Thursday, 13 November 2014

Summer/Autumn 2014

The summer of 2014 has certainly been a long, mostly hot and dry one. Even September turned out to be the driest since records began in 1910. The clematis around our front door has been stunning for several months.

Much prayer went into the Angus Buchan event at Bronydd Mawr this summer.  As I was walking up the hillside with the prayer group to the huge cross recently planted there (enjoy the story of this in our last blog), I felt the Lord say to me "This is the rooftop of Wales". After the 22ft cross was erected, we heard that the local name for the area is Bwlch y Groes (pass of the cross) which suggests there may have been a previous cross there, or at least one carried through the pass. The owners of Bronydd Mawr recently bought the common.  Since this purchase they learnt of a prophecy saying they would buy a hill!

We then went on to pray around the shed where the event was to take place.  Two people brought prayer banners declaring the sovereignty of the Trinity and an explosion of the Kingdom of Heaven into the shed.  A swallow fluttered around the tops and corners of the shed that we couldn't reach, and then a collared dove flew right through the length of the barn!  Fancy a dove flying through a dark shed on a sunny day!

Much preparation was involved in steam cleaning, clearing ground for erecting portaloos,  collecting and erecting chairs and stage, and so much more.  The local newspaper had printed three separate articles relating to the anticipation of and preparation for the event.  The long awaited day unfolded and below is the report which the newspaper printed.

Over 700 people packed into the sheep shed at Bronydd Mawr Farm, Trecastle on Tuesday, 10th June to hear
Angus Buchan, the South African farmer/
who always draws huge crowds.  The seats had all been taken half an hour before the event was due to start, and still people kept pouring in.  Despite the torrential rain over the county that day, even in the nearby village of Trecastle itself, the lane up to the farm was bone dry and the field set aside for parking had dried out enough to take the 300 cars without any hiccups.  Several buses also brought people from further afield and there was a happy, expectant buzz about the place.

As the strains of Dyma Gariad (Here is love) subsided, Angus took to the flat-bed trailer stage.  The vast crowd hung on his every word as he not only showed he understood the times and predicaments people find themselves in, but also offered hope, encouragement and opportunity to step out in faith into the future.  Streams of people pressed forward to respond to his message and reports are coming in of people having been healed, outlooks and situations changing and a fresh hope springing up.  One farmer, who had traveled from West Wales, said he felt over eight years of depression just lift off him and a new hope and joy take its place.

Breconshire was the start of Angus's seven day speaking tour which continues in Ireland, Scotland and England, finishing in Worcester on Monday 16th before he returns to his farm and orphanage in South Africa.

As a follow up to this successful event, Rev Ifor Williams, himself an ex farmer, will speak at Bronydd Mawr on "Growing Your Faith".  This will be at 7.30 on Thursday, 19th June to which all are welcome.

We have been to a number of the local shows this summer, selling the paper bead jewellery made by the children from two Ugandan schools we are involved with. At one village show we sold over £200 worth of jewellery for the children!  These have again opened up new opportunities to do slideshows to various groups
One of these slideshows at a the Fuchsia Society led to me being offered a free table to sell the jewellery and promote the work at Brecon Gardening Club's annual show in the Market Hall in Brecon which for me was very worthwhile. It was lovely that my auntie and her friend were able to join me there.

With the lovely weather we've had over the summer, we invited our neighbours to a BBQ at our home which was lovely and relaxing and gave opportunity to get to know them better. On another occasion Ifor was asked to speak at a BBQ in Bwlch for the local Gideons.
It was a happy occasion when Ifor took the wedding of Mervyn and Eleanor's daughter. As they came out of the chapel they found six of the local Young Farmers' Club holding an archway of pitch forks for them and all the guests to walk under. (We had the same lovely surprise at our own wedding 37 years ago!)   Ifor has also taken several funerals, including sadly the funeral of Geoffrey, one of the founding members of our first home group here, after a long and determined fight against cancer.  It has not been easy for his Russian widow who has had to make lots of big decisions so soon after the funeral.

