Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities – January-February, 1981

“He must needs go through Samaria”, John 4. 4.

These words form the background to one of the most fascinating personal contacts in the life of our Lord. They also reveal the burning necessity in His life to reach and win souls to Himself. How important is this personal work, and yet how difficult. In these reports there are instances of people that have been definitely saved through visits in their homes. The Lord Jesus did not miss an opportunity - rather He created many. It may well be that we are seeing a change in emphasis regarding the strategies of evangelism. Preaching is essential, but how many evangelists are finding that it is on the doorsteps and in the highways and byways that the real contacts for Christ are made. Let us pray for every faithful personal effort to win people of our land to our wonderful Saviour.

Northern Ireland

From BELFAST comes news of conversions when all the summer tents had been rolled up and packed away. The power of the Word spoken during the campaigns lived on. A young married man from Lisburn recently came to Christ after being convicted by the testimony of an ex-bandsman musician which he had heard in the tent at Botanic Gardens in August. Also a man professed to be saved in Bangor some weeks after being convicted in open air meetings, held in bad weather on the Promenade in July. Let us take courage from these evidences of blessing. At DRUMNAHARE (near Banbridge), Eric Wishart and Samuel Thompson had seven weeks meetings in a small hall. There were some who made professions. A man of over 80 years of age could not attend the meetings. As he was visited in his home, he trusted the Saviour. At the assembly in Parkgate Avenue, BELFAST, a special effort was conducted by a local brother R. Eadie, with R. Johnston of Bangor. On the other side of the city at GLENGORM-LEY, John Hawthorne and Tom McNeill laboured nightly, and sought to reach a big area on the outskirts of the city with the gospel. At MULLAFERNGAHAN, Co. Down, Jim Hutchinson and Jim Allen had meetings. During the first week, one girl was saved. This hall is noted for its large young people’s meetings, many of whom have been the subject of many prayers. In a small town, SAINTFIELD, two business brethren, Mervyn Wishart and Melvyn Carson, heid meetings in the Court House. This has always been a hard town, but God has saved souls in the Court House. There is muchgospelactivityamong children during the autumn, often quite difficult and discouraging. There is much faithful labour and much need for prayer. Prayer is asked for a young man who is 1 5 years old, whose grandparents are saved. He is in Borstal for one to three years. Pray that God will speak to him and save him.

Orkney

News from Michael Browne. Several visits were made to the small assembly at WICK, Caithness, and the gospel was preached throughout Orkney by Michael Browne and others. Good series of meetings were held for ministry in WESTRAY and PAPA WESTRAY. Believers testified to being challenged by the Word and finding help. A Bible Stall was set up at four district Agricultural Shows on Orkney mainland. Some good gospel contacts were made, the Word of God was displayed, and many Scriptures were sold to the people who came from all over the Islands. There were also foreign visitors. A week’s children’s meetings were held in October in KIRKWALL assembly, and 40-50 children came each night. This commenced the winter children’s meetings. In November the assembly at Victoria Hall, KIRKWALL, celebrated 100 years of testimony with a three day Centenary Conference. The preachers were, Angus Swanson, Aberdeen, James Boswell, Canada, and Michael Browne. The week-end closed with a special Gospel Meeting at 8 p.m. on the Sunday night. This was held in the Arts Theatre, and about 130 people heard the faithful preaching. Pray for these needy parts.

Shetland

Shetland was visited two or three times during 1980. The SCALLOWAY Conference was a “pack-out”. Michael Browne and Gavin Sanderson from Westray flew into FAIR ISLE for a week’s gospel meetings. Whilethere was a hardening of attitude towards the gospel on the island, the Spirit was seen bringing one man to a definite conviction, and a backslider of many years was marvellously restored. At BRAE, which is a small village near the enormous oil terminus at Sullon Voe, the assembly has finished a new hall and is building up a good children’s work and also attracting some of the oil-workers’ families to the gospel meeting. This assembly has great potential for growth, lying as it does in such a strategic situation near the oil terminus and the families of the oil-workers. Michael Browne asks special prayer for an itinerary in India - a visit in response to invitations from assembly brethren.

