Dawn-Joy was a precious young lady who devoted her life to the cause of the gospel. She preached her last message at our yearly tent mission in Ballynahinch on the 24th July 2007. She was promoted to Glory on the 6th August 2007. Listen to her message here.
Pastor B.H. Clendennen was a man sent from God. He was the founder and president of the School Of Christ International which he founded along with his dear wife in 1992. He visited NTPC Ballynahinch on several occasions and preached at the opening services at our previous Church building back in 2007. He was a wonderful mentor and friend to us all here in NTPC. On the 13th December 2009 he was promoted to glory.
David Wilkerson was the founding Pastor of Times Square Church in New York City which was established in 1987. As a pastor of the church he faithfully led this congregation delivering powerful biblical messages that encouraged righteous living and complete reliance on God. The sermons continue to impact lives globally to this day. David Wilkerson passed from this life to glory on the 27th April 2011.
The following account is the life story of Maggie Smyth which was first published in a wee booklet in 1947. The Pastor of our Church is currently residing in Maggie Smyth’s home place and it is our heart’s desire that this account of her testimony will be a challenge and a blessing to many.
“In the month of June, 1925, in the Church Meadow, Ballynahinch, a great crowd of people was assembled one evening in a large tent, listening to the effective and compassionate preaching of an Irish evangelist upon whom the Holy Spirit had set His seal in a remarkable way, and who had been then, and has been since, the means of bringing many to a sense of their need of Christ, and to a steadfast faith in Him. As Rev. W.P. Nicholson conducted his meeting that night, there sat in the tent a little girl upon whom the preaching of the old Gospel and the working of the Holy Spirit were making a deep and lasting impression. Young as she was, she acknowledged her need, and, at the close of the meeting, responded to the claims of Christ and entered a life of friendship and service with Him.
Shortly after this, Miss Smyth entered the Methodist College, Belfast, and later a training college for kindergarten teachers, with a view to becoming a schoolteacher. Her school and college days were characterised by a warm love for her Lord and a desire to be His true and faithful disciple. Soon after she had qualified as a teacher, Miss Smyth went to England and held several posts there. It was when she was teaching in London, however, that God spoke to her once again in a very definite and challenging way and that she was again faced with a great crisis.
She had been attending some meetings conducted by the late Captain Reginald Wallis, the well-known youth leader. In his meetings, Captain Wallis had stressed the need for an utter abandonment of oneself to Christ, a presenting of one’s body as a living sacrifice to God. This made a great impression on Miss Smyth, which was confirmed by her reading of a book by McCall Barbour, called ‘If It Die’ relating to the text:
“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24
The crisis came one night after Miss Smyth had retired to rest. There were certain parts of the service of Christ into which she had hitherto been unwilling to enter, and these now came before her. Was she willing so to abandon herself to the service of Christ that she would be obedient to the dictates of His Spirit, whatever they should prompt her to do? In particular, Miss Smyth was troubled by the fact that she had never been willing to stand at the open-air meeting on The Square in Ballynahinch, conducted on Saturday nights during the summer by the local Young People’s Fellowship. If she yielded everything to Christ, she felt it would mean her attendance at these meetings while she was at home. After a long and intense struggle, she whispered, ‘Lord, I yield’.
On her return home to take up work as a teacher in Belfast, Miss Smyth was faithful to the decision she had made. It soon became a common thing to see her tall figure and bright smile at the open-air meeting and hear her strong voice ringing out such glorious texts as ‘Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon’.
But while Miss Smyth was zealous and energetic for her Lord at home, and while she greatly enjoyed her work as a teacher in Belfast, it soon became evident that her vision was of far-off lands. Always an interested listener in missionary meetings as well as a keen reader of missionary literature, she one day heard as a clarion call from heaven, a call that she felt was unmistakably for her, a missionary speaker quote the text, ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel’. Writing of this experience on a later occasion, she said:
‘In my early schooldays I thought how romantic it would be to be a missionary, but later reports of the mission field made me prefer to stay at home. Now a definite call had come. Dare I disappoint my Lord? Dare I keep the Good News of redeeming love from those precious benighted souls who are wrapped in the appalling darkness of heathendom?’
