Monday, 28 May 2012

JAN/FEB 2012

JAN/FEB 2012
The new year started not just with a net of colourful balloons being let down at midnight in Erwood Market Hall after supper, dancing and games, but also with a lovely encouragement of acceptance in the area when Ifor was asked to join the committee organising local celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this year. Also we have been asked to judge all the fancy dress competitions at a local show in the summer. Its great to be asked and involved. People in the local community, apart from the actual village of Erwood, live in scattered houses and farms over a wide area. They enjoy coming together but there are not that many opportunities. With this in mind we have started using our home as a mini “cinema”, projecting DVD's in the winter months and inviting our new friends in the neighbourhood to come together to watch films with a break in the middle for bring-and-share food and chat. Showing The Nativity to 16 people in this way just before Christmas proved so popular that people were keen to do this again. So in January we showed The Invictus, directed by Mel Gibson, to 20 very local friends. This inspiring film shows how Nelson Mandela, played by Morgan Freeman, used rugby to unite the blacks and whites in South Africa after apartheid. Our offer to show the film of Ian McCormack at the end of February was met with great interest. He is an Australian surfer who was stung umpteen times by box jellyfish, had an encounter with God in the ambulance, died for 15 minutes, woke up in the mortuary and today tells about what happened, esp during those 15 minutes. Please pray that many will come to this and be encouraged to explore more about God.

The group that formed in the Sennybridge/Crai area out of the hilltop prayer gatherings have now started praying regularly over their own area. They have followed a very successful six week dvd course of Journeys in their village hall with a couple of Farming and Faith dinners there. 65 local farmers, their wives and neighbours gathered for the second of these dinners to hear Mervyn speak about how God has transformed his life and farming. They are now following this with an Alpha course in their home. Mervyn himself is constantly sharing his faith and last month invited a friend he recently led to the Lord to look at the bible together with us and himself. Another person whom he led to the Lord that same week would also like to be a part of this, but lambing has put paid to all this temporarily.

Our own hilltop prayer walks continue enthusiastically, the most recent being over Builth Wells last week.  

Two of this prayer group have also started praying monthly from different hills overlooking Abergavenny and Crickhowell where they live. These two are part of a group of about 30 Spirit-filled women from different churches who meet together monthly to worship God, pray and study the Bible together each week. This group – W.O.W. (Women of the Word) invited me to teach on Prophecy last week. This went down well and they were all enabled to prophesy over each other in small groups and hear God in many different ways. I was also asked to preach to just seven people in a nearby chapel last week. Speaking about the Kingdom of God on Earth, I forgot to offer prayer for healing afterwards, but even so two of the people came and asked for healing prayer anyway! Very encouraging.

Ifor has been away a lot lately with several trips to Baptist Union of Wales Headquarters in Carmarthen on various boards and committees looking at ministry and mission in Wales. Also to the three day BUW conference in Saundersfoot where the two main speakers were considering how today's church structures may need to change considerably to reach the non church going communities. It was encouraging for us to see how well our new position places us to be more effective in this. A church planters' day in the BU of Great Britain headquarters in Didcot was also encouraging. It seems many in the country are looking at new ways of going about fulfilling the Great Commission that Jesus left us with.

Tomorrow Ifor will be joining a gathering Christian of farmers from all over UK. Peter Farmer will be speaking at this. We met him last year when we went to Sussex for the four day conference on church planting movements which he also attended. Peter is doing a similar thing around Nottingham and Ifor went to a weekend he was running just before Christmas which greatly inspired him. So we have invited Peter to speak to a gathering in Abergavenny on his way to staying with us over the weekend. On monday we have invited twenty to thirty people to our home to hear him and consider ways of growing the Kingdom in a multiplying way through our varied contacts. Please pray for much fruit from this in terms of people being motivated to start reaching out in ways that will multiply Kingdom growth across mid Wales.

Back here the discovery group we meet with weekly are continuing to grow in their understanding and experience of God. As well as receiving continued healing and deliverance, they are looking more outwards and sharing their faith and testimony with their friends and neighbours. The monthly youth group has taken a break since before Christmas because of the three days a week rehearsals for the Young Farmers Clubs Pantomime competitions. We are considering starting the Journeys DVD course with them when we resume next week.

Ifor has received some training in all the legislation and paperwork that seems designed to swamp farmers nowadays. He has been helping a farmer who due to personal circumstances has seriously lapsed with his records which could result in the loss of many thousands of pounds. Just today we heard from the officials that all this rectifying work has been accepted and he will not now lose all this money. Praise God!

At the end of February Ifor and Bruce Collins will be going around together meeting with different church leaders in Breconshire and Radnorshire with a view to starting up a New Wine Leaders group in Mid Wales. Prayer into this would also be appreciated.

