The assembly at Guildford were really encouraged during the February half-term school holiday.
From the Monday to the Wednesday of the holiday, a Bible Club for primary schoolchildren was arranged. The programme, from 9.30 a.m. to 12 noon, was called ‘Space Academy’, and the Bible stories and daily themes were all based on the early chapters of the book of Daniel. Between forty and fifty children attended each day and were involved in craft activities and games as well as Bible quizzes, memory verses, choruses and the Bible stories. Ray Tate was again responsible for most of the Bible input, while local believers (and a few co-opted from elsewhere) were responsible for the other activities. The daily involvement and help of ten members of the young people’s group was also an encouragement. There was a good turn-out of parents for the prize-giving on the Wednesday lunchtime. Please pray that there will be lasting blessing from this work done in the Lord’s Name.
The Monday of the following week (February 24th) saw the conclusion of the second of the Christianity Explored courses that the assembly have run in the last six months. On that final evening eight participants were in attendance, seven of whom are post graduate students at Surrey University. One of the young ladies described the group as being representative of the United Nations. There were three ladies and one man from China, one man from Burma, one man from Vietnam and one lady from Korea. The only participant who is not a student is Nigerian. With the two course leaders both being from Guildford it made for a very interesting course. Please pray that the three who are believers will go on well for the Lord and that the other five, who are extremely open to the gospel, will be saved. It is most encouraging to have these eight adults and others attending the All Age service regularly, where they hear the gospel preached and God’s word taught.
The city centre open-air meetings each Tuesday and Friday and once a month on Saturdays, continue to be an effective way of reaching out with the gospel. Prayer would be appreciated or some recent contacts: Karina, a Russian lady who was very antagonistic; Edward, who initially refused a leaflet and then accepted one after a brief chat – it turned out that he is attending church with the sole purpose of getting his son into a church school; Nick who attends a Baptist church every Sunday with foster children – he put up a polite smokescreen but seemed to be really quite interested.
Regular weekly outreach activities continue at Bethany Gospel Hall. Since September numbers at the Parent & Toddler Group have decreased due to children moving on to nursery. Please pray that if it is the Lord’s will for this work to continue, that new parents will be contacted. The Friday After School Club (Children’s Meeting) has benefited from the children who once attended Parent & Toddler Group but are now of school age.
The hall is overdue a major refurbishment. At present it has no central heating system or effective insulation. The Lord has made it clear to the assembly that they should undertake this work and while they realize that this will be a major undertaking, they feel it is necessary to preserve the fabric of the building and make it more user friendly. Prayer would be appreciated in this matter.
Jeff and Denise Watson report from Parana; ‘We were really lifted up by the decision of Patricia, to follow the Lord by being baptized. This took place on the second Lord’s Day in November. We invited a brother called Severo Miguel who is a friend of Patricia and Reinaldo (her husband), to minister for the occasion. He had been responsible for bringing Reinaldo to the Saviour many years before and now they are united in the Lord and fellowship with us. Our prayers have been answered and another young couple provided to help in our Lord’s work. They are both willing to put their hands to the grindstone, Praise be to God for this’.
‘Straight after the baptism, we had more good news, Dona Jacira, Tiago’s grandmother, said she wanted to be the next to be baptized and she needed just a little time to explain to her family who are strict Catholics. On hearing this, Nani a young girl, asked to join her. Due to Christmas’s programme already in motion and time needed for preparation, we decided to plan the baptisms for 5th of January. Dona Tereza, who has serious leg and knee problems, on hearing that we were to baptize the others, asked if she could also be. After chatting with the brethren, it was agreed she was ready for this step. But, how were we to do it? Getting her in and out of the water would be a problem. Jeff decided he would place a plastic chair in the tank for her to sit on; it all worked out a treat. That though was not the end, as Zedir, a brother converted while working in the North of Brazil, and who had returned home last year to Foz, started to come regularly to the meetings and who had been showing signs of growth, also asked if he could be baptiZed. Unfortunately his brother, who had been praying for years for his salvation, could not make the baptism. What a great joy for the start of a New Year, our prayers and thoughts are that there will be more blessings falling this year, bringing glory and honour to our Saviour’s Name’.