We have been preaching in numerous churches over these last few months and Ifor has led many Harvest Festivals which are generally very well attended in this rural area, often being the only service that people will attend.  One of these was right up in the Gwesyn valley where he had recently attended the funeral of one of the two members of the chapel there.  The coffin was carried across the valley on the wooden bier stored in the back of the chapel.

I was asked to speak at a women's group at the Baptist church in Abergavenny. Instead of doing lots of talking, I had them learning for themselves how to hear God speaking to them through both natural and man-made objects I placed on a central table.  So following in the footsteps of Jeremiah and many others in the Bible, they had a go and found that not only does God speak in a variety of ways, He also is not that difficult to hear if only we "tune in" to Him!  They were both encouraged and challenged by some of the things He said to them and showed them.

After speaking about our work and vision at a SWBA meeting in Brecon, Ifor continued on to Warwick, with a couple of church-in-the-home planters from near Newport, to meet with Wolfgang Simpson, author of "Houses that Change the World", by kind invitation. We also went to the
New Wine Cymru summer Leaders' conference in Swansea with Randy Clark and I went  another time to the Caleb Advance, hosted in Brecon. Ifor went to a two day discussion in Birmingham along with BU representatives from Scotland and England, looking at ways forward.  In June I went with Lucy and Timo to the Company of Burning Hearts three day conference in Cardiff with Justin Abrahams, Ian Clayton and Paul Keith Davies.  Different but good. Since then I went with a friend from Crickhowell to a follow up School of the Spirit with Justin Abrahams.

At the Baptist Union of Wales Assembly, Ifor was inducted  as President. Unfortunately this has not been an easy year for the BUW, as discussions to unite Baptists across Wales have broken down, resulting in some difficult meetings which Ifor has had to chair. Ifor has also been heavily involved with Farm Community Network activities, including a new initiative at a monthly cattle market. After a lot of work making contacts around the County, some of those contacts have resulted in some intensive pastoral care. Sometimes we seem to be spreading ourselves very thinly over a wide area, but God showed us recently that a key part of our work is simply to meet people here and there and be a spiritual influence at key times in their lives. A bit like Jesus who often met people on the road, spoke into their lives, and then moved on.

The hilltop prayer group continues to meet, and one month we prayed from a hill overlooking Erwood and Llyswen and beyond. Another month took us back to a hill overlooking Llanwrtyd Wells. Here we met Richard and Jan.  Richard was on the staff at a YWAM base in Scotland and since then they have been leading a church plant there before moving down to Llandrindod Wells recently. This month we prayed over Crai.  The Lord is wonderful in giving us Spiritual insight to help us know how how He wants us to pray in these areas.

On a calm, warm day at the end of August, over fifty people gathered on the banks of the River Wye in Erwood to witness a lady being baptised. After doing a Christianity Explored course and the follow on course with Anne Roberts, the lady asked to be baptised in the river.  Her family came to support her. Two days later her husband had an unexpected encounter with God whilst installing a velux window on a roof!  He went home and looked for a Bible. Google suggested he start with the gospel of John where he found some familiar stories that he recalled hearing in his childhood.  He downloaded an app for his phone and started listening regularly to the whole of the New Testatment, on one occasion coming home at
 lunchtime to recharge his batteries! He is now on his eighth time around and loving it.  He has found himself to be growing in patience and friendliness, while she recognizes her confidence has grown, as the Holy Spirit works in their lives.  Anne is leading her and a friend in weekly bible studies on the Old Testament.

When we started "Table Church" in our home a week after the baptism, the husband asked  his wife if he could come too, which surprised her and the rest of her family.  Another couple from Rhayader joined us as we enjoyed a meal together, including taking communion in the natural way in which the early church partook. One said he wouldn't normally go to a church but he liked that. Another said it was brilliant.  The following week the second couple were unable to join us due to illness, but we still had a good time looking into the Bible around the table to find answers to some of their questions. Another person has since joined us.

