Gospel Work and Other Assembly Activities – September-October 1984

“Whereas thou has prayed to me …” Isaiah 37. 21

In this unfinished sentence which is part of a word from Isaiah the prophet to Hezekiah the king, we have the secret of God’s intervention in the circumstances of life. Because of the humility and dependence of the king in the face of the enemy’s attacks, God worked for His people’s salvation. This activity of deliverance is an illustration of God’s abundant willingness to answer His people’s prayers. “Because you have prayed.” In collating the various items which make up this report, the effect of believing prayer is highlighted several times. Thus prayer recognises the need factor. Where a need encountered is greater than human ability to meet it, where it is associated with some spiritual problem or evil agency, then it is obvious that it is wise and relevant to “take it to the Lord in prayer.” God will be enquired of and does answer. The time factor of prayer is interesting. Years elapse very often before the answer is seen. We are made to realise that the time of answering is not ours — we forget but God never does. We praise His Name for that. So the message comes again from all who work for Him; “Brethren pray for us.”

Northern Ireland

The work in this part of the British Isles continues, and there are encouragements as souls are being saved. Jim Graham writes from Belfast of many activities. A good series of meetings was held in a portable hall at ORRITOR, near Cookstown. During the meetings about eight people made professions of faith in Christ. At BERAGH, meetings were held in a portable hall with G. McKinley and B. Glendinning. Also at DUNGIVEN, J. Thompson and B. Smyth held gospel meetings in a portable hall. In a tent at GARVAGH, J. Brown and J. Lennox laboured in the gospel. The small assembly in the border town of NEWRY, is very active in the gospel outreach, especially among young people. In connection with this assembly, Jim Martin and Wilson Jennings preached in a portable hall. A tent was erected near DROMORE and J. Nesbitt and J. Wells held some meetings there. A few outsiders were seen in the meetings held in the hall at STONEWELL, by Tom McNeill and Joe Fisher. In meetings conducted in the hall at AHOGILL, A. Caulfield and Archie McLean found it very difficult to get the local folk in. At DUNADRY, near Antrim town, a gospel tent was erected and Sam Ferguson and Norman Turkington preached the gospel there. At Ebenezer Hall, BELFAST, believers were greatly encouraged during meetings conducted by John Hawthorne and Albert McShane. Attendances were good and at least one man was saved.

We have a good report of meetings held in the Botanic Gardens, BELFAST, with Jim Hutchinson and Jim Allen. Numbers in the tent were large, with upward of 600 attending regularly and extra seating being needed to cope with all who came. It was obvious that many who came in were strangers and at least five have made definite professions of faith in Christ. One young man who was saved on the second night he attended, was a student at Queen’s University and had never heard the plain truth of the gospel before. How incredible is this fact in our so called Western Christian culture! Many became concerned about spiritual matters and it seemed clear that God was dealing with them. Prayer follows the preaching that others will be saved. Our brother speaks of concern of the small numbers of unsaved that attend gospel meetings in our halls. Yet the assemblies in Belfast rallied round, and many were brought in to the meetings and there was much faithful prayer support. It was a source of gratitude to God and also to the Belfast corporation, that the ground could be used for this campaign during the month of June. It is not usual for permission to be granted for more than two weeks’ stay. We hear good reports of opportunities for Summer Open-air work in BANGOR, Co. Down, and in other places in this very needy part of the world.

Our brother Edward Jamieson writes of the growing impact that the Telephone Ministry is making in BELFAST. Between 40 and 60 calls are registered each day, and many cries for spiritual help are received. One caller said, “Thank you for giving a sinner hope through Christ. I am now trusting Christ as Saviour. Please pray for me”. How significant such words are. Many perplexities are revealed and the confusion in the hearts of people concerning spiritual things is often uncovered. Clear gospel messages are given and we pray that God will bless this work. One other work featured in this news bulletin is that of “Words of Comfort”. As death notices are taken from the newspapers, hundreds of homes where bereavement has taken place are contacted each week. Many expressions of gratitude are received as are many requests for prayer. Bereaved folk write to say that verses quoted from the Scripture have been a means of comfort and strength in their sorrow. We can also follow this ministry with our prayer.

