Gospel Work and Other Assembly Activities – January-March 1999

‘Give ye them to eat’, Mark 6. 37. Thus the Lord, at a moment of intense pressure and amidst their feelings of inadequacy, challenges the disciples to look at their resources to meet a difficult need around them. When they had exhausted their thinking He turns their gaze towards His own limitless sufficiency. He will only use what they are prepared to give Him, but when they do, it is His power that will take what they have and make it supply the need. We need to relearn His sufficiency and our inadequacy.

SCOTLAND

SOUTH UIST is a predominately (97%) Roman Catholic island in the OUTER HEBRIDES. During the early summer Dan Gillies and his wife visited the island and distributed Seed Sower packs to 450 crofts. The reception was encouraging and enquiries for more information have been received since the visit. One young woman indicated that having been saved earlier, her faith had been strengthened by the materials received. Fascally House, Pitlochry, has been used for the second summer season by several area camps for young people. July saw around 300 people from the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Camp and the Tayside and Scottish Postal Sunday School camps used the site. Later, a group of eighty from several Eastern European countries spent a fortnight at Fascally, organized through the Philadelphia Trust. Teaching was given based on the signs in John’s Gospel. Later in August a camp from Sunderland and Tyneside also used the facility. This represents a healthy and ongoing work that has been accomplished because of those who had the vision and the faith to make Fascally a reality. The House has been used for weekends and midweek breaks by younger and older believers, to evangelize and teach many.

FIFE, St. Andrews the small assembly maintains an annual week of outreach in July. This year they were aided by Dan Gillies and a group of 20 young people from various assemblies. Being a holiday and University town it is always busy and as door to door work, children’s meetings and open air witness were used many heard the gospel. One twelve-year-old lad was saved and an older man of about thirty was led to Christ after showing consistent interest during the week. There has also been some movement evident amongst the many students that attend the University, as fellow students have witnessed to them. Several have professed salvation and some have been baptized. The Lossiemouth assembly took the opportunity to use the Ayrshire Bible Exhibition in the local Town Hall for the first week in September. There is a team of believers that often accompany this exhibition and labour exceedingly hard to set it up and man it. This week was no exception, and together with the local assembly, many were reached through this means. Eight schools were contacted and 600 children as well as 200 adults went through during the week. A Roman Catholic priest confessed in conversation that he had realized that salvation was a gift, and not of works.

LANARKSHIRE. Several gospel activities have been a source of encouragement and challenge recently. The three Larkhall assemblies joined together to distribute John 3. 16, together with other literature, to the 18, 000 population. Similarly, the believers in the village of Overtown, using the same material, covered their area. Requests for follow up literature have since been received. At Bellshill the saints have seen a revival of their Sunday School work after considering whether or not to close it. They gave themselves to prayer and put in a full commitment resulting in a healthy roll of 30 scholars now regularly attending. At Greengairs there was encouragement to parents to come along to the Sunday School with their children and several have done so. The assembly at Muirhead was much encouraged in gospel meetings held during August with John Grant. Our brother enthusiastically preached and visited throughout the three week period. Over 5, 000 items of literature were given out and some 34 unsaved people were known to have heard the gospel in the meetings. A young man and a young woman made confessions of faith in Christ. Monthly prayer meetings from October to May are held every second Friday of each month in Bellshill for the work of the gospel in the county. This allows for focused praying and for the sharing of information about the Lord’s work. In a day when there is reported increasing opposition to open air preaching and negative responses towards gospel outreach in certain towns, such vital intercession would seem to be even more necessary.

  • Pray for young believers in our Universities not only that they will be preserved in their spiritual lives but that God will give them great boldness in their witness to fellow students.
  • Pray for those considering closing down Sunday School work that they might reconsider the potential of continuing even with a few, and catch a renewed vision for this work.
  • Pray for a greater understanding and need for assemblies to think together of the county or area God has set them in, to the end that there might be a united vision for gospel testimony.

