Thursday, 7 November 2013

SEPT/OCT 2013


Ifor and I had a wonderful summer and as the season drew to a close we made the most of the opportunities to have stalls in the late summer shows in Libanus, Felinfach, Erwood and Hundred House. The local Young Farmers' Club did a brilliant dance wearing hats down to only just above their knees at Felinfach Show!  One of their club leader's is keen for me to do a talk at their club.  She has recently read the "Heaven is for Real" book and has since lent it to her mother to read.  At Hundred House show someone from the anniversary service Ifor led at Capel y Ffin came up to my stall to remind me to send her that same book. Apparently I prayed with her for healing at that service which she said had made a big difference, so she was open for further prayer right there and then.
 

I made some good contacts at the Craft Fair in Crickhowell, including someone who works with young offenders who would like me to do a talk with them sometime.

When I showed short videos of  Ugandan dance and music at Erwood W.I., I spoke about the worrying situation of the wife of Pastor John Okello, whose schoolchildren provide me with the paper bead jewellery to sell for them.  Since then I have been able to report back that she does not have cancer, and one kind lady welled up in relief.  I have also had the opportunity to do a slideshow of Life and Farming in Kenya to a Young Farmers Club near Presteigne.  This talk includes a number of healings which we witnessed when over there, which will have given the teenagers further food for thought.  This was just a week after a church leader Ifor is mentoring did a presentation in the senior school they attend about the difference it makes sending a cow to Africa.   This was well received and was the first time he had been asked to speak at the school.  He has also been asked to speak at the primary school there, so its interesting how the Lord seems to be focussing on the children and youth in that town all of a sudden.




As summer came to an end, we joined two of our original home group
in Llandrindod Wells as the town closed their annual Victorian Festival with a bang - in fact lots of bangs!  Two bands of drummers converged at a crossroads and we joined the huge throng of flaming torch bearers processing up a to the lake for a big firework display.  All very atmospheric - enjoy the short video!

Cantref  Church, in whose parish Pen y Fan is located, organised a special service on the summit to celebrate life in the Brecon Beacons.  Those attending included Hill Farmers, Brecon Mountain

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Rescue Team, the Armed Services, Visitors, Walkers, Cyclists, the National Park and the National Trust.   A minute’s silence was observed in memory of those who lost their lives in the Beacons this year.

 
Walking the dogs recently, I was struck by how much Autumn had quietly advanced.  I felt God say that Ifor and I are in the autumn of our lives, to which I objected!  Then the words " a season of mellow fruitfulness" came into my mind.  That sounded rather good!  I had the sense that He is bringing a season of fruitfulness into our ministry and the word "mellow"  suggests that it will not involve striving - His yoke is easy and he tells us to let Him have His way with us and not to strive.  I have been pushing myself lately and all the signs of that were there.  Also seemingly little fruitfulness.  His way sounds much better and more effective! 
 
I have been busy harvesting lots of beautiful berries - rowanberry, elderberry, crab apple, sloe and rose hip - and turning them into lots of wines, syrups and jellies!  The last of our runner beans made a lovely chutney!
Autumn is also the season of Harvest Festivals which many local people attend who would otherwise rarely go to church.  Ifor has been taking lots of these services whereas I have only done two, one of which was at Bronydd.  This chapel used to be an old drovers' smithy where they would shoe their cattle, sheep, geese and ponies for the long treks into the cities.
One elderly lady in the congregation, who remembers going there as a five year old, told me it was her mother who made the verse banner over the pulpit and who also used to lead a Sunday School there.  Ifor was also asked to be the after dinner speaker at Erwood harvest supper at the Market Hall to which a number of people from the village came and heard his testimony. 
Autumn is also the time we celebrated 36 years of our very happy marriage :)
 
 
Part of our calling is to encourage,
train up and equip the saints to work in the harvest field as in the verse in the photo above.  We have just had our third of such gatherings to which three dozen people came. After a wonderful time of worship together, I taught them how to hear God more easily, starting with different ways people in the Bible heard God through his creation; going on to hearing Him through word pictures I painted; progressing through hearing God through both created and man-made things they handled; and finally getting into groups of three to prophesy over each other.  Many people were encouraged by words they received.  The challenge now is for them not only to practice this gift but to take it out into the "market place".  We did something very similar last month in a much bigger church in Aberdare, with similar results.
 
