“My word … shall not return unto me void”, Isa. 55. 11.
During the summer months there is much sowing of the good seed of God’s Word. It is His Word and we praise Him for it. All the life-creating possibilities of Deity are contained in it. Through faith its blessing can be realized. A gardener was heard to complain that this year he had sowed several lots of seed in his garden but not one had shown up. He was a good gardener—“it must have been the seed or the soil”, he said. Or maybe it was just the weather! Let us take heart as we are engaged in the business of spreading abroad the truth of the Word that it is good seed— the only word for our generation. The Lord has said that it will not return useless. Eventually there will be fruit to His glory. We must go on preaching, praying, persevering—until He comes!
From SKIBBEREEN we have news of a series of ministry meetings held during June. Jim Flanagan dealt with the letters to the Seven Churches in Revelation. Most evenings the hall was filled to capacity, and much appreciation of the word was expressed. At CORK T. E. Wilson gave five evenings of practical and Christ-exalting ministry to an excellent attendance by believers. Some of the’ brethren in Cork felt the burden to communicate the Gospel by house-to-house visitation. Invitations were given to gospel meetings in the Hall. Ready access has been given to most homes. Pray that as this exercise continues blessing will result; also for a number of Roman Catholics who attend the gospel meetings. A good annual conference was held at Cork. Attendances were encouraging and the ministry was searching and profitable. During the latter part of June, Gilbert Stewart and Philip Johnson used a mobile hall to hold gospel meetings in DUNMANWAY, West Cork.
The hall was erected on a racecourse which was made available. Attendances from local folk were not large. Evangelism here is difficult; the Protestant population of the area is much opposed to outreach work Let us pray that the barriers may be broken down.
From PORTARLINGTON comes news of their annual conference. A. M. S. Gooding, J. Flanagan and S. Jennings gave excellent ministry, and Harry Reid gave news of the Lord’s work in Brazil. A number of visitors attended including some from far off Vancouver! A. Gray remarks how encouraging it is for a small assembly to meet people from so many parts, especially for young people who tend to feel a sense of isolation. A large gathering in the Gray’s home brought blessing. A retired couple from the locality came, and the man professed to trust the Saviour after they had worked through a copy of “Journey into Life”. The work at Parklands Caravan Park has commenced and will continue throughout the summer. Various believers assist in the work. On the first morning with the children, 85 attended. Many have found the Saviour through this work. Our prayers?re needed !
During June, J. Hutchinson and T. McKelvie saw some saved at Central Hall BANGOR, Co. Down. During July, open air meetings continued with S. Jennings and J. Andrews. In a small Methodist Church Hall, loaned to R. Jordan and L. Hunter, several weeks’ meetings were held at MEGABBEY near Lisburn. Going was difficult and outsiders were slow to come in. In BELFAST the work goes on amidst the chaos! R. McLuckie had blessing in Matchett St. Gospel Hall. R. Johnston and R. Eadie held meetings for several weeks at Ebenezer Hall. Several Belfast assemblies are finding a great interest among older people, especially women. A mid-week meeting is held to which many of them go. In a friendly atmosphere the gospel is given to many who are unsaved. Prejudices against the Gospel Halls are broken down. We can pray that salvation may come to these aged and needy folk. At Ormeau Gospel Hall a man, anxious to be saved, saw a testimony meeting advertized. He came in and during the meetings, found the Saviour. Praise the Lord!
From ORKNEY Michael Browne sends news of work in the islands. From the last week in February to the first week in May, he and John Hawthorne together preached the gospel in those areas visited last summer. In some islands visited, the gospel had not been presented for a generation. Response was encouraging and in at least two of the islands it is hoped to begin monthly gospel meetings. This operation was definitely pioneering—a time of sowing in the expectation that the reaping will eventually come. These needy, remote places need much prayer. It was interesting to hear that Robert Hawthorne, John’s father, preached in the Orkney’s over 50 years ago—some folk could actually remember his ministry. A three-day conference was held at KIRKWALL over Easter time. Brethren from Aberdeen, Belfast and the locality shared in the ministry. The local Arts Theatre was hired for an After Church Gospel meeting on two successive Sundays. About 200 people attended giving great encouragement to the local Christians. Possibilities of further outreach were opened up. A local farmer from the island of WESTRAY organized a team of brethren to visit the islands not visited last summer. Gospels of Mark were left in every home. John Burns, who was holding open air meetings at Westray, accompanied them.