Product DetailsA fortnight ago we restarted the monthly film shows in our home, for local people starting with the new film of the book Heaven is for Real which many people around here have now read.  This went down well, with a break in the middle for bring and share food and chat. Several people borrowed books afterwards. Two people from this film evening would like to start coming to Table Church.
As many people in the county now have read this book, we hope to encourage some of them to show the film in their homes, inviting their friends around to watch it with them.  This could be a way to precede Table Church in a number of homes.  One person in a church where we sometimes preach bought a copy of the book for her married daughter who enjoyed it so much that she asked her mum to send any similar books to her.  I suggested The Shack which is also proving an excellent tool in introducing the possibility of a God of love to people who don't go to a church.

slide-8Last month the Baptist College in Cardiff asked us to talk to their students for a couple of hours about how we are going about rural ministry and mission in Breconshire and relating some of the things God is doing.  We had some very encouraging comments and emails afterwards from the students. One informed me that as a result of me doing a similar talk a couple of years ago to a combined group of rural churches in Herefordshire, they have decided to look to employ a rural missioner!

An exciting time for our family was the wedding of our daughter Lucy to Timo in Estonia where our three other daughters were bridesmaids. It was wonderful my brother and family were also able to come and we enjoyed getting to know Timo's family. We erected a marquee in the grounds of Timo's family home on the edge of Lake Pepsi which forms the boundary with Russia.  We arrived in time to prepare for the big event,
including making the cake. The best tool to cream the hard muscavado sugar proved to be Timo's dad's electric drill!
But it turned out fine.  They asked Ifor to take the service, during which Mary sang Dyma Gariad as a solo and both sets of parents laid hands on the couple as we prayed for them. There were lots of interesting and lovely traditions from both countries which we all enjoyed. After the marquee was down and everything tidied away, we had a week sightseeing locally and then in the walled medieval city of Tallin with its many towers.                                           Lucy and Timo are now living back in Norway where Timo is leading the
worship at the YWAM base and Lucy is working in a kindergarten while she improves her Norwegian to the standard at which she can take a degree there in Social Studies.

It has been lovely this year getting to know our two grandchildren better. Thomas is now six months old and developing his unique character.  Caleb celebrated his first birthday combined with his dedication before he left with his parents for a fortnight in California, visiting family friends and attending a leaders conference with Bill Johnson at Bethel Church in Redding.

Sorry you have had such a long wait since our last update in May.  Sorting, clearing and putting on the market two houses from our parents has taken much time and been emotionally quite draining. But thank you for your much appreciated prayer support.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Gold from the Dirt ?

Isn't it amazing how God brings gold from the dirt!  Out of what appears to be barren land, new shoots appear and carpets of daffodils wave their golden heads almost prophetically. Ifor spoke recently about poppies and how they covered the disturbed trenches after lying dormant for sometimes a hundred years.  I had a sense that there are numerous "poppy seeds" lying dormant in Breconshire.  The ground just needs disturbing, then God will astound us. Many people are noticing so many bluebells this year, even cropping up in places where they haven't been known to grow before.  God is cropping up in ways and places that wasn't the case when we first came here.  We are noticing more openness to Him among the farming community.  "The times, they are a-changing!"

In the run up to Angus Buchan's visit to the county on 10th June at Bronydd Mawr Farm, Trecastle, I have sown fifty copies of his book "Faith Like Potatoes" into the hands of mostly farmers we know.  These have been gratefully received and quite a few people have lent them on to their friends and family after reading them. 760 miles well spent of driving around the county! We've put up nearly eighty posters inviting people to the five film shows of the enacted story of the book, projected in different village halls (all with permission).  The Brecon and Radnor Express has printed not just the advert we put in, but also the article we wrote, accompanied by a good sized photo of Angus.  We don't want people hearing about the event afterwards and wishing they'd known before. Whether people choose to come to hear him speak or not, the stories of what God has done in his eventful life have found their way into people's homes. More details on

The Faith Like Potatoes DVD has been translated into 17 different languages and over two million copies have been sold worldwide to an estimated audience of 100 million people!  Our first village hall showing of it attracted just four people! Yet we came away greatly encouraged as those who came were keen to advertise the June event to their friends, family and those they work amongst.  We put out copies of Faith Like Potatoes, The Shack, Heaven is for Real and The Final Frontier as they all related to an aspect of Angus's life story. These four were keen to borrow the books and share them with each other.