Northern Scotland

Two brief items of news come from Robert Eyres. In the CULLODEN assembly, Inverness, a young man of 20 years came through for the Lord. He had been contacted and had attended the gospel meetings. He is now keenly interested in reading the Word of God and comes to the various assembly meetings. During the month of July, Frank Reid spent 3 weeks in SHETLAND. Children’s meetings had small numbers attending but in SELIVOE the numbers are improving. Evenings were given to ministry as a help to assemblies in the area. The needs in the Northern Isles are very great and there are few to meet them!

Southern Scotland

An interesting item of news comes from Tom Aitken and tells of a monthly prayer meeting which is held in connection with Lanarkshire gospel work. This meeting is designed among other things, to pray for the conversion of husbands of women who have been led to Christ. One of these husbands had moved into Ayrshire and now lives in DALRY where the Ayrshire brethren were concentrating their work in the early part of the summer. How great was the joy when it was learned that this man had been led to Christ by David McMaster. It was interesting to reflect that Jim Aitken had been instrumental in leading the wife to the Lord and had been praying for her husband ever since her conversion. How necessary is specific, believing prayer! One of the features of the Lanarkshire work, both at SHOTTS and SALSBURGH, was that most of the folk who have been saved were taken to meetings by visitors. Shields Road assembly, MOTHERWELL, was one of the meetings which gave tremendous support to the work, and they saw four young people whom they had taken with them to Shotts gloriously saved. They were not alone in this experience as others had the same joy. The evangelist Jim Smyth was greatly encouraged, as were the two small assemblies. The Lord was glorified in the salvation of souls — this is the most important of all.

An interesting sequel to a report of a conversion in GLASGOW some two years ago is given by Tom Aitken. The conversion of Hugh Hill was unique. His simple faith and unquestioning obedience has led to the Lord working in a wonderful way in his business life, not to speak of his home life where his three children have all been saved. His most recent joy was to see his business manager saved. This story proves very simply the value of godly methods of business instead of the usual ways that characterise much of the business world. Another instance is given of the way God works. About a year ago, a divorced woman heard a man preach at “The Mound”, Edinburgh. She went over to listen to him, and was deeply impressed by the gospel. Through conversation afterwards, she was eventually led to Christ. She was a woman of good social standing, yet she humbly repented of her sins. Since her conversion she has prayed very much for her unconverted daughter. When meetings were held in her home town of PEEBLES, the daughter attended and was wonderfully saved. Praise the Lord for His goodness. Each of these conversions highlights the effectiveness of constant, believing prayer and also the need to bring people to where the Word is preached. How shall they hear without a preacher?

North West England

We are glad to have a report of the Lancashire Gospel Tent Campaign held at BURY during June. The evangelists were Stewart McKenzie and Arthur Pollard. The Council would not grant the site originally requested, but events showed that the alternative was of the Lord’s directing. The local assembly worked hard throughout the period, and good support was given by other assemblies in the area. Arthur Pollard was responsible for the children’s meetings and numbers were consistent and attention was good. Most of the children had little knowledge of the gospel prior to the campaign, and it was good to see their regular attendance and good attention. One of the older girls and an older boy made professions of faith in Christ. Interest was shown by others, and on the final night of prize giving about 45 attended. Arrangements have been made to hold a weekly children’s meeting on Thursday evenings at the Community Hall. The Youth Rallies saw attendance on three Friday evenings increase from 100 to 200. Teenagers came from other assemblies and interest was good. Adult meetings varied in numbers, but unsaved were present on each evening. It was encouraging to see the number of local people attending, some coming in more than once. A man was converted on the first Tuesday evening of the campaign. He had sought in many places to find the truth but he was saved on his first hearing of the gospel. It was a joy to witness his baptism during the meetings. He brought his wife and parents with him each evening, and in the final week his mother accepted Christ in her home. Coffee mornings and house meetings were held and these resulted in several friends and neighbours hearing the gospel informally. Afterwards some attended the meetings in the Tent. In all, it was known that six trusted the Lord for salvation as a direct result of the adult meetings. In reporting this campaign in such detail, it is shown that there are times when a tent provides a means of positive evangelism. A work was begun in many lives at BURY and the assembly there will go on praying that the results will be lasting and will contribute to the growth of the assembly work.

