As summer approaches, many Christians will be preparing for outdoor gospel work and we hope we shall have encouraging reports to publish. Perhaps fruit will be gathered as a result of patient sowing during the winter months. The work of sowing may not be as spectacular as that of reaping, but it is just as important, and we want to record both in these pages. We do not wish to limit our reports even to evangelistic enterprise, but as the title of this section indicates, we want to include “other assembly activities.”
The evangelists whose work is reported are in no way responsible to the committee of Precious Seed, and it must not be assumed that the committee is necessarily in agreement with all the methods used by these evangelists. N. M. B.
Fred. J. Jesson tells us that a new vehicle has been purchased for use in the North-West London and Home Counties area, to replace an old vehicle which needed extensive repair. He writes, “Last summer a lady at one place professed conversion while the Unit was there, and later her husband also sought the Lord. They have since been baptized and received into the little local assembly.” At another place a lady professed conversion on the village green one lovely summer afternoon, and now her husband, who was visited by the local Christians, has attended the gospel meeting and trusted the Saviour. In a market-town a young visitor was converted and is going on with the Lord, although he has not linked up with the assembly in his home-town.
Albert Burnham (Alton) writes: “The effort we made last summer to reach the crowds in London with the gospel was very encouraging. Large crowds gathered, both on Tower Hill at lunchtime and in Hyde Park in the evenings. Many business-men listened attentively, and other visitors to the Park were impressed as the glad tidings were proclaimed each night. In spite of opposition, we reached Jews and Mohammedans, besides members of almost every cult in Christendom. Many were deeply moved and, although we know of but one definite case of conversion, we believe it will yet be seen what God hath wrought.
During a special winter effort, Jack Harris gave some heart-searching messages. Two adults were definitely converted—one a real trophy of grace. The hall was packed for the children’s meetings, and several made profession of faith in Christ. The married couple who professed to receive the Lord at the close of a meeting when their son was baptized (see March-April 1950 issue) were themselves baptized recently, together with two other converts, and are now in happy fellowship. Unusual methods were employed to reach the husbands of those attending the Women’s Meeting. Instead of a Women’s Tea, a Married Couples’ Supper was arranged. A number of men who had not previously entered the hall attended, and several have followed this up by coming to the gospel meeting. J. Teskey (West Indies) gave the message at the supper.
S. C. Payne writes, “You will, I know, be glad to hear of blessing at Felixstowe. For some time we have been led to pray for certain Sunday School scholars by name, and especially for four girls and three boys. A fortnight ago one of the boys came to see me quite late in the evening, troubled about his soul, and I had the joy of leading him to the Lord in my dining-room. The following Sunday the other two boys stayed behind after Sunday School and professed to trust the Saviour. A week or two before that, my wife and another sister were enabled to lead to Christ a woman who lives across the road. Early in February three young folk were baptized—a W.R.A.F. girl, a nurse at Barnardo’s Homes, and a daughter of a brother in our meeting.”
The visit of E. W. Spender to the Gospel Hall resulted in the salvation of souls, and helpful ministry was provided for Christians. Attendances were good, and several people came who had not entered the hall before.
The building used by the assembly in Frome is to be sold, and this may result in the gospel meeting being discontinued. This meeting is attended by a good number of unsaved people, so prayer is sought that a way may be found of continuing the testimony.
Many of the Lord’s people from various parts of the West Country met at the Gospel Hall during March for a three-day Bible Study Convention. Ministry-from God’s Word was given by M. Pavey (Bristol), H. Bell (Jarrow), A. E. Ward (Ammanford), J. Bolton (Staines), E. W. Rogers (Wallington), and W. A. Norris (Cardiff). No list of subjects was drawn up for these brethren, yet there was a continuous theme throughout, ministry being chiefly from the Epistle to the Hebrews. Attendances were good, over 400 being present on the last day.
Derek Frost visited St. Austell and Somerton during January, and then conducted a week’s meetings for young people at Plympton. During February he con ducted a Children’s Mission at Hanham (Bristol), and there were some professions of conversion. One young girl who, at . the early part of the mission, said she was not a Christian, gave her heart to the Lord Jesus.
Following the North-East England Sunday School Workers’ Conference (which was the largest on record and very appropriately addressed by Walter Ainslie and W. Wilcox) in January, W. Ainslie continued in the district with special meetings at Hebburn for ten days. Both adults and juveniles were catered for, a meeting being held for each every evening. Interest by the grown-ups was not lacking, and for the children’s meetings the hall was crowded every evening. Attention was very good and the evangelist’s splendid models and his messages proved very attractive. He was greatly encouraged, and rejoiced in hearing some declare their faith in Christ.
The work at Lobley Hill, near Gateshead, continues, and interest is undiminished. Here the problem is not to find children for the seating capacity, but to find seating accommodation for the children available. Special efforts are being made to overcome this difficulty.
During the month of January David Walker of Aberdeen conducted special gospel meetings for two weeks in Shiloh Hall, Shettleston, Glasgow. This hall is situated in a very populous district in the eastern part of the city. In view of the need of the people and their poor response to invitations to the regular meetings, there was much prayer about this special effort and a time of blessing was hoped for. The weather proved to be intensely cold, however^ and attendances at the meetings were rather disappointing. Nevertheless the few unsaved who attended heard the gospel preached in a winsome manner, and the Christians found the meetings most uplifting and refreshing. They feel sure that, difficult as the conditions were, the effort was well worth-while.