From SHETLAND a brief note of gospel meetings held at SKELD by John Burns. Good numbers of local folk came out each night and interesting contacts were made.
Annual Bible Readings were held at AYR in May. A. Leckie and J. Hunter conducted the readings in James Street Gospel Hall. John’s Gospel was studied and the attendance was the largest ever recorded. Evening sessions were held at St. Andrews Church and ministry was given by Messrs. Leckie and Hunter. During the ministry a young man was wonderfully saved and is now baptized and in fellowship.
News comes from KILMARNOCK of the report meetings of the Christian Recording fellowship. The aim of this enterprise is to provide cassette ministry for missionaries and elderly Christians in eventide homes. About 140 gathered to hear of the work in its various phases. J. Clunas told of the possibilities of the work as he had found it in U.S.A, and elsewhere. Closing ministry was given by R. McPike. There was tough going for the gospel st SKELMORLIE— especially among adults. David McMaster had a good time here with the children and blessing was felt. How important that the young shall hear the Word. At MONTROSE A. Pollard had encouragement. Last October a woman was baptized, and much later on came into fellowship. At her baptism, the wife of a backsliding Christian was moved, and eventually trusted Christ in her home. Her husband is now restored to the Lord and in fellowship and her two children are saved. A chain of happy events for which we can praise the Lord. Another man has come into fellowship in April, having been saved four years ago. He needs prayer—his wife opposes, but has been to the meetings several times. In the portable hall at NEWMAINS, five weeks’ meetings were held by Robert Walker. Fellowship was good from the surrounding meetings. Here is a wonderful case of conversion! An elderly lady, baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness, followed believers in from an open-air meeting, after listening to them. She was eventually led to Christ. Two week’s later she was baptized as a believer, and is now in fellowship at New-mains. Tremendous effect of preaching the Word! J. Aitken joined in these meetings. From GLASGOW another testimony from open air work. A young man called on an old lady at her home—he saw “Ebenezer” above the door. She told him she was a Christian. When he found out where she was in fellowship he related a quite fantastic story. Four years before he had been “living rough” with no home, no job and degraded in sin. He was lazing around the tenements one Lord’s Day evening and heard the gospel in the open air. Desperately needy he found the Lord Jesus as Saviour. Now he is married with a good job and is a bright witness for Christ. This was the first case of such blessing the assembly knew of. Is it a waste to spread abroad the Word? Let such conversions answer. Sad to say the assembly at BOTHWELLHAUGH closed down on July 2nd. A faithful testimony has been carried on here over many years and many who have been saved there are scattered throughout the world. We must remember the saints as they will now gather at BELLSHILL.
At WALKER during the last Week of June, R. Sharp held a campaign in connection with North-East Assemblies Outreach. The campaign was directed towards youth. Children’s meetings were held every evening followed by meetings later for teenagers. Both were well attended. Some teenagers who had stopped attending teenage meetings for some months came and showed interest. Prayer is asked that they will continue.
The Annual MERSEYSIDE Tent Crusade was held during the; first three weeks in June. Derek Bingham was the evangelist. Despite cold and wet weather, good numbers gathered and many spoke of spiritual blessing. Many were helped and some were saved. An encouraging children’s campaign was held in which local brethren took part. Also a useful start was given to an effort to reach Senior Citizens.
The tent campaign in BOLTON conducted by J. Clunas and R. Sharp was most encouraging with an average attendance of 200 on week-nights and 350 at weekends. A number of people accepted the Saviour and several have been baptized. God’s overruling providence was seen in an event that happened in the early hours of the final day. Someone threw a lighted paper against the tent but heavy rain had soaked the canvas so serious damage was averted. At Olivet Hall BEBINGTON, John Baker conducted a busy four-week campaign. Meetings were for adults and children, and also at an Old People’s Home. Five people professed faith in Christ. At a. packed meeting three young women were baptized. Unsaved relations were present. Our brother had the joy of knowing that two of the three baptized were daughters of a man he led to Christ 14 years ago.
