Welsh revival: 'the presence of Christ was so evident'
Two churches in different areas of South Wales report how they have seen God at work in amazing ways ...
Rev John Welsby from Haverfordwest, takes up the story ...
"For almost 30 years our church (members pictured right), Emmanuel Christian Centre & Church in Haverfordwest, has been visiting up to 1,000 homes in our neighbourhood. These include a settled travelling community.
A number of the travellers’ children had attended our youth events, but had never come to a service.
"In January 2012, a traveller and her family moved from Lancashire to live in Pembrokeshire. Her pastor, who had links with us, encouraged her to join us on Sundays.
"Two months later, a travelling couple asked if they could get married in church that July.
Then in May, a gypsy in Lincolnshire phoned. He and his pastor had been praying for the travelling community in this region and asked if we could host a mission within the next three weeks.
"At the Queen’s Jubilee celebration in our local park, our church was invited to have a stand. We put on games and other attractions and gave out almost 500 copies of the CPO booklet A Souvenir of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, with an insert publicising the church’s activities.
"This gave us an opportunity to share our faith and invite the travellers we met to the mission from 12-14 June.
"Over those three nights and the following days, 50 people responded to Christ. The presence of Christ was so evident in these meetings.
"On the following Sunday about 40 travellers came to church. Afterwards a young man committed his life to Christ.
"Later that day, another young man called at my door. He had gone to play golf, but was so convicted of the sin in his life that he finished his game quickly and came to ask how he could give his life to Christ.
"That same day, a car pulled up outside the house. Four girls had brought their friend who was seeking God and she too committed her life to the Lord.
"During the morning service I had invited people who wanted to be baptised to come to the church that evening. Some 40 people turned up.
"Four weeks later, 32 people were baptised, including the couple who were to be married the following week.
"Those standing in the street were also touched by the power of God. They felt and heard a powerful wind that rushed down the street. This was followed by stillness and a gentle rain.
"From June to August last year I could hardly speak about what was happening. The awesome power of God’s presence was so real that I could not put the experience into words.
"All the events prior to the mission were unrelated, but were prepared and orchestrated by Almighty God."
Reaching out to the helpless
High unemployment and social deprivation have scarred the proud and rugged town of Beaufort in Ebbw Vale. Yet God is doing great things here, writes Gethin Russell-Jones.
After 18 months of regular prayer and fasting, Church on the Rise – a Baptist church – is seeing growth. Church numbers have doubled since the summer of 2012 from 35 to 70.
And this growth is the result of working with some of the area’s most vulnerable families and individuals.
About a year ago, the church opened a CAP (Christians Against Poverty) centre, working with about 30 families.
In addition to good financial advice, the church has seen a number of these clients coming to faith as they experience God’s grace and love present in the church.
In the build-up to the summer of 2012, Church on the Rise baptised 11 people and welcomed them into membership. A considerable number of others have come to faith and are waiting to be baptised.
The church has outgrown its building and is now looking for a venue that will seat 350.
Senior leader Wayne Evans said: “I thank God for what he is doing among us and I believe it’s because we have been obedient to his call.
“We have reached out to the helpless and hopeless and those in poverty and have experienced the blessings of God from this work as promised in Isaiah 58:10-14.”
• Reproduced from Idea magazine with the kind permission of the Evangelical Alliance