Scotland

News of remarkable meetings held at MOTHERWELL with John Spiers. The attendances were not outstanding but the results were good. The Lord’s blessing was seen as a number of young people and older ones trusted in the Lord. One of the features of the meetings was those who were saved from the village of KIRKMUIRHJLL where John Spiers had meetings months ago. The interest continued after John left and the believers there brought unsaved with an interest over to Motherwell where three of them, in their late teens, trusted the Saviour. The father of a young woman, saved at Kirkmuirhill, also trusted Christ at Motherwell. We have a report of a lady being saved in an outreach from Greenview Hall, GLASGOW. Her daughter was saved there a year ago. Interested friends had never ceased to pray for the mother. Praise the Lord for His goodness! Jim Aitken saw two women saved at LANARK and one was baptized.

The other is a real encouragement to those working with the young. This woman was in the Sunday School of which Jim’s father was superintendent years ago. Roy Marshall saw blessing at Blairhall, FIFE, with meetings on Sundays and Mondays only. He carried on meetings in his area of Shieldhall, FALKIRK, at least three evenings each week. Some gospel meetings for adults were held with encouraging attendances. Blessing was seen at PATNA, where Robert Revie and John Spiers held meetings in a portable hall. Some weresaved,and a backslider restored. There are only ten in fellowship at Patna, so there was great encouragement. At DAILLY further encouragement was seen by Robert Revie. While visiting, he had the joy of seeing two women saved. There is no testimony in this place. While visiting in KILMAURS, where he had meetings in a portable hall, Robert had the joy of leading to Christ the husband of a woman who was saved at his first visit.

North West England

News of the Lancashire Gospel Tent for the last three weeks of August 1980. This was erected at BOLTON. Before the campaign, Derick Bingham the evangelist spent a week ministering the Word to the believers. The campaign was very well supported, with the tent filled most evenings. Many contacts were made, and blessing was seen in response to challenging messages. The Young People’s meetings, conducted by Derick Bingham during the Friday evenings of last year in MANCHESTER, were such a success that the convenors decided to provide a similar series, beginning in October. These are held fortnightly in the Central Hall, MANCHESTER, and a good interest is being maintained. During October, John Burns held three weeks gospel meetings in Mauldeth Road Assembly, MANCHESTER. Strangers came in to the campaign. Some believers’ children made a profession of faith, and the assembly was greatly cheered by the faithful preaching of the Word. At ST. ANNES-ON-SEA, two weeks children’s meetings were held by Stuart McKenzie. Previously, there was no children’s work here, but about 30 gathered each evening, and a weekly children’s meeting has commenced. Our brother remarks that this is the third time during the past year that a children’s meeting has commenced as a result of a special effort in places where no work was engaged in. Praise the Lord for the growth of His work!

North Midlands

From MATLOCK comes news of fruit, following a children’s campaign in August. Each week now, 60-65 children gather at Sunday School. At a recent Sunday School Family Service and Prize Giving, some parents came along. The reasons for having a Bible and the use of it were made clear to them. There have been openings into four Old Folks Homes, and the gospel is taken to them. Prayer is much needed for this work to be sustained. J. Harrold, at present unemployed, spends time with his wife, visiting door-to-door with tracts, both in town and in local villages, six of which have been recently visited. Our brother asks for prayer for the Lord’s present guidance in his evangelism.

East Anglia

Interesting news of the good use of the East Anglia Gospel Tent. This tent was used for many years by George Fenn of Norwich. Since he relinquished its use in 1974, C. Moore of NEWMARKET has had children’s meetings in Suffolk villages. In 1979, the tent (a portable building with a canvas roof) was completely repaired and repainted. It was erected for the third time on a playing field in the centre of a housing estate in NEWMARKET. Children’s meetings were held from Monday to Friday and a gospel meeting on Lord’s Day evenings for the month of June. These meetings were conducted by C. Moore and P. Meek of the local assembly. Interest in the children’s meetings was good throughout, with children contacted during previous years coming back again. It was good to see that children, who three years ago knew but little Scripture, had at least a grasp of Scripture texts and Bible stories. On the final Lord’s Day, the tent was filled to capacity, the greater part being children and parents from the estate. Several children have continued attending the regular Sunday School at the local assembly. This highlights what can be done in this way, even though the workers were engaged in daily employment. In August the tent was taken to HELIONS BUMPSTEAD, Essex, for a camp. The week-end was used for a Bible Study for young believers, conducted by E. Parmenter at the local assembly hall. About 46 were in Camp. The week following was used as a camp for Sunday School children from NEWMARKET and other local assemblies. The gatherings were all a means of blessing and help, and the presence of the Lord was known.

