he spoke to the workers, although reticently, but he did not deny his interest when he was 11 years old. On a previous visit, two years ago, he stood in the tent doorway, resisting physical attempts of his friends to drag him away. Pray that this lad now 16 years old, will come through for the Lord. Also pray for the small company at Baldock with just 5 in fellowship.
From Don Roberts we have a number of items which tell of the Lord’s work. With more help at Plassey Street, Penarth, the work has progressed, and an effort was made to reach the young people with Gorden Curley, a Counties’ evangelist. The Cardiff Annual Ministry Conference experienced excellent and challenging ministry from Eric Bermejo and Clifford Phillips. The studies were in the Minor Prophets. This was followed by the Homeworkers’ Conference, with challenging reports from various workers, and ministry from Alan Linton. The annual conference was held at Llandaff North, with David Newell being responsible for the ministry. The annual Newport and District missionary weekend was held at Nant Coch, with reports from D. Dexter (Japan), and D. Bradford (S. I.M.). Ministry was given by Gordon Probert of Cardiff. Helpful ministry was given at Cwmbran Conference by Bernard Osborne and Tom Proffit. There has been blessing at the assembly at Fairwater. A husband and wife have been baptized, and John Mitchell has been commended as area delegate for Emmaus Bible courses. Special gospel meetings have been held at Hengoed with David Richards, and the believers were encouraged to see up to 30 people coming in. A lady of 78 years of age has been baptized and brought into fellowship in Ynysybwl, to the encouragement of the believers there. The Cardiff based Bible Exhibition was centred for 2 weeks in the Cardiff central library. Many contacts were made and schoolchildren showed much interest. Special children’s meetings were held at Nantgarw, with Sid Mountstevens, and believers were encouraged to see so many children coming in. Caerau held some special children’s meetings and outreach. The work there is growing and new houses are being built around the hall, which means it will be no longer isolated. Encouragement at Bargoed when a young man was baptized. Special ministry meetings were held at Glan-y-llyn with Fred Epps, the subject being ‘The Redemption of God’s People’ and the need to return to fundamentals. The annual Bible readings at Nantgarw were led by George Waugh, Scotland, the subject being 1 Cor. 15 and 16. Special ministry meetings were held with John Stubbs, Scotland, at Port Talbot and the studies were in the prophecy of Zechariah. The assembly at Llanishen used the local festival to present the gospel to the people. The caption was ‘Feel Secure’, and the testimony of a Christian judge was used. The assembly at Sebastopol held their 9th Anniversary Services with special meetings with John Baker which included children’s meetings.
Paul Young sends news of various activities in the gospel. A children’s campaign was held at Tredegar and on average over 80 children came each evening, including quite a few youngsters from the locality near the hall. A number of parents joined on the final Sunday for the Prizegiving/Mothers’ Day Service. The Holiday Club at Dinas Powis was well supported and there was a very large congregation for the final Prizegiving/Good Friday Service. Paul speaks of sadness at the fact that some have backs!idden, but very good numbers came for both the Mothers’ Day Service and also the special Easter Service at Maesteg. Paul also speaks of prison visitation in Cardiff Prison, where a young lad from Maesteg is detained on remand. He has also visited the boy’s parents and this was appreciated. Pray for this work and also for Trevor Davies from Dinas Powis who is in the chaplaincy team.
Wilfred Beale speaks of involvement in a two weeks’ use of the Counties’ Bible Exhibition, which represented a united effort of the Swansea assemblies. During the time nearly 1,200 folks came in including over 200 children. This provided good opportunities for conversations and distribution of literature.