Friday, 17 August 2012

Summer 2012

Summer?!!!  Ah well.  Actually there have been a number of dry days (as this photo of our front door proves); we just tend to remember lots of rain!  However the rain has not stopped God training and equipping us, pruning us and sending us out. First there was the Baptist Union of Wales annual conference, then just three days later we attended the second three day conference for New Wine Cymru leaders, this time in Lampeter.   The following week Ifor had a couple of days with Waleswide in Bala, looking at ways of church planting in areas of Wales where there is little Christian witness.

Peter Farmer  (Newforms, Mission Britain and Simple Church) stayed with us the whole of the following week to help us move forward more strategically and intentionally.  This intense week, especially with the training weekend at the end to which six others came too, certainly helped us see ways forward and recognise people and places of peace. Peter took us out of the "safety" of our home to hold some of the training sessions in cafes and pub! How easily we hide away! Why? This was helpful to see how simple church could be carried out in such venues.

During that  week  two young evangelists came up  for the day.  They got chatting with a group of teenagers in the cafe in Brecon who meet there regularly after school, some helping to serve there. After chatting about some of their experiences 

with God, they asked if any of the teenagers would like to experience God. No takers.  After chatting some more, one said he would like to.  He stood between the two of them while they prayed.  He couldn't describe what he was experiencing but said it was cool.  That opened the floodgates with "me next,"  "me next,"  "me next"!  So one by one they all experienced a touch from God.  They then sat back around the table and prayed together (see photo).  One of the evangelists prayed a commitment prayer which two of the lads repeated line by line.  The following week they were all away on work experience; then it was the Duke of Edinburgh week, then they broke up!  So we haven't been able to see how they're getting on.  Please pray for them.

Earlier that day we were in Builth Wells.  Imogen, one of our home group, went into a shop with Gerald, one the the evangelists, while the rest of us prayed.  The annointing of the Holy Spirit fell on the four in the shop - two ladies working there and two customers. The Holy Spirit gave 'words of knowledge' for each of them. Gerald gave testimony of when he first met the Holy Spirit and talked of God's love.  God's love then filled the whole place.  One, whom Imogen had prayed for about a breast lump just a few days previously, excitedly told the rest that it had got a lot smaller over the next few days. Since then it has disappeared.  Three previous lumps had had to be removed by painful surgery.    They then prayed against the pituitary tumour of the daughter of another lady there. The specialists since then have pronounced it too small to operate on and are hoping it will disperse on its own.  The third lady asked for prayer about selling her house in these difficult days. Since then she has had three viewings.  Imogen had prayed previously with the fourth lady there who had pain in her knee and back and was very stressed.  She has experienced lots of relief and peace and is keen to have regular prayer times with Imogen which will be easier to set up after the school holidays.  This has in turn led to contact with a woman currently in hospital with a spinal problem.

Carrying on the theme of healing, a minister from Cardiff asked if he could arrange to meet a retired minister from Welshpool at our home who would like to receive healing from cancer of the kidneys.  I was aware that his skin was very white when he arrived.  As we prayed, a word of knowledge released healing of a time in his childhood.  God's love poured over Him like a weight and he felt a great heat in his heart.  Then as we prayed against the cancer I was amazed to see his skin colour changing to normal.  He was due to see the oncologist at the end of the week about surgery, dialysis and starting chemo.  The report came back that none of this was now needed, there would be no further treatment and they did not need to see him for another six months!  Praise God!

While Peter Farmer was with us we prayer drove around the Llandrindod Wells area with Rupert who leads a church plant and joined us on the training weekend.  This helped him see ways forward, including looking into holding a healing evening at a pub there.  He also took us to meet one of his members who has almost finished building a gypsy caravan from scratch and would like it to be used for Christian purposes.  Imogen and I have ideas of taking this into shows and festivals to offer things like "Psalm Readings", "Creation Prayer", Christian healing and using something like the Jesus Deck which is designed rather like Tarot cards - Imogen has plans to design and produce her own version. We'll see how God leads us on this.