Breconshire may be a whole county but in this rural community the bongo drums work well as people know people who know people. Whilst having my hair cut two weeks ago I was telling my hairdresser Lisa about how I ended up telling Ian McCormack's story in a church on the weekend because I failed to get his DVD to work; this after preaching on heaven in the morning at the same church. She was intrigued to hear how someone who had been dead for 15 minutes came back to life. She then went on to ask if I new of a certain man in the county called Mervyn who reckons he can hear God. Apparently her aunt heard him at a church (where Ifor was preaching and had brought Mervyn along to tell his story) and she and my hairdresser looked up the video on YouTube of us and him. Lisa recognised me from the video. She also knows well the daughter of a good friend of mine where we may be running an Alpha course later this year. God has it all joined up!

As well as prayer concerning all the above, we have been asked to lead a church weekend in Stratford-on-Avon at the beginning of March. This will be on “God's Secret Weapon – The Tongue”. We really value your prayers and support. Although we seem to be making progress around the edge of the county, Breconshire itself is a tough nut to crack it seems.


Autumn has been ablaze with colour throughout the whole season in this lovely part of the country and we feel privileged to live in the middle of it all. This is a season we missed in coastal Pembs where the leaves generally tend to get blown off before they turn golden – often whilst still green! It has been a busy season for us with Ifor taking 11 harvest festivals most needing new sermons each time as people support each other's. This has been on top of us both being out preaching most Sundays. This autumn I (Penny) manned a Ugandan jewellery stall at 4 different events and did 14 slideshows of Uganda/Kenya at various groups around the county. In addition to this we both led a whole morning on life in Uganda for 100 nine year olds at our son-in-law's school, including getting the children to do African dancing while balancing plastic cups on their heads! The children went on to sell £700 of jewellery made by the children of a school we support in Uganda.

In September I took a couple of ladies from Erwood to join a group from Breconshire W.I.'s on a walking holiday based at Ffald y Brenin in Pembs. One of the group asked me for prayer for a very painful knee for which she was awaiting an operation. She felt God's peace and the pain left so she was able to walk the next two days without pain. A visitor to the centre asked me to pray for a migraine that was starting. She said it tends to come up from a nerve in her foot where she had had a tumour removed 16 years previously. This had left her without three toes and a large chunk of her foot. As I prayed the headache subsided and she felt heat coming upwards along what I presume was a damaged nerve. The following morning she found me just as we were about to leave the centre. She proceeded to take off her sock to excitedly show me three tiny toe buds along the severed edge of her foot that weren't there before and she could wiggle them! To balance this bit of excitement, two new people have come to Waterloo Cottage for healing and as yet have not really seen any improvement. A third one who came to us has received partial improvement to his stiffened neck. The two who have been coming regularly since February for their “incurable” conditions have both seen substantial improvement – one is writing a book about it!

A woman in a nearby town asked us to pray in her house where members of her family had seen three different ghosts and she herself had seen things move, been woken by voices every night that had no source and felt a cold presence regularly. Since we prayed she was no longer being woken at night and things seemed a lot better but in two of the rooms things still moved, even in her sight. We returned to pray again and so far so good. Hopefully all is settled down there now. We will visit her again in the new year, unless she asks us to come back sooner.

Ifor has been helping a farmer who has got very behind with his farm records. So often its the ones who need assistance who do not ask for it, so Ifor will be getting training soon in this line so that he will be able to go around the farms with something worthwhile to offer them. This will enable him to meet a lot more farmers without holding them up from their work. He has had confirmation from a number of sources that this would be a useful service to offer.

Many of you may remember that Ifor started writing a book in 2006 but with everything happening it was never completed. After several promptings he has put aside a few weeks to focus on this, rearranging again and again the format and writing new chapters. He hopes to get this finished by the end of this year and off to publishers.

A few weeks ago Ifor went to a conference like the one we both went to a year ago, learning a way of starting a movement of discovery groups. This has created fast growing movements in other countries around the world but has not been done in this way in this country – yet! He came back
inspired and encouraged, so when his book is finished we hope to start moving forward with this in the new year, getting groups started around the county.
Poor Mary stubbed and broke her toe soon after her return from China so has been convalescing with us whilst looking for new employment. She had an interview in Fishguard Comprehensive School, Pembs and has been offered a contract there until the end of August as a Learning Support Assistant. This suits her perfectly as she is hoping to teach English abroad again after that. This week she and a friend found a flat in St.Davids which they will share. The school hope she can start before Christmas, but this depends on the CRB check being completed. Whilst being here she has helped at a new youth club in Builth Wells started by Christians, a Welsh nursery school in Builth Wells, sat in on English lessons for Ghurka children in a school in Brecon and spoken about her visit to China at a BMS evening in Brecon.

