“Herein is love”, 1 John 4. 10.
“The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world”, 1 John 4. 14.
Involvement is a word that springs readily to our minds today, and often rolls easily off our tongues. It is true to say that the greater the understanding of needs and circumstances, the more intelligent and meaningful the involvement. When we are face to face with the coming of Christ into the world and the death of the cross, we find the total involvement of the Father and the Son in the desperate need of human fives. And the motive was deep, eternal love. “Herein is love”, says John, and “We love … because he first loved”. Too often today, in answer to calls for help in the Lord’s work, we are confronted with the response, “I don’t want to, or I cannot become too involved”. The work slackens, the testimony stagnates and the whole fabric of assembly life suffers. Yet, when we analyse the measure of the love of God and the sacrifice of the cross, the only logical answer is total commitment, Rom. 12. 1. This needs to be pondered carefully. We would thank all who faithfully send reports to us on varied features of the Lord’s work. The Report Section brings constant expressions of appreciation and assurances of prayer for needs expressed. There are still areas of the country not covered in the news. We are sure that assembly work and evangelism take place, and we would love to hear of it. Can you help?
News again from this area tells of a variety of activities. Although in some instances just the bare facts of the work are given, we can think of the prayer and preparation that has been involved. From Edward Jamieson, BELFAST, we have points of interest concerning the faithful spreading of the gospel. In the field of literature, two matters are worth remembering in prayer. The gospel magazine, “VIA” is now available. This is an eight page publication which is set to meet a big need in gospel literature. Pray for the 15, 000 distribution. The Spanish gospel leaflet, “Beam of Light”, has been republished. This publication has now gone over the 30, 000 mark with request for supplies from all parts of the Spanish-speaking world. Again some touching items of news from visits to members of the R.U.C. in hospital in BELFAST. There is the case of a woman constable who was injured. She was willing to chat freely about spiritual matters. An officer in hospital frequently— he was involved in a terrorist attack a number of years ago—seemed to be showing improvement and was willing to chat freely. He and his family need much prayer. There is an opening for our brother to visit homes of police friends who have been patients over the last year. There is a deep need for prayer, as wisdom and guidance are needed.
The work in prisons calls for special prayer; at present it is slow moving. There are a number of factors that demand consideration. Contacts with the inmates are being sought by means of correspondence. A new series of Bible studies, etc., is being used. From Jim Graham in BELFAST come many interesting items. These are quite encouraging to read as they record the salvation of a number of different folk. At Bloomfield assembly, BELFAST, A. Aiken had a series of meetings. In the course of these a Roman Catholic lady was saved. Well attended meetings were conducted by J. G. Hutchinson and T. McKelvey at Castlereagh Hall, BELFAST. About ten people accepted Christ as Saviour in these meetings. At Edenberry Gospel Hall (6 miles from Belfast), S. Ferguson and N. Turkington preached the gospel faithfully. A few outsiders attended, but so far there were no conversions. Encouraging meetings have been held by N. Burden at the Gospel Hall in ANNALONG. W. Kirk and E. Davidson held meetings in a portable hall at Ruthgil Estate at BANGOR, and were encouraged by the response. While Robert McPheat was preaching the gospel and ministering the Word at PORTAVOGIE, local believers were encouraged by the attendance of a good number of unsaved. H. S. Paisley, on a visit from Canada, had large and fruitful meetings in BANBRIDGE Hall. The hall was packed before the meetings commenced each night, and many showed deep interest in the gospel. He also held meetings in various halls including BALLYMENA and LURGAN, where the ministry was much appreciated. The meetings at Banbridge took place as the result of the concern of Wilson Radcliffe with whom H. Paisley stayed. Shortly afterwards, Wilson was taken ill, and soon passed into the presence of the Lord. Our brother came back from Canada to take part in the funeral service at Banbridge Hall. Our prayers will go up for the family and for the assembly with which Wilson Radcliffe was associated. Gospel meetings were held by T. McNeile in the village of TYNAN where there have been no gospel meetings for many years. There was encouragement as local people attended. R. Watterson held meetings at the ARDMORE assembly, and W. J. Nesbitt conducted some gospel meetings at the BIRCHES. The Hall where J. Lennox and J. Brown held meetings at KELLS was filled each night to hear the gospel preached. There were some who professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. During seven weeks of meetings in a portable hall at LETTERBREEN, W. Armstrong saw many locals come in to hear the gospel preached. On one occasion a Roman Catholic nun came in. In the border area of NEWTONBUTLER, S. Maze and G. McKinley held some meetings but, sadly, there was little apparent interest on the part of the local people.
