“The fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ”, Rom. 15. 29.
In reading this report, it could probably be felt that there is nothing outstanding about the things that have happened. There are some who have accepted the Saviour as a result of tragedy Sadness often leads to serious thinking. With other folk, it had been the consistent witness in the home of a wife or a husband - eventually barriers being broken down, and the miracle of conversion takes place Wherein does real blessing lie? As Paul spoke of his intentions to visit Rome, he would come not expecting to find blessing, but to bring blessing with him. This is quite a lovely thought. It highlights Paul’s deep appreciation of the worth of the Word that he preached, “fulness … blessing”. Whatever was expected of the man, he knew that they could never expect too much of the message. There is abundance to meet every situation and circumstance of need in the message entrusted to our hands. It is indeed a sacred deposit. Perhaps if we realized the true dynamic power enshrined in the glorious gospel we preach, we should be more ready to “launch out into the deep”.
Interesting items of news come to us from Jim Graham. They remind us that God often uses unusual and dramatic events to bring people to Christ. Albert Aiken began preaching in BALLY-MONEY Gospel Hall after seeing further blessing in KILLYFADDY, Co. Tyrone. The Lord gave much blessing. About eleven professed faith in Christ. Some of these were related to two sisters who were tragically drowned when their car skidded into the river Bann near Coleraine. Another tragedy, the sudden homecall of George Boville through accident, shocked the countryside around Ballymena. His testimony in his assembly and business life, and among all who knew him. was reflected in the largest funeral ever seen in the area. Several are known to have been saved as a result of this sad event Our prayers are asked for his wife and family, and also for the continuance of the testimony at CROSSKEYS, the assembly which he loved and lived for God’s ways often seem strange to us, but we can be sure that He never makes a mistake. Robert McLuckie and John Flynn had large numbers at Castlereagh Hall, BELFAST, and at least three accepted Christ. In Co. Down, J. Allen saw large numbers coming in at Ebenezer Hall, BANGOR. where a good number were saved This gave encouragement. Bob Neill and Tom Meeking saw the Lord at work in Cambridge Avenue Hall, BALLYMENA. An interesting item comes from BALLYHOME. near Portrush. Bill Armstrong preached in a portable hall. This was blown down during the final week of the meetings, which were completed in Portrush Gospel Hall. Four were eventually saved, one of them being the father of a member of the assembly and the subject of very many prayers. Praise God that He answers such prayers. Bally-hackamore assembly, BELFAST, conducted a gospel outreach with Bertie Critchley having a series of gospel meetings. The above items reflect the faithfulness of many testimonies in this tragically disturbed country. Let us keep them before us in prayer.
We have several interesting items of news from Edward Jaminson. A work is done in prisons in BELFAST by means of Emmaus Courses. These are sent in at the request of the prisoners and returned for correction Two Roman Catholics sent in the coupon which appears weekly in The Irish News and Derry Journal, requesting a New Testament and Bible Course. The Courses “What the Bible Teaches” were sent. A young Christian got away from the Lord and ended in prison. He is now reading his Bible again and studying the Courses. Pray that he will be restored to the Lord. His family also need much prayer. An interesting means of evangelism called “Deep Sea Evangelism” is conducted by believers from Wallace Avenue Gospel Hall, LISBURN. 2000 plastic bags, with John 3. 16 in a variety of languages, are taken on board various vessels sailing from Belfast, Cork and London, and cast into the sea. There is offered a free Bible in the language of the finders on foreign shores Not quite “casting bread upon the waters” - but we can pray that these shall be found, even after many days. Visits are made to the Military Hospital in BELFAST. Many problems are encountered as 40-60 persons are contacted on each visit Wisdom is vitally needed, so that right things may be said. Each visit needs to be steeped in prayers. A telephone ministry is also available from BELFAST 646978. Through this means, the gospel is sent out to all who dial the number, and unsaved folk are known to ring the number regularly. So by varied means the seed is sown. The one supreme objective is that men shall hear of Christ!
There is not much news in from Scotland this time. John Spiers made some good contacts at DOUGLAS when he was there for 2 weeks. Jim Aitken had a difficult time during three weeks labouring in KILARUNING. In spite of difficulties, two or three showed real interest. Jim Smith saw some saved at Harley Street, and here again some continue to show interest In several assemblies in Lanarkshire, good times have been enjoyed with Parents and Senior Citizens meetings. Some excellent personal contacts have been made with both young and old
At Mauldeth Road Gospel Hall, MANCHESTER, a very encouraging number of strangers were present during a campaign conducted by Stewart McKenzie. No definite results were seen, but there was good material for prayer that the word may be effective. During the winter months the fortnightly Bible study meetings for young people have continued on Friday evenings. Numbers attending have been most encouraging. This work is an extension of the Sunday School Camp work, held in the summer. Planning and praying are in progress for the summer tent work. This year, D. V.. Robert Revie and Alistair Young will be the evangelists, and the tent will be pitched in the Crumpsall Park, MANCHESTER. It is always good to hear of well attended ministry meetings during the winter months Almost each Saturday sees some such meeting either in the centre or in local assemblies in MANCHESTER. Thus believers are able to gather for profitable teaching and Bible Study during the months from October to March. Numbers have been encouraging.