The group who led worship that day used the same building to lead an open evening of worship for the county.  Four of them stayed on to pray through the night for God to move in this part. These nights will be repeated and hopefully build in strength.

Over these last few months I've felt like giving up with the monthly youth group I lead, most of whom do not go to any church. I've found it quite draining.  Then I realised what I find hardest is leading discussion with them, especially when the subjects I've prepared have not really gripped them, yet they still want to keep coming.  I was encouraged to learn that one teenager was so upset when she realised she'd forgotten a meeting, she wouldn't talk to her mum for an hour afterwards - and she was the one I had thought was least interested!  Jesus challenged me about lifting Him up, rather than focussing on other things.  As a result of praying this through with Him, I have decided to start doing the Christianity Explored course with them.  I have led several groups on this course in the past and found it to be really good. I think it could work with this age group, with games in place of discussion. We'll see.
Anne Roberts is having a most successful time running this course at the moment in a village hall.  They would like to carry on after the winter with the follow up course on Philippians.

God is using Ifor quietly but steadily amongst the farmers.  Do you remember the farmer in the Home Mission "Just Imagine" poster and bookmark, chatting to Ifor by his tractor? Last week he came to a farmer's supper in Crai village hall organised by our friends David and Carole Dry.  Dr Christie Glossop, the chief vet for Wales, shared her testimony after the meal which he enjoyed, together with two other farmers Ifor is involved with.  Another couple who Ifor has been involved in helping also came. This week Ifor has been helping one of those farmers TB testing his cattle.  Another of these farmers accompanied Ifor all the way to London and back to help pick up some furniture recently.  Ifor continues to milk in Glasbury three mornings a week and is building up good relationships there.

Ifor has been involved in three funerals recently which in turn have enabled further contacts, including a different undertaker.  Sadly Ifor has also been to the funerals of two ministers - Peter Hicks who has been doing a good work in Llandovery since his retirement from Spurgeons College; and John Hayward, previous minister of  Moriah, Risca.

It has been beautiful to witness how gently Jesus has been setting some people free from the affects of words spoken over them and things done in their pasts.  These people have come to know at a deeper level just how much He loves them and they are no longer experiencing some of the negative feelings that plagued them before.

It has been encouraging to make contact with Jeremy and Nicci Bevan who are doing a wonderful work leading an Anglican church in Gilwern. Jeremy has a good number of unchurched youth coming to a weekly programme he has put together, while Nicci seems to easily attract young mums with a New Age leaning.  Two of these were there with their tots when I spoke on different ways of easily making a difference to the lives of those around them who are struggling in various ways and so bring Light into their darkness. It seems they appreciated the talk and stayed until the end.  I have since been asked back to speak at the Women's World Day of Prayer next year.

Ifor and I met at Usk College of Agriculture in the seventies and this year the college celebrated its centenary with a big reunion weekend.  Much of this took place in a huge, grandly decorated sheep shed where they had been lambing earlier in the year!  It was good to catch up with old friends and renew friendships with some we have not been in touch with since our college days.  About 300 people came spanning a large age range.

In just ordinary living we make so many contacts which God can use at later dates.  My hairdresser here was traumatically bereaved  recently when her son and his girlfriend fell off a cliff which gave way. She recognised me when I called at her home and had already appreciated homemade cakes and things from our mutual friend from Glasbury Baptist Church.  I lent her a copy of Heaven is for Real to encourage her, having talked about it while having my hair cut earlier. Please pray for her.

Graham Kendrick and Cath Woolridge with her group performed wonderfully at Llandrindod Wells. The final song culminated in a silence of awe at God's presence.  Then just a few weeks later Cath launched her SOW Acapella CD at Brecon Cathedral.  A friend who prays with us regularly often remarks how Christian events and activities like these were very rare in the county until recent years.  The season is changing.

In fact Julian Richards spoke on just this at the Mid Wales New Wine Cymru Leaders gathering in Llandrindod Wells a few weeks ago - how God is birthing something new and in this new season people are becoming much more open to Jesus.
Just before he spoke, we had a time of individual ministry for each leader present.  This was an amazing time for me as I felt myself going down and down as if in a deep pond, with the challenge to trust Him, and ending up in the cloudy silt on the bottom where water nymphs are transformed into dragonflies, capable of so much more than before, just by soaring.

