“Neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase”, 1 Cor. 3. 7.
As this report goes to press the busy summer months are over. There have been many who have both planted and watered the good seed of the Word. How mighty are the possibilities when God acts to give the increase. His power is sufficient and cannot fail.
This report, sent in by Jim Graham, looks back to the completion of the summer work. It was a summer that saw many opportunities of spreading abroad the good news of salvation. It was also ideal for open air work, and in BANGOR, Co. Down, NEWCASTLE and CARNLOUGH the word was preached faithfully and many heard of the Saviour. At other seaside places also advantage was taken of the sunshine. The Lord gave His blessing on the Word and there were those who trusted the Lord for themselves. Tent missions were held at DROMORE where J. Wells and W. J. Nesbitt worked together, and also at DUNADRY with S. Ferguson and N. Turkington labouring together. At GARVAGH J. Lennox and J. Brown preached in a tent, and in BELFAST at the Botanic Gardens where J. G. Hutchinson and J. Allen preached, many gathered to hear the gospel faithfully presented and a number were saved. In a portable hall at DONAGHADEE, Co. Down, E. Wishart and R. Eadie laboured and had the joy of seeing people accept the Saviour. At DUNGIVEN, Co. Derry, J. Thompson and B. Smyth had encouragement in a portable hall, as during nine weeks of preaching they saw a growing interest in the gospel. In another portable hall outside NEWRY, Co. Down, J. Martin and W. Jennings had the joy of seeing people saved.
During the summer months Conferences for the ministry of the Word and also special series of ministry meetings have been well attended, and there has been evident blessing upon the Word given. A. McShane had one week’s meetings on Matthew’s gospel at CLONKEEN. Assembly truths were dealt with by A. M. S. Gooding during two week’s meetings at KELLS, Co. Antrim. J. Allen spoke on the Letters to the Seven Churches during meetings at DROMORE and D. West had a profitable series at ANN ALONG. Helpful and well attended Bible Readings were conducted by D. Kane at BUSMILLS. In Ormeau Road Hall, BELFAST, A. M. S. Gooding had one week in studies on the Book of Ruth. So the work continues, and a number of gospel efforts are still in progress. We hope to have more news at a later date.
Looking through a News Letter from Edward Jaminson in BELFAST, it was good to be able to pick out causes for thanksgiving to the Lord in the various activities mentioned. Through the ministry of “Words of Comfort” to those bereaved, a man found Christ following the death of his mother. As the result of his conversion another relative has been saved. Prayer is being made that there will be other links in this chain. In connection with the Telephone Ministry two causes for praise are given. A teenager rang and listened to the recorded messages on a number of occasions. He asked for an opportunity for conversation, and following this accepted Christ as his own Saviour. Then a middle aged man also called the telephone ministry and asked for a visit. When someone called he said that he wanted to be saved, and right there by the fireside professed faith in Christ. In the course of the difficult work of visitation in the Royal Victoria Hospital, BELFAST, among the many contacts that bring sadness and a sense of helplessness, there are brighter things to report. Praise to God is given for a patient in his early 70’s, who clearly professed to have trusted Christ. While he was sitting by his bed he said, “I have just trusted Jesus Christ as my Saviour”. Heaven alone will reveal the true value of so many personal contacts, those made in sharing the good news of God’s salvation.
Robert Eyres gives brief news from the North. The Annual Bible Readings at Kilrabock Castle, INVERNESS, were held in September. They were conducted by G. Waugh and D. West with the subjects of 1st. and 2nd. Thessalonians. The meetings were very well attended and were felt to be instructive and helpful to all who gathered. The DINGWALL Conference proved to be encouraging, with brethren giving some helpful and challenging ministry. Following the week-end, Jim Hislop gave some special studies in the Sermon on the Mount. Dingwall assembly have been encouraged by the baptism of a young man whose brother was baptised this time last year. Believers are praying that others will be challenged by these evidences of obedience to the Lord.