We had a wonderful time in Broad Haven in October when Ben and Helen Dare were inducted as the new ministers there. A huge marquee held 300 people for the service, the rain held off and the church prepared lots of barbecues and puddings to feed everyone. It felt like a good handover and we feel the Dares will lead the church forward and be well liked in the village.

This Christmas the whole family will gather at Waterloo, apart from Katie and Sam in New Zealand who will be included in the celebrations via Skype (wonderful invention)! Before that I will be carol singing with Erwood W.I around the farms and village; playing Joseph in a funny nativity play with Aberedw W.I at a county event; we'll both be at the Erwood station Craft Centre once again at the Christmas do there; then on Christmas morning Ifor will be dressed as a tramp at a joint service nearby! Happy Christmas to you all!



Dear Friends,
We hope you have had a good summer and feel refreshed for the time ahead. Although we have been quite busy, God has given us time these last two months to catch up and spend time with family and friends. It was fun working together towards Penny's dad's 90th birthday celebrations – a garden party for his friends and the family on the big day, then an extended family lunch at Waterloo Cottage where we had twenty to a sit down meal and lots of fun - both a great success.

Katie and Sam have finished working in Samos and have now started a 9 month internship in Australia. Mary is back from six months in China and will be looking for work in teaching English to immigrants in this country. She went straight from Heathrow to help with leading youth from Broad Haven at Soul Survivor in Shepton Mallet where four of them made commitments, along with 900 others during the week. Lucy introduced us to her new boyfriend Mike before she returned to Norway.  We enjoyed his week with us and are looking forward to spending a lot more time with him. We have been back to Broad Haven for two weddings and a funeral, then had a few days holiday there with Becky and Pete, Kevin and Mary- all greatly enjoyable.

We only managed to do two shows this summer with the Ugandan jewellery but these proved fruitful and resulted in further opportunities. Requests for talks on our time in Uganda and Kenya have been pouring in as groups put together their new programmes. Not only does this greatly help the school in Uganda, but also gives us opportunities to make further contacts in different areas and raise awareness of what God is doing today. A school in Hay on Wye want to continue the link with the Ugandan school. Another school where our son- in- law teaches would like to form a link as well and have invited us to bring a Ugandan experience to the children there.  The church in Broad Haven blessed us with a brand new digital projector which has meant we no longer have to travel to keep borrowing one. After showing pictures and speaking at one group about some of the healings we saw whilst in Kenya, a grandmother asked for prayer for her grandson who has a brain tumour that had grown to give him double vision. I had the whole group hold him expectantly before God as I held up his photo and we rebuked the tumour.   Later we heard his vision became clear at the same time as we were praying. Another person with whom we have been praying regularly who also has a brain tumour has improved so much that he is back to riding his bike and the hospital does not want to see him again for several months. After showing slides of people who were healed in Kenya at a church one evening, I went straight from there to a barbecue and told Ifor and Lucy about two people who were healed after the service as a result. One woman overheard and asked to meet with us for prayer for herself. When she came she felt the peace of God so strongly that she wants to bring her sister for prayer for healing too.
 Ifor joined the chaplaincy team for the RWAS and has been on duty at the Dog Show and earlier at the Hound Show. Before the Royal Welsh Show we joined a group praying around the showground which we felt was very effective.  We both served in the Christian Rural Network tent again this year, serving free teas and coffees and biscuits and praying with those who wanted us to. As a result we saw several people healed, including one who was healed simply by walking into the tent, much to her surprise!  Ifor served as a chaplain for one of the days at the Royal Welsh and found his high vis jacket and large label actually helped him have conversations with those showing animals and stallholders.