Ifor was greatly encouraged at a small two day Baptist Futures UK conference in Birmingham where he was one of three delegates representing Wales.  The free flowing, radical discussions amongst the delegates from all four countries in Britain showed the future can be bright.

We found one of our ducks two weeks after she disappeared, nesting the other side of the bridge!  She went on to hatch out eight little ducklings.  One died later - it never grew.  She now has seven ducklings almost as big as she is. They have no fear of swimming in the brook, even though it's raging like a torrent.

Much has been happening on the family front these last couple of months.  Ifor's mother has spent a few weeks in hospital and the doctor said she now needs to be transferred to a home.  We looked at a few that had been recommended.  The one we thought best for her rang up just a few days later to say that a room had become available and she could move in next week!  All these places generally have long waiting lists.  It's amazing how the Lord has worked everything out in such a short space of time.  The staff there are lovely and go the extra mile.  Please pray the transfer will be smooth and she will settle quickly. The home is actually in Breconshire and is very involved with the village community and school. The staff there saw from Ifor's business card that he is a reverend, so asked if he would be willing to minister to the other residents and staff at the home.

Our son Kevin, whose seasonal work with Welsh Water has come to an end, is now greatly enjoying work with the National Park.  This is voluntary but is more like an internship and he has been kitted out with a uniform.  He is having instruction and experience in a wide range of skills, with opportunity to gain certificates and qualifications which will set him in good stead.

I enjoyed a weekend in Chester for our daughter Katie's Baby Shower party.  Then a month later she gave birth to our gorgeous first grandchild, Caleb William Isaac Knott, who weighed in at 9lb 4.5oz. Sam was a great support to her. She did really well and was discharged on day two.


Meanwhile another daughter Becky announced that she and Pete are expecting their first baby in April.  So having picked up my crochet hook after 28 years to make a shawl for Caleb, I have now started crocheting a new shawl for Mini Matyus! 

Yes, its a new season in more ways than one!!!!












 
 
 
  
 
 

 

Thursday, 29 August 2013

SUMMER 2013

I'm aware that many of our stories are small when compared  to the vastness of the county we have been called to but we take heart from Elijah who celebrated the tiny cloud and anticipated the downpour about to come.  All big trees started as little seeds and we have been planting lots of little acorns as we go about living our lives here, going to Young Farmers rallies, shows, local events, visiting and bumping into people and ministering wherever there is an openness.   That reminds me that someone who prophesied over me "saw" me treading many acorns into the ground.  As we do so, God gives us many encouragements along the way.

One such encouragement was when we met up with international opera singer Huw Priday over coffee in St Mary's Church cafe in Brecon town centre with our intercessor friend Barbara.  Huw told us the amazing story of Robert Jermain Thomas from Llanover in Gwent who was born in Rhayader. He took the gospel to Korea, was murdered and his murderer plastered his house walls with pages from his Bible that he took as a trophy.  A visitor was converted through reading the walls and in turn led the murderer to Christ.  Together they founded a vast movement of Christianity amongst the Koreans who today thank God for Wales.  Huw stepped back from international fame to serve God by singing wherever God wants him to.  He feels strongly that God wants him to sing in Brecon, where Huw's father was minister at one time.  Barbara felt to go to Brecon Cathedral before he left.  As we stood between the choir stalls, I sensed roots growing quickly downwards from our feet and a tree of Life, bearing much fruit, growing upwards.  Then I looked up I saw a large cross hanging right above us - the "tree" which gives eternal and abundant life.

During Brecon Jazz Festival this summer Cath Woolridge and her group sang and gave testimony to a large crowd of people packed into the cathedral who also watched a drama they did on the Prodigal Son. Barbara tells us it was very powerful and the Dean danced up the aisle in all his regalia!  The Cobbles Cafe also worshiped for a couple of hours as people popped in to listen.
"Praise is rising, ......."

Through the summer we have been running Table Talk in the pub in Glasbury as a continuation of "Pester the Pastor" as the post Alpha group who came called it.  As most of these people already attend a chapel near the village and no one else was being added to the group, we made the decision to stop these sessions to encourage them to go to the new Christianity Explored  course that is starting in a nearby village in September.  This will be led by Anne Roberts who works alongside us in the different capacity of focusing on growing the tiny chapels in the county.