At MALVERN the Three Counties Show had 71,000 visitors this year. This gave a good opportunity for personal evangelism. A large marquee was erected near to the fair ground park. Workers from Gloucestershire, Hereford and Worcester joined together to engage in personal work during the three days. A visual display was set up in the marquee and over 10,000 people altogether visited the tent; apart from the visual display there was Christian literature for free distribution, together with free records with a clear message on each side. Films, a bookstall, telephone answering service, etc., all provided a useful testimony to Christ. Most visitors took Christian literature although serious conversations were few. Worcester Postal Sunday School made use of one end of the tent. There were many young people visiting from the schools and about 950 children signed up for introductory lessons with over 100 of them completing the first lesson to date. From the start it was felt that the most fruitful and important work would be done in following up contacts made during the three days. About 60 folks of ages over 15 years have written in for further help. These are being followed up personally and with further Christian literature. The possibilities of such work are tremendous. We are dependent upon the vital power of God’s Word and the prayers of God’s people.
At STOURPORT the Worcester Postal Sunday School Rally was held on July 1st. A good sense of the Lord’s blessing was felt as workers mingled with parents and children in a friendly atmosphere. Games, etc. were enjoyed in the afternoon and after tea an interesting evening session was held with singing and a testing quiz! P.S.S. Certificates were distributed and also prizes—by a “postman”. David Dalley brought the day to a close with a practical word of encouragement to all. Pray that the outcome will be that young lives will be dedicated to the Lord.
News from BIRMINGHAM and Ruth Bourne about work among immigrants. Good attendances were experienced at the Easter Holiday Bible Club. An 11-year old Muslim girl, first contacted last summer, accepted the Saviour. Prayer is needed for Mokhtar whose parents have stopped her attending meetings. A Muslim man who bought a Bible in 1974 and has been reading it faithfully needs much prayer. He seems very near to the Saviour. New families have been reached among the Bengali community which is said to number about 20,000. The door is still open to visit the women’s T.B. Ward in hospital. Many listen attentively to the Word and accept literature. A few purchase Gospel tapes to take home. Two West Indian girls have recently been saved at the Wednesday Good News Club. Contact is now made with four Bengali women who have been widowed in this country. They are very lonely and isolated. They cannot speak English and long to go back home. How much all these folk need the Saviour!
A valuable work is still done among men at CARRINGTON HOUSE in LONDON. This work, which has been carried on for many years, is aimed at reaching men who are desperately needy. They come into the home on a nightly basis. There are problems such as drunkenness which often make the work difficult. Meetings are held on Sundays and alternate Wednesdays, and believers from local assemblies give valuable help in preaching and singing. On Tuesdays meetings are held at Evelyn Hall, Deptford. Sometimes as many as fifty men gather to hear the message. Gifts of clothing are given to those in need, and there is a deep desire to lead these men, who have often lived very sinful lives, to the Saviour. Those who conduct the work give testimony to the goodness of God over many years. They also ask for prayer for wisdom in this work.
A second series of Young People’s Rallies for secondary school youngsters concluded in June. At Mill Lane Chapel, CHESHUNT, the average attendance each month was sixty and the interest was keen. Surrounding assemblies gave good support. The Bible knowledge contest was keenly contested. Young people showed a good grasp of chapters set which always contained a good gospel message. Hare St. Gospel Hall, HARLOW, carried off the prize. There was a serious effort to present the Word of God to young folk each time they gathered. So far there have been no definite conversions but we can pray that the “good seed” will eventually bear fruit.
From the South East news of the work has come from S. Mountstevens who is working in this area. There has been blessing at Northumberland Gospel Hall, CLIFTONVILLE, especially among young people and children. Some scholars have accepted the Saviour. There have been three baptisms, the first for many years. The Sunday School work is now growing and about 65 children attend each week. Seven more have since been baptized. One lady who came in in great need has been restored to the Lord and now is baptized. Hired halls have been used in three different villages for children’s missions. A real hunger has been felt among these people for the Word and there has been a good response from children and parents. One little girl of eight, near to tears, came after a meeting and asked the way to be saved. This is a needy area of the country and assemblies are sparse. Much of the follow-up work has to be done in hired halls, etc. Here are some needs to add to our prayer list.
