The following is an account written by Mr. James Cox in June 1975 for the church magazine, Fellowship Focus.
HOW THINGS BEGAN
THEY BEGAN BY FAITH
The development of a normal little child is allied to a simple unquestioning faith in its mother. The tiny one progresses as it responds in everything to the loving parental care and arrangements of its home.
In warmly affectionate terms the dear old Apostle John addressed all Christians he knew as "My little children", and the ONE Divine Father (through our Lord Jesus) expects a child-like attitude and response to HIS own loving care and intricate plans for our entire good. Hebrews 11: 1 puts it this way:
"Now faith is the ground of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen."
That is, GOD's people trust HIM completely, resting in and responding to HIS loving kindness and all-wise provision for them, even although they understand and know almost nothing of HIS vast designs, unlimited resources, and future glories in which they will have a part.
FAITH'S RESPONSE TO THE CALL OF THE LORD
Hebrews 11: 6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please GOD. First we believe in HIS existence, and then we behave positively towards HIS loving overtures and gracious provision by seeking the LORD in prayer and HIS ways in practice. The true believer is kept mindful of his LORD's nearness, authority, and grace. He responds regularly to Divine Instruction and Correction, and does not fail to receive thankfully of the Father's rich bounty which reaches us in Christ. Also, hearing the call of his loving GOD, he follows and obeys.
"Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed." He left his palatial home in the wonderful old city of Ur, "not knowing whither he went."
Faced with a similar challenge, which of us would be prompt to leave our comfortable homes and lucrative employments for the life of a nomad? Yet every year young Christians are doing this very thing when they abandon private comforts, having heard their Heavenly Father's call to the mission field. As Hebrews 13: 14 reasons, "For here we have no continuing city, but seek one to come."
To you who patiently look through these lines, does this seem merely a matter of doctrine - with no deep personal relevance for yourself? Or does it mean real experience for you? This same call three times challenged St. Peter by Galilee. It first came when his brother Andrew introduced him to Jesus. Then, confronted by Christ's miraculous draught of fish and his own sinfulness, again he heard the message, "Follow ME." Later, after the Resurrection and breakfast on the lake shore, when the Lord had questioned him three times, "Lovest thou ME?" there came this life-changing command, "Follow thou ME!"
THE CHALLENGE OF FAITH IN OUR TIMES
This very call a handful of us heard one September evening in 1939, as we sat in an old World War 1 army hut in Deane Avenue. The Spirit of GOD had been moving in our hearts, and we shared the sense of responsibility to witness around us for Christ.
There were many open spaces, few decent roads, and only irregular huts and houses scattered around, with no church nor mission hall nearer than West Way [in Ruislip Manor]. But Miss M. Jones had thoroughly worked the area, and built up an effective Sunday School at the "White House", Great Central Avenue, which becoming larger, was taken to the Gardeners' Society old hut, hired out for Sundays at ten shillings weekly. Also, a Gospel Service was held at 6.30pm. with only about twelve garden chairs for seats. In spite of the shadow of National Service hanging over us, the weekly experience of more broken windows, and the constant forceful interruption of Sunday Schools and Services by the roar of Spitfire Squadrons, the present work in Deane Avenue was inaugurated. Messrs. P. Buck, H. Lind, J. Garner, N. Joslin and J. Cox joined labours with Mrs. and Miss Jones, who had begun in 1936, and amplified the work of these pioneering sisters with prayers, presence, outreach propaganda and practical effort. The first Breaking of Bread Service took place on September 7th, 1941.
SOME FIRST FRUITS OF SUCH FAITH
Our great need of equipment was met by the bombing of Mr. Buck's "Grove Hall" in Westbourne Park, so that forms, chairs, trestle tables, our first piano, and many other items were moved out to Deane Avenue. Soon the Sunday School under Mr. Joslin extended to over 120 in number, while Miss Jones led a large successful girls' Bible Class in a side room. Before long an infants department, under Mrs. Cox and Miss Mitchell, was held in a temporary hut at the back, and extended to about fifty regulars, and by the end of October 1942, the Covenanter Boys work also had been started. Mr. Garner led a very successful practicval youth session, making models and things of interest to boys on a week-night. Soon Mrs. Garner was leading a large happy women's gathering, for we were by now renting the hut continuously, and always regarded the premises as God-sent, and ours in stewardship, although we did not own the title deeds until after World War 2 was over. Mr. Marshall Shallis had taken a keen, long, and sustained interest in Evangelising South Ruislip through the Deane Avenue hut, but he and most others were called to serve in the war effort, leaving just two or three to carry on. However, in the Providence of GOD, there were about twelve conversions after one winter's work, preaching every Sunday evening with the use of a projector and screen. Missions conducted by Mr. Luther Rees and the Levitt Brothers of Australia greatly strengthened our numbers, for the Lord was honouring faith in our midst. BUT EACH GENERATION NEEDS THIS SAME EXERCISE OF FAITH!