The monthly hill top prayer group continues.  In June we returned to pray over Rhayader.  This time one of
the group "smelt" food. This could mean the residents are hungry for God, or it could tie in with the previous time when I "saw" columns of fire coming up from each estate - perhaps God is saying about BBQ's being held in each estate?  Rhayader was once a main centre for pagan worship in Wales at the point where two rivers converge at Cwmdauddwr so we went down there to pray afterwards.  Overlooking this spot is the Anglican church with a circular graveyard - a sign of it being built on an earlier druid site so we prayed around that too.  Our prayers that day felt effective. Rhayader is built in the shape of a cross along the four valleys leading into and out of the town.  We heard that the cafe style church which met in the village hall has decided to close as it was only attracting other Christians, but the Anglican church runs Messy Church which is attracting 25 to 30 children and grandparents.  Very encouraging.

Ifor joined the praying from Garth Hill overlooking the Royal Welsh Showground this year just before the show took place which attracts huge crowds and businesses from all over Wales. In August we joined in praying over Beulah and the surrounding farms. From here we had a sense that God is strategically building and positioning His troops across the county and beyond.  The new prayer group in Bwlch continues to meet monthly.

I only did one talk on Uganda this summer at a local W.I. After showing videos of Ugandan dancing and music I told them how Rose, the wife of Pastor John and mother and adoptive mother of their seven children needs an expensive biopsy and probably operation and treatment. Both John and Moses, the leader of the other Ugandan school we also try to
support, have both been off work with severe stress and malaria.  Life is far from easy over there.  Two of the members there kindly gave me money to send for Rose.  I have been
able to sell, at a number of village shows, more of the paper bead jewellery the schoolchildren make so this will help towards them paying the salaries of the teachers.  These shows also lead to opportunities for prayer ministry, more talks at meetings and Breconshire schools.  I had a Ugandan stall at a new country market in Llangorse which proved very fruitful in terms of both selling and contacts to follow up.

In June I was asked to teach a group of women in Presteigne how to hear God in different ways.  This seemed to boost their confidence in being able to recognize Him speaking to them.  To a lesser degree I taught this at a few small chapels later on.  Our next local New Wine Cymru event for Christians in Breconshire and Radnorshire will be next month and this will be the theme there, developing it through to prophesying over each other.

 When our friend Janet Russell (Diocesan Missioner based at Brecon Cathedral), Ifor and I met to pray for our July NWC event, God gave us three pictures which together pointed to the royal priesthood of all believers.  Ifor preached on this and the role we have as such, remembering how important Jasper is in the New Jerusalem although the world considers it to be only a semi precious stone.  He referred to the move God is bringing about in Cwmbran where in the first four months since the revival started there have been almost 1,400 converts and many healings (and still continuing at this rate); in Bridgend 250 young people were converted recently and in Barry 25 young people over a few weeks. Then the people gathered into small groups to pray encouragement over each other.  During the prayer ministry for healing afterwards many received prayer and a number felt the Holy Spirit working in their bodies.
     The NWC Leaders' conference at Lampeter the previous week was a great encouragement to us and a boost to meet up with so many of our friends again.  The theme of the few days was "The Church and Mission" and much of what was said was helpful and faithbuilding for us and for our local friend who came with us.

My youth group enjoyed various water games and a balance beam
whilst looking into the testimony of Bethany Hamilton who rebuilt her career through her faith in God and determination after losing her arm in a shark attack whilst surfing as a 13 year old.  She went on to win second place in the World Junior Women's Surfing Championships just five years later.  This seemed a good topic to explore on a hot day as our last session before the summer holidays, culminating in a BBQ Ifor cooked for them.  I would value your prayers for God's wisdom in how best to continue with this group after the hols.

Ifor took the funeral of a nearby farmer to which about 300 people came, almost all of them local. Two more people borrowed the book "Heaven is for Real" after Ifor referred to the story of the great-grandfather in this book.  The service was spoken about by many people over the following weeks and the widow encouragingly referred to the Rev. Ifor Williams as a friend of the family when she wrote the obituary in the paper.