News of witness at the Royal BATH and West Show. This four-day Agricultural Show at SHEPTON MALLETT attracted many thousands of people. Many of these found their way to the Witness Tent set up by Christians from Bath, with several evangelists and other workers from a wide area. Various means were used to spread abroad the Good News. Through films, literature, gifts to children and attractive displays, the message was put over to several thousands who visited the tent each day. Refreshments were served and all the helpers worked all day seeking to cope with many enquiries. A good number were helped and counselled in Christian matters. It was felt that a real work for God was done in the lives of many people. Prayer is needed for follow-up work. At WEYMOUTH, work is done among foreign students who visit the town during summer months. These come from various European countries. A series of Saturday night Rallies was held. At the first of these 175 young people of all nationalities packed into the Christian Coffee Bar. The interest was so great that many of the local Christians moved out to another room for prayer. There is a real concern and many portions of Scripture have been distributed, Many have been challenged!
At WYKE REGIS a crusade held by S. Gillham ended in disappointment with the adults. After intensive house to house visitation on estates results were sparse. However the children’s meetings brought encouragement and numbers increased nightly. There is no Sunday School here and so a week-night Children’s Meeting has commenced. Stephen hopes to pay regular visits, and asks for prayer that interest may grow and that folk may be led to Christ.
It is always good to know of pioneering in the work of the gospel. Such work has been done at RUTHIN by Mike Rimmer and Paul Greenwood. A series of meetings for children and adults was held in the town. The first reception from the townspeople was one of suspicion bordering on hostility. Gradually these were broken down and the Mayor and the people began to realize that here was an effort that promised good for the town. The meetings were well attended and the interest good. Even better, since the meetings, a hired room has been obtained to hold weekly children’s meetings and some adult meetings. Imagine the joy of the workers when seven teenagers asked the way to be saved. In this sparsely evangelized part of Britain we can pray that God will work through His Word.
From CAERPHILLY we have a thought provoking item of news. “We attribute blessing to the weekly prayer meeting! Usually 20-30 believers gather on Monday evenings. The Lord has not only heard our prayers but answered them abundantly above all we could ever ask or think.” This relates to blessing experienced during the past 18 months in the assembly. Beginning with preparation for a campaign with Norman Mellish in 1976, this has extended to the present time. a young man during the initial visitation work said that he had accepted Christ through the invitation put in his house. Then it was in May 1977 that the visible results of this campaign were seen. A father of a young sister in the meeting was let to Christ, having first visited the hall in 1976. Since then, a baptism has taken place, and others have found the Saviour and have obeyed the Lord in baptism. A vital testimony to the power of united and consistent prayer.
Special meetings were held for three weeks in NANTGARW with David Richards and John Baker. Unsaved from the village were present each night. A woman who was led to Christ in 1977 was baptized on the final evening. It was a very wet night but it was encouraging to see so many women from the village there. A stirring message on the second coming of Christ led to a young lady from a Christian family accepting the Saviour.
We have some causes for praise and matters for prayer. John Hadley held meetings in the tent at WHITESTONE, N. Cornwall. Numbers were small but there were new faces at the meetings and the few believers were encouraged in the work. The Cornwall Postal Sunday School held their first Rally at the tent here. This proved to be a useful time with about 150 present. Teachers, parents and scholars joined together for games in the afternoon. After tea there was an evening gathering at which K. Rudge gave a challenging message. Prayer is needed for this work in the County. J. Hadley is holding a 3-week campaign at LANIVET. This was a poor site and there has been serious opposition to the effort. Prayer is sought that the Word will result in blessing as it is preached. There is cause for encouragement from CARBIS BAY. Recently a lady who had been saved for some years confessed the Lord in baptism. It was a joy to see her give open testimony to her faith in Christ as she was baptized at TRURO. A gift of £2,000 has been received towards the building fund for which we can praise God, Plans are now before the authorities both here and at BODMIN for a new building. Our prayers would be valued as the outcome is awaited.