There are many features of life that are depressing in the Midlands of England. Unemployment is rife and there are many tensions in the various communities. It is good, therefore, to have a good batch of items relating to the Lord’s work in this area. Praise God that His Word has something relevant to say for every situation and need. News of a special visit by Stewart McKenzie to this area for Ministry Meetings, renewing fellowship with four assemblies where he had held Gospel Campaigns during the past two or three years. “It was a special joy”, he said, “to meet again several of those who were saved during the meetings and to see evidence of spiritual growth. On one occasion there were in the audience at least eight who had experienced definite blessing as a direct result of the campaign held 18 months earlier. Six of these are now in assembly fellowship, and the other two. while, not baptised, attend the meetings regularly.” We can give God the glory for this on-going blessing. Three letters received also tell of encouraging “after-news” of folks saved in the summer of 1980. A teenage girl wrote from Cowdenbeath to say that she had been baptized. A young man wrote from Glenluce to say that his wife had since trusted the Lord for salvation. And a young lady wrote from Birmingham to say that her husband had been saved. So the story develops and grows - the thrill of knowing that the Holy Spirit is working in many homes, bringing the power of God’s salvation.
At Hope Chapel. MOSELEY, the Annual Sunday Schools Bible Quiz was held. This covers many assemblies in the surrounding areas, and about fourteen teams met together to take part. It was an interesting occasion and the questions were set from John’s Gospel, chapters 2-6. The standard of the work done by the children was high, and was seen in the many accurate answers given. It was good to feel that the chapters had been carefully read. There were more Sunday Schools represented than ever before. It is good to see young people taking the Word seriously. Let us pray that the truth of it will enter and mould their lives. News of progress from WARWICKSHIRE Postal Sunday School. There are now about 20 regular members. These have completed three or more lessons. Well over this number ask for Introductory Lessons each month. Scholars come from Rugby, Coventry. Cherington, Lillington and Wales. Recruiting during 1982;will be through various children’s missions, holiday clubs and other activities. There is much to encourage, but also much to pray for. Items for praise and prayer come from Ruth Bourne in BIRMINGHAM, relating to work among immigrants. Her main burden has been to place God’s Word in as many Bengali homes as possible. Only two refusals have been experienced. It is good to hear of a new translation of the Bengali New Testament which has wide acceptance both here and in Bangladesh. A significant answer to prayer brought a supply of New Testaments in. just when supplies were running out. Several matters show the need for constant prayer. An elderly woman is returning to Bangladesh with her hus^ band, and on the way is visiting Mecca in the hope of obtaining salvation. She accepted a copy of God’s Word, and asked for prayer that her sins may be forgiven. A “chance” meeting at the airport with a sick man, led to him accepting a Gospel. A second meeting with the same man led to his having opportunity to take a New Testament which he received gladly. Two mental patients have also received New Testaments Praise God for the fact that portions of the Bible have now been read onto tapes, to leave in homes where no one can read. Pray for an elderly blind man who enjoys the tapes and listens regularly. The lad, Enam, who was seriously injured in a car accident, is now back at school and has only a slight limp. His family acknowledges that this is an answer to prayer. The whole family is in need of much prayer. Then there are two sisters converted during the summer outreach, with their parents and family still Muslims - needing much prayer. Good News Club can no longer be held in the School, and there is. much follow-up work to be done after 11 years contacts with children. A mission field such as this is so near to hand. Ruth and all fellowlabourers would appreciate our prayers.
There are times when a door of opportunity closes S. Mountstevens reports that this seems to have happened in regard to the beach mission work at MARGATE. This has happened after 17 years work. Pray for all that has been done. Also that guidance for the future may be clear. It does seem that another door has opened. A Caravanette has been provided and also a new tent capable of seating up to 140 children. While our brother was praying for seating arrangements, the telephone rang and an offer of 80 stacking chairs, free of charge, was made. God’s wonderful provision is so often just at hand A campaign for children was held at Trenchwood Gospel Hall, TONBRIDGE, and the interest was good. The average attendance overall was about 70. Many of these were new to the hall, and the existing Sunday School work has now been doubled. Three girls and two boys professed to be saved This was an encouragement to local believers, and a week-night children’s meeting has now commenced.