Through Ifor's role in Farm Crisis Network (now Farm Community Network),  he has been able to help a local couple who were pleasantly surprised when it was Ifor who turned up.  They had already met him previously when Ifor visited their farm to collect dead sheep with the new Christian friend he is mentoring. Also through FCN Ifor has been helping a farmer and his children north of the county who has all sorts of issues. The whole ministry to farmers scene is begining to develop and becoming increasingly fruitful. Farmers are recommending Ifor to other farmers whom they know are going through difficulties.  They also told him about Mark who came to introduce himself recently.  He goes to Victory Church in Merthyr but lives on a caravan site in Breconshire.  He moved here a couple of years ago when he felt God calling him to work as an evangelist among farmers.  This has been a whole new ball game for him and he
started by going to the farmers' markets, handing out tracts and engaging in conversation with the farmers. His deep love for God and his dependence on His leading are very apparent and his work will compliment Ifor's .  God certainly has a big heart for farmers here.  In August we went to the dispersal sale nearby of a long established pedigree Holstein dairy herd.  We have known the family for many years.  It was a sad occasion but well attended and prices were good with buyers coming from all over the country.

On our livestock front, we sadly lost another lamb
who we think had been eating the dogs mercury in the woodland.  A few days later, we took our lambs back to the farm where they had been born, as the farmer had offered. Quite an adventure for them. A day or so later the farmer added a hundred or so other sheep to their field.  Our little flock stuck together, gradually intermingling after a few weeks.  When Ifor went back three weeks later he saw our lambs in twos and threes among the flock.  When he called them, their heads shot up and they all came up to him and followed him back to the gate.  The rest of the flock thought they were barmy! Sadly we have lost another since then, so we are now down to eight.

On the duck scene, "Matilda" managed to break her thigh bone clean through. We treated ourselves to some lollipops and splinted it with the sticks and insulation tape!
Leaning over the hurdle to put her back, I cracked a rib when the hurdle gave way!  So more lollipop sticks . . . no!  My rib is now healed and so is Matilda's leg. On the same day I cracked my rib, Kevin visited a friend's farm and brought home a sheepskin for me to cure. It was a bit painful scraping the sheepskin that day!
Ifor is continuing to milk at least three mornings a week, building good relations with the farmer and the other cowmen and and having some good conversations.

Also in August I met up with the person who had asked us to pray last
winter around her home as they were struggling with a number of ghosts and poltergeists. (See Autumn 2012 blog). We made several visits and got to know them during that time. When her brother died just a couple of days before her daughter's wedding I was able to give her a bit of support and lent her a copy of Heaven is for Real.  When I met up with her the other day she said how the house has stayed completely clear of ghosts since our last visit and her daughter has noticed the difference too.  After being greatly helped by the book she has lent it to her bereaved sister-in-law.  We got talking about a real two-way relationship with God.  She had noticed this with some people and wanted this for herself.  At her request I prayed with her and led her to her Father through Jesus as she let go of everything to Him, feeling very different afterwards.

On the family scene we have very exciting news.  Our youngest daughter Lucy is now engaged to Timo Pappe, a wonderful young man from Estonia.They met five years ago when they were both doing their Discipleship Training School with YWAM in Norway. They met again two years ago when Timo was on the School of Evangelism that Lucy was leading. He was one of her staff helping with the school last year.  We're all looking forward to their wedding in Estonia in May and meeting Timo's family.  I had a go at icing a cake with a joint Estonian and Welsh St. Davids flag as part of the engagement celebration while they were over here!

Katie is growing bigger by the day and Sam is a great support to her. Our first grandchild is due to be born mid October.  All very exciting! I've picked up my crochet hook after 28 years and am busy making a shawl whenever I sit down!

Kevin sadly was not accepted to take up one of the few training places
offered by Welsh Water for graduates.  So he is back to the drawing board looking for work when his summer work as Assistant Ranger around the reservoirs comes to an end in six weeks time. Last week he was driven home with ten metal staples in his head after the fencing slammer he was using ricocheted off the top of the stake.  Ouch!  The staples are out now and it is healing well.