This summer we prayed from a hill overlooking Crickhowell.  A group local to that area came to join us with their banners and we had a wonderful time praying and blessing the town. One of these people came to see me and has since started a small, outward looking group herself.  Recently we prayed over Knighton and again people from the local area joined us and we felt the morning was very effective.  Earlier in the summer we were invited to join Kilvert’s Pilgrimage Walk between five different churches in his Victorian pastorate.  Ifor was asked to take the service in the last church which was not accessible by road and was lit by candles from each pew end.  Rosie settled herself by the church fireplace!
We are both continuing to preach in different chapels most Sundays.  Through this we try to help people develop a personal walk with God and raise their awareness that beyond their traditional chapel services there is so much more of the Kingdom of God that is accessible to them.  On the healing side, we have put an advert in a countywide bulletin advertising “Alternative Christian Healing” amongst all the ads for reiki, reflexology, hypnotherapy, etc.  Those who contact us will then hopefully come expectantly.  We have seen an increasing degree of healing and deliverance in those we are ministering to long term.  Because of upbringing, one suicidal person was having problems because she did not understand love beyond her love for her children.  For the next couple of hours Jesus gently took her back to her childhood and babyhood in a very special way.  We sat there in awe as Jesus ministered to her.  Life is so very different for her now.  Something similar happened to another person who came. We have also been helping a couple with their marriage.
In the small home group we lead, one lady has given her life to Jesus.  Healing is progressing steadily in her and another lady.  The husband especially is hungry to learn more and more from the Bible.  Both women see very clearly what the Holy Spirit is doing as we minister to them.  One of the group is Russian and at our last meeting we were treated to Russian caviar!  It tasted like a strong version of smoked salmon.
Ifor has become increasingly aware of the difficulty all the form filling is posing to a number of farmers.  As he was explaining to me about the possibility of offering a service for this, a text came in saying  “Whatever is on your mind, do it”!   This text was nearly not sent to him but the writer felt a strong prompting to do so.  Soon afterwards, while at a Golden Wedding in Erwood, Ifor found himself sitting next to two farm inspectors who both vouched that this would be an excellent thing to offer.  The one, who had taken early retirement, had actually considered doing this himself because he saw the need.  So that looks like a green light that could helpfully provide a way of coming alongside some of the busy, hardworking farmers.
 Last week we helped Anne Roberts, who is working alongside us, move house into Breconshire.  God provided that house and the sale of her previous one in a remarkable way.  Two days later we hosted her 60th birthday party which was lots of fun and a great way of getting to know people better.
The Baptist Home Mission are promoting our work again!  This time as part of a series of posters called “Imagine if …”.  The poster shows Ifor talking with a farmer by his tractor, then has a small insert of a closed Baptist chapel in Builth Wells that now sells antiques and bric-a-brac.  You may see it one day!
Thank you so much for your support and prayers. We really appreciate it!
With our love,
Penny and Ifor.