‘The opportunity of distributing gospel calendars and tracts in the Sunday market took place on the two Lord’s Days mornings before Christmas. A very good tract, “A special present”, was used along with others. A special time was had on the 22nd of December with the assembly and few children to show forth the Saviour’s love and birth, coming into this world to save us from sin. Marcio, who was brought up hearing the gospel but never put his trust in the Saviour, has moved into Foz and wants his daughter to come to Sunday school. He came with her and also his wife. Please pray for them. One friend continues to attend very regularly coming along to Tuesday prayer meeting and Thursday study nights as well as Sunday evenings’.
‘After such a good start to the New Year, we look to our Lord for continued blessing’.
Paul and Sue Williams report: ‘We were most encouraged by the summer gospel tent work in Romania and in the Republic of Moldova. Since May 2008 over fifty-three thousand children and sixty-seven thousand adults and young people have listened to the great message of salvation and around 500 have professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ’.
‘Last summer has been the best and most fruitful for the assembly gospel tent ministry in Romania. The twelve tents have been used in twenty-one counties throughout the country and also for the first time in the Republic of Moldova. The Lord wonderfully blessed in the salvation of over one-hundred-and-sixty people. Over twelve thousand children and sixteen thousand adults have attended these tent meetings, and others have listened to the gospel through the loudspeaker system! Truly, “To God be the glory great things He has done”, and continues to do to His praise and eternal glory’.
‘In early November, a series of intensive all-day Bible studies and series of ministry meetings commenced and ran on specific dates in December and January. It was a real joy to renew fellowship with brethren from the assemblies of Pietrisu and Bujoru, which are on the Romanian-Bulgarian border. In early January Paul started intensive studies with the assembly in Prundu, and studies in the book of Nehemiah, on a Saturday in Alexandria for assemblies in the county of Teleorman’.
‘Paul was also invited for another series of ministry meetings consisting of two sessions each day, with the assembly in Grañicesti, county of Suceava, 440 kms north of Ploiesti, during November. The believers were most appreciative and encouraged by the teaching’.
‘A third series of ministry meetings were also held with the assembly in Galati, Eastern Romania. The elders asked that Paul give teaching on the very important subject of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. There was a great interest in the meetings and the brethren had many questions. God willing, the next series will deal with the important and practical subject of spiritual gifts. Studies on Romans 6-8 have also been requested!’
‘At the end of November Paul was invited to speak at a youth conference in Lancrãm. Young believers from the county of Alba listened attentively to teaching on “King Josiah and spiritual revival"’.
‘Paul was also able to travel with a brother from Dorohoi assembly recently to the neighbouring country of the Republic of Moldova for all-day Bible studies in Orhei, and give expositional teaching from Nehemiah chapters 1 to 8’.
‘We also received permission to have the Romanian Bible Exhibition in a large new shopping mall in the city of Ploiesti. Good numbers of young people came, as well as adults. The exhibition ran for the two weekends before Christmas and during the six days over eight hundred people attended, good contacts were made and there were good conversations. A large amount of gospel literature and calendars were distributed and while the days were long, it was a most profitable time. Support from dedicated believers from the local assembly was appreciated. In mid-January the Art Gallery in the town of Giurgiu was rented to put up the exhibition. It has an excellent central location surrounded by shops and blocks of flats. Over three hundred people attended, from different walks of life, including a priest, a former secret policemen and retired teachers. The local assembly worked very hard and it was a pleasure to enjoy fellowship in divine service with older and young believers. Please pray for this work as the exhibition is also booked to go into some Christian schools’.
Paul and Sue also provide some specific points for which prayer wold be valued for the Lord’s work and assembly testimony in Romania:
Blanquita Haggerty reports: ‘After five months in Santa Cruz, I am ready to return to Vancouver. It has been an interesting time observing the progress in the work of the gospel in this part of the country. The believers at Ebenezer Assembly are very active in different activities. The “Awana" work reaches a lot of young people, ranging from children to teenagers. Activities closed in November for the season, but many of the workers decided to continue over the holiday period since many children expressed a desire to continue with their Bible lessons. The conference, with a good time of ministry, gathered believers from the assemblies in the city. They enjoy the opportunity to get together under solid teaching of the word given by some well-known speakers from Argentina. Some brethren help in two or three outlying assemblies. There is also a children’s work in an outlying place called Samaria. The large children’s meeting is growing fast. In general, the word of God is well received among the people in Samaria and a few believers from Ebenezer have moved to live there, bringing the strong possibility that in the near future meetings for adults will be convened’.
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