After many long seasons of private prayer and very earnest times of waiting upon God and of seeking His will, Miss Smyth quietly made know her intention of leaving the teaching profession and of going to Emmanuel Training College, Birkenhead, to prepare herself to go out as a missionary to India.
Many were those who covenanted to remember Miss Smyth at the Throne of Grace as she took this very big step. All through her training warm-hearted Christian people surrounded her with faithful prayer and watchful interest. During her visits home on vacation she was continually employed as a speaker at various meetings throughout the district, and one was always conscious that she spoke in the power of the Spirit and as one who was possessed by a love for Christ and a burning passion to bring others to Himself.
Her training ended, Miss Smyth applied and was accepted as a prospective missionary of the Dipti Mission to India. She had read with great interest the life story of Mrs Sircar, the founder of the Mission, and had been greatly impressed by the fact that it was conducted on faith lines and that its needs had been so marvellously and so abundantly met. But, owing to the war, prospects of a passage to the land in which she felt called to labour were not very promising. It seemed that she must wait, perhaps even for years. Miss Smyth kept on praying, as did her friends, and still the invitations poured in for her to be the messenger of the Lord in the meetings of the district. Then camean invitation to conduct a Gospel Mission in what is familiarly known as ‘The Wee Barn’ at Magheraconluce.
Miss Smyth approached this mission in an utter dependence upon God, having a firm conviction that she was in His will. She was very prayerful in her preparation, and very humble as she sought to bring the message of the Lord to the people of that district. On the opening night she spoke on the text, ‘But Christ is all and in all’. It seemed not only to be the theme of her message for that meeting, but the expression of the purpose of her life. In every meeting that she addressed the dominant note of her message was a desire to exalt the Lord Jesus. In the nights which followed Miss Smyth had the joy of leading many to the feet of the Saviour. It was a truly wonderful mission, the fruits of which have remained until the present day.
The Magheraconluce mission was followed by several others. Everywhere Miss Smyth went the power of God fell upon the place, and men and women, boys and girls, were led to put their trust in the Saviour. In the words of the great Apostle, Miss Smyth’s messages were indeed preached ‘in demonstration of the Spirit and of power’.
Her last mission was at Kinallen. After it had continued about a fortnight, word came suddenly that there was a passage for Miss Smyth to India, and that she was to go to Southampton immediately. The message came as rather a shock to all who knew Miss Smyth, for, though they all understood that her intention was ultimately to go to the mission field, they had come to look upon her as an evangelist, rather than as a missionary. Miss Smyth was ready, however, and in a few days had left her native land and was on her way to the land, the vision of whose need had so long and so indelibly impressed itself upon her heart.
Special meetings were at that time being held in one of the churches in Ballynahinch. As there was no time to lose, it was decided to hold the farewell meeting for Miss Smyth in this church, at the close of the other meeting. Several of her friends spoke in this meeting, wishing their dear sister in Christ God-speed, and referring to her life in their midst and to her friendship and love. Another meeting was held the next evening in the country, near Miss Smyth’s own home. A day or two later she was gone.
From time to time news came of Miss Smyth and of her endeavours to become accustomed to the almost absolutely new life which she was now called upon to live. She seemed to have marked success in her study of the new language in which she was now to tell the Story of the Cross. With what pardonable pride her friends and relatives received the news that she now had sufficient grasp of the language to tell Bible stories to the children upon the mission station! Prayer continued to rise for her, and interest was constantly stimulated by the frequent items of news, always cheerful and happy, which came to Ballynahinch from the field of the Dipti Mission.
After Miss Smyth had been on the mission field about two and a half years, a message came one day to say that she was ill. She had been on a visit to the hills, where a new mission station was being erected, but had to shorten her visit because she felt suddenly ill. Returning to her own mission station, she was faithfully nursed, and in a few days another message was sent to convey the news that the doctor had pronounced her out of danger. She had experienced a severe attack of smallpox, but was now confidently expected to recover. A few days later a letter came from a fellow-worker of Miss Smyth’s in India, beautifully and sympathetically written. It opened in this way:
‘I feel as I write this, absolutely confident that our dear Heavenly Father has been with you, as we prayed, and has prepared your hearts for the news this brings. As I write, my heart just cries to Him to do this for you, and for that reason only I have not sent any cables home. I felt we wanted the lord Himself, by His wonderful wireless of love, to tell you that He was taking His beloved child to Himself.’
