“The harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are not saved”, Jer. 8. 20.
Activity eats into time. So often, when we are busy, we can easily forget the passing of time. For many evangelists the summer is the busiest time of the year. Through varied means those without Christ have been reached with the Gospel. Many have responded and found the joy of God’s salvation. For many the above words are literally true. They are not saved. We must pray that light may dawn in the lives of such. It is interesting that among the following reports there are several accounts of work among older people. These people are in the winter time of life—the eventide of experience. Behind many of them lies a life lived without God. Let us pray as we read these reports, that such words as Jeremiah spoke of godless Jerusalem shall not be true of many senior citizens that are sought for Christ. We pray that for many “at eventide it shall be light”.
At BALLYNA-HINCH in Co. Down,T. McKelvey and J.G. Hutchinson had seven weeks gospel meetings in the tent. These were encouraging and well attended, including a fair number of local folk. Several professed faith in Christ. In PORTAVOGIE, a small village on the County Down Coast, there has been an active assembly testimony for many years. Recently J. Hawthorne and T. McNeill held gospel meetings here. These nightly meetings continued for two months and were well attended. Interesting cases of conversions were witnessed. At PORTADOWN, Co. Armagh, the gospel was preached for eight weeks each night by S. McBride and W. Jennings. Attendances were good and towards the end several professed faith in Christ.
Assemblies in the Highlands are few and far between. Numbers are small. At WICK, DINGWALL, INVERNESS and FORT WILLIAM, each assembly conducts services in local Eventide Homes and the Lord’s blessing has been an encouragement over the years. There is also some outreach work among children. A retired brother in the Dingwall assembly conducts on his own two children’s meetings each week in different villages. He also assists with meetings in two other villages. F. Reid and G. Meikie erected a portable hall in EVANTON during July and August for special meetings. Children attended well but response from adults was poor. A Christian lady with her husband and family attended well. At INVERGORDON during October J. Smyth of Cobham held meetings in a mobile hall, in fellowship with a local worker. The going was hard with little response. One man at the end of the meetings declared his faith in the blood of Christ. A woman who had been first contacted at Evanton came to Christ. She needs much prayer as she has problems at home. The oil boom has created many of these in the community. WICK assembly is comprised mainly of retired business folk who are active. They conduct a weekly service in local Eventide home and also visit two hospitals in the town. The next assembly to them is 100 miles away. This makes them self-supporting but they welcome any visiting preachers who find their way there. S. Chambers spent a week with them in September.
In WISHAW Stewart McKenzie held a campaign and definite blessing was experienced. At least three adults were saved. One lady received assurance and a lady of 70 was baptized. Two others desire baptism. In the mornings, meetings were held in believers’ homes. Some senior citizens meetings were held in the afternoons, and there was preaching in the hall in the evenings. At BURNBANK, J. Spiers saw souls saved during a mission there. One man of 30 years, contacted on his doorstep, came to the meetings and was saved. At OVERTON Robert Walker had a tough time during some meetings there. Baptisms have been held at DUMFRIES. A young sister from ANNAN, who came from a non-Christian home was baptized at a Saturday Rally. Then on a Sunday evening, a young man, recently born again, obeyed the Lord in baptism. Cause for rejoicing and prayer! At KILMACOLM during Oct./Nov., three weeks’ special children’s meetings were conducted by R. Sharp helped by A. Young. Average numbers were about sixty and a Thursday evening meeting has continued since. The evangelist was given access to all schools in locality. These provided valuable contacts and an invitation to return later was given. Three girls and one boy accepted Christ. Pray for seed sown in this way I
From Liverpool comes news of an unusual form of contact with men—usually difficult to reach. It is known as Men’s Circle, and meets in Ramilies Road Chapel on Thursday afternoons. These are retired men, and in September the tenth anniversary of commencement was celebrated. Many who have gathered are now at home with the Lord, but these meetings still prove an opportunity for fellowship and friendship. At Bethany Hall, HUYTON the annual children’s Campaign was held. This was well attended and as a result the attendance at Sunday School was increased. A very fine work is also continuing among teenagers and young people. Christians here are looking for the Lord for His continued guidance and help in the work. At WAVER-TREE a three weeks Tent Crusade was held by Peter Brandon in June. The Lord’s help and blessing was felt. Throughout, a number were saved and many Christians were helped. The 1977 MANCHESTER Sunday Schools’ Camp was held at Abingdon, Scotland. 182 young people accompanied by 40 leaders joined together. The life of David was the subject of enjoyable messages given by Len. Cyril. T. Renshaw conducted the Camp Christian fellowship. Bible teaching was given on the Sheep and the Shepherd, the Vine and the Branches and the Master and the Disciples. About 37 accepted Christ as Saviour and some are going on well.