North Eastern England

John Tinkler sends a brief report from this area. The assembly at WYLAM held a week of special children’s meetings conducted by George Tryon of London. The average nightly attendance was 46, but it was good to see over 100 children and parents gather in the hall for the Sunday evening meeting. As a result of this effort a few more children are attending the Sunday School. The assembly at REDROW, near Morpeth held their annual conference this year, celebrating 50 years in their present hall. Local brethren participated. Numbers attending were less than in previous years but the believers were encouraged. This is a small village testimony, the only one in Mid. and North Northumberland. The assembly would value prayer.

East Anglia

Not very much news comes to us from this part of the country. A very happy series of children’s meetings was held at a small Suffolk village assembly in HELIONS BUMPSTEAD by S. Mount-stevens. The hall was full every night as children came in from surrounding villages to hear the Word. Prizegiving night saw the hall absolutely packed to capacity. The attention given to the messages was marked and encouraging. It is good to reflect that, even with children in very tender years, “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”.

Midlands

The Three Counties Show for 1984 was held at MALVERN in June. This gave another opportunity for the erection of “The Way” Christian Witness Tent, and the exercise gave much cause for encouragement. Many useful conversations were enjoyed as evangelists and other workers sought to make contact with the hundreds who passed through the tent. There were a number who showed deep concern and interest in the gospel. The displays portrayed various scriptural points of teaching. M^ny portions of scripture were given out and Christian literature was freely distributed. A bookstall gave opportunity for the sale of Bibles and Christian books. Worcester Postal Sunday School was again represented and some good contacts were made with the children who received their Introductory Lesson as they came to the table. It was good to meet several former scholars who still showed interest in the work. While numbers in each section were not as large as hoped for, it was felt that the Lord had overruled in giving this better site, and the many serious conversations over a cup of tea made it all seem worthwhile. The contacts perhaps seem casual, and are unplanned, but how vital they are in the context of God’s sovereignty in bringing people into contact with Christ.

The assembly at Cranham Drive, WORCESTER, had the joy of holding its first baptismal service since moving on to the Warndon estate. Two young ladies confessed the Lord openly in baptism in a service which stirred up quite a lot of interest in the area. One of those baptised came from a non-Christian home on the estate. Her parents for a long time refused her permission, but prayer was answered and eventually with great joy she announced her readiness to be baptised. Both had come through the assembly Sunday School, and it was a joy to see the evidence of the Lord’s working in their fives. The meeting was attended by a good number of unsaved people from the estate, some there for the first time. There was an atmosphere which spoke of the Lord’s presence and a powerful gospel message was given. It was evident that at least some of those present were given much to think about as they heard the Word preached.

We are asked to insert a note in the report to inform readers that the assembly which has met at Bethany Hall, MADELEY HEATH, Nr. Crewe, Cheshire, has had to close down. For some time there has been no gospel meeting or mid-week Bible study. Only a very few have gathered to remember the Lord. It is sad to record this item of news and we shall pray for those who will seek fellowship elsewhere.

South and South East England

It is a pleasure to have a report from S. Mountstevens of activities in this part of the country. Our brother’s labours for the Lord are concentrated very much among the children and he says, “never was there a time when people had more reason to believe the Word of God yet never was there a time when it was being so fiercely attacked as today.” Several children’s efforts are reported. At WHITSTABLE, Kent, meetings were well attended in the small assembly and one or two enquiries were made. The interest was good and believers here would value prayer for additions to their fellowship. Good numbers attended a week of children’s meetings which were held at HILDENBOROUGH, Kent, many coming in from the surrounding areas. The Lord is slowly building up a work among the children here. A very profitable series of children’s meetings was held over a ten day period at SWINDON, Wilts. Good numbers came in from the nearby estate. Opposition was there, but the Lord had His way and there were 8 or 9 enquirers, and 3 children at least made professions of faith. Believers engage in a regular visitation work in this estate but the work is not easy.

