“Then cometh the devil”, Luke 8. 12.
The months of the year covered by this report are of necessity times of much sowing of the seed. Evangelists are busy. Yet often, in terms of fruitfulness, the amount of sowing bears scant resemblance to the actual reaping. Disappointments are many and discouragement can so easily set in. But it is good to lay hold on one glorious fact. The great harvest of souls, which is to be ultimately by Him who is rightly called the Lord of the Harvest, will reveal the true quality of the seed and the worthy faithfulness of the sowers thereof. We leave results with Him. However we must unceasingly watch and pray, for it is upon the sowing of the seed, as the parable says, that the devil comes with his work of theft and destruction. Let us be on our guard in these evil times. We have given the addresses at the head of some reports of those who willingly undertake to collect and send reports in. Please do not hesitate to send news of the activities of the Lord’s people. We have a new address for reports on the North and East of Scotland: Robert Eyres, 21 Wyvis Crescent, CONON BRIDGE, DINGWALL. It would be good to hear of activities in this area.
Reports from the North are collected and sent in by J. Graham, 48 Beechgrove Drive, Belfast BT6 ONW. In the village of CLOUGH, County Antrim, there were fair numbers attending meetings as Eric Wishart and Norman Tinsley preached the gospel. In some well attended meetings held in a tent at DROMORE, Co. Down, W. J. Nesbitt saw some who accepted Christ as Saviour. For six weeks, J. Hutchinson and T. McElvey faithfully presented the gospel in a portable hall at NEWRY, Co. Down. The assembly there hope to continue a gospel meeting on Sunday evenings in the hall. At READY, Co. Armagh, a gospel tent has been erected and Tom McNeil preached faithfully. At VERNIER BRIDGE, B. Glendenning experienced some interest as he laboured for the Lord. The good summer weather gave great opportunity for open air preaching. J. Graham and S. Thompson working with believers from the Central Hall assembly, BANGOR, held some good meetings on the sea front, reaching many people with the Word during July. Good numbers listened each night. During the two weeks July holiday period, Albert Aitken preached to many in the open air in CARNLOUGH, Co. Down. Also at NEWCASTLE, large numbers heard the work as it was heralded forth. It is good to know that there is this liberty to spread abroad the good news of the gospel.
Some gospel meetings were held at STONEWALL, Co. Cavan, with J. Kells and E. Stewart and the interest was good. At BEAGH, near Maghera, ten weeks of meetings were held by J. Martin and W. Jennings. Some encouraging times were enjoyed with good interest being shown and some professing salvation. At WUIGLEY’S POINT, Co. Donegal, about 15 unsaved came in with some showing real interest. The Annual Conference at MARTRY, Co. Tyronne, was well attended with helpful ministry given. The hall at LUNGS, Co. Tyrone, was packed for the conference and the ministry was much appreciated. Various brethren took part.
A regular supply of news comes to us from T. Aitken, 60 Cloglands, FORTH, Lanarks. We have news of the LANARKSHIRE Outreach. With George Meikie the activities began at ORBISTON and then moved to COATBRIDGE. Three weeks of mission at Orbiston did not give quite the expected results. But clear, sound gospel messages were given and a good number heard the Word. At Coatbridge, George Meikie was well supported in the work, and on the final evening a lady came to the Lord. The small company at Shiloh hall needs much prayer. A work was also done by J. Aitken and he too had good support. He carried out visitation work, and preached in the streets of the villages in the upperward of Lanarkshire. Many contacts were made and many heard the Word.
On our brother’s mailing list was an old lady whom he visited again. Through this visit she came out definitely to confess the Lord Jesus as Saviour. This was a great encouragement. In the ANNBANK area John Spiers was responsible for the Ayrshire outreach. He was well supported by the Ayrshire assemblies. Quite a number of unsaved folk attended the meetings, and there were two who accepted the Saviour. One of these was a sixteen year old lad. He was brought in by believers from another area. How good that they made use of this opportunity. At KILMACOLM some encouraging meetings were held by Stan Ford in the small assembly hall. The attendances were good especially on the Sunday evenings. Much hard work was done by the evangelist in making personal contacts and visitation, and the preaching was with power. Two young people made professions of faith in Christ.