Some interesting happenings are reported from this part of the country. David Taylor tells of the work of South West Wales Evangelistic Mobile Unit. Although the winter weather was probably the most severe ever encountered, a consistent testimony was maintained in South Wales. On a visit to PENYGROES, where the snow was still on the ground, a lady came out of her house and stood for 20 minutes to listen to the message. On another bitterly cold day a visit was made to PORT TALBOT (a town badly hit by the current recession). Hundreds of tracts were distributed, and an open air testimony was held. Regular monthly visits have been made to CARMARTHEN, GORSEINON. and MAESTEG. Also a Monday evening stand has been manned in the Kingsway, SWANSEA. Contacts have been made with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. An interesting contact was made with a car park attendant. He came and asked for a chat if they would return at 8.30 p.m 1½ hours was spent in conversation on spiritual matters. and the contact has been maintained. Prayer follows these varied opportunities, that fruit will develop. News from TRETHO-MAS of work in the assembly by David Prosser and others. Vandalism has been a big problem here. The building of an extra storey will provide two extra classrooms, a larger secondary hall and a separate kitchen, and these should prove helpful to the work There is encouragement in the young people’s work. About 35 are on the Bible Class register, and most attend regularly. Some of them sing together at Rallies, Old People’s Homes. Hospitals and in the hall. This is a needy work, and prayer is sought that extra workers may be ready to extend the contacts
From MAESTEG comes news of a children’s mission, delayed in starting because of bad weather; conducted by Paul Young, it proved to be encouraging. Average attendance was about 80 during the two weeks meetings. Twelve children were counselled and at least one parent stayed for the meeting each evening Prayer support and general help from the assembly was good. As a result of the mission, a weekly children’s club and a fortnightly young people’s meeting are being held. A mission led by Paul Young at MERTHYR TYDFIL was an encouragement to the small assembly here. Children’s meetings gradually increased in number to about 40. An increase has been seen in the Sunday School, and a weekly children s club has commenced. An interesting item concerns a blanket cover of villages by the tract. “Who Cares?” About one dozen villages have been visited and as a result several requests have been received for John’s Gospels and Emmaus Courses. So the work goes on - we can pray that out of conditions of despair and darkness - unemployment, redundancies and poverty, hope and salvation shall be brought to many
After some time with nothing very much to report from this area, Leonard Dan has given us much to remember in prayer. The Winter Ministry Meetings, held on the fourth Saturday of each month at West Hill Gospel Hall. PLYMOUTH, have been well attended and some profitable studies in 2 Peter have been enjoyed. Good numbers of younger Christians came from other assemblies. Much exercise was felt by workers in Postal Sunday School because of declining numbers. After prayer and discussion it was decided to apply for two Saturdays on the Pedestrian Precincts in the town, one in January and one in February. January was wet and cold and not very productive but the February effort proved much more useful and to date about 30 have joined the ranks of P.S.S. Yet comparison with similar exercise four years ago showed that over 200 joined then. The momentum of such a work depends much on the prayer support of those who perhaps cannot be directly involved in the work. The assembly is setting aside one prayer meeting a month, specifically to pray for P.S.S. Perhaps this is a good hint to others to do the same. At BODMIN, the CORNWALL assembly fellowships met recently and John Hadley, among other matters, made it known that D.V. he hopes to erect the Gospel Tent in Whitstone and Penzance later, spending three weeks in each place. From TRURO, Gloweth Chapel, comes some encouraging news. The ground floor of the meeting room is now in use and the extra room is most useful. In Sunday School it is now possible to have classes without being cramped. Teenage attendance averages about 35 each week. The assembly now has access to three Residential Homes and these are visited on Monday evenings. Opportunity has been given to visit the Treliske Hospital in TRURO and to go on the air over the internal radio with a message and a song. This is felt to be a vital opportunity, and much prayer is asked that an effective witness will be given. The assembly at ST. AUSTELL still maintains its outreach work, and PENWITHICK and local villages were visited. The local hall was used, having been hired for the evening, and local people came in to hear the gospel. Good support was given by young people from Truro and Saltash. Over 50 came in and a stirring Gospel message was given by K. Rudge. One person was awakened by what was heard, and came in to the gospel meeting the next evening and began to make enquiries. Through these small but active testimonies the gospel is being spread abroad in needy Cornwall.
The work of Cornwall Postal Sunday School continues and the numbers are now about 200 Through stands at local shows and fairs and by means of camp, useful contacts are made and there is much encouragement in the spirit of fellowship among the workers. It is good to hear that the SALTASH assembly have problems of excess numbers in their children’s work. The problem of course is with transport and accommodation both in week-night groups and Sunday School. This reflects great opportunities, and we can pray for definite blessing. FALMOUTH maintains its various outreach activities, and a week of children’s meetings was held with Norman Mellish with about 40 children attending each night. The Sunday School work continues consistently. One thing comes over as these reports are considered. It is, that dedicated activity with small companies of Christians is more effective than larger companies who are lethargic regarding the needs. This is something to think about!
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