“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace”, Rom 10. 15.
The words “peaceful settlement”, “reconciliation”, and “peace” have been much in the front of people s minds during these days. Whatever the rights and wrongs of conflict may be. it creates a deep and meaningless tragedy. It shatters, corrupts and destroys. But evangelists, those engaged in the business of preaching the Word, carry a message of peace. The word tells of beautiful feet, and of activities that are set to spread abroad the atmosphere of true peace. This is “good news” amidst so much that is bad It is good to reflect that the peace that enters the soul when Christ is accepted is not just the absence of strife. Peace is spiritual health! The joy of the justified is built upon the peace of acceptance and access into the full favour of God. It is a peace that is beyond conflict, made through the blood of His cross No wonder the feet are beautiful that bear such good tidings. Well it is for us to remember this as we report on the doings of the Lord’s servants. They are the “instruments of His peace” We pray that their ministry may be effective to this end.
News of the 1982 CORK Conference from Wendell Webb. This St Patrick’s day event has been held for 37 years. Numbers in excess of 100 gathered from the Republic and the North. The assemblies in Cork, Limerick, Bandon and Skibbereen help to convene the conference, and it proves a useful time of fellowship. Jim Burnett, Scotland, and Sam Jennings, Bangor, gave helpful ministry, and news of the work in Eastern Europe was given by Martin Baker. A sense of the Lord’s blessing was over the gatherings, and they met the need for fellowship and teaching in the assemblies in the area Yet the need for prayer for assembly life in the South was highlighted in the conference An interesting item of news relates to the placing of Scripture Text Posters on the hoardings and in prominent places throughout Eire. Buses, railway stations, cars and schools all provide means of display. Schools are now being offered texts in both the English and Irish language, and a great interest is being shown Hundreds of children are memorising texts of Scripture. A recent visitor to Eire expressed surprise at the number of texts displayed in the land They only expected to see them in Roman Catholic grottoes and churches. We can. pray for the silent witnesses!
We are glad to be able to give consistent reports of work in the troubled North. Jim Graham again sends reports of evangelism - we praise God for evidences of blessing. There were some saved at Cregagh Street Hall. BELFAST, where Jim Martin and Wilson Jennings had meetings. A “fruitful spell” of meetings with Albert Aitken in BALLYMONEY saw about thirteen profess faith in Christ. Three have been saved as he continues meetings in Central Hall. BANGOR, Co. Down Work has been done by Eric Wishart and Sam Jennings at SHANAGHAN, Co Down A portable hall was erected on the housing estate’ at KNOCKMORE near Lisburn, and Eric Wishart and Samuel Thompson have worked there in association with Wallace Avenue assembly Lisburn. John Hawthorne and Tom McNeill saw well attended meetings held in a portable hall outside ANTRIM. Sometimes distribution of tracts and scriptures reaches many more hearts with the gospel than public preaching. Often the tracts are disregarded or thrown away. Yet John Thompson is one of many who believe in placing gospel literature in as many unsaved people’s hands as possible. He is committed to this work, and each week visits the open air market at NEWRY and LISBURN where about 4000 tracts are distributed. Only eternity will tell the full effect of this “sowing” - our brother would value prayer. Prayerful planning is now in progress for open-air work to be done on the sea front at BANGOR, Co. Down, and also for preaching to holiday crowds at CARNLOUGH, NEWCASTLE and PORTSTEWART.
Items of interest come from Edward Jamison of BELFAST. A ministry known as “Words of Comfort” is engaged in by 30 believers who visit about 300 homes throughout the province. Letters of appreciation received tell of the blessing experienced by people going through times of tragedy and bereavement. The work among the soldiers continues to give valuable opportunities as weekly visits are made to the hospitals. The Royal Victoria Hospital is visited each Tuesday and Friday, and many contacts are made in sharing the gospel. Sympathetic visits often lead to heart-to-heart talks about spiritual things. There is also the opportunity of visitation of all members of the Police Force who are hospitalized in BELFAST. Here are open doors - evangelism on a one-to-one personal level. Such work needs much wisdom and prayer.
“There are always fresh causes for encouragement in the work despite the fact that times are hard. These come in personal wohk.” It is with these words that Tom Aitken begins his report of activities in the South. Jim Aitken visited a lady in quite a remote area of the South of Scotland, and had the joy of leading her to the Lord. Since then he had the joy of baptizing her at DUMFRIES. Some good contacts have also been made during a week’s activities at BIGGAR. The assembly in this place is very weak - one of the few brethren has recently been called home. This brother, although by no means aged, arranged their first-ever conference and the visit of Jim Aitken, but he was with the Lord before the events took place. We shall remember the family and the assembly in prayer. Personal work again, at MOTHER-WELL. brings a happy story. A young girl was led to know the Lord. Through her influence her mother became interested, attended meetings and was wonderfully saved. The father was quite difficult about it. an intelligent man involved in various social organisations. But a Christian who had his spiritual well-being at heart, prayed for him and spoke to him about the Saviour. He also took him to some special meetings. After one such meeting he came to the man’s home, broken before the Lord, and was led to Christ. Which of us does not join in praising God for such a chain of events, leading to a home becoming the dwelling place of the Lord Himself. John Spiers had meetings at DOUGLAS where the interest was good. A young married woman has since been saved and baptized. This is the fifth baptism recently in the small assembly.