At SWANWICK, Southampton, a week of meetings saw good numbers attending with a packed hall for the gospel and prizegiving on the Lord’s Day. Children have been since added to the regular meetings held for them. A return visit was made to WATERLOOVILLE, Hants, and it proved to be most profitable. On the second night two girls came and asked to trust the Saviour and it was believed that their decision was sincere. Both met immediate opposition at home and need prayer that they will stand. A ten-day tent effort was held at the WEALD and this proved to be very encouraging as it renewed contact with children who came into a series of meetings held by the assembly two years ago. This assembly has now closed down. Much interest was shown, texts memorised and on the last night parents attended including one whole family. A young girl of eleven, expressing regret at the close of the meetings, said, “Never mind Uncle Sid, I’ll see you in heaven.” She says that she is a real Christian. At MARGATE where our brother lives, a Spiritist meeting has commenced near his home. This is held in a scout hut and tracts were given out and contacts made with those who entered. All but one accepted the Word!

South Wales

More news comes from Paul Young at MAESTEG. In this, his home assembly, an eight day Crusade was held. This was preceded by much prayer, visitation and distribution. A title was given to each address given and this attracted interest. Unsaved people were present at each meeting and on four or five occasions the hall was full. Over 45 booklets were requested. Since the meetings two ladies have attended some of the regular meetings and it is felt that one of them is truly saved. It was heard later that one man was saved during the week. A Bible Exhibition was set up in Maesteg Town Hall from Monday to Friday and over 500 people came in to see it. There was a notice of it in the local press. This Exhibition has been put together by brethren mainly from the Cardiff area. Free literature was taken by many and a number of Bibles and books were purchased. In the very small assembly at PENCOED, a children’s campaign saw about 70 - 80 children come in to the hall to hear the gospel. The assembly of only five members goes forward prayerfully with a Summer Tent Campaign preparation.

Devon and Cornwall

A “Mid-Devon Gospel Mission was held in a tent at COPPLESTONE for two weeks at the end of July. It originated with a concern in the hearts of local believers who, feeling a need for local gospel outreach, approached three full-time evangelists in the area. So it was that Peter Glasgow, Peter Davey and Tony Blackburn joined to conduct the mission among children and adults. Much prayer and visitation went into the effort prior to and during the Mission. The site procured allowed for the erection of a tent to seat 250 people but numbers exceeded expectations so that another tent, almost as large, was placed alongside the other and integrated with it. The numbers of children averaged up to 200 each evening and the adults up to 300. Sunday evenings far exceeded these numbers. Many unsaved gathered, some who never attended any place of worship, and they heard the gospel faithfully preached. A number of children and three adults openly trusted Christ for salvation. Many were visibly moved and it was evident that God was speaking. This Crusade gave great encouragement to believers and it was felt that there is still much fruit to be reaped. A brief item of news relates to the small assembly at SIDMOUTH. They feel the need of much prayer but have recently been encouraged by two former members of their fellowship returning to join them.

Good news is to hand of the witness at the Royal Cornwall Show 1984, held at WADEBRIDGE. John Hadley reports on the Christian Witness Stand erected there and especially of the wonderful way God answered the many prayers that preceded it. It was estimated that one quarter of Cornwall’s population visited the Show over the three days. Prince Charles paid a visit - evidence of Royal interest. The theme of the display was “Voice of the Sea.” Five main displays were erected, and with smaller ones set forth the good news that Jesus Christ saves. A Large Gospel Ship was displayed with Jesus the Captain of our Salvation. The Postal Sunday School section was kept very busy, with some 1300 children trying to find the hidden treasure - the clue being John 3. v. 16. Different features of testimony were represented, including the Telephone Ministry of Plymouth with Mr Leonard Dan. All workers who made up the team were kept very busy, and some conversations were enjoyed and some good contacts made.

Print
0