News from T. Aitken provides matters for praise and prayer. One of the encouraging features in recent efforts in Gospel work in the Lanarkshire area has been the number of young people who have trusted the Lord Jesus as Saviour. Some of these are from Christian homes, but others have not this privilege and have no Christian background. John McEwan from Carluke has always been engaged in work among children, often locally, and sometimes holding series of children’s meetings in Lanarkshire. Early retirement has given him greater opportunities in this field of service. He has completed two weeks meetings at BELLSHILL and one week at LANARK. In both places there were some who trusted the Saviour. A fine mission was led by John Spiers at KIRKALDY and more than a dozen people trusted the Lord. Six of these were teenagers. Five were baptized at the end of the campaign, including a lady and young man converted during the campaign. A brother and sister who have six sons saw the Lord work in a wonderful way among them. On the night of the baptisms, a school teacher came through for the Lord. The assembly has had much blessing during the past year or so, having seen 16 saved, baptized and brought into fellowship. Five young people have been saved at Shields Road Gospel Hall where George Meikle had two weeks meetings. At STEVENSTON, Ayrshire, four young people were saved during meetings with Jim Smyth. Attendances were good, but no one above the age of sixteen was saved. This highlights the essential challenge of youth in presenting the claims of Christ.
John Campbell and Jack Hay found things quite difficult in their efforts in the Craigie area of PERTH. Similarly George Meikle and Roy Marshall found things tough going in the Falkirk area, but found response in their work among the children. Several interesting contacts are reported by Jim Aitken through the means of sending out gospel correspondence. Three people on the mailing list said that they would enjoy the past Christmas as never before, since during the preceding year they had trusted the Saviour. They were endeavouring to crown Him Lord in their lives. One of these was a lady contacted in this country before going abroad. The contact has been kept up. An interesting story is linked with a man, contacted in a roadside cottage in the border area, who found Christ. Then a man of 80 years old, whose wife had been taken to be with the Lord, expressed clearly his faith in the Lord. Great joy was given to our brother when he met a young woman, now a nurse, who said that when she was eight years old, in a meeting in her mother’s house she had accepted the Saviour. Now twelve years later she has been baptized and is going on with the Lord. We can praise the Lord with our brother as we witness tokens of the work of our God—He works wonders.
Some items of news come from J. Brett in the SWINDON area. In fellowship with the PENHILL assembly, John Maxwell has been doing door-to-door work on Penhill Estate, a large council area. An interesting series of meetings on the second coming of the Lord was conducted by Norman Mellish at WROUGHTON assembly. These were very well attended. At this time, DEVIZES assembly needs prayer. Two of their faithful brethren have been called home, and this leaves a gap in the assembly.
Some special occasions during the year provide opportunities for outreach activities. One such is Mother’s Day and at Charles Street assembly, WORCESTER, a family service was held. This proved to be well worthwhile. Over 100 children and parents gathered and there was good attention to the message given by Geoffrey Bull of Milngavie. A bunch of flowers was given to each of the mothers. The children and parents come mainly from the Warndon Housing Estate, an area which for many years has been the main source of building the Pioneer Sunday School. A bus is hired to bring them in to the town each week, and there have been evidences of the Lord’s blessing. It is a source of great encouragement to the assembly that the Lord has opened up the way for the purchase of a plot of land in a good strategic position on the estate, where it is hoped to build a place of testimony. This is a big venture for a moderately sized assembly, and yet it is felt that there is a tremendous challenge to meet the vast need for people to know Christ. The plans have been passed and it is hoped, in the will of the Lord, to see building commenced in early May. Prayer would be valued in this work.