Good meetings were also held in LANARK. Stewart McKenzie had a good effort at HARELEESHILL. Lanarks., where two young men accepted Christ. These are happy items but the report is not all sunshine George Meikie’s portable hall was burnt down in BATHGATE area. Robert Revie’s request to erect a hall at HURLFORD, Ayrshire, was eventually refused. So Robert moved in with door-to-door visitation - no stopping the spreading of the truth. In the ISLE of MULL, Roy Marshall and Dan Gillies held meetings in a converted mobile Home. They also visited many homes, and were in the main well received. Pray for the “pioneers” of the gospel. David Locke visited the villages along the river FORTH, distributing gospel literature. This was by no means an easy work to engage in. One footnote ends this most interesting report A lady was visited by Tom Aitken in a village outside the village of FORTH. She announced, “I’ve a tract for you - I found it in our family Bible.” It was dated 1863 and entitled the Douglasdale Monthly Messenger. Over one hundred years ago tract distribution was “on”; the work continues! Blessed are they that sow besides all waters. We have news of the closure of an assembly - the one that met at KINGS-PARK. Glasgow. For over 50 years there has been a testimony there, but decline in numbers has necessitated this action.
The assembly which for some years have gathered in a community centre on the ORTON township near Peterborough have been much encouraged in the Lord to see the commencement of building a new hall. The hall is on a prime site in the township - an area which when completed will house 30,000 people. Work began last December, but was much delayed by the severe weather. The building is just above foundation level and should be occupied by June. This is a venture of faith - a desire to see “living stones” built into a “spiritual house.” We shall pray that our friends will have good success in their labours for the Lord. A small company of believers have begun to gather in the centre of BRIDLINGTON at the North Street Gospel Hall, 49 North Street. On the first Lord’s Day morning about 17 gathered to break bread and a precious time was enjoyed. Visitors to Bridlington will be welcome by the fellowship there.
From BOURN village, near Cambridge, an interesting story comes. Ivor Powell tells of a farmer and his wife who have worked faithfully here over many years. Monthly gospel meetings are held in their house. They meet with believers in Cambridge, but are burdened about the need in their village. More Christians have moved into the area and a Tuesday evening children’s meeting has been running for about two years. Evening games, etc., end with a meeting in a converted stable. Ivor Powell held a week’s meetings here, and about 54 children came along. This is the usual number that come. On the final day the village hall was hired for prize-giving and about 20 parents came with the children It is good to know that the children’s work continues, together with a Bible Study for believers. The Thursday evening gospel meeting at the farm is attended by 30-50 people, and the Lord has given encouragement. There is much prayer being made that the work here may grow and strengthen.
John Baker had a week’s meetings at Hope Chapel, MOSELEY, Birmingham, and these were powerful times. There was a sense of the Lord’s blessing throughout. A young man was baptized on the Friday evening. In visitation a woman was contacted whose daughter had been taken into hospital. Reading and prayer was had with her, and both the woman and her husband attended the meetings as a result. Two weeks meetings were also held at Chelsea Gospel Hall. BRISTOL. The meetings were good with a full programme of activities. A young daughter of assembly parents and an elderly lady from a Sheltered Home came to Christ. It was felt that the Lord answered prayer in these meetings. Believers at LUDLOW opened their new hall on May 2nd. with a conference to celebrate the Lord’s goodness to them. A good number gathered and ministry was given by A. J. Last and John Baker. It was good to remember the Lord’s faithfulness in this venture of faith, and there is much prayer being made that the work will increase. The conference of the ROCKHAMPTON assembly was held at Thornbury, and a good number attended. The ministry given by B. Osborne and E. Parmenter was stimulating and helpful, and a good time of fellowship was enjoyed.
News of Vaca-tional Bible School in the Lohdon Area is interesting. At BARNEHURST a “first” was organized by Derek Bingham during halfterm holidays. Attendances averaged about 80 but at the final meeting with parents and children, about 130 gathered. At WELLING a good time was had with Tom Bathgate, and here about 100 children came each day with 170 joining together for the final meeting. Following this at CATFORD, a good attendance of about 60 made the effort worthwhile. At Barnehurst a weekly children’s meeting has commenced with about 30 children gathering each time. Here we have a useful method of child evangelism developed through local contacts. We have news from South East London Mobile Unit which tells of useful contacts made. At PECKHAM a young woman accepted Christ as Saviour. Other literature was sent to her, and she asked for further visitation. Joining with the assembly at LOUGHBOROUGH, Unit workers visited houses and flats in the neighbourhood. Some interest was shown. Following visitation, short services were held in an Old People’s Home. At SOUTH NORWOOD, two Unit workers and four local brethren joined to visit houses and flats, and a good welcome was given at old people’s flats. At BECKENHAM, local Christians joined with workers, and meetings were held in High Street with some resulting good personal contacts.