AYRSHIRE Beith once had its own assembly testimony some years ago as also did Kilmaurs, near Kilmarnock. Both of these places have been the subject of gospel activity by the Lord’s servants this autumn. In Beith the old Gospel Hall was kindly made available by the present owners so that Roland Pickering could conduct evangelistic meetings. Prior to these there were visitation and distribution of literature as well as prayer meetings in neighbouring Kilbirnie. A few local people attended and some women came regularly. Robert Revie and Ian Robertson revisited the village of Kilmaurs where they have worked previously. There are assembly believers living here as well as other Christians who attend the local evangelistic church. Their exercise is to build on these contacts. They also put up a portable hall in the small town of Logan and had an excellent response from children. Adults were less evident but some recently saved men from Auchinleck who were former alcoholics, brought along others with this same affliction. Some good conversations took place and subsequently one of these men trusted in Christ. The assembly at Woodpark, Ayr, had an intensive build up to their special effort in the gospel during September. A great deal of visitation and distribution of literature was undertaken. The Bible Exhibition was used in Belmont Academy for two days and one day was spent in the Roman Catholic School. The exhibition was then set up in the Hall prior to the two week visit of Ian Jackson to preach the gospel. This resulted in follow up interest by two men and a girl in her mid-teens. This young woman professed to have been saved in her own home after reading the booklet Ultimate Questions. Many unsaved people heard the gospel at the meetings and others were challenged on their doorstep. The assemblies seek prayer for the follow up work.

DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY Open air work in the town of Dumfries has been a regular feature of the assembly’s testimony for the last twenty years. It has been mainly carried on by our brother John Wilson who has now been joined by Stephen Brandt. On Wednesdays and Saturdays they meet firstly for prayer and then, displaying scripture banners give out as many as 800 tracts over a month. We rejoice in a persistent and sustained testimony when such work is less evident and often opposed.

RENFREWSHIRE The Renfrewshire Gospel Campaign was conducted in the town of Port Glasgow for three weeks in October.

From May to October the town was prayerfully tracted and the meetings advertised. Our brethren Roland Pickering and Stephen Grant, recently commended to the Lord’s work, led the evangelism and undertook the preaching. Heavy rain discouraged attendance and generally the response was poor. However we rejoice in the gospel being powerfully set out and know that the labour is not in vain.

GLASGOW. Govan The believers at Bethesda Gospel Hall are constantly being encouraged as they see seamen from all over the world attend the gospel meeting Sunday after Sunday. The reason is that for the last three years brother Sam Laughlin has been enabled of the Lord to visit ships as they dock and leave literature and Bibles for the seamen to read. Over this time, not only have seamen come to the meetings but Christians have been encouraged and links have been made by the assembly with their families. Recently two Chinese ships were boarded and literature eagerly taken despite the opposition of the ‘political’ man. The Captain of one of these vessels showed Sam his A.V. Bible and responded to the invitation to come for tea and the meeting. A large number of Chinese Testaments went with that ship as it later left port.

  • Thank God for the faithful testimony of many who face the crowded streets and shopping malls in order to present the people with the gospel. Ask that this liberty may be preserved to us as a nation till the Lord comes.
  • Pray for those that use the opportunity that a port and visiting shipping offers to present gospel literature and copies of the Scriptures to the many thousands of seamen that come in the ships.

ENGLAND

CUMBRIA GOSPEL OUTREACH Once again there has been unceasing activity in personal witness and literature distribution through the assemblies’ mobile unit. In a largely rural county such as this it is the regular weekly markets that attract the scattered population and give opportunity to contact people. There has been a faithful and consistent use of the unit at the following towns over the summer: Cockermouth, Wigton, Workington, Cleator Moor, Keswick, Whitehaven, Kendal and Ulverston. They represent hundreds of conversations and contacts that need fervent watering with many prayers for the Lord to further them through more contact. Many Agricultural Shows were visited and provided substantial opportunity to set out the gospel message to many. These were at Cumberland, Dalston, Appleby, Skelton, Keswick, Kendal and Egremont. The Lord answered prayer for the evangelists in what at times were difficult physical conditions, and they were in turn encouraged by the faithful help and fellowship of other believers who came to share in the witness. With the summer over, now is the time to labour at the Mercy Seat and to be available to be used by the Lord as He furthers His work in the lives of many.

NORTHUMBRIA Those who have been praying for our brother Ron Hutchinson and his wife in their prison ministry will be delighted to know that he is well enough to recommence his visits into the prison. He is still receiving treatment but the doctors seem very pleased with his progress so far. The prisoners cheered and wept as he went back amongst them, expressing their joy at seeing him again.

NORTH STAFFORDSHIRE The annual camp set up by the assemblies of the North Staffs and Crewe area was held again at the outdoor centre in Pendine, South Wales. Some sixty young people were constantly under the sound of the word of God during the week, Robert Watson of the Wirral being responsible. The studies and gospel messages centred on the Lord’s life. The week resulted in one adult and eight youngsters making commitments to the Lord and some of these have been baptized in the local assemblies from which they come. A special re-union for the twentieth year celebration of the camp vork saw 100 present to hear a challenging vord from S. McKenzie.