My Dad celebrated his 92nd birthday which
 meant a lovely reunion with most of the family.  The sun shone so we enjoyed being in the garden together where Dad has been working hard.  This was followed by a family holiday back in Broad Haven, Pembs,  to join in the 70th birthday celebrations of Glenys, our good friend and neighbour there.  Another good friend said we could use her home for the week so that all the family (except Lucy in Norway) could have fun together, which we certainly did.  We also had a wonderful spur of the moment, day and half caravan holiday with a great view less than ten miles from our home!  With the lovely hot weather it felt more like a week and a complete break!  It also meant we got to know the farmer who owned the site, so pluses all round.

Thank you all so much for your prayer support.  Should any of you choose to visit us, please be aware that the main river bridge near us is now closed and will remain so for nearly a year as they repair it, so you will need to find alternative routes!






Thursday, 13 June 2013

Spring 2013

SPRING 2013



Easter snow at Waterloo
 Spring was very slow coming this year with daffodils battling against the snow over Easter.  The farmers around here suffered many losses over the freezing lambing period, despite pulling out all the stops.  A farmer near us lost sixty lambs one night when the weather suddenly changed.   One farm lost forty sheep in a snow drift.  So sad.  A neighbour was bottle feeding nearly a hundred lambs, mostly because the mothers' milk dried up after the prolonged cold wet weather of most of last year.  She's never known anything like it before.  The ewes that did have milk often had sore chapped teats as a result of the biting wind blowing through the lambing sheds.  Because of congestion in the lambing sheds, many  farmers had to turn out the lambs into the snow as there was  nowhere else for them to go, adding to the huge loss of lambs this spring.

A positive side effect of all this trauma was that Ifor has been going out with a brand new Christian on the 'sheep run', collecting dead animals from all over the county from 6.30pm till often after midnight, meeting so many farmers every time.  Like a couple of other farmers in his neighbourhood, this man is regularly reading his Angus Buchan daily journal for farmer. He has been on a men's Alpha, has now started on  a second Alpha course and is steadily being transformed by God.

Enjoy the video!
One day Ifor came back with six orphan lambs from a farmer who was struggling to cope with the difficult lambing. Then two days later another six, then another two!  We started bottle feeding our little flock four times a day initially, reducing to twice a day as they approached weaning.  Nearly a fortnight ago we walked them over
like the pied piper, to their new home - a lovely woodland paddock carpeted with bluebells and loads of grass that our kind neighbour has let us use for free.  The farmer who gave us the lambs  is also reading the Angus Buchan journal daily and is noticing big changes in himself.   Like Mervyn in the video in an earlier blog, he is telling others how prayer really works and giving his own examples.  His mother has recently started going to chapel and people are remarking on the positive changes they are seeing in her.  Ifor has also been helping another branch of that family with issues they are going through.

It seems our little lambs have their own ministry: When the senior school bus drops children off by our house, the lambs run to greet them and some of them have been helping us bottle feed them. Through this, two of them have joined the monthly youth group I run.  The group have now finished the Journeys DVD testimony series and we have just started something called Think Tank.  This involves discussion around true but surprising stories, a parallel Bible story from the Street Bible and of course games and food.

 Still on the farming scene, Ifor is now relief milking three mornings a week, back home by 9am.  Because of this we have been able to reduce the stipend we are being paid by the Baptist Union.  Since the dairy herd has been increased to 450 cows, they need two people milking at a time. Seven different people milk on a rota, so Ifor is always milking with one or another of the team, and getting to know them better. To thank everyone after a successful concentrated time of calving, the farmer and his wife invited all the men and their wives/partners around for a meal, which was great for getting to know everyone better. Then a few weeks later we were invited to an evening at the pub with all the farm workers to say goodbye to the herdsman who was off to New Zealand, and to say hello to his replacement.

Ifor has been visiting more farmers through his role in Farm Crisis Network and helping them in various ways. One of these farms is all the way up near Welshpool, but thankfully most are in our area.  After the difficult lambing, which is the main "crop" for farms around here, Ifor held a "Spring Thanksgiving" service in a rural chapel in a part where he has been working, as opposed to a Harvest Thanksgiving.  It caught the imagination of a few others in the area who came along and appreciated it.


At the beginning of March we were able to go to the New Wine Leaders conference in Cheltenham where Robbie Dawkins and Guy Chevreau were  teaching on power evangelism.  These four days were an inspiring, empowering and equipping time for us.

