I was asked by assemblyHUB to give a brief overview of how the assembly in Mechanicsburg, PA got started. This is a part of the story and we thank the Lord for His faithfulness and goodness in leading a number of believers to the work in that area.
A connection is made
Bruce Hulshizer and Drew Brown met as adults at the Greenwood Hills conference in September of 2007. Both shared a sincere desire to see the name of Christ magnified and see a new work for Him established. Both were prayerful for His clear leading.
In 2008 Bruce and Amie Hulshizer and their children were living in York and in fellowship with the saints at North York Gospel Chapel. Bruce was driving to Mechanicsburg frequently during the week to shepherd a young brother and his friends, some of whom were new believers on the Lord Jesus Christ.
A burden grows
Both Amie and Bruce felt the burden of the Lord to move, contrary to human wisdom, to Mechanicsburg to see how they might labor more for the Lord. This move would put a burden on Bruce in terms of travel to his work and time away from his family.
Also in 2008, Drew Brown was single and living in Harrisburg and in fellowship at Derry Street Gospel Chapel. At that time the Harrisburg assemblies were rejoining after 25 years of division. Drew was looking at a home exactly in between them, which did not come to pass. Contrary to human wisdom, the Lord instead provided a home in Mechanicsburg.
Prayer gets things going
The two began meeting frequently to pray to the living God and encourage one another. Soon Bruce invited Drew and other saints from both meetings to come to a Sunday night Bible study with the aim of being firm on what a New Testament pattern church ought to look like according to the Scriptures.
The study grew in numbers and prayerfully we looked to the Lord to lead concerning the establishment of a new meeting in Mechanicsburg. The two brothers met with their respective oversight to seek their prayers and counsel in the matter. They sought the counsel of other workers who had established works elsewhere. They sought the counsel of gifted teachers and shepherds. They are so grateful for the Lord’s clear answer to our pleadings.
Studying the Word
In 2010, Drew was now married, and he and his wife Grace were hosting an evangelistic Bible study in their home. Bruce and Drew met with Steve Hulshizer about the work and he recommended Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to have an outline of “Sound Words”.
Drew started inquiring with businesses and public halls about a place to meet with no success. The Sunday Bible Study eventually stopped, but the outline of sound words proved to be helpful in the days ahead.
In 2011 Bruce and Drew were now regularly meeting with the elders of their respective assemblies together, being under their authority, to pray and seek their counsel, and seek the Lord. From our view, the progress was slow with just two families and two dear widowed sisters in the Lord. Both assemblies began to pray earnestly for like-minded workers.
In September 2012, the Lord brought the Gilberts, a young family who lived in Mechanicsburg and were seeking real fellowship, to the York meeting. They had a mind to work.
By November of 2012 in our prayer meetings with the elders, they encouraged us to find a place to rent, and God provided two marvellous answers to prayer. Bruce again inquired with one of the local government offices which offered to provide us space at no cost, until we officially became a non-profit entity.
The same week, the Lord brought another young couple from California to the Harrisburg meeting, Sijoy and Jithu, who also had a mind to work.
Meeting with local elders
By the end of 2012 Bruce and Drew met with the elders of both assemblies at the York meeting spending some time in prayer and in the word with these verses:
Nehemiah 2:18 “I told them how the hand of my God had been favourable to me and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work.”
Nehemiah 4:6 “So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”
Isaiah 46:11 “…Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.”
Isaiah 62:6-7 “On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves; And give Him no rest until He establishes And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
Matthew 16:18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
Things falling in place
One of the elders from the Harrisburg meeting reviewed with us: we had the commission from the Lord, we had a place, we had willing co-laborers, and we knew the date of each of our last dates travelling to other assemblies. When both responded yes to each, he asked, “So you’ll break bread on the 16th of December then?”
On the cusp of seeing the Lord’s plans come to pass, both felt a tremendous sense of fear, joy, awe and wonderment all at the same time. Bruce and Drew sang and prayed, weeping and rejoicing to the Lord on the drive home.
The very first Lord’s day
That first Lord’s Day, sixteen souls were present to remember the death of our lovely Lord Jesus. Since then, we have seen a young men baptised, multiple college students join us, little ones born, elders recognized, rich fellowship, evangelistic zeal, and several other saints come to meet with us, having grown to 34 in number.
And just this month we saw a precious soul come to Christ for salvation. Praise the Lord! We are inadequate to declare how great a God we serve or how many ways He answered prayer. We could have done it in human effort, but how much better to have called upon the living God.