DERBYSHIRE, Bakewell A number of relievers came together to take advantage of he Bakewell Show for a tent of witness, aptly titled ‘Good News for Bakewell’. There was brilliant sunshine and record numbers that came through the marquee. Inside was a cheerful room for sitting and enjoying tea or coffee. This was where Christian literature was made available and believers sought useful contacts. Also in the tent the Emmaus Bible School and Nottingham Postal Sunday School presented their materials to those who showed interest. A large supply of Christian books were also on offer. A strong sense of fellowship in the gospel was experienced and the saints were encouraged to believe the Lord used this day to reach many.

  • Pray now for every young person who attended summer camps. Pray particularly for those who did not respond to the gospel. Pray for those that did that they will have had sympathetic and supportive help from believers at home.
  • Pray that Ron Hutchinson and his wife will be greatly used in this reopening of the prison work. Pray for Ron’s health.
  • Pray that as assemblies we will watch for and respond to local opportunities to witness to our communities.

WORCESTERSHIRE, Crowle A three-week gospel campaign by the assembly in this small village in July resulted in one eightyyear-old lady finding the Saviour. Our brother Joe Baxter laboured faithfully in visitation and setting out the gospel nightly. There was a much improved response from people in the village than experienced in previous years, and unsaved were in to each of the meetings. The assembly has been greatly heartened and rejoices in the Lord’s goodness. *

LONDON, Bermondsey A two-week gospel campaign held at Bermondsey Gospel Hall during September was a source of challenge for the assembly. Over 110 people attended, a third of whom were thought not to be saved. Although no professions were made it was evident that many were seeking and some were close to tears during the powerful preaching by Nitish Patel. The sense of divine power present during the effort and the untiring commitment of the young people was tremendous. Over 14, 000 leaflets were delivered, hundreds of doors were knocked and good conversations had with many. The saints were encouraged to see positive results from their weekly tract distribution and monthly open air meetings. They have been encouraged to think of a further effort in the spring.

HAMPSHIRE, Ashvale The assembly was helped by brother Frank Lonney to conduct their annual Holiday Bible Club in August. The numbers attending were small but consistent, and the saints felt that much good seed had been sown in young hearts. They continue a door to door tracting ministry to maintain their links with the neighbourhood.

SOMERSET, llminster As a result of the growth in numbers and an increased ability to reach out with the gospel, the assembly has been encouraged to move through opened doors of opportunity. A Schools’ Link Team has been formed to co-ordinate opportunities to take assemblies in several local schools, to take part in R E lessons by explaining what the Gospel Hall was and to speak to groups of children in the Hall itself. This latter occasion gave time to speak about baptism in front of the open baptistry. In the new year the assembly has booked two slots with the Royal Mail ‘Door to Door’ service for a split delivery of 12, 000 leaflets. The first 6, 000 will be entitled ‘An Invitation’ and poses leading questions as well as introducing the assembly. The second is a specifically written gospel tract. In anticipation of the Lord’s blessing in attracting new people to the meetings the saints are also setting about refurbishing the Hall to take it from the ‘40’s into the late ‘90’s. Hill House was used again by the Kingfisher Trust to draw together assembly young people for a weekend of ministry. Some fifty-two came and spent a time of good fellowship around the Epistle to the Colossians, Eric Parmenter giving a day’s ministry on the Saturday. Coleford assembly was encouraged by the response of over fifty senior citizens to the regular Tea. Offers of lifts are made on the leaflets delivered around the village beforehand.

  • Thank God for the many who have heard the gospel as the result of gospel campaigns, conducted through local assemblies. Pray for wisdom in following up contacts made by such efforts.
  • Pray for the many thousands who have read the gospel in their own homes through literature distribution.
  • Pray for assemblies that have caught the glimpse of a new vision for service in the gospel, that it may not dim.

DEVON, Bradninch Twenty-five years ago the assembly purchased their present meeting place from the Salvation Army. Now, with a slow but sure growth in numbers, they have celebrated the Lord’s goodness over the years. Special leaflets and invitations were delivered and a company of 120, many of these being unsaved, heard a very searching message from Alec Passmore of Preston. The assembly has a number of outreach activities among the young and women, and is looking to the Lord to sustain through them an active testimony in future days. Plymouth. The work of the Plymouth Assemblies Youth Camps continued this summer with four very full weeks of gospel and teaching work. Each week saw blessing in conversions although it was felt that lots of the youngsters had immense difficulties with their home environments and needed the Christian love and care that the workers provided in the week. The Lord was felt to have really answered prayer in preservation and spiritual blessing. The believers at West Hill Gospel Hall continue to move slowly forward in their exercise to build new accommodation on the large council housing estate of Efford, where they have seen the Lord open up a real spiritual response amongst the many families they are in contact with. There are yet several problems with the project over the which they do not have control, but believing that the Lord has brought them this far, they are convinced He will find a way through for them. They recently enjoyed the fellowship of Peter Brandon who saw blessing in the gospel as well as providing rich food from Ephesians in ministry. The believers at Plymstock Chapel, Plymouth, held a commendation meeting in October for John and Claire Wadsworth who were commended to serve the Lord amongst orphaned children in Hong Kong. There were many who took the opportunity to show their love and fellowship with this young couple in their call to serve Christ.