Miss Smyth died in the Dipti Mission station in Sahibganj, E.I.R., India, at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, 16th March, 1947. One of her last requests was that her fellow-missionaries should sing to her two of her favourite choruses, ‘Let Me Hide In Thee’ and ‘Thank You Lord For Saving my Soul’. The next day she was buried, the funeral service being conducted by the two lady missionaries who had worked with her since her arrival on the field, and who had faithfully cared for her in her fourteen days of sickness. The service was very impressive; many for whom Miss Smyth had specially prayed were present, and it is believed that definite decisions were made for Christ as it proceeded.
While Miss Smyth was on the hills, she began what proved to be her last letter home, completing it later on her sick-bed at the mission station. She does not mention her illness in this letter, but the following extract will show the spirit of the deeply spiritual young woman as she was known in the homeland, and will reveal the fact that, right to the end, her zeal for Christ was not one whit abated.
‘Greetings in the ever-precious Name of our conquering Redeemer. Hallelujah! ... At present I am on the hills at Simirea, about two and a half hours’ journey from Sahibganj …
On the Sunday when I was here before, I went with these Christians to a nearby village to preach. The people did not listen very well; they seemed careless about the greatest story there is to tell. At last we started off for another village, where the people were anxious to hear. On the way, in this hard village, we saw a woman lying ill in her tiny thatched cottage. I told her the story of Jesus. I really thought she was dying.
They felt only an operation could save her life, but they had not money for this: her husband was dead and she had two little boys (one was making the supper). Before leaving I prayed with her and asked the Lord, if it was His will, to heal her. The next day she was surprised to find she was healed. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw her yesterday; she came to see me, so I told her more about the Lord. I feel it is God’s way of revealing Himself to these darkened, hardened hearts …
I have a good story to tell you. When we went to the village where a few pupils wish to become Christians, one of the pupils brought me a message that her mother wanted to see me in order to hear about the Lord. I went and told her simply in Hindi the story of the Cross. Then, to make sure she understood, one of the Christians repeated the words in her own language. (These people generally know two or three languages.) She listened very attentively and was so grateful she asked the pupils to come over again in the future to sing choruses. The next day this Christian called to see her. She was very happy and said she had trusted the Lord. She made this Christian tea. That evening she took ill, and in the night passed on to be with the Lord. The people are greatly stricken at the way God’s Spirit had prepared her heart for her sudden departure. Her only daughter, who is a young woman, wants to be openly baptised now. God is truly answering prayer … ‘
‘I believe’, says Miss Smyth’s fellow-worker, in the letter which bears the sad tidings, ‘I believe Margaret’s Lord is going to do more through her death than she could ever have realised, or ever asked. Her zeal for Him, her longing to buy up every opportunity to win one soul for Him, will be an ever-living memory of her to our hearts’.
It is for a very definite purpose that a circle of Miss Smyth’s friends has asked the consent of her family to publish this little record. They feel that it will exalt the Lord Jesus – and the sole purpose of Miss Smyth’s life was to exalt the Lord Jesus. They feel that God will use this record to confront many people who read it with the claims of Christ and the fervour of His call to a life of self-sacrifice and glorious service. This was also the burning passion of Miss Smyth’s heart. They feel that this record will serve to reveal to many young men and women the crying need of the ‘millions of souls in heathen darkness dwelling’, and a measure of the urgency of the command of the Lord Jesus – ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel’. This was the dominating vision and constraining force which lay behind Miss Smyth’s decision to forfeit the comforts and fellowship of home for the work of Christ in a distant land. In short, Miss Smyth’s friends feel that she would wish this account to be published for the glory of God and for the extension of His Kingdom.
Finally, from a life which throbbed with the love of Christ, from a heart that burned with a passion for souls, the cry rings out to the youth of Northern Ireland, to the youth of this present generation wherever they are, the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me; Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!’”