Midlands

At Cotteridge assembly, BIRMINGHAM, a two week’s campaign was conducted by Stuart McKenzie. This proved to be a time of real encouragement and blessing. Good numbers of unsaved folk attended the meetings, and during the fortnight four adults and two children confessed faith in Christ. An older woman was restored to the Lord after being away for many years. On the last night, two women were baptized, one of whom had been saved during the campaign. Further blessing resulted as an older woman asked for baptism. This was arranged for the following Sunday. A young married man was convicted on the final evening, and two nights later trusted the Saviour. Later he asked for baptism. This was arranged and thus there were baptisms on three successive Sundays. It is good to have further news from the Cleeview Chapel, LUDLOW. Blessing has been seen in that two 14-year old girls have accepted Christ. There are now six young believers to care for. A young lad was also saved in August while on holiday in the area. There are now three children’s meetings running here: Sunday School, Children’s Special and Bible Club on Thursdays. There is really a need to have separate occasions for those saved, besides Bible Club when three age groups stay to go through three different Emmaus Courses. It can be quite distracting, with only three helpers seeking to instruct 14-15 youngsters in a small building. Pray for this new work that “babes in Christ” may grow and that others may be saved.

Matters from Ruth Bourne for praise and prayer in the immigrant work in BIRMINGHAM. Ruth has been engaged in visiting homes and in taking these folk to hospitals and clinics for treatment. This has resulted in a much closer contact with some of them. Taking a young woman to clinic had good results. She gave birth to a healthy baby, and the possibility was opened up to share the gospel in her home in a clear way, with two members of the family now reading gospels. One of the family had been very ill in hospital for some time, with an undiagnosed complaint. Her disease has now been diagnosed and is treatable. Through visiting the home of another family, a family of new arrivals was contacted. The mother could read, and a gospel was passed on to her. On a further visit she accepted a second gospel and other literature. Please pray for this family as they have since moved away and cannot be located.

South West England

From Philip Lambert in Wiltshire comes news of varied activities in evangelism. The last tent campaign of the season was held in the village of SHREWTON. On the first evening it poured with rain, but over 70 children came and the numbers built up over the three week campaign. A good number of young people from the village came to the Youth and Film nights. There were children and adults who trusted Christ. Please pray for them. An elderly gentleman came every evening—helped with the erecting and dismantling of the tent—yet still made no commitment to Christ. A serious case for prayer! Our brother tells of his conviction that there is a desperate need to continue teaching the children the Word of God—very few these days have any conception of the meaning of the things of God. Humorous but sad, is an answer that was given when the children were asked who was swallowed by a big fish. One bright child said, “Pinocchio”. It is encouraging to reach the family through the children. At a mission in SWINDON, a family tea followed by a family service was held. The family response was good, and three of the fathers that came asked for counselling booklets. A monthly visit to Matravers School, WESTBURY, continues. A day is spent teaching R.I. classes each month. This is a “sowing” ministry, but one boy has trusted Christ as a result of a visit and goes on well with the Lord. Praise the Lord for this.

News from DORSET comes from Stephen Gillham. At LYME REGIS, there were disappointments as numbers at Holiday Adventure Times were smaller, and the response from teenagers was small. Two visits to local Comprehensive Schools gave encouragement, and at the local assembly 4 teenage girls were baptized—the first baptism for some years. Pray for this small assembly. A worthwhile tent campaign was held at CHICKERELL. Nearly 200 different children came in to the Adventure Times, and there were never less than 100 in the tent each night. More adults came to the services than ever before at Chickerell, despite the cold and wet weather. Good conversations were held in homes, and a good Senior Citizen’s tea was held. No evident response was seen, and prayer is needed for the great interest that comes from this village. News in retrospect of the Summer School’s Outreach 1980 in WEYMOUTH. It was a remarkable summer for the mission to students from overseas. In 1979, just one German, Bernd, became a Christian. This brought a great thrill. But three young people came to Christ in 1980, and seven or eight of their friends were strongly challenged and came close to conversion. Methods of outreach were: street contact, invitations to Coffee Bars, and a special effort with a team of university students during the first two weeks of August. The possibilities of this work are great as students go back to their native countries having heard the Word in their own tongues. Pray that there will be more decisions for Christ.

