Friday, 25 January 2013

Dec and Jan 2013

A carpet of snow covers over the drab and makes everything look new and fresh and exciting.  Yet even before that, new bulbs have been pushing through, full of promise.  The birds have been pairing up and singing, even in December.  The new year brings a time of fresh starts and new beginnings.  Ifor started off by rearranging our study which enables us to work more efficiently. A number of people have been saying in recent weeks how they have noticed changes in the spiritual climate and things taking place that never would have happened before:  carols in a pub, small prayer groups springing up around the county, Christian events and courses, etc.  Ifor and I have started praying more systematically together every day, as well as forming two parts of a weekly prayer triplet
   
Daphne Godwin came to speak in Tretower, telling of some of the wonderful miracles that have been happening recently at Ffald y Brenin, Pembrokeshire.  A couple of Ffald y Brenin style Houses of Prayer have started near there in the Crickhowell/Abergavenny region, praying missionally over the area.  Brenda and Dollie also pray from hilltops over those two towns each month as well as continuing to pray most months with our hilltop group that Ruth organises.  Following a 'hilltop prayer' in the Sennybridge/Crai area,  a couple of years ago, a group now meet monthly to pray for their own area. A couple in Crai have organised the Journeys course, village meals with a speaker, Christianity Explored, Alpha, a monthly meeting at Bronydd Mawr, and are now leading a men's Alpha. Our friend Mervyn spoke at the first Alpha, and took a neighbouring farmer who has continued attending each week.  He has also gone a few times to the Elim church in Brecon and he is recognising that Jesus is the only way forward with his problems.  Barbara and Christine continue to meet regularly to pray over the county and particularly the Lower Chapel valley,where Ifor is making a lot of good contacts.  One of these is regularly praying and reading Angus Buchan's daily journal, and telling others about what he is reading and the differences he is noticing in himself as he tries to put into practice what he reads.


Praying over Llyswen and area
The small prayer group that started  just a few months ago in the Erwood/Llaneglwys area continue to meet. Two other small missional prayer groups started up this month - one in Boughrood and another in Glasbury, using a sheet I prepared based mostly on Peter Farmer's teaching involving hearing God about the area, recognising possible spiritual issues behind problems, praying blessing, proclaiming and noticing the changes that occur.  Another of these missional prayer pockets is looking to start soon in the Llanwrtyd/Llangammarch/Garth area.  Another group is also running in Garth, partly as a result of Peter Farmer's input.  We learnt recently that some of the Anglican church in Glasbury meet fortnightly for prayer, as do a home prayer group from Wesley Church in Builth.

Just before Christmas the hill prayer group met to pray over Llyswen and the whole farming area around Brechfa Pool, before heading back into Ruth's warm home where she had prepared a wonderful meal for us all.  Since then we have prayed above Llanwrtyd Wells and afterwards had a chat about the town with one of the local prayer-s, giving us helpful insight as we look to further God's Kingdom there.  Ruth and I were asked to pray in the grounds of Bronllys Psychiatric Hospital which we felt was effective.  We particularly prayed for one patient, and his parents noticed a big improvement  when they visited him two days later.

I've had cards made to advertise Essence, a series written by Rob Frost to help people on their spiritual journeying to engage with and experience God and become aware of how He relates to them.  I have taken these around many New Age/spiritual shops in Builth, Hay-on-Wye and a cafe in Talgarth.  Please pray that people who would like to pursue this and deepen their spiritual lives, would see these and get in touch.

I sold Ugandan necklaces at three Christmas fairs in December. I had some good conversations at the first Craft Fair in Crickhowell, which led to an invitation to sell at Crickhowell Primary School fair later in the month where I did some demonstrations with the children.  Please pray I'll be invited to do a morning presentation for the school there.  The Christian lady who organises the Crickhowell Craft Fairs asked if Moses would be prepared to send her quantities of beads for her to sell online for people to use to make up their own jewellery.  This will be a useful outlet for Moses. Her photographer took close-up photos of the necklaces to use on her new craft website.  If anyone else out there would be prepared to sell the Ugandan jewellery, both Moses and Pastor John could do with more outlets as all the money raised goes directly back to their two schools.  The third Christmas fair was outdoors in Builth.  Below freezing (Brrrrr!) but no snow this time so no brazier either.  Ifor went to the indoor Christmas fair in Erwood at the same time.

