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Whose faith follow: Mr Wilson Jennings (1927-2001)

J G Hutchinson

Mr Jennings was born on 4th July, 1927 near to Rathfriland. His parents were saved people and devoted members of the Drumlough assembly. He was taught the Scriptures and his need of salvation from the early days of life and taken to many gospel meetings. As he grew up he felt he would like to be able to get out into the world and see and enjoy its pleasures. Having done well in his studies in Newry Grammar School, he was accepted for study in Queen’s University, Belfast. It was arranged he should lodge with a Christian couple, where he was very happy and well cared for. When the father of the lady in whose house he was died, out of respect Wilson went to the home in Moira, where he was asked to view the body of the deceased. As he stood and looked on the cold form, he was troubled, and his own words were, "I went up the stairs a light-hearted young man but came down under conviction of sin".

Gospel meetings commenced in Cregagh Street Gospel Hall, and he went the first Sunday night and continued. One night during the week, the subject was "A Man in Hell" (Lk 16). He acknowledged he literally trembled in the meeting. On the following morning, reading a tract in his bedroom, he got saved. The tract was sent to him by a sister in the Drumlough assembly; that was 19th May, 1947. He was soon baptised and received into the assembly at Drumlough. When only a short time saved, he was asked by Mr E Allen to give some help in a series of meetings in Rostrevor.

They went to live in Ahoghill and were happy in the assembly there. They had three daughters to whom he was a loving and devoted father. He had the joy of seeing them saved. Wilson joined the Hagan family business in Ballymena. He prospered in business and at the same time took a keen interest in the work of the Lord. In 1976 he gave up the business, and without salary or promise of support he went out to make known the gospel. This was quite a sacrifice for a man with a wife and family. The Ahoghill and Drumlough assemblies were happy about his exercise. In this work, as long as health permitted, he continued diligently.

He shared meetings with a number of brethren, some evangelists and some business people. He was encouraged when God set the seal of His approval and gave him to see fruit in the gospel. He was with Mr S McBride in several places seeing fruit in conversions. One of the places where he saw much blessing was in Portadown district. After leaving Mr McBride he joined up with Mr J Martin and for a number of years they laboured together, in all having fifty-one series of meetings. These men were given to having prolonged efforts, possibly a little more so than others, as they felt that if God was working there was no reason to leave and go elsewhere. We see in Paul’s movements in the Acts both short and long periods of gospel work. It is well to be guided by God and not tied to a diary. They made two visits to Canada and the USA for gospel and ministry.

Our brother had a history of ill health. He spent some weeks in an orthopaedic hospital in England and recovered some, but all through life he had pains and problems. In his last few years, with the serious illness of his wife, to whom he devoted attention, care, and love, his movements were curtailed. She was taken to be with the Lord in 1997.

A slight car accident aggravated his problem, and after a period in hospital he went to reside in Prospect Nursing Home in Ballymena where he was lovingly cared for and had many visitors. He was called home on 3rd December, 2001. What a joyous relief it must have been from a body of pain, weakness and lack of mobility to be "with Christ".

Wilson was a plain, sincere, God-fearing man, who was diligent in his labours. He had a care for the lonely, discouraged, sick, and sorrowing. While at times he suffered a good deal, he still sought to do pastoral work. His life and labours adorned the doctrine.

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