We have some sad news regarding the assembly at HUNTLY. This gathering of believers has been in existence since about 1393, moving to the present address in 1910. Never a large assembly, the annual Conference was always a high spot and could number about 200. With people moving to other places, and also older ones passing away, numbers have very much dwindled and it has been decided to close down the testimony. Remember in prayer the few sisters who have sought fellowship elsewhere. How essential that those of us who enjoy assembly fellowship should labour to strengthen the things that remain. We have news of an interesting meeting held in Ebenezer Hall, AIRDRIE, on May 7th, for the launching of the United Kingdom branch of the Trans-World Radio programme, “Focus on Israel”, of Jewish Outreach International. This is based in Sydney, Australia. Mr. Peterson from the assemblies there gave an account of the work to over 300 who gathered, and he told of how the Lord in remarkable ways has provided for the extension of the work. It commenced 2!/2 years ago. He said that he hoped that the work would soon encircle the globe. In the Middle East alone, according to a recent T.W.R. survey, there are one million listening to this programme, which, while primarily beamed to the Jew, is also bringing the Gospel to the Arab and Gentile world. At present, 100 letters per month are being received here in connection with the broadcast in Europe. Dr. F. A. Tatford, who came to Airdrie to share in the launching of the work, gave a much appreciated message on the importance of the Jew in relation to Bible Prophecy. The meeting was an opportunity to strengthen the already good fellowship which exists between the Australian and U.K assemblies. Let us pray much for God’s blessing on this means of spreading the Gospel.
We receive news items from this area from G. Bourne, 6 North Drive, AUDENSHAW, Manchester M34 5RU. It would be good to have more items from this area. We have news of MANCHESTER village work. This consists of tract distribution with limited open air preaching. Sadly today, people find very little time to listen to the preaching of the Word. With each tract distributed, there is an invitation to apply for the Emmaus Course, “What the Bible Teaches”. This season, more replies have been received than in previous years. Some have come from districts far removed from where the tracts were distributed. Also some have come in after many months. An interesting case was where the tract had obviously been torn up but then pieced together with sellotape. The sender had second thoughts! Such incidents give some insight into the importance of tract distribution. One man doing the courses is a Methodist. He recently requested a course on Baptism and the Lord’s Supper and has now completed it. In this connection, let us pray that the Lord will continually further the work of Emmaus, both at home and abroad.
The Lancashire Gospel Tent has commenced work in CRUMPSALL, Manchester, with Jim Smyth and David Locke. Much visitation has been done and unsaved are coming in. The believers prayed much for fine weather after last year’s experience, and the answer came—the temperatures were in the 80’s. For the month of August the tent will be at RISHTON, near Blackburn, with J. Hutchinson and David McMasters. Much work has been done over many years in this area using the Gospel Tent. Many have been saved and are going on for God. Pray that many will come this ^ear as the gospel is faithfully preached.
Some interesting items of news have been sent in by Ivor Powell. Good interest was seen among the children in TRENT VALE. Up to 117 children came along to meetings, and good attention was given to the messages. Some children said that they had accepted the Saviour. On the final Sunday a 12 year old boy, son of Christian parents, came out brightly for the Lord. He has since written. On the final Sunday also, two young people from Christian families obeyed the Lord in baptism. Both said that they had been saved in previous missions at Trentvale. So much to praise the Lord for! Since the mission, a 16 year old has been baptized. He also told the elders that he came to the Lord in earlier missions. Two Coffee Mornings were held at the Gospel Hall, and on each occasion about 26 people came. One lady, who was really seeking the Lord, went away to contact her grandson who was a Christian. It is believed that on that same day she trusted the Saviour. Wonderful the way God works to save! There was also blessing at the two teenager services.
A two week’s mission was also held at LONG BUCKBY. The main emphasis here was upon children, and about 80 came along to the meetings. Good attention was given, and some blessing was seen. Our brother says this: “I’ve learnt over the years, that it is best to keep on sowing in faith among the children, and then to leave the results in the good and wise hands of the Lord”. This is wise judgment. Two good Coffee Mornings were also held, and there were two visits to local schools to take their assemblies. Several opportunities have presented themselves to speak at various schools. At DA VENTRY Junior School, 500 children listened to a message and the Lord’s hand was really felt there. There are other opportunities—it seems as if the Headmasters are only too pleased to have someone who is willing to give a Bible talk. Prayer is needed that such doors may remain open, and that wisdom shall be given to present in the best way the Word of God. The Annual Three Counties Show at MALVERN gave opportunity again to erect “The Way” Christian Witness Tent. A different site was allocated this year, and this meant that numbers coming in were much lower than previous years. However, in assessing the value of this year’s witness, workers felt that lower numbers gave greater opportunity for in-depth conversations on spiritual matters. Less cups of tea were given, yet longer and more serious conversations took place because of this. Two at least were believed to have made a profession of faith in Christ. The lower number of contacts was reflected also in the Postal Sunday School section. The number of those who enrolled was about half that of last year. Yet again it was felt that those who enrolled knew more of the implications of joining. So there was much to encourage, and it also leaves much to pray about. There is great exercise about future plans, and prayer would be valued.