The day after we arrived back we cooked breakfast at our home for the Holy Spirit Away Day  of the Alpha course we have been running in a cafe in Glasbury.  People experienced his presence strongly.  One woman was so affected that when she went home afterwards she just had to sit and take time to reflect on what she had experienced as it was far more than she had anticipated. God does like to surprise people!  Everyone was greatly blessed by Him.  The group did not want to stop meeting after the series finished, and they have been meeting up in the pub to look into difficult passages in the Bible and other questions they have.  They call these weekly pub nights "Pester the Pastor"!

At one of the early meetings of our first small group where one member is Russian, someone commented that we might have a Russian group one day!  Well just recently she invited a Russian friend who had come to visit and also another Russian friend who lives nearby - so much of the conversation that evening was in Russian!  Her visitor experienced God's presence and His comforting of some of the hard times she had been through.  The other guest has been reading  a Russian translation of The Shack. To date she has not returned to the group but seemed to enjoy the experience.  All this original group have now read "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo. Todd's three year old son Colton died briefly during an operation and over the following months mentioned some of the experiences he had in heaven and what it was like there, relating things he could not possibly have known otherwise. With this group we have now started a DVD series of interviews with Colton (now aged 12) and his family which stimulates group discussion.  Ifor referred to this book at a dedication service last spring, and since then we have lent out over a dozen copies to people eager to read it for themselves.  People who read a copy often lend it to their friends and family.  We are aiming to circulate several books in many areas and follow this with conversation groups in each area as it is proving to have quite an affect on the readers. Most people are curious to read such a book.  We are also finding it greatly helps those who have been bereaved  and those who have suffered a miscarriage.  People who ordered copies of this book following an anniversary service Ifor led last year have been lending the book out to other family members.  They are keen to meet in one of their homes later this year to discuss the book together.  At this year's anniversary service at the same chapel I read out the Father's Love Letter, and many people took copies of it in bookmark form. This service attracts a number who do not otherwise go to a chapel service.

I was invited to do slide shows on Uganda and sell necklaces at a Mothers Union and also at a W.I.  At the latter, after hearing about some of the healings we saw as we prayed for people in Uganda, one woman asked me "Where does that leave me as I don't believe?" As we talked it became obvious that she wanted to meet Jesus and was happy for me to pray with her.  Through this she experienced His peace and readily agreed to the challenge to ask Jesus to reveal Himself to her then to watch to see how He chose to do so.

A Christian friend joined me when selling the Ugandan jewellery at a craft fair in Crickhowell where we had some good talks with many of the customers. The Christian organiser of the fair has bought a quantity of various sizes of beads, made by the children of Moses's school in Kampala, to package and sell online to craft people and hopes this will be ongoing.  A few weeks ago I was asked to do a stall at a school when they hosted an eco/holistic Green Day.  All sorts of  things were on offer, so beforehand I asked God for words for any of the people there.  I recognized  the person I had "seen" and gave her the message I felt I'd been given from God for her.  She was very enthusiastic and asked me to write it down for her. She also took a card explaining the Essence series (see previous blog) and was keen to host a group of her friends to do this in her home.  She also asked for another card for a stall holder she was friends with.  I need to get back to her soon to see how she's getting on with gathering a group.

The hill prayer group met to pray over Rhayader on a very cold day which included a blizzard before we came  down! We were told that the cafe style church there had stopped meeting as it was only attracting other Christians.  However the vicar of Rhayader has started  Messy Church  which has taken off and is attracting 25 to 30 children, accompanied by their grandparents.  The town is built as a cross, following the four valleys out of the town.  It used to be the centre of pagan worship in Wales.  As we prayed I clearly "saw" big columns of fire scattered around the town, possibly coming from each clearly defined estate.  I also "saw" big sweeps of blue water pouring down over the surrounding hills and flooding the town. So lots of hope there.


We were not able to join the group praying over Crickhowell this time, but the following month we took communion together on a hill top, recently cleared of forestry, overlooking Abergavenny.  This venue was confirmed to a couple who regularly pray over the town by               the verse God gave them from Isaiah 13:2 NIV  :                              "Raise a banner on a bare hill top"

On the way back we called to make contact with a couple in Bwlch who have recently gathered together a group of seven Christians to meet monthly to pray for the village.  We came away most encouraged.