JULY 2011

JULY 2011
Dear Supporter,
So much has been happening in these last few months – we feel the pace is increasing. As well as being out preaching most Sundays, we have been mentoring a number of individuals and ministering healing and deliverance to individuals whose lives have improved significantly as a result. The seeking couple who come regularly to our healing/Bible exploring group have come to and enjoyed three Christian events. They travelled to Ffald y Brenin retreat centre for a day where God gave the wife visions and experiences of His love, a huge angel and a whole legion of the Roman Army! Just before she went back to her family in Russia for a holiday, she told us she feels she is now 95% ‘there’ to becoming a Christian. The husband of the Christian who attends the group had received full healing from a painful knee which had resulted from a motorbike accident when he was a teenager. He is also greatly encouraged by the improvement he sees in his wife’s health so is now much more open.
Another encouragement is that the tiny chapel Erwood has started hosting monthly coffee mornings, often with speakers, in the village hall. These have been well attended by the village and appreciated since the meeting place of the village shop closed at Christmas. From this has sprung a monthly café style Christian service, again quite well attended by a number who would not normally come to a chapel service. At the last one a young couple said they will bring their children next time and would quite like to start going to the chapel!
We lent the Journeys DVD course to a Christian couple near Sennybridge. They have been showing this to a group from their village who now want to do an Alpha course! In addition to this a number of Christians in that area who didn’t know each other before have started meeting together every week in their house. The initial introductions of the members of this new group occurred on top of a hill overlooking Sennybridge. These monthly hilltop prayer walks have continued over various parts of the county, including an Easter sunrise service on a hill overlooking Brecon where different people joined us for the occasion. This morning we met on a hillside overlooking the Elan Valley reservoirs to pray into a prophecy given of God intending to spiritually burst the dams, causing great floods of His Spirit over the land in all directions. Yes Lord!! These reservoirs are at the centre of Wales and the northernmost part of Breconshire.
Since Easter we have been to a Church Planting Leaders Day at the Baptist College; another leaders’ meeting where we received a long encouraging and challenging prophecy from Clem Ferris which was once again spot on; a three day New Wine Leaders’ conference at Cefn Lea, Newtown, which was very encouraging; and of course the recent Baptist Union Assembly in Carmarthen. So we have been well fed!
Seventy different Breconshire Christians took part in the Border Prayer room in Builth Wells over a 24hr period. What a turnout! During May Yvonne Mason, Daphne Godwin (Ffald y Brenin) and Lindy Morgan (24/7 prayer co-ordinator for Wales) organised the Border Prayer from north to south along the Welsh/English border, with pairs of prayer rooms set up either side of the border whilst a group walked the length of Offa’s Dyke. Each prayer room prayed for 24hrs for the other country’s needs, corresponding to the section the walkers had reached, thus seeking to heal any wounds of division.
Penny has done numerous talks and slideshows on Uganda around the county, mostly at W.I. meetings. Through this she has not only made quite a few contacts, but also sold many of the necklaces made by the children of Pastor John’s school in Uganda with which we have maintained links ever since Katie did a gap year there in 2005. We have also sold these recently at a craft fair and a car boot sale where we had good conversations with many people.
The highlight recently has to have been our two week trip to Africa in May. The first week we visited the Farm Schools project in Maseno, Western Kenya, started six years ago by Bruce Collins of New Wine International. Here they are taught simple techniques to improve their crops, which increase five to sevenfold in the first year! The scholars are also taught how to facilitate further schools, now numbering 28 just six years on. They are taught to tithe their produce. A third of the tithe goes to feed orphans and widows, a third to buy seed corn and hoes for new farm schools, and a third to the church who in turn run orphan schools and feeding programmes, etc. Everywhere we went, each of us would have a queue of 5 to 20 adults or children who wanted healing. As we worked our ways down the lines, most of them were healed! Amazing! We also went to pray in very poor/orphan headed homes and again saw healing. A woman almost blind could count fingers 30 metres away afterward! We even went around the local market, praying for those who were open and again saw many healings.
At the end of the week, we went overland by crowded minibus, through the border (an experience!) and into Uganda where we travelled another four hours to Kampala. We stayed in a slum/shanty area on the outskirts where Pastor John runs the school and church. We took a suitcase full of things for the school, including uniforms kindly donated by Mary Immaculate School in Haverfordwest. We also took a bundle of letters from a school in Breconshire for the children in Pastor John’s school, then brought back a similar bundle. We each preached in Pastor John’s church, followed again by many healings and deliverances. We also prayed for each of the children in Moses’ school, 20 minutes up the ‘road’ and also preached and healed there another day. Ligaments were restored with full movement after broken wrists had not healed properly. The 800 photos we took(!) are proving useful to select themes for different talks back in Breconshire to a wide variety of groups.
Since coming back, the healings are continuing but more slowly. The very first Sunday, Penny preached at a tiny church after which a woman there received partial healing without pain for a similar condition to the women with the wrists about which she had testified. The following Sunday she showed pictures and told of the healings to a gathered group of thirty from three house churches, after which she and Lucy (home briefly from Norway) prayed for many and saw quite a few healings and deliverances. Then last Sunday (10th July) Penny showed slides of Kenya with many healing testimonies to a church in Newbridge and two people were healed afterwards.
Two weeks after our return we invited a group of young people to our home to hear a BMS Action Team tell of their time in Brazil. Then three days later our sitting room and stairs held 31 people to hear Azad, a prolific church planter from India, tell his story. People greatly appreciated this and three people received healing afterwards. Many of these 31 people had not met before. We intend to start some New Wine evenings to gather these unconnected Christians to encourage, empower and equip them to be more effective in their witness to the county. We also intend to start a New Wine Leaders’ group soon, and to run a central Alpha course before encouraging other people to run smaller Alpha courses in their homes.
Our family are spread over the world. Mary returns in August from six months with BMS in China, teaching English. I know she would appreciate your prayers as she tries to discern God’s plans for her immediate future. Lucy is back in UK for a month, then returns to Norway to lead the next School of Evangelism at the YWAM base there from the beginning of August. Again , prayers appreciated. Katie and Sam will have two weeks in UK in August after working in Samos before heading to Australia for a nine month internship to train to instructor level in many outdoor sports skills at a Christian centre there. Penny’s dad celebrates his 90th birthday in August and with the help of the family he will be hosting a garden party at his home near Brecon.
Thank you for your continued prayer support.