It is good to have reports from the South, sent to us by Tom Aitken. In Ayrshire, Jim Smyth had three good weeks of meetings among both adults and young people. As a result, all who were involved felt that they should have continued longer. One lad was saved and one woman was baptised just after the meetings finished. The lady’s husband had been baptised prior to the beginning of the effort. There were four baptised at TARBOLTON, two of which had been saved at camp. At a week of meetings in KILMARNOCK, Robert Revie saw over 100 children attending each evening of the mission. Meetings were held in Central Hall. In LANARKSHIRE, six open air rallies were held during the summer months. The monthly gatherings were in SHOTTS, MOTHERWELL, NEWMAINS, KIRKMUIRHILL, CHAPELHALL and DOUGLAS. These were busy times with four preaching stands on each occasion. Average attendance was about 40, and these gathered to have happy fellowship in the Lord’s work. The good weather was a great advantage, and many passers by were able to hear the gospel. Some very good contacts were made in conversation. The rallies were followed by evening gatherings for the ministry of the Word. In the climate of our noisy, busy town and city life today, it is good to report on keen and faithful open air preaching. George Forbes and Roy Marshall spent the summer doing tent work in the villages round the FALKIRK area. Much faithful labour was engaged in and many were contacted for Christ. In ANGUS and KIR-KARDINSHIRE Arthur Pollard sends out over 1000 Postal Sunday School lessons-each month as well as conducting children’s meetings in these parts.
From Manchester Gerald Bourne sends news of some summer activities. The Lancashire Gospel Tent was pitched at KEW, near Southport during July. For three weeks John Baker conducted the meetings with the help of David and Archie McMaster, who worked with the young people. The tent was pitched on ground already used for outreach work by the Southport assembly. The work was hard going, but two young people responded and the gospel was presented simply and faithfully. A young man who was a Methodist, after hearing the subject of baptism dealt with, asked for baptism and was baptised at Bethesda Hall, Southport. It was a happy event and other relatives who were present sought baptism as well. On the final night a couple told John Baker that they had accepted the Saviour during the campaign. The effect of clear preaching was evident in this instance.
Blessing was experienced at the Manchester District Sunday School Camp. Fifteen young people made definite professions of faith in Christ. Richard Parnaby of Fleetwood was the evangelist responsible for the camp, and about 180 campers and leaders attended. It was felt to be one of the most fruitful camps for many years. The follow up work by meetings arranged in MANCHESTER during the winter months has already begun. The assembly at Victoria Hall, BLACKBURN, have held a Children’s Holiday Club during summer holidays for the past years. This year about 70 children attended and these were made up of children who neither attended Sunday School nor week night meetings. The evangelist was Alistair Young and as a result of the effort some have continued to attend the Sunday School. At the Parents Evening, about a dozen parents were present, some attending for the first time. This annual outreach venture is considered to be worthwhile and is the subject of much prayer.
Interesting news concerning a visit for the first time to MORETON-IN-MARSH one day Show. Believers from the local assembly set up the stand in the covered shopping area and it was the only Christian testimony at the Show. Many people passed through and, with the help of Ken Brighton of Crondall, many contacts were made. At a book stall over £100’s worth of books were sold, mainly Bibles. About 3000 portions of Christian literature were distributed to the people. A sense of the deep need of those contacted was clear, but the effort to spread the gospel by this method was felt to be well worthwhile.
The WORCESTERSHIRE Camp-out this year was held at Strete, Dartmouth. For a number of years, scholars of Postal Sunday School and other young people have enjoyed this annual event. The numbers at camp were good and the staffing adequate, although at one stage there seemed a shortage of tent officers. God answered prayer in this and many ways. The padre, Ken Rudge from St. Austell, made many useful contacts with the campers and the messages and teaching given were both helpful and challenging. There were some who decided for Christ and others who received help and counsel in spiritual matters. Also there were several who felt the need of obeying the Lord in baptism. As the camp drew to a close on the Sunday evening, all felt it to have been a time when the Lord had given blessing. The WORCESTER Postal Sunday School Rally was held at PERSHORE in September. Although numbers were smaller, the interest was keen and Ivor Cooper from Warwick gave a very clear message in the evening. It was good to see a few parents there for the first time and also to renew the contacts with old friends. This work needs prayer.
John Brett sends news of special gatherings in the SWINDON area. At PAMBER HEATH a good time was enjoyed with Tom Proffit and Jack Hunter giving ministry. The Bible Reading on Haggai was practical and instructive. At CALNE the first of the monthly ministry meetings was held. E. Parmenter gave practical ministry on Hebrews. The Swindon and District Missionary Conference was a stimulating time with good numbers gathering to hear reports of the work in other lands. Reports were given by John Axford of Brazil, Walter Barker of Tobago and Jim Kirk of Nigeria. Michael Brown spoke on Red China with the help of slides. Reports of work in Arab Emirates was given, with the help of slides, at the PARK asembly.