South Wales

Brief items of news from South Wales. W. Beale reports encouraging news concerning children’s work. Excellent numbers have attended in various assemblies, and many parents have showed interest with them. John Baker spent a month in the SKEWEN assembly, visiting homes and conducting children’s and adults’ meetings. These were good times. A similar work was conducted at the Evangelistic Hall, LLANELLI. David McMaster had an encouraging time at PANTYFFYNNON Gospel Hall, Dyfed. Philip Widdison drew large numbers of children to DUNVANT Gospel Hall. Ministry on the model of the tabernacle was given to the adults. The workers on the South Wales Mobile Unit visited AMMANFORD and MAESTEG to give help with assembly witness. Many good contacts were made. The assembly at CRAIG YR RHACCA, near Caerphilly, have been active during the past year. John Hadley was invited for meetings in October and the campaign began with 8 teenagers, saved during the year, being baptized. This drew many in from the district. At the end of the fortnight, 7 others were baptized. A good interest was shown throughout. Two or three responded to the gospel. Much prayer is needed for this place. David Prosser reports on the best year ever at the Royal Welsh Show at BUILTH WELLS. Numbers entering the marquee were good, and the interest was keen. A good team of workers united together. One secret of blessing was that there was almost continuous prayer during the three days. Two young men were led to the Lord, and also an army captain was converted two days later. Quite a number of young Christians were helped with problems. Children enrolled for Postal Sunday School. Praise God for this testimony.

Devon

The assembly at COLEFORD has been encouraged recently. Three young people, having been saved, expressed their desire to be baptized. They were baptized in the nearby river. A good number gathered to witness their open testimony to the Lord. The assembly at CHUMLEIGH was at one time a thriving assembly. It has gradually dwindled and now just a few meet together. Other assemblies have felt concern for this, and as a result Dennis Pierce held a month’s meetings for children and adults. Every house in the village was visited by Denis Pierce and Peter Davey. Interest was roused. The children attended the meetings well. Three weekly afternoon meetings were held, and between 30 and 40 folks from the locality came. The Sunday afterchurch saw the chapel full with a good number of village folk present. On the final night an overflow was needed. Pray for this needy assembly. A tent was pitched at MARLWOOD area, near Barnstaple. Each evening some 30-40 children gathered, and also an average of 45-50 adults. Eight adults enquired further about salvation, but no definite professions were made. Much prayer is needed. An interesting item of news comes from PLYMOUTH. Whitleigh assembly is making a major effort to share the truths of the gospel with every home on the estate. The assembly has recently commended a brother and sister to the work, which will consist mainly of delivering four weekly letters to each home outlining the facts of the gospel to the people. These weekly letters will be followed by personal visits to help those who are seeking the Lord. Prayer would be valued.

Cornwall

A report to hand tells of Postal Sunday School stands at one day fairs and shows. Many towns in Cornwall hold these, and they provide a useful means of witness. The local assembly at SALTASH had a stand alongside a Postal Sunday School stand. Both attracted a good number of interested folk. The assembly displayed items illustrating activities of witness and various cards introducing the meetings were distributed. The Postal Sunday School stand had a small competition, and gave away introductory lessons to interested children and teenagers. Parents also showed interest. At LISKEARD a similar fair was held, and the Postal Sunday School Stand offered a quiz on the Word of God. A prize of a free record from Gospel Recording Fellowship was offered, and an introductory lesson from P.S.S. More scholars joined as a result, and over 120 gospel records have gone into the homes. The total cost of these stands was £1 5 and gave far greater results than the three days at the Royal Cornwall Show. Let us pray for these ventures in evangelism.

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