Two brief items come this time from the area. From A. E. Miller at WATERLOOVILLE, Hants., comes news of the “Rainbow Circle” held at the Gospel Hall. The campaign was conducted by S. Mountstevens of Margate, and one week was spent with the children. About 60 attended each evening, and six parents attended the final night. A Sunday School has now commenced and there is prayer that a continued blessing may develop in assembly outreach. Then in a news letter from the Gospel Hall, BISHOPS STORTFORD, entitled “The End of the Beginning”, we are told that the new building is finished. Through many frustrations and yet through much prayer and the goodness of God, the work was accomplished and the opening date fixed for August 6th. So it is with gratitude that it can be recorded that the work on the hall has been completed. There is much prayer sought that as work for the Lord begins in the new hall, God’s richest blessing will be experienced.
This area is covered by two brethren who send reports in regularly. J. Brett, 35 Maskeleyne Way, WROUGHTON, Swindon, and J. Harman, 9 Orion Road, WEYMOUTH, Dorset. The summer open air work on WEYMOUTH sea front goes on with necessary permission being given to continue. This is always a cause for thanksgiving to the Lord. As the meetings took place, several interested listeners were noticed, some staying for most of the meeting. Tract distribution proves to be an important part of this outreach, and helps to establish contacts. Many overseas students arrived in WEYMOUTH for the Summer Schools English language courses, and the work of reaching these students each year with the gospel is a matter of deep concern. They come from many countries, including North Africa, Israel, Europe and the Scandinavian countries, and there are many problems. Yet a faithful band of workers make many contacts on the streets and esplanade, wherever they congregate, and a real work is done. Last year, several professed faith in Christ. This gives encouragement to expect even greater blessing this year. We have a report from Arthur Thurston telling of the Lord’s blessing in DARTMOOR prison. Some prisoners have been saved by the grace of God. They are now reading and studying the Word of God, and are showing signs of growth spiritually. They are also brightly witnessing for the Lord in prison. Our brother has the responsibility and privilege of interviewing each man personally as they are brought into the prison to commence their sentence. Each Friday is spent with these interviews in his capacity of prison visitor and chaplain. Much prayer is needed for the Lord’s guidance as each spiritual problem demands an answer. An item of news to encourage is that after a long period of prayer and effort, permission has been granted for Bibles and Testaments to be placed in all WEYMOUTH hospitals. It is felt that this is a real breakthrough and a definite answer to prayer.
Items of news from this area are sent in the main by W. Beale, “Avalon”, 3 Railway Terrace, FFORESTFACH, Swansea. Other workers also send in directly. Frank Lonney reports on a Tent Campaign held at DERI. The children came in good numbers and the parents evening gave much encouragement. The tent was full for this occasion. It was noted that the adults responded slowly—some came from the village and some were brought in by believers from other places. This area needs much prayer as also do the villages and towns in Mid-Wales where our brother hopes to be working. From MAESTEG, Paul Young reports of activities in this area. It is sent with request for much prayer. The recently formed Sunday School, though small, is being maintained. Throughout the winter months the children’s meetings averaged between 50 and 60. Two girls have made professions of faith in the Lord. A number of regular contacts have been made with the youth of the town. Some homes are open to regular visits for conversation. A number of requests have also been received for gospels and correspondence courses. The assembly again this year had a stall at the MAESTEG Hospital Fete. About 1200 tracts were distributed, and at least two requests for further help have been received. Paul Young tells of two visits to comprehensive schools at MAESTEG and BRIDGEND. These proved useful contacts. A good opportunity was also given to speak at the SWANSEA Assemblies Scripture Text Prizegiving with over 300 present including many unsaved. “New Life” is the up-tu-date name for SWANSEA Postal Sunday School, and an April Camp held at REYNOLDSTON was useful. About 33 young people gathered, and nine sessions of Bible Study were conducted by Paul and Alison Young. The subject was the Acts of the Apostles and good spiritual truth was taught. Generally the Camp went well and all arrived back safely. One thing was most evident, and this was the keen interest of the campers to learn, and also their readiness to witness to their neighbours and friends. But they face many problems and need much prayer.
News has been sent in by John T. Lynne in Zimbabwe concerning the labours of Alistair and Edna Young at HARARE. This couple were commended by assemblies in Scotland and have worked here since 1982. The work has been mainly among children, but Alistair has been engaged in gospel preaching and the ministry of the Word as well. Opportunities have opened up in schools, to take Scripture classes and also invitations to spend times in a private boarding school. Help has been given to a small assembly in MUTARE, and also a tour of South Africa taking meetings has been made. They return to Scotland on June 25th. A fortnight’s meetings for children was held in Bethany Chapel, HARARE, with very good numbers attending. Most of the children were African, few of whom attend Sunday School. Since then some have commenced. At Kingsmead Chapel a campaign was held, but here most children were white. Many parents as well as the children showed good interest. Other activities were marked by the Lord’s blessing.