Sam Thomson (Ireland) held gospel meetings during the month of February in the Victoria Hall, Aberdeen. Every house in the district received an invitation, and many unsaved were brought under the sound of the gospel. On the Sunday evenings the hall was packed, and also for the closing meeting on the Thursday, Our brother preached faithfully and with power, and three decided for Christ. Many more, we believe, were definitely impressed, and Eternity alone will reveal what has been accomplished. The percentage of unsaved continuing to attend the usual Sunday-evening gospel meeting gives cause for much prayer. David Hogg conducted meetings for children at Fountain Hall, Aberdeen, during February. The meetings were well attended and the interest grew nightly, about 200 gathering to listen to the message, and blessing followed the preaching. Our brother also ministered the Word most acceptably on several occasions during his stay. Joe Merson visited Turrifi in Aberdeenshire and held meetings which, he reports, were well attended. The small assembly there has no gospel meeting. He also visited Old Deer, Mintlaw and Stuartfield. While at Stuartfield the weather was rather severe and attendances small, but one woman professed and another was helped towards the assurance of her salvation.
Harry Burness had encouraging times in the Orkney Isles. He visited the island of Papa Westray, four miles by two miles, with a population of 169. Gospel meetings were held in a farmer’s barn and the old school. The attendance was very good and much interest was manifested. He spent three weeks in Westray ministering from the Epistle to the Hebrews and, in spite of the inclement weather, the interest was good and the believers greatly encouraged. A young woman was baptized in the open sea. Andrew Philip has been ministering the Word with much acceptance, though the stormy weather of the Orkney winter has meant that attendances have been rather small. He also had two weeks’ meetings in Kirkwall, where he gave a series of addresses on Old Testament characters typical of Christ.
R. S. Bowen writes, “Since the New Year we have been favoured in Shetland with the presence of four evangelists—L. M. Randall, J. Merson, G. Alexander and J. Moar. The last-named is a local resident and is continually labouring in the Lord’s work amongst us. Along with G. Alexander he conducted five weeks of meetings in Scalloway during January and February. This effort in the gospel was a repeat of one held at the same time last year. More opposition was felt this year than last, perhaps because an assembly has now been established in the district. There were no definite conversions, as far as is known, but the interest was good. J. Merson concluded a most encouraging series of gospel meetings at Selivoe in March. These meetings were well attended throughout. Two young people, both fourteen years of age, professed salvation during the meetings, and others are believed to be interested. L. M. Randall has done a great deal of hard work in the gospel here during the past eight months. He has laboured both on the mainland of Shetland and in the islands. He visited Foula (the most westerly and most isolated island) and held cottage-meetings which were well attended. He also held meetings in Unst, Fetlar, and Yell. In all these places he found an interest in the gospel, and in North Yell met with some Christians who are desirous of confessing the Lord in baptism and of knowing the way of the Lord more perfectly. He writes of Unst, the most northerly island, “An elderly lady in the last house in the British Isles gave strong evidence of being a believer, so the Lord has His people everywhere.” In all the places mentioned these brethren have visited many homes. The reception was very good and much seed was sown in this personal way.
During March the saints at Neath were greatly encouraged by having R. Bryant of Llanelly, and W. M, Janies of Ynysybwl with them for the ministry of the Word. The meetings were unique in that our two brethren came to Neath to do some work in the home of one of the believers, but readily accepted an invitation to speak in the evenings. The first intention was for four nights’ meetings but in view of the interest shown the period was extended to two weeks. Help was also given at the children’s services.
Because of the interest indicated in meetings commenced by L. H. Tranter at Dowlais in January, it was decided to continue week by week for approximately six weeks. The ministry was much appreciated.
Harold German was at Caerphilly during February and March, and in that period souls were saved and the Lord’s people helped. The first week was devoted to ministry for believers. Baptisms on the closing evening included several from the Sunday -School.
The Lord has been working recently in Risca (Mon.) among scholars of the Sunday School. The testimony at Pontnewynydd, near Pontypool (Mon.), is maintained with interest. The Lord’s help was realized during special meetings held there , for children , and adults during February, conducted by W. Trew and W. A. Norris.
There is great activity in the gospel in Northern Ireland—nearly every assembly reckons to have at least one special gospel’ effort every year. Usually the length of the campaign is kept an y open question, brethren preferring to judge at the time whether protracted meetings are justified. Evangelists usually leave their arrangements flexible and, although in many parts of Great Britain this is regarded as impracticable, it seems to work in Northern.: Ireland. Perhaps the comparatively-large number of evangelists available has a bearing on the situation, but maybe the seeming shortage of evangelists in England is simply the effect of assemblies wanting prominent men instead of being willing to co-operate wholeheartedly and prayerfully with less-known but nevertheless earnest preachers. However despite this widespread activity the gospel, it is difficult to give an adequate overall picture, for unfortunately only two of the many efforts have been brought to our notice; we hope to secure more in future issues. Following upon special prayer on the part of the assembly at Fort William, meetings conducted by W. McNeil have resulted in several interesting professions. David Walker was cheered by keen interest at Ballymena being sustained over several weeks. He has been in touch with inquirers, and fruit is expected.
We have previously commented on the difficulty of reaching the people of Eire with the message of the gospel. Where forces of active opposition are in places of influence and authority, it is often necessary to use methods of evangelism which would not be so much needed where the testimony of local assemblies is effective. Christians in Dublin have formed a committee to publicize evangelical broadcasts from Radio Luxembourg. Advertisements inserted in the press draw attention to the broadcasts, and cards distributed by workers throughout the country set out the days and times of the broadcast services. Care is taken to publicize only those broadcasts which are soundly evangelical, and correspondence is invited. In this way many interesting contacts have already been made, and it is certain that the gospel is being heard in many homes the doors of which would be fast closed against any other evangelistic approach.