“That I might by all means save some”, 1 Cor. 9. 22.
Each time these reports come in, there is a growing sense of the desperate needs among the people to whom the gospel is preached. Satan’s determination not only to frustrate the effect of the Word as it is given, but also to create conditions under which it is not possible to communicate the gospel, is abundantly clear. As many of the Lord’s servants will be fully engaged in work during the summer months, “spending and being spent”, let us assure them of our prayers, that effective methods of presentation may be found so that many will be attracted to Christ. We are grateful again for all who sent reports in. If your area is not represented perhaps you could help in sending us news of what the Lord is doing in your locality—your assembly. We have a new address for communication:
For SOMERSET and DEVON news; Mr. J. Gardiner, Frankland Farm, Crediton, DEVON.
Reports from the North tell of a number of activities. At SHEEPTOWN near Newry, S. McBride and J. Fisher held meetings and were encouraged when a woman was saved on the final night of the meetings. A good number of strangers came into special meetings conducted by Jim Martin and Wilson Jennings, at EDENDERRY. A lady here professed faith in Christ. At NEWTOWNBREDA, where John Hawthorne and John Milne held meetings, people came in who do not usually attend meetings. This also happened with Sam Ferguson and Norman Turkington at Donegall Road, BELFAST. It is good to be able to report of activities through brethren who have been a consistent help to the assemblies. Two such brethren who were highly esteemed preachers and teachers in BELFAST and surrounding assemblies were Bobby White (Glenburn) and Tom Rea who have been taken home to be with the Lord. This will be a great loss to the testimony. Tom Rea went to Africa in 1911 at the age of 21, and served the Lord there for 56 years. During the past 12 years he has given valuable and appreciated help in and around Belfast. It was his joy to visit and help small assemblies, and he was with the small company at BALLYWATER the night before he was taken ill. He went home to be with His Lord two days later at the age of 90. Let us pray that the Lord will raise up other such devoted believers to take their place.
An interesting item of news comes from the DUMFRIES assembly. It gave great cause for praise to God when a married couple, after hearing the gospel for a few weeks, accepted Christ as Saviour. They had recently lost a daughter in Spain in a car accident. She was a believer, and had been seeki ng to interest her parents in spiritual things. We can be sure that this event was an answer to many prayers, and an evidence of the sovereign ways in which God works with men. Other young people have professed faith in Christ, and their continuing interest is shown by attendance at teaching sessions.
Special meetings were held in the Primary School at BISHOPSTON by Robert Revie. The children’s meetings were well attended, but adult meetings could have been better. It was good to see a few parents attending with their children on the final night. Robert has been continuing this type of work in his native Ayrshire, and has seen some blessing. In an effort at RENFREW conducted by John Clunas, it was encouraging on the last evening of the series to see three people accept Christ as Saviour. A brother had brought with him a notorious character on this evening, and he was one of those converted. Praise the Lord for this! Contacts with Senior Citizens is a feature of the work in LANARK. During two weeks of meetings held by J. Aitken, a woman of 79 was wonderfully saved. Following her conversion she was baptized, and is now in assembly fellowship. An elderly couple were also baptized on this evening, making eight that have been baptized during the last 9 months. At KIRKMUIRHILL a similar number have been baptized. Three of these were saved during a time of blessing with John Spiers. He returned to STRETHERILL, Larkhall, where he had a good mission last year, and saw two remarkable conversions of ladies in their early forties. Letters sent to our brother were thrilling to hear read, as they told of their joy in the Lord. One of them came from a Roman Catholic background. God is working I A series of meetings held at FORTH by John Spiers were reasonably well attended. There were no known conversions, but there was one good feature to this effort. Door-to-door visitation was carried out earnestly, and good opportunities of conversation were experienced. It really seemed as if the Lord had specially opened up the way for this, as folk who would not listen before were prepared to do so. Even in Roman Catholic homes there was opportunity to speak for the Lord Jesus. Pray for this house-to-house sowing of the Good Seed I In his own area of MAYFIELD, Midlothian, Robert McPheat held three week’s meetings, and found it very tough going. A similar experience was had by John Hawthorne at Harley Street, GLASGOW. Fair numbers of strangers came in, but their attendance was too inconsistent for them to have serious conviction. Stony ground and wayside conditions for those who sow the seed of the Word need much prayer. Jim Smyth had a good effort in Hebron Hall, COATBRIDGE. People professed conversion including some from Bo’ness and Lowaters.