 We have been excited to meet Rev. Janet Russell who moved into the county a year ago to work as Director of Mission for the Anglican churches and feel that a good friendship will form with her.  Together with Rev. Neil Hook (who has since moved to Builth to take up the pastorate there) and the Dean of the Cathedral, Janet organised "Exalt" in Brecon Cathedral earlier this year.  This was a brilliant praise and light show that attracted lots of teenagers.  Neil has already started doing something similar on a smaller but more regular scale in Builth Wells now.  Janet will now be organising an event in the Cathedral as part of Cath Woolridge's next tour, along with the others - a great evening for us to invite many to.  When we hosted  her concert last year in Brecon her testimony and revival songs, together with her husband Dai's dramatic monologues, inspired many.  Brecon Cathedral last week staged a stunning flower festival entitled "Gloria", culminating in a Songs of Praise service One lady who prays constantly for Breconshire said "The Festival of Flowers Songs of Praise was absolutely amazing.  The cathedral was packed. The worship was so uplifting interspersed with scripture about glory.  The atmosphere wonderful as it was all to God.  As I sat still I sensed an outpouring of gold and silver being poured into my hands.  Amazing God, Wonderful Lord."

In July I was asked to give part of our testimony at a new group that Carole Dry has started along with a few others in a smallholding near Llandovery.  Some of the people attending this are new believers since the Journeys DVD series she and David led (see Jan/Feb 2012 blog). The following week Ifor spoke on the Holy Spirit  at the monthly group Carole and David have started near Sennybridge. This was followed with prophecies, words of knowledge and healings.  One person had a lot more movement in her neck and back without pain. Another had pain leave her arm after a word of knowledge encouraged her to receive prayer. The prophecies seemed to be very appropriate. One prophecy I gave spoke of the future God had mapped out for a young man there that he could choose to walk into. Last night I heard that he chose to put His life into God's hands just a fortnight ago.

Ifor led the anniversary service (the only service now held) at the isolated hamlet of Capel y Ffin in an ancient Baptist chapel hidden away up a farm track and over a stream but attended by large numbers of people, mostly coming from away. The only remaining member, seated in the front row, who now lives in a home, was wonderfully wrapped up in God's presence during the singing.  Two people there bought copies of the book "Heaven is for Real" that we mentioned in our last blog.  This book is quietly having an impact in the county as those who have bought their own copies are lending them to others.

I served on the Christian Rural Network Tent for the four days of the Royal Welsh Show, serving free teas and coffees and having  some good conversations with people. God blessed the show just as he had prophesied He would. It was an extremely hot four days in the midst of much rain either side.  This meant record numbers attending the show - and we heard around 700 people were treated by St. Johns Ambulance - probably mostly heat related.  One person was taken to hospital with first degree burns!   We had lots of good conversations prayed with a few people and made contacts with some local people we can follow up.

Ifor and I were asked to judge all the fancy dress competitions in the local show at Gwenddwr! We missed the pig racing at Erwood Show this year as it coincided with a college reunion party put on by some friends near Oswestry where we enjoyed catching up with friends we haven't seen for 35 years!  We took our stall selling Ugandan necklaces to Llanigon Show and also to Llyswen & Boughrood Show where I entered some the the competitions  and even won a few prizes! At this show I spoke to a couple of people about the possibility of organising a bring and share "Paralympic Party" in the village for people of all ages to watch or join in enforced handicapped games, eg blindfolds, hopping, etc.  They were keen on my idea of including short video clips of Paralympians whose faith in God has inspired them to compete. (from More than Gold's 'Undefeated' DVD)  They also like the idea of the children making Olympic bead bracelets that tell the story of us and Jesus, using the colours of the Olympic rings. I have since had a meeting with two of the mums who want to be involved in organising this event next month in Llyswen.  Someone else would like to do the same in Erwood and has ideas of borrowing wheelchairs and of maybe involving the local Young Farmers Club.