With our love and appreciation,
Ifor and Penny

MARCH 2011

Ifor and Penny’s Prayer Letter March 2011

As we move from Feb into March there are signs of Spring bursting forth after a cold winter, and signs too of spiritual life coming into bud.
Since our last letter the Baptist Union have published a 9 min film of our work entitled ‘There is a light in the valley’- http// The film focuses on a local farmer called Mervyn, whose life has been transformed by his new relationship with God. This was not our doing, but it’s a wonderful sign of the spiritual new life which is beginning to happen in Breconshire. The film has already had over 2000 viewings on Youtube, as well as being shown in churches all over the country. I often spend a day working with Mervyn on the farm, doing informal discipleship. Six months after his experience of God, his faith grows stronger day by day. Last week he was witnessing to his accountant and the bank manager!
Anne Roberts is now working alongside us, doing a wonderful job ministering to the local Baptist churches, and we meet regularly to talk and pray. Her ministry releases us to focus more on the unchurched. In that context, Penny is receiving more and more invitations to speak to WI, Young Farmers, schools, and other groups about the work we support in Uganda. It opens up so many opportunities to talk about God and the church. Her talks are being very well received and she is fast becoming a popular speaker on the local ‘circuit’. We are going out to Kenya and Uganda in May on a New Wine mission trip and hope to come back with lots of fresh material and stories to share.
In January I spoke at a meeting where a Christian lady came forward for prayer. She suffers from a long standing illness and came to our home a few days later for more prayer. She knew of a non-Christian lady with a similar illness and a week later brought her and her non-Christian husband to our house for prayer. Although there is no definite sign of long term healing, their experience of God’s presence through prayer was such that they are now meeting with us weekly and at their own request we have started a Discovery Bible Study. Both non-Christians are hungry to find out more. This is exactly the scenario we were looking for when we felt led to seek out ‘people of peace’ who would be spiritually open. Watch this space!
Another opening occurred at the end of Feb when I was asked to compere a Young Farmers Drama festival, involving half a dozen local Young Farmers clubs and a packed audience in our local Village Hall. It was not appropriate to share the Gospel, but it was a wonderful opportunity to raise our profile in the local community. We had a similar opportunity at a New Year’s Eve party in the Village Hall, where a local farmer I had not met before, came up to me and told me we were doing ‘a good job’. Sometimes we think not much is happening, but local people watch and listen, and many seeds are being sown.
The teenagers group which meets in our home monthly was postponed a couple of times because of the weather and clashes with Young Farmers events, but we met again at the end of Feb and had a really encouraging time.
Another encouragement was the Cath Woolridge concert which we hosted in Brecon on Feb 15th. Over 100 people turned up and Cath shared her passion for Jesus in a way that inspired everyone there. We showed Mervyn’s film, I shared some more testimonies, and a number of people came forward for prayer, two of whom have made appointments to see us. I know many of you were praying for this event, and I thank you because your prayers really made the difference. Talking of prayer, we are greatly encouraged by the monthly prayer group that ‘goes around the hills’ praying for whatever village or town that lies beneath us. This morning about a dozen of us climbed a hill overlooking Talgarth, and soaked the area in prayer.
Penny and I are out preaching most Sundays, and we also meet with several Christian groups in the area, seeking to help and encourage where we can.
In all the above, we both value and depend on your prayers. Please pray for…..
Our daughter Mary, who is now in China teaching English with BMS
Mervyn and his family, that they will grow in Christ
The Discovery Bible Study group, that they will discover Christ
The many speaking opportunities, that seeds will be sown and a spiritual harvest will result
More openings with community groups, especially the Young Farmers
That God will lead us to more and more ‘people of peace’
We particularly appreciate the ongoing support of the Baptist Union, as well as our home church in Broad Haven, who have just called Ben and Helen Dare to be joint pastors. We rejoice with them at all that God is doing.



 Hope this Christmas letter finds you hearty and healthy, warm and well. At the time of writing in late November we have had frozen snow for 3 days, and last night a record low temp of -18c was recorded not far from where we now live. This morning the River Wye was freezing over and an outside valve on our oil central heating system froze. Penny wasn’t too happy when I wrapped a piece of newspaper around the oil pipe and put a match to it, but it did the trick!
It seems a long time since we completed our ministry at Broad Haven on Jan 31st, bringing to an end a very happy 21 years in our first church. The church put on a wonderful meal and leaving do, and even arranged for Max Boyce to ring me that morning! I can’t remember what he said because I spent most of the conversation trying to work out who was winding me up, before I realised it was the man himself! He even sent me a poem written specially for the occasion. That’s what comes of quoting Max Boyce in my sermons!
We moved to Waterloo Cottage on Feb 2nd and we can’t believe how God has been so good to us. We loved our life in Broad Haven, and this is completely different but equally wonderful.  Goodbye sea but hello mountains; goodbye to life in an active church and hello to life in the country; goodbye to being a church minister and hello to being a missionary. The last may seem a strange comment but that’s probably the best way to describe our new role.  Missionaries in Breconshire. There are 20 Baptist chapels in the county, averaging  8 members,  without a single full time minister between them.  Many of them meet for Sunday worship only once a month, and some of them only 3 or 4 times a year. Our role is to start new work outside the chapels. We started by getting to know the chapels and other Christian groups and have been able to build some good relationships around the county.

A key moment occurred in June when at a local Baptist gathering half of the congregation dropped to their knees in prayer  recognising their desperate need for help.  Nine days later I had a chance conversation with a Baptist minister called Anne Roberts, and to cut a long story short Anne has felt called to come and work alongside us,  but as an Association minister supporting the local chapels, which leaves Penny and I free to focus on getting out into the community.  A few weeks after that chance conversation, a local farmer struggling with lots of personal issues cried out to God for help and within 24 hours God turned his life around. Four months later his life has been transformed and we recently started a discovery bible study in his house.  Discovery Bible Studies, which we encountered whilst attending a church planting conference in Sussex recently,  may well  form a major part of our work.
Despite those encouragements  I have struggled at times with the adjustment from our previous role, sometimes wondering what I am supposed to be doing. I have come through that and now have a much clearer picture of what we are called to do and how we can do it. Penny on the other hand has thrown herself into our new life and is loving every moment. She has joined the local WI and spoken at  WI, Mother’s Union, schools, and Young Farmers meetings, as well as preaching in the local chapels and taking a stall around the local Agricultural Shows this Summer. She has also started a group for teenagers meeting monthly in our home. In October she had another major op and is recovering well,  though she is not very good at pacing herself.  What’s new?