The GREATER MANCHESTER Missionary Conference was an encouragement this year. Good numbers attended, and the reports were both encouraging and challenging to those who gathered. Challenging ministry was also given by John Campbell, who was the home worker at the conference. Prayer meetings have been in progress during the winter months for the Lancashire Gospel Tent which is to be pitched, D.V., in the districts of ECCLES, Manchester and BOLTON. Much definite prayer has been exercised regarding the evangelists responsible, C. Goldfinch and J. Burns at Eccles, and Derrick Bingham at Bolton. Visitation work is planned. We can pray with all concerned that in the Lord’s will there will be times of blessing. On May 3rd, the MANCHESTER village work began its 78th year. Tract distribution in the afternoon and open air work in the evening take place in different places throughout the summer. Emmaus courses will be advertized this year to give a more positive contact. The first application has already come in. It is good to hear of this positive activity to reach the needy outside city areas. This is a field demanding evangelism of a difficult kind; let us pray for all such efforts this summer.
Visitation work and canvassing outside schools can be useful in building upthe assembly Sunday School. This is illustrated in an item of news from J. Harrold at MATLOCK assembly. 2000 houses in the area were visited with invitations and tracts. Also outside the junior and infants school on Fridays, children’s tracts and Sunday School invitations were distributed. The result of this work has been seen in the increase of children attending weekly to between 60 and 70. This has given much encouragement. There is a work in the local college for teacher training which is run by the students. So far 13 students have accepted Christ since last September, and two of them have been baptized. The assembly gives help spiritually to these young Christians, many of whom come from non-Christian backgrounds. It is evident that they need prayer as the enemy is at work—an “Atheist Society” has commenced at college, at present struggling, but the potentials of evil are there. At a recent family service, a mother of three Sunday School children was gloriously saved, and goes on well with the Lord. Prayer is now being made for her husband, that he will find Christ. An item for prayer is a contact which some of the women have in teaching English at the local Vietnamese Centre each Thursday morning. Pray that in this contact words may be spoken for Christ.
From SKELLOW (Doncaster) Evangelical Church comes news of a children’s mission conducted by local brethren led by Dennis Noon. Attendances each evening almost filled the hall to capacity. Consistent prayer was a vital characteristic of the mission. The week’s meetings ended with a special Mothering Sunday Service. Several parents came in, and the hall was well filled. David Moody preached the gospel. A recent purchase of open air equipment was made good use of on Easter Saturday to remind shoppers of the Good News! Personal work from the assembly continues, and quarterly distribution of the magazine Life Lines adds to the effectiveness of the witness. The report ends with a pointed remark which indicates a good recipe for blessing and fruitfulness. “All meetings are well attended and the whole assembly is active for God.” May this long continue!
From Ivor Powell comes brief news of blessing in NORTHAMPTON. A Welsh lady, whose husband accepted Christ at Christmas, also came to a knowledge of Christ as her Saviour. It is now wonderful to see this couple rejoicing together in the Lord. News from BIRMINGHAM of Children’s Campaigns with Bob Telford. A two weeks campaign was held at BEARWOOD. The interest was good and numbers reached about 80 at each meeting. During the school holidays, at the School Hall a two hours morning activity was held. The sessions were taken up with handicrafts and Bible Study. All felt that a good spirit pervaded during the campaign. At Hume Street SMETHWICK, a campaign was held, and again the numbers were good. They reached about 80, and a keen interest was felt. Two children who were saved the previous year attended regularly, and seem to be going on well with the Lord. There are two interesting items to record for encouragement. At Hume Street a lady has just lost her husband with cancer. One year ago she said that she had accepted the Lord while Bob Telford was preaching. She said that she just could not have lived through the past year without the knowledge of Christ as her Saviour. The second incident was a letter from a young man expressing gratitude for a conversation at Camp two years ago. This man accepted Christ as Saviour, and is now working with the London City Mission. Praise the Lord for such definite evidences of His power. At KINETON the work continues, and it is proposed to hold a Tent Campaign there in the summer if the Lord will. Please pray for the needs of WARWICKSHIRE.