A compulsory move to a new building often proves a blessing to believers. This has been the case at REDDITCH. At Southcrest Chapel the assembly has had encouragement in the growth of the Sunday School, Bible Class and Women’s work. During the last two years at least two adults and twelve children have accepted Christ as Saviour. Also, six young people have been baptized. We can praise God for His blessing. Two new spheres of activity have opened up. A Senior Citizens tea is held quarterly on Sunday afternoons. At 4.30 p.m. some 70 to 80 of these folks gather for tea. The young people wait on them. After tea there is a period of hymn singing with special items of singing and reading. A short message closes each session by 6 p.m. A number remain for the Gospel Meeting and it is most encouraging to see men joining in. Then at ALCESTER, a town without any real Christian testimony, the believers have been invited to hold a monthly service in an old folks home. About 40 to 50 senior citizens gather, and also some younger people from outside join with them. Much prayer is desired for these ventures that workers may be found to further the work, and that those reached may be won for the Saviour.
From the heart of LONDON comes news of the second Jubilee Mobile Unit rally held at Trafalgar Square on Sept. 17th. The day was dull, but there was much opportunity for personal work. Conversations were enjoyed with a Jewish couple, several Arabs, French and Japanese, a Rhodesian army deserter and a student. (All barriers broken down in the Gospel I) Man’s personal responsibility towards God was emphasized in the powerful message given. Good news and bad concerning the work was given at the Report Meeting held in Orange Street Chapel where about sixty gathered. A visit to the Isle of Wight by the South West Unit resulted in a new Sunday School work at VENTNOR and a mid-week Bible Class in a new church. On a sadder note it was reported that the South East Essex Unit has ceased operations because of lack of personnel. There are now only four Units left including the Thames Valley Work. J. Baigent of Wandsworth spoke in closing, stressing that our work was “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit” saith the Lord. Causes here for praise and prayer.
It sometimes takes time for the effects of God’s working to be seen. H. Johns reports on the developments following a mission held by T. Bathgate three years ago on the Twydale Estate, GILLINGHAM.The homes on the estate were visited and many young people and children came to the Good News Tent. A few adults came also. There were some conversions and a number of contacts were made which have been maintained. To help young converts, home Bible studies were commenced two years ago. A number of those saved were baptized at two baptismal services earlier this year. One of these was a woman who went to stay with a “pen” friend in Yorkshire, whom she had not before met. As the result of telling of her conversion, her friend was wonderfully saved. These two friends expressed their joy in the Lord, singing hymns as they walked along. A man of 79, hearing their singing, and later listening to their testimony, knelt with them by the riverside and accepted Christ as Saviour. How infectious is the power of true testimony. Praise the Lord I At Hare Street Gospel Hall, HARLOW, special children’s meetings were held during half term. The assembly was exercised to contact the children in the vicinity of the hall. Contacts were made at the local school. A London Mobile Van announced the meetings, which were held each morning between 10 and 11.30. Teaching was built around “Noah and his Ark”. Various activities led to happy gatherings. Numbers averaged daily between 115 and 130. Behaviour and interest was good. The week ended with a Parents and Prizegiving night for which the hall was packed. Follow-up work means that the home of each child that came has been visited. Parents and children showed a good response and the assembly has been strengthened through this activity. Let us pray that the results may yet be seen in this area.
During recent years, at Bethany Hall WEYMOUTH, a very encouraging work has been done among senior citizens. A regular “Over 60’s” meeting is held during the year. People are visited in their homes and notified of forthcoming meetings. Cars bring them to the hall for 5 P.M. tea. Then, for about an hour, a time of good singing is enjoyed with a closing gospel message. About 80 each time have the opportunity to hear of the Saviour. This exercise proves a great blessing in drawing all age groups in the assembly together as they serve the Master together. Three separate Homes for the elderly are visited each Lord’s Day. Short services are held in each. A fourth recently opened and is being visited. Many older folk have been spiritually helped. Similar work is being carried on in districts of CHICKEREL, WESTHAM, and in the town of DORCHESTER. A display of real love and care for the needs of many lonely old folks often paves the way to win them for Christ.