Erwood village Christmas  Dinner
I had two W.I. Christmas dinners this year, plus a village Christmas dinner in the pub in Erwood. All well attended. Then we were both invited to a Christmas dinner for all the farm staff at Maesllwch, where Ifor has been doing some relief milking. Great to get to know the other staff and their wives.  The whole herd is dried off over Dec/Jan, so no milking until they start calving in huge numbers at the end of this month.  Ifor's birthday was earlier this week so I made him a milking cluster out of cake!

Ifor led a Carol service in a chapel a few miles above Erwood, attended mostly by farming families.  Then on the Saturday before Christmas he led carols at a pub in Glasbury, arranged in the order of the story which he read from the Bible between each carol I played.  About fifty people came to join in and listen, far more than the landlord expected. One lady left her table and came and sat right next to me so she wouldn't miss anything!  It was very well received and many hoped we would do it again next year.


In December Ifor led a huge funeral service for a local farmer.  These always open up many doors for him, especially among farmers.  Just before Christmas he was involved in another large funeral of a popular man from Erwood.  About 500 people attended, many standing outside in sub freezing temperatures.

We showed The Nativity film to our first small group which especially helped our Russian friend understand the Christmas story better.  In the new year we started J.John's Ten course which has gone down very well and stimulated, lots of discussion.  At the first session, two of the group brought along a relation of theirs from Aberdare. She was happy to receive prayer to the first one, and Jesus met her at her point of need. She is keen to come to Brecon Cathedral on 2nd Feb to hear Cath and Dai Woolridge in concert - the next big event we are involved with.  Please pray for this event.


Boxing Day fun
All our family came up over the Christmas holiday which was lovely.  Ifor and I led the service in Erwood on Christmas day. Ruth and John had organised the service brilliantly, based on Room 101, but were laid up with flu.  Then on Boxing Day we had around my brother and family, my dad and auntie for the day to continue enjoying the celebrations.
Mary with Mrs Pugh in Erwood Chapel, a week before her 103rd birthday.

A huge crowd gathered to celebrate Mrs Ena Pugh's 103rd birthday in Erwood hall with her twin sister Lily Milward following yet another interview on the telly.  Both of them live independently and until last year when her sister broke her hip, they would walk and catch the bus and meet up to shop in Brecon every Friday.

The homegroup in Glasbury continues to meet fortnightly to pray (they are seeing answers to their prayers) and discuss a bible passage or have discussions initiated by Table Talk (by Paul Griffiths). Two new people have joined since the chapel closed. More exciting news is that we have been able to start Alpha in the cafe next to the old chapel, courtesy of the new owner of the chapel who runs it.  We had an encouraging start this week with nine coming, these from the Glasbury home group, Maesyronnen URC chapel near Glasbury and two others from Erwood. Two others intend to come but were laid up with flu and injury. Ifor effectively used ten reams of paper to help illustrate the weight of evidence for the validity of the New Testament and the resurrection.  Please pray the word gets out and numbers will increase further.

Ifor was asked to take the dedication service of Mervyn's grandson in Lower Chapel on Sunday. About 60 people came to this, many of them his daughter's friends in their twenties and thirties who travelled through the snow from the Sennybridge area.  The Lower Chapel valley seems to be opening up slowly but steadily, and Ifor is coming alongside a number of connected farming families and helping in whatever way is appropriate.  We have had some new calling cards printed which should be useful.

We greatly value your prayers, especially for the Alpha course which continues until Easer on Monday evenings at 7pm. You can follow Ifor on Twitter @Revifor.