When preaching on the Kingdom of God in a chapel in Crai, some visitors of ours came along and one of them prophesied to the whole church about them being His treasure in jars of clay and that God is going to use them to bless the area around them and He'll show them how.
Ifor spoke at a Christian gathering in nearby Bronydd Mawr on receiving the Holy Spirit and everyone there received individual prayer and prophecy afterwards.

Together with our friend Canon Janet Russell, the new Director of Mission in the diocese, we organised Brecon and Radnor's first New Wine Cymru event to encourage, empower and equip His people.  Being the first, we focused on encouragement so after an inspiring time of worship led by local people we heard over a dozen short updates and testimonies of what God is doing across the two counties.  Most people had no idea that so much is happening, nor did they know many others who came along. Ifor preached a very encouraging sermon. The large number of people left no longer feeling disillusioned and isolated but greatly encouraged, taking with them a free gift and buzzing about the event over the next few weeks.  The next one will be 13th July when hopefully even more will come along.

It was good to see Cath Woolridge and her team in New Life Church, Llandrindod Wells, at the opening of their new excellent and central premises. They performed a drama which revealed different characters in a cafe. One of our small Glasbury group came and brought his sister too. Next time Cath comes to the county will be to take part in Brecon Jazz Festival by invitation of the Dean.

When my friend Trish Rogers in Pembrokeshire came in as the new president of the Baptist Missionary Society in Wales, she invited me to say a bit about what God is doing in Breconshire and then in the evening to preach.  I tried to show the congregation ways in which each of them, scattered deliberately across Wales, can be missionaries and spread the effects of the Kingdom of God in their own areas.  It was good to catch up with friends in Pembrokeshire and also to meet new people.


As I suspect many of you are, we are greatly encouraged by what God is doing in Cwmbran through Victory Outreach Church and their leader, Pastor Richard Taylor, an ex prisoner. When we went to the warehouse building behind Sainsburys to see for ourselves in April, a dozen people received Jesus for the first time, many of them addicts, ex prisoners and people from difficult backgrounds. Both of us received a powerful touch from the Holy Spirit when we went forward for prayer. Now, as the outpouring continues, there are people becoming new Christians every night and the many healings are continuing. We watched online their first baptism service since the outpouring began when over fifty people were baptised.  You may like to look at this link:  http://daibach-welldigger.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/cwmbran-overview.html#!/
 

A similar move of God is happening in Calcutta in India through Benjamin and Gillian Francis and their
daughter Abigail.  We met them in Cardiff Baptist College when Benjamin shared how God has used them to plant 10,500 house churches in the last ten years.  They came to spend the following day with us, helping feed our lambs, enjoy our ducks, pray for us and bless the work God has called us to here.  They are keen to keep in touch with us through Skype, which is wonderful.
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This year is the 200th anniversary of when John Wesley was saved.  To celebrate, the little isolated church of Llanlleonfel near Garth had a special weekend of events, including a re-enactment by the local primary school of the wedding led by John Wesley of his brother Charles to Sarah Gwynne of Garth House.  I walked across the field and climbed over the style to the little church hidden in the trees to join the congregation of "guests" at the wedding. It was a great occasion and wonderful to see how the children had researched the lives of the Wesleys.



On the family front, it was great to meet Lucy's boyfriend Timo from Estonia who joined us over Easter.  He did the DTS with Lucy in her first year with YWAM in Norway and this year has been on her staff helping lead the School of Evangelism. He happily joined some of the family in a sketch we did in a chapel on Easter Sunday. Lovely too to have all the family over the Easter period.
More great excitement followed as Katie and Sam announced their blessing of a new baby, due mid October.  So we will be grandparents!  Katie works in an old fashioned sweet shop in Chester and Sam is the manager of a new outdoor pursuits centre in New Brighton, just over half an hour beyond Chester. 
    
Kevin has been looking for a change of career after instructing in outdoor pursuits for a decade.  He now lives with us and has been successful in getting work with Welsh Water as an Assistant Ranger, helping to look after all the reservoirs in the Brecon Beacons but based at Llwyn Onn.  He is applying for a graduate training scheme with Welsh Water which if successful would start in the autumn.

Thank you all for your prayers, support and interest in Breconshire as we try to advance His kingdom here.  I'm sorry there has been such a long wait for this update.  I really do want to try and post new blogs each month!  Please pray that will happen!  May God bless you all.