The South and West Wales Christ for Victory Campaign ended on October 31st. There has been encouragement. Visits to morning assemblies in Schools were a highlight of the Campaign, Over 6,000 scholars were allowed to hear of the Lord Jesus as S. Ford gained entrance. Some headteachers requested a second visit, and an opportunity to give Religious Instruction lessons was given at a Girl’s Comprehensive School. One student came to one of the meetings and said that he had trusted Christ in a morning assembly A young man, addicted to drugs, came to the Lord at LLANPUMSAINT and a young woman also trusted Christ. God’s blessing was felt in the preaching of the Word in HAVERFORDWEST, PEMBROKE DOCK, PANTYFFYNNON AND SWANSEA. In this campaign conversions have often been seen. One man came forward saying, “I am the only one of my family not a Christian”. He was pointed to the Lord. Let us pray for the work of the Lord in needy parts of Wales.
From David Prosser comes interesting news of Gospel Literature Outreach work. At Urdd Eisteddfod, BARRY, interesting contacts were made with literature and good conversations were held with a number of people. Two Moslems from Algeria were helped. Help was given from the assembly at CADOXTON. Young people and those who could speak Welsh from Cardiff also helped. At the Royal Welsh Show at BUILTH a literature stand proved a useful means of testimony. The gospel was “gossipped” to many people some of whom were genuinely seeking the Lord. Following the Show two weeks of visitation work in and around BUILTH was engaged in. Many homes were visited in surrounding places such as LLANWRTYD WELLS, LLANGAMMARCH WELLS and NEWBRIDGE. This is a desperately needy area and we can pray that the Lord will bless distribution of His Word.
Useful work was done in RHOSNEIGR, ANGLESEY. Local Christians prepared the way and the use of the Village Hall was obtained for children’s meetings. A local chapel was hired for all the Sunday services. The preparation was the key to a very worthwhile campaign. Various activities were organised. Through the children’s meetings, seven children professed faith in Christ. A stand at the ANGLESEY Show was well attended. Much literature was distributed and several cards requesting New Testaments and correspondence courses have been returned. Open-air meetings held on the beach were attended by growing numbers and proved the highlight of the campaign. Preparation for campaigning is all important. This was proved at TRETHOMAS where for about 18 months believers conducted a systematic visitation of homes on the Estate using “Life-Lines” literature. Conversations and contacts were sought with the people every three months. When R. McLuckie from Ireland came for the campaign, the “soil” was well prepared by the assembly. There was a reaping time of blessing. Four adults and four children accepted the Saviour. Now comes the vital point in the story. None of the adults were actually saved at the meetings, but through personal conversations in the homes. May we learn the lessons that such happenings teach.
Very often meetings at holiday resorts swell with visitors during the summer months. Wintertime tells a different tale. It is good to hear from Marcus Gospel Hall, NEWQUAY, of cause for encouragement. God is blessing although numbers have been very small. Several families have joined them and there is a sense of strengthening in the work. Tiny Folk and Adventurers young people’s work is growing and one or two new faces are seen at the Gospel meetings. Prayer is much needed that the assembly may be built up and that folk may find Christ as Saviour. Because of the increase in numbers PLYMOUTH Postal Sunday School decided to divide and form a new branch in CORNWALL. The office will be at ST. AUSTELL and about 350 pupils will be involved initially involving 20 teachers. This new venture will begin in January 1978. The resources of the small assemblies and few workers will be stretched in supporting the work but they are looking to the Lord for His faithful continuance in blessing. FALMOUTH is in the news. After a week’s children’s meetings conducted by local believers, a Sunday School has commenced with about 30 children. For many years there has been no such work so this is an encouragement. Some children attend the Gospel meetings. For quite a while the believers at PENZANCE have found their premises inadequate. A young couple from the assembly living at CARBIS BAY have been holding a small children’s meeting in their home. This has led believers to look at the area to see if this could possibly provide a place where a permanent testimony could be established. Prayer is needed for guidance.
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