While many are lamenting the dwindling of Sunday Schools and the discouragement attending this work, it is good to have a stimulating report from the assembly at WYTHALL, near Birmingham. Here there is a thriving Sunday School averaging 180. The problems come with the needs of staffing, and some classes number about 15 scholars. There is a good relationship with the parents, built up by visitation and contacts through special activities. Whenever the children take part in such activities, the parents turn up in force. Many offer help in practical matters. Two years ago a weekly “Bible Club” was commenced for 8-12 year olds. Consecutive Bible Study is provided, and the children show great interest. At least three have professed faith in Christ, although the main aim of the teaching is for young Christians. About one year ago the children were introduced to the Emmaus course, “Saviour Teach Me”. About 50 children are at present engaged in doing this, and a brother makes it his responsibility to mark the courses, keeping a note of the children’s progress and returning the marked lessons to the homes of the scholars. He has found many opportunities of conversation with the parents. Thus the work has expanded, and it is a vital force in the local testimony. Pray for its continuance. In this the bi-centenary year of Sunday Schools, this is a refreshing reminder that such work is still possible.
Brief items of news are to hand from the S.E. London Evangelistic Mobile Unit. A good team, supported by the local assembly, visited DARTFORD, and some young people were spoken to in the Market Square. An interesting contact came during a second visit to ALDWYCH. An alcoholic, wanting to be free from the curse of drink, asked for spiritual help. He received a New Testament and was directed to a local church. We can remember him and many such in our prayers. Police attention at STRAND! A workman from a building site complained that the preaching kept him awake, (he was not trying to sleep on the job!). After some altercation he apologized and received literature showing some interest in spiritual things. Police arrived and requested us to move on to embankment gardens. They were helpful, and received literature. One of them said that he attended Christian Union meetings. This aspect of the work demands much prayer. Wisdom is needed, and friendly policemen are a great asset to the smooth running of “operations”. News of interesting features of the Lord’s work in MARGATE area comes from S. Mountstevens. A hall was hired at BIRCHINGTON for a two week’s mission. Good numbers came, and at the end of the mission a 9-year old girl accepted Christ. She is now a member of Margate Sunday School. In the assembly the Lord is giving blessing. Five girls have professed faith in Christ. They need our prayers. Over the past few years a good number of young people have been saved. Some of them are baptized and nine are now in fellowship. Satan is active. Two young men became Christians, and immediately a 19-year old girl, professing to be saved, began to influence them against believers. She has wrought havoc around the area in which she lives. Her blasphemy when questioned was terrible. Only believing prayer can bring resistance to such antagonism. Our brother, who is commended to the work from Northumberland Gospel Hall, CLIFTONVILLE, is especially burdened about work among young people and children. He desires prayer that he will be led into opportunities to serve the Lord in this field.
From MILTON KEYNES comes a note of progress and needs in connection with the building programme on the Estate and Netherfield Chapel. The Site was purchased from the corporation in Spring 1979. Site preparation commenced that summer. Due to labour shortages work was delayed but a new contractor has been employed and work recommences. The fellowship is now building up activities and contacts on Netherfield ready for when the chapel is in full use. Prayer is earnestly sought regarding desperate financial needs due to rising costs. At present work can only move forward as funds permit. Guidance is much needed. We can be sure that God will bless this work of faith.