There are two places in this area where S. Mountstevens has been working. At BICESTER a tent mission proved to be encouraging. Children and adults attended well and the fellowship shown by the local assembly was great. The tent was erected near an American Estate and probably 60 out of about 100 children who came were American. There was keen interest in the Word spoken, and some interesting conversations. One boy produced a Masonic Bible which belonged to his father, and talked a long time about salvation. This boy and his sister need prayer. They said that their father was a Christian and the mother a Roman Catholic. A girl of 11 years professed faith in the Lord and went straight home to tell her mother. She seemed keen to share her new found faith. The LEICESTER Assemblies Camp was a time of great blessing and our brother was the “missionary” this year. He speaks of four boys who found the Saviour. How essential it is that such as these are given every encouragement to go on with the Lord. One of the lads will find severe opposition at home. Some who talked were just glad to unburden their feelings. S. Mountstevens comments that it was good to be associated with this venture, which was based on an uncompromising way upon New Testament principles.
We have news of the summer activities of both LONDON Evangelistic Mobile Units. They have found many opportunities to spread the good Word of the Gospel. A combined witness in Trafalgar Square proved most encouraging. A need to change the date meant that the event coincided with an “Anti-Botha” march. This meant that many thousands passed through the square, and as they passed by they heard the Word preached. Following the march, many stayed in the square and opportunities for conversation were many. Also much literature was distributed and accepted.
The South West Unit worked in the WEST END of London and many contacts were made. It is good to record some of them. A young fellow from South Africa, saved about 12 months ago, told that he was drifting away from spiritual things. His wife was a Roman Catholic. One of the team put him in touch with a local fellowship. Another lad was converted in Egypt, but because of lack of fellowship and Bible reading was drifting. A member prayed with him and put him in touch with a local church, for which he seemed grateful. A young man on holiday in London said that he had been converted in Singapore University two years ago. He had a Buddhist wife who was no help to him, and he said his spiritual life was dragging. He was promised prayer for himself and his wife. A rather violent incident happened when a member of a bunch of skin-heads said that he was a born again Christian. One of his associates punched him in the face and chased him down the road. How sad it was, if as a Christian he was keeping wrong company. A tour to LEATHER-HEAD by the Unit proved a time of blessing. Many contacts were made. During the Holiday Bible Club, more than 100 children were reached. About 20 wanted to join the “Sunday Special”. Many parents were contacted during visits to the homes. A visit to EPSOM Show proved useful. Some fifty children completed a Scripture Quiz and a number attended the prizegiving.
The South East Unit has also been busy carrying on their witness. At CRYSTAL PALACE a team of two had an active time. One of the girls who listened with her friends challenged the speaker and asked why he was wasting his time preaching if no one listened. This gave the opportunity to speak to her and her group. She was concerned about her spiritual needs and those of her family. She seemed to have a deep hunger in her heart and accepted a New Testament. At ULCOMBE, a village not before visited, tracts were well received and some good conversations were enjoyed.
Two interesting contacts were recorded at PECKHAM. As the Unit opened up, a young man began to talk to one of the workers. He seemed a communist but listened to the gospel. As another worker approached a teenager, three others tried to drag him away, but he said it was more important to learn and read about the Lord. So he listened and read a tract, saying that he believed in God and the Lord Jesus. Meanwhile another worker talked with his three obstructors. If we look at all these contacts, the importance of personal communication of the precious truth of the gospel is evident. Maybe the work is more difficult than public preaching, yet heart to heart conversation on a one to one basis can never be really wasted. Think how often the Saviour spoke to the individual!
For a third year the tent was erected at HIGHAM and over 100 children attended. An impact is being made here, both on parents and friends. One young lady, who may well be saved, has been. attending a nearby assembly as a result. The Parish Clerk made his usual visit. The Lord wonderfully preserved tent and equipment in the face of dangers of vandalism. EASTBOURNE beach provided opportunity for one week’s children’s meetings. Fellow Christians shared the work, and many adults heard the Word. A return to MARGATE beach after a break of four years proved a real joy. Contacts were renewed and in five days of meetings, many children and adults heard the Word. Barriers were broken down in mingling with folk on the beach during the day.