Just over three weeks ago Jonathan Vaughan Davies brought a small team from Bethel, Whitchurch to Brecon to do some "treasure hunting" with us. None of us had done much of this before.  We asked God to give us clues to help us find the people that He wanted to bless - His treasure. We each asked Him for clues about the location of the person, the name, the appearance, anything unusual and what prayer needs the person has. After writing down on our 'treasure maps' what we sense God is revealing to us, we headed out into the town searching for these clues. On this occasion I had the location as a bakery, I was guided by the uniform God had given me insight to,  the watch and even the man's name.  The prayer need was pain in one calf.  When I found him he was intrigued how God had pinpointed him. No one else knew about the pain he'd had in his calf for the last two or three weeks due to all the standing around on hard surfaces. He was very open to prayer.  Ifor had the clue of a woman wearing a pink mac. This seemed so unlikely as it was a hot sunny day, but nevertheless he found her.  She turned out to be a Christian who had recently moved into the area and was struggling to find a church that was open to and led by the Holy Spirit.

These last three Sunday evenings Ifor has been doing a series on The Joy of Giving at Bethel, Whitchurch which has been well received.  While he preached I wrote prophecies for people in the congregation whom God was highlighting.  For the most part these seemed to be spot on and encouraged the people concerned. A few people received healing.  One young man had limited movement due to back pain after lifting.  After prayer he seemed to turn into a pain-free bendy toy!  I didn't know anyone could bend that far backwards and defy gravity!  Another had stiffness and pain in his neck which after prayer he found, much to his surprise, that he had full movement and no pain.  One woman showed me her perfectly normal hands and told me that I had prayed against a bad case of psoriasis in her hands a year before which had cleared up completely over the following three weeks.  Another woman was surprised when the stiffness and pain left her neck as we prayed.  Mervyn ("There is a Light in the Valley" You-Tube) came with us on the last sunday of the series as he felt God was asking him to give an update of part of his testimony there.  What he said was relevant to a few people there.  So God blessed, encouraged, challenged, touched and healed many people there over the three Sundays - including of course ourselves.

We are still out preaching most Sundays.  At the end of June I took a service at this little chapel, formerly a smithy for drovers.  I preached about having a living relationship with Father God and all five in the congregation said a clear "Amen" to the commitment prayer I led from the front.  Two in particular were most responsive.  I lent a copy of the book "Faith Like Potatoes" by Angus Buchan to one of the farmers there.  Please pray that he will read it and be inspired.

One way to meet farmers and people from isolated homes  is at funerals.  Ifor took one recently for a farmer friend with a simple Christian faith to which nearly 200 mourners came and heard about the reality of Heaven.

One farmer whom Ifor met at a previous funeral is avidly reading  Angus Buchan's daily Bible reading journal and has no qualms about telling others what he has read that day.  His life is being steadily transformed.

At the beginning of July Lucy came back from Norway and Katie and Sam from 11 months away in Australia, so we enjoyed a wonderful reunion weekend at Waterloo with Becky and Pete coming up from their new home in Cardiff, Mary from Pembrokeshire and Dad and Auntie Jane coming over to join in the celebrations.  Katie and Sam will be living in Chester where they met whilst in university.  Sam already has found work there as a sailing and windsurfing instructor on the Wirral. They have also been asked to be youth ministers at their home church in Chester.

In August we all got together to celebrate Dad's 91st birthday with a barbecue at Waterloo - lovely time for all of us and the first time the family have all been together for two and a half years -since Katie's and Sam's wedding.  The next day we had another family reunion in Chepstow where Ifor's Uncle and Aunt celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary - another lovely occasion.

Our monthly hill prayer walks continue with praying above Glasbury in July over the Wye valley from Hay to Talgarth. Our daughter Lucy who was with us that day felt that Glasbury was going to be significant in God's plan for the county.  (See how this is unfolding in the next blog post!). We were all excited to learn that members of the anglican church there meet together fortnightly to pray for their parish.

 In August a small group of us climbed up into the wet and windy cloud on top of  Pen y Fan to pray over the whole county and beyond and blow the shofar, announcing the coming of the Kingdom of God.  From that evening onward the way forward for us seems to have become much clearer.  More of that in our next blog post.

We really value your prayers.  Please ask for clear guidance for us this coming month. We feel we have turned a significant corner but want to be sure that each decision, both big and small,  is God led.
God bless you all,
Penny.