The South West London Mobile Unit continues its activities. A good hearing was enjoyed in the STRAND with many standing to listen A police car stopped - listened, and then carried on! Many tracts were taken but many were refused. One man listened for about 20 minutes but was undecided about the message. A young man was spoken to, and a worker prayed with him. This man was met again at VICTORIA and seemed to be full of the joy of the Lord. Three Muslim students, contacted previously at E. CROYDON, were friendly and received some literature. In April the fourth new Unit was dedicated at the Annual Report Meeting. A short dedication took place outside Victoria Hall. WANDSWORTH. This Unit cost up to £7,000. but the cost has been more than met by gifts from the Lord’s people. Encouraging reports were given on the various spheres of the Unit’s work Through this method, a major source of outreach work to people of London and further afield was provided. News again from S. Mountstevens. RAMSGATE. Children’s meetings were held at WHITSTABLE and TONBRIDGE. At Tonbridge, four professed faith in the Lord. One was from a wayward and sad home, and the change in his life has become evident. Over 40 children attended the follow-up of these meetings. It is encouraging to see the continuance of the work at the WEALD, and numbers are keeping up well. Interest is being maintained in the monthly visits to surrounding villages. During four years of this work blessing has been seen. It is a cause of sadness that the door to the beach work at MARGATE this summer is closed. Prayer is needed regarding the future. A new gospel tent and caravanette will provide opportunities for evangelism.
At CHICKERELL, Weymouth, a special conference was held to mark the 60th anniversary of the opening of the hall. About 150 gathered to join in thanksgiving for God’s goodness and mercy. The assembly, which is small in number, was greatly encouraged by the interest shown. Prayer and preparation is taking place in WEYMOUTH for the summer School’s Outreach. About 7,700 contacts with students have been made over the previous four years, and at least eight have been known to have trusted Christ. About 4,000 students are expected this year, and through street witness, school visits. Gospel language leaflets and records, and the Coffee Bar. the gospel will be presented. May the Lord richly bless the witness in 1982. An appeal comes from the small assembly gathered in LYNMOUTH. The homecall of George Huxtable has badly depleted the assembly. Barnstaple and Minehead provide help for the Lord’s Day afternoon breaking of bread and ministry. If there are any believers on holiday in this area, help will be appreciated. Here is a call for fellowship and prayer
John Baker tells of an interesting result to a lift he gave to a man who was on his way from Mountain Ash to Porth to go to a Senior Citizen’s Outing. Listening to the gospel as they travelled along, the man appeared to be under deep conviction. As he left the car, he was given a booklet with John’s name and address in it. Time lapsed when a ‘phone call came saying that he was saved and to be baptized on Easter Sunday. There were 270 at his baptism where he stood up boldly and gave his testimony. Praise God for such links in chains that eventually lead to Christ. John Baker also tells of an incident after an evening meeting listening to Jack Hunter at LLANELLI. A young man approached him and asked him to speak to one of his workmates. He visited him and led him to the Saviour. After a contact three years previously in the tent at TREDEGAR with a lad, he turned up again while John Baker was conducting a campaign at ABERGAVENNY. He is now a Christian and in the army. These incidents are given as an encouragement to “buy up” opportunities to witness at all times for the Lord. Who can tell the harvest?
A Postal Sunday School Stand was set up at SALTASH May Fair. This is held in the streets of the town and the stand was in a favourable place for contacts. Many people came past. Bibles were sold and literature was distributed. Good conversations were enjoyed. P.S S. made good use of the opportunities, and sample lessons were given to the children as they came. An interesting conversation was held with two thirteen year old boys. They seemed concerned, and had been consistently under the sound of God’s Word. They do need prayer. Four Saturday night gospel meetings have been held in Community Halls around the town of ST. AUSTELL during the winter months Each was attended by 60-70 people, a good percentage of whom were locals. As a result of these meetings many good conversations were enjoyed. Some of these were with believers who were disturbed about their present fellowship. The assembly was united in these activities, and five people have been coming to the gospel meetings regularly as a result. One other encouraging feature was the happy involvement in the work of the young people from several other assemblies. Prayerful planning is in progress for the use of the Gospel Tent during the summer by John Hadley. WHITSTONE will be visited D.V., where about 9 people break bread together. Also PENZANCE is on the list for meetings, and it is hoped to erect the Tent in the playing field here. Let us pray for these and all activities reported.
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