The assembly at THREE CROSS is celebrating its 50th year. A wooden structure was their first hall in 1934. This was replaced by a larger building and the work has grown. They meet in a good modern building today with up to date facilities. The hall is in an expanding village, and throughout the years outreach gospel work with a deep heart concern for the unsaved has been a main feature of the assembly’s work. There has been a deep missionary commitment, and Joyce Harding was commended to the work in India by the assembly. Celebration gatherings cover two weeks activities and a children’s campaign conducted by Stephen Gillham. At DORCHESTER Show the witness stand was erected on a smaller site this year, but still gave opportunity for a good number of contacts. The more prominent position was an advantage.
The PLYMOUTH and District Youth Camp 1984 had good cause for thanksgiving to God with over 300 children attending the 4 weeks of camp. The power of the Holy Spirit was felt and over 60 children were counselled on various matters. Over 25 professed faith in the Lord and others asked for baptism. There has been encouragement at ASHBURTON where one lady has been baptised and good contacts are being made with children and teenagers. Work is done in a local school and visits are made to DARTMOOR PRISON. The small assembly at TOTNES has been encouraged with the joining of four young brothers to their fellowship. At TEIGNMOUTH, a young lady has been baptised and received into the fellowship. A commendation to full time service for the Lord was held for Peter and Elaine Smith at BITTON Park Gospel Hall. It was a very happy occasion with over 130 believers from 30 different assemblies attending. The elders of the assembly all took part in the service and the full hearted support for these two young servants of the Lord was truly felt. Charles McEwen, who has himself been in the Lord’s service for many years, gave direct and challenging ministry. We can follow them with our prayers as they labour in the county.
It is with sadness that we report the homecall of our brother Leonard Dan of Plymouth at the age of 68 years. He was called home while preaching the gospel at Saltash, his first preaching since his illness. The Lord took him just as he had begun his message. It is interesting to reflect that our brother was saved at the original Gospel Hall in Raleigh Street when he was 15 years old. Since his conversion he has been deeply devoted to the Gospel and the cause of the assemblies of God’s people. He took every opportunity to witness for the Lord and had recently commenced a telephone ministry so that he could invite those in need to trust in Christ. Precious Seed Report Section has been grateful for the consistent efforts made by him to collect reports for Devon and Cornwall and we shall miss his efforts. We can rejoice that he is now present with the Lord whom he loved and served so well. Our sympathy and prayers go out to his widow and the family. A good number gathered at the funeral and a good witness was given to the many unsaved present.
John Hadley raised the Gospel Tent at TREGONY, ALTARNUM and BUDE, with varying numbers coming in. Good contacts were made and much door to door work was engaged in. Local believers and holiday makers helped.
A brief note from David Prosser regarding work in RHOSNEIGR, Anglesey. The small assembly work hard to make the gospel known locally, and were appreciative of the help of a Gospel Literature Outreach team. They had seen a little blessing in recent times and were looking to the Lord for more. The message was put across in a positive way by door to door work, beach meetings and preaching in the evenings. Good attendances marked the film and Sunday evenings but otherwise the response was poor. One woman made a very clear decision for the Lord. Her husband, who attends the meetings, needs prayer. A young Christian in difficulties found help. Thirty contacts have been left for follow up. It is good to hear of work in this remote part.
The Royal Welsh Show at BUILTH WELLS gave opportunity to erect a Witness Stand. There was a record attendance this year but fewer came into the tent, probably due to the hot weather. A number of interesting conversations with various people were held. These ranged from stall holders to nuclear scientists. Good relations were enjoyed with army personel who were situated opposite and prayer continues for them. A security guard from Manchester and a local woman made professions. The SWANSEA and District Assemblies Camps, held at LLANGARNITH on the Gower, proved to be a fruitful time in a number of ways. There were young workers who had their first taste of serving the Lord in this way and they saw His Spirit at work in young lives. At the Boys Camp two professed conversion and a number were encouraged to go on in God’s ways. With difficult backgrounds, these have little to encourage them naturally and need much prayer. The “New Life” Postal Sunday Camp was conscious of the Lord’s help as Paul Young cared for the spiritual side of the work; a boy of 16 confessed Christ and there were those who were encouraged by the experience of Christian fellowship. Three aged members of the assembly at NEATH have been called home. Each was active in the meetings and had long associations with them. Prayer is requested that others will take their place. Open air work continued in the shopping centre here and also in SWANSEA shopping centre.
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