CORNWALL, Falmouth After celebrating their 70th anniversary in September, the assembly which numbers 15, has re-thought it’s approach to testimony resulting in there now being one Family Service in the month instead of every week. All their efforts now concentrate on this one service which has resulted in around 80 being present on several occasions. The focus is made through the children’s work and this has brought the adults along. The weekly Sunday School numbers around 20 to 25 and is backed up with two other meetings for the young during the week. A bi-monthly magazine is produced and circulated around the locality giving items of news with comment on issues of Christian interest as well as a healthy slice of gospel truth. St Austell. The assembly has been encouraged by the baptism of five believers since the end of the summer. Four young people were convicted of their need to obey the Lord as a result of attending camps. The other, an older woman, had been saved two years previously and came to be baptized after completing the ‘First Steps’ Nurture Course. Her baptism, at her own request, was in the sea from a local beach. Her family travelled from London to Cornwall in order to witness the occasion.

NORTHERN IRELAND

CO. ANTRIM Recent gospel efforts in the following places would value prayer as follow up is made:- Ballybollan Assembly had ten weeks of gospel meetings at Larne, Craigy Hill. At Clough one lady professed faith in Christ and at Kells good interest was evident. Broomhedge assembly was encouraged after tent meetings. One lady was saved at meetings in Burnside and several professed faith at gospel meetings in Ballymoney. Good attendance was seen at Buckna and prayer is asked for the labours of L. Mullan and C. Brown as they evangelize the needy area of Carnlough and Doonan.

CO. ARMAGH Three were saved during gospel work at Lurgan and one lady professed in tent meetings at Richhill. Numbers were encouraging at tent meetings held just 1. 5 miles outside Armagh City. Portadown and Killylea had gospel efforts.

CO. DOWN There have been gospel efforts in the following places: Bethesda Hall in Bangor, Cardy, Annalong, Ballymacashon, Crossgar and Ballyhay. At Drumnahare near Loughbrickland, a portable hall had to be erected to cope with the exceptional numbers of people attending each night, 50/60 of whom were believed to be unsaved. A number have professed. At the Northfield Meetings, in Newcastle, the 1000 seat tent was again erected, and large crowds heard the gospel and ministry each day. These meetings included children’s and teenager’s work and the town was also evangelized. At the end of the time nineteen were baptized in the sea, though some of these had professed faith earlier in the year. Amongst these was a Roman Catholic family of five people.

CO. LONDONDERRY Coleraine saw meetings in a large tent attended by as many as 200 nightly and there were those who professed faith. Tents and halls have also been used at Killykergan, Macosquin, Aughrim and Limavady.

BELFAST AREA Shankill Hall is the only meeting place on the Clarawood Estate of 600 houses. Two gospel efforts have been conducted recently.

EIRE

S. Paterson and T. Wallace received a good response to meetings held in Skibbereen and S. Patterson, G. Stewart and T. McClay preached in a portable hall set up at Gartan, near Letterkenny.

NOTES AND NEEDS

ECHOES OF SERVICE challenge younger believers to ‘Spring into Action’ by booking in to their Missionary Youth Weekend, 19th-21st March, 1999. More information is available from them on 01255 310893.

CHRISTIAN WORKERS RELIEF FUND This Fund is now in its 37th year and exists to support assembly commended UK based workers and their families in times of emergency, illness, and retirement. During this year, twenty-seven workers have received help and forty-eight retired servants were supported, through its giving. In order to do this £21, 000 has had to be taken from reserves. We make you aware of its existence and service. The contact address is CWRF, c/o Mr J McEwen, Silver Birch Barn, Leamington Hall Farm, Fosse Way, Chesterton, Leamington Spa, CV33 9JP.

YEAR 2000

Many thanks for those who have already responded to our request for news of special gospel work planned for the new millennium. Please keep them coming. We may be able to do a special report in the next issue.

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