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 fête 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.
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