News from the South West London Mobile Unit. They are quite encouraged at times, although the going is hard. They mention a Sikh who one evening after listening to the message came into the Unit, and spent about half an hour asking questions and seeking to know more about the Lord. A copy of the New Testament has been sent to him. This took place on a cold, wet Sunday evening when the team had almost decided not to go out. During 1982, some 25, 000 tracts and portions of Scripture were distributed. Visits to BRIXTON, CLAPHAM and ARNDALE all gave opportunity for conversations, and Scriptures were passed on to some. At STRAND, there was a chat with a policeman, a Catholic from Glasgow, two girls from Sardinia, a girl from Sweden who was given a Way of Salvation and a group from U.S.A. Thus the same precious message was shared with people from many parts, highlighting the universal value of the gospel which we preach.
W. Beale sends some points to remember in an interesting, report. In spite of the general apathy and seeming indifference these days, there is much to encourage in the SWANSEA area through various assembly outreaches. The commission is “GO YE” and whilst it is not incumbent upon people to come in to our gospel meetings, we have a responsibility to go out to them. This is definitely happening, and in addition to the continued public witness of the South Wales Mobile Unit, a group of young people hold an open-air witness in the centre of Swansea City and are finding many opportunities of personal witness amongst the crowds who stand and listen. There are also good reports of work in hospitals through radio, and also blessing through Postal Sunday School and visits to Eventide Homes. The assembly at FFORESTFACH have really made an impact in the area through their monthly meetings for Senior Citizens, when over 80 gather to listen to the message. A Christian witness has been maintained in H.M. Prison at SWANSEA for about ten years. For the past two years three Christian prison visitors have been going into the prisons regularly. There are opportunities for witnessing to the men whilst talking to them in their cells. This is challenging work which has borne fruit for the Lord. A Youth Assessment Centre is also visited fortnightly. About 15 boys see a Christian Film Strip or Film followed by a message. In most cases this is the first time that they have heard of the love of the Lord and His saving power. Prayer is asked for these ventures in seeking to reach such for Christ.
Interesting events are reported by John Flynn of a visit to EGYPT with Jim Hutchinson last year. This was for meetings and conferences. En route, BUDAPEST was visited for about eight hours. During this time fellowship with believers was enjoyed. A short trip around the city was taken and a time of ministry in one of the homes. Conferences were arranged in Egypt at KALUBE (N. of Cairo) and ASSUIT (upper Egypt), and these were occasions of real blessing from the Lord. Well attended meetings were held in CAIRO, HELIOPOLIS and ALEXANDRIA. There was encouragement in seeing some saved, and 17 believers were baptized at Kalube and Masaka. It was good to link up with four full-time workers, Egyptian evangelists. They need much prayer as they seek to serve the Lord in this difficult Islamic country.
A report has been sent from SOUTH AFRICA—the beautiful Cape Peninsula— the FISH HOEK assembly and Wellwood Missionary Home and Christian Guest House. Many during the past have enjoyed the hospitality of the Guest House and the fellowship of the assembly. For many years there have been efforts made to get premises to enlarge the Hall on its present ground, and permission has at last been given by the Council to make additions to the existing building. This will increase the effectiveness of the witness of Wellwood Chapel. A number of the members of the assembly are retired pensioners, so there is a need for prayer that the needs regarding these developments will be met. Albert and Jennie Tibbit, who have been in charge of the Home and Guest House for many years, have returned to England for a year. To cover this, Gordon and Margaret Jones (ex Zaire) have taken over the management. For this they would value prayer. Walter Gammon, who has laboured in the work, is resting on doctor’s orders from the strain of overwork. Recently, a month’s Gospel Campaign with evangelists David Aber-nethy and Duncan Meyer saw some well attended meetings. Fish Hoek, where the assembly is set for witness, is a “village” where by local law there is no public house, nor off-licence, not even a cinema. And the T.V. programmes begin and end with the Word of God every day. Quite a unique situation! Let us pray for the guidance and blessing of the Lord upon these believers as they seek to expand in His work.