Now that Penny and I have moved to a new house and our children live elsewhere, this letter is no longer from the Williams family as such,  but let me catch you up briefly with our family news. The big event of the year was Katie’s marriage to Sam Knott,  a very welcome addition to the family!  They had an amazing start to married life, with a month’s honeymoon in Seattle, courtesy of some generous  American friends, followed by six months working together at a holiday resort in the Greek Islands. They are now back in the UK, living and working in Chester.
Becky and Pete are very settled near  Newport, especially since Pete finished his PGCE and got a teacher’s job just 15 minutes from where they live. They will be going to Pete’s parents in Dubai for Christmas.  Lucy meanwhile is still working with YWAM in Norway, and thoroughly enjoying it. She is currently on staff for the School of Evangelism, but from next September will be leading the school herself.  Staying abroad, Mary is planning to leave for China in February, taking a post teaching English for six months in a school at Yantai on China’s east coast. She is presently living and working in Carmarthen.  Kevin is the only one still in Pembrokeshire, based at Sealyham Activity Centre. After putting his shoulder out 17 times, he finally had an operation this Summer  which has hopefully sorted it.
Coming back to Waterloo, we are very happy in our new home. Rosie enjoys her walks on the common and along the river bank, and the ducks have never been so happy, with their own stream, pond, and even a few waterfalls!  If anyone fancies a break in beautiful countryside, we have two  spare bedrooms!
Have a wonderful Christmas, and we wish you all the best for 2011.
Lots of love,
Ifor and Penny


OCT 2010

Hello from the hills and valleys of Breconshire! The season of Harvest Thanksgiving is upon us and we are enjoying the Autumn colours which are very pronounced in this part of the world. As I write the rain is pouring down and our waterfall is quite spectacular.

First of all, apologies for taking so long to write. Some things never change, including my amazing gift of admin(!) That apart, our life and ministry has changed beyond recognition. It felt really strange at first, not being based in a local church, but we have adapted to the change and are thoroughly enjoying our new life. Although our main calling is to start new work, we have felt it right to begin by building relationships with other Christians in Breconshire, both in Baptist chapels, other denominations, and various groups that meet in halls and homes etc. We have covered a lot of ground in recent months, have preached in most of the 20 Baptist chapels, and have built many good relationships with all sorts of people. We feel this is a necessary 'foundation' which we needed to lay before starting new work.

If anything, the state of the Baptist chapels is even worse than we thought. We knew there were 20 chapels without a minister, but we didn't realise that only half meet for worship every Sunday, many meet only once a month, and some just a few times a year. I took a Harvest service last week, which will be the last service in that chapel until Easter, partly because the building has no electricity and so they cannot meet during the winter. What amazed me even more was that many chapels, including the stronger ones, don't meet at all at Easter as nearly all of the congregation are busy lambing day and night. However, on the plus side many of the chapel folk are strong Christians with lovely hearts and a real burden to pray. Our new Assoc President preached on prayer at her induction, and at the end of the service over half of the congregation literally fell to their knees in prayer. Sometimes things are so low the only way is up! The new president, Ruth Hargest, has also instigated a monthly 'outdoor' prayer meeting, which usually involves climbing a hill and praying over whatever town and valley we look down on.

Another lady has been praying for her valley and local chapel for 15 years with little visible result. Until this July when the secretary of the four member chapel had an amazing experience of God which has transformed his life. He recently gave his testimony at a local Sankey evening, and those who knew him (all 60 of the congregation), were astounded at the change in him. We are currently meeting regularly with him and his wife, and they are both growing in Christ.

This Summer Penny had the idea of taking a stall around the local agricultural shows, which is where the whole community come out to meet and catch up with each other. We sold necklaces made by poor children in Uganda, which gave us an opportunity to speak about the work of the church out there, as well as our calling to Brecon. This led to many new contacts and relationships, and as a result Penny has been invited to speak at a number of schools and WI meetings, and we have both been invited separately to speak at a Young Farmers Club, which is a real answer to prayer. Earlier in the summer we had a BBQ for teenagers, and two weeks ago held our first monthly teenagers meeting in the house, with 13 in attendance. We had hoped to have started an Alpha by now but are learning to go at the Lord's pace not ours. As well as building many good relationships with Christians, we have also been focusing on those outside the church. Penny has joined the local WI and I am in the process of joining a male voice choir and a local running club.