Hill House, and the Bristol Christian Youth Trust, is continuing to thrive as a centre for Christian Camps and youth work. The building itself is a miracle of transformation, the result of prayer, dedicated work and generous giving. Recently a House Party of about 50 young people gathered—ages 15 and up—and the subject was Responsibility illustrated from the book of Nehemiah. The instruction was in the hands of Charles Price and Roger Chilvers.
There was a good spirit of fellowship and a time of useful study was enjoyed by all. Pray for the coming season of Camps, etc., here. We have some good items of news from Wiltshire. Phi! Lambert reports an encouraging response in TROWBRIDGE during a recent visitation programme. Good numbers listened willingly to the Word on the doorstep. There have been 13 contacts to follow up. Prayer is asked for the 500 homes into which copies of John’s Gospel were placed. Regular work at a comprehensive school in WESTBURY provides a unique opportunity to reach young people. The Gospel was proclaimed there recently with over 200 attending, and a good number of counselling booklets were requested at the end. Phil Lambert will be having a day visit there. Pray for this positive outreach. A helpful Missionary Weekend was held at WROUGHTON with good interest as Ray Fenn brought news of the situation in Uruguay. Over Eastertime there were good conferences at the Park Gospel Hal! SWINDON, with G. Davies and R. Fenn, and at WROUGHTON with Nigel Williams giving ministry. Here a young man said that he had been brought under conviction of sin. A week’s meetings were held at Penhill, SWINDON, with G. Harrison giving ministry on the Types. Helpful ministry was also given at DEVIZES by Archie Gibson and at NEWBURY by G. B. Fyfe and C. Goldfinch. A complaint comes from the Swindon area about complete apathy regarding Sunday Schools and the things of God by children and young people. There is active resistance on the part of parents. Pray that this condition will be removed. From Stephen Gillham comes a report of a 3J week campaign at DORCHESTER. Results were encouraging. Several times the hall was packed with many unsaved people present. Each morning 40-50 children came to Holiday Club. Since the end of the crusade, the Sunday School has grown. Several youngsters accepted Christ. The family spirit in the assembly has deepened, and there is a greater sense of responsibility to each other. The winter months provided plenty of opportunity for work among Senior Citizens and this proved a blessing to many in DORSET. Pray for the coming season of open-air work in WEYMOUTH as permission has been granted for meetings to take place this summer. Praise the Lord for such liberty!
News of a gospel campaign at RHOS-ON-SEA conducted by Stewart McKenzie. Prior to the campaign there was no work among the children, but during the activities 20-25 attended the meetings each evening. These are being continued weekly. A number of good contacts were made with adults and some showed interest. A married woman and a teenage girl made professions of faith. A weekly Senior Citizens meeting proved to be encouraging, and it is hoped to continue this monthly. Thus two regular forms of outreach work commence - pray for their prosperity.
At CAERSWS the children’s work continues. Reports from Frank Lonney give encouragement. On each visit about 30-35 attended the meetings. One of the saved teenagers is hoping to go away to train as a nurse. Pray that she will find fellowship, and will be kept.
At a campaign in YNYSYBWL, Frank Lonney was surprised and encouraged when his former school teacher appeared at the first meeting. Ivor Powell reports on work with the assembly at CANTON, Cardiff. There was a keen desire shown by the small assembly to reach out to the unsaved in the area. Working with David Prosser and Frank Lonney, they made many contacts at the doors. The work with the children was tremendous, with numbers rising to 145. Several letters of appreciation were received. Two elderly ladies were saved on the final evening. We can praise God with the assembly in Canton. At HEOL-Y-GORS, Swansea, John Baker saw some good contacts made. A booklet was given to a Polish man and he came to the meetings. Two families of Vietnamese boat people were given literature in their own language. A 17-year old came to all the meetings, and asked for a Bible in the Vietnamese language. Five children came to the Sunday School, and backsliders were gathered at the meetings.
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