One huge encouragement is that Anne Roberts, a former missionary in Albania who has since trained for the ministry, has felt a calling to work alongside us in Breconshire. She feels a strong calling to work amongst the chapels, which would release us to focus on new work. We get on really well together, she has been well received by the Baptist Association, and the BUW Ministry Board has just agreed funding. Anne is very excited about the new appointment and is hoping to start work in November. The details and final endorsement will hopefully be sorted out at the Assoc Half Yearly meeting on Oct 9th. Prayer points are as follows...............

  1. Guidance for the Assoc as we sort out the details of Anne's appointment, and guidance for Anne as she looks for a house in Breconshire. She already has her own home in Llandrindod Wells, which is only 7 miles north of Builth, so she can easily be based there for the beginning of her ministry.
  2. That the new ministry to teenagers will develop and grow. Most of them have a Sunday School background, but are not necessarily Christians.
  3. That the various speaking engagements with secular groups will lead to more contacts and openings for the Gospel.
  4. That God will bless our membership of various secular groups, and that the light of Christ will be seen in our lives and have an impact on the lives of others.
  5. That Mervyn, the man who give his testimony, will continue to grow in Christ and that his transformation will be a real witness to his neighbours and friends. Also for his wife Eleanor, that she would experience the same presence of God in her life.
  6. That Penny's operation on Oct 21st will go well and that she will have a good recovery. (Her major op last December has healed well but it wasn't successful in doing all that was needed).
  7. That the Holy Spirit will guide us clearly as we seek to follow Jesus who only did what he saw his father doing. Which sometimes means saying 'no' rather than 'yes'!
  8. That God's blessing will be upon a major worship event we are planning with Cath Woolridge and New Wine, to take place somewhere in Breconshire in the New Year. The provisional date is Tuesday Feb 15th.

APRIL 2010

                APRIL 2010

Penny and I have settled into Waterloo Cottage in Erwood (originally built in 1816, one year after the battle of Waterloo). It's a lovely place and we are blessed and fortunate to be here. Our ducks are in seventh heaven in that they now have clean running water to swim in, as well as the seven foot waterfall further upstream. The neighbours are very friendly and helpful, even to the extent that one of them brought over a barrow load of logs for our fire! When we first arrived we were quite taken aback with the warmth of the welcome,with 8 or 10 people knocking on our door to say hello during the first couple of weeks. I met more of the locals when I went to the pub to watch the rugby, and Penny met a completely different set of locals when she joined the WI. We must have made an impression somewhere because I have received the great honour of being invited to open the Church and Chapel fĂȘte in July!

We have also found a warm welcome in the chapels we have visited, with everyone pleased to see us, and many promising to pray for us in our new venture. Although God has given us some clear ideas about what he wants us to do, we felt it was best to concentrate first on getting to know people before we rushed into any organised events or groups. We go to different chapels every Sunday and I have preached or led a Bible Study on 7 different occasions so far, as well as sitting in the congregation and getting to know the people. I was invited to share our calling at a meeting of the Congregational Church, and also invited to the inauguration of the Talgarth Free Church, a result of the Baptist, Presbyterian and URC churches in Talgarth coming together. Sadly the total membership of the new church is only 12 people, a sad reflection on the state of the chapels in this area. We have also spent time with people from three different house churches in Brecon, Builth Wells, and Llandrindod, and met for coffee with a number of Christian contacts, as well as meeting with the ministers of the Rads and Monts Association at their regular fraternal. We spent the best part of a day with a group from a Catholic church in Hay, and have joined several other groups for prayer. We have had quite a few meals with people round about, and are planning to invite others to us when Penny has fully recovered from her operation. This week we helped out at a New Wine Cymru Kingdom Intensive course in Cardiff. It was a timely reminder that our call to Brecon is to start new work, which includes sharing the Good News that Jesus is King, and that he is as powerful and relevant today as he was 2000 years ago.

It's been quite frustrating for Penny having to convalesce after a big operation, at the same time as moving into a new house and starting a new job, not to mention all the preparations for Katie's wedding on Mar 27th. Having said that we are slowly sorting ourselves out, buying some new bookcases and managing to unpack about 40 boxes of books! We can now see the colour of the Study carpet.

We are extremely fortunate that both Baptist Unions are fully supportive of our calling, and jointly funding my salary. Nick Bradshaw from the BUGB and Marc Owen from the BUW are part of a support group which has been set up, and they will both be taking part in our Commissioning Service at Watergate Baptist Church in Brecon, 5pm on Sunday May 16th. You are very welcome to join us and stay for refreshments afterwards. It would really encourage the Brecon churches to see a good crowd joining together on that occasion, and it would encourage us as well!

  • that we would continue to meet and build relationships with people across Breconshire
  • that God would lead us to 'people of peace' who might be open to hosting Alpha etc
  • that we would be led by God and not rush into doing things because we feel 'we ought'
  • that Penny's healing would continue and her frustration would not!
  • that our own walk with God would deepen day by day and that we would hear his voice