The following evening we showed the film in Erwood.  Thirty came to that showing.  One woman came early, having travelled twelve miles, because she saw the article in the newspaper and thought it looked interesting.  She didn't appear to have any Christian connections.  Afterwards she was hungry to borrow three of the books we'd put out.  Another woman painfully walked to the hall with a very sore foot.  During the showing of the film she felt tingling in her foot.  By the time she got up to go home she found she could walk easily.
We showed the film in Upper Chapel the next evening and twenty people came.  All of these were Christians, yet they went away inspired and keen to advertise the June event amongst those they know.  The next two film showings will be in Crai on 14th May and Llandovery on 18th May.  Meanwhile our copy of the DVD will hopefully be circulating around different homes.

Until last week the shed at Bronydd Mawr, Trecastle, which will seat up to 700, has been full of young cattle.  Will God bring gold out of this mucky place?  It has been watered with a lot of prayer.  Ifor has been help- ing to steam clean the shed while others have been preparing the ground outside.

In May last year our hill prayer group planted a potato on a hill top as a prophetic symbol of growth we anticipate God bringing to his family in Breconshire. Last month our hill prayer group went to pray at Bronydd Mawr.  Before we prayed around the cattle shed, we gathered to pray at a huge cross that had been erected on a hill top on the farm just the day before, visible from the A40.  It is 28 foot long, six foot of which is in the ground and 22 feet majestically standing tall.  The impact of it as we gathered around it to pray was awesome. When Stuart and Liz went to seek permission to erect it on their
land, there was strong resistance until they mentioned an evangelist coming from South Africa. That changed everything, since they had heard of Angus and even had many of his books!  So the cross is up!  Initially they couldn't get it in the ground because of solid rock. When Stuart and Liz drove down to the main road, they saw it needed to move a few feet over from where they were trying unsuccessfully to dig.  They moved it to the more visible spot and it went in easily.  Reminiscences of Ffald y Brenin?  We pray God will also use this cross powerfully.

Farming funerals are often huge around here.  Ifor went to the local funeral of our neighbour's brother.  Over 750 people came to it!  Then Ifor took the funeral of a farmer's wife who loved Jesus and her life showed it, so very easy to preach Jesus there to the nearly 300 who attended.  My elderly friend, with whom I worked at the Mountain Centre when I was a teenager, had his funeral this morning and his widow was singing Ifor's praises to her relative afterwards.  He had a lovely faith in God and regularly attended the village chapel. His huge funeral reflected how so many loved him.

This afternoon Mervyn was inducted as President of the Breconshire Baptist Association.  After showing the nine minute video taken in 2010 (search youtube for "there is a light in the valley") Mervyn talked about how God prompts him with what to do on the farm day by day and challenged us all to repent of anything that could be blocking a closeness in our individual relationships with the Father.  He encouraged us all to hold hands in a large circle in the chapel and do this together.  It was very powerful and uniting and God's presence was very strong.
After Ifor had prayed for Mervyn, Anne (Association minister) prayed for Ifor as he comes in as President of the BUW next month.

Ifor continues to milk three mornings a week at Glasbury.  Over the winter the parlour has been extended to take 64 cows at a time and the herd of New Zealand Friesians has been increased to 500.  (I could only fit some of the herd in the photo!) There are always two milking at a time, sometimes three if extra things need doing.  Glasbury  has a local book club where the secretary of Glasbury Chapel has suggested "Heaven is for Real" as being the next book they all read and comment on.  This suggestion was well received and many were intrigued by the review of the book. 

We had our four year review with the Baptist Union at the end of April.  As we spoke about what God has been doing, what we have done and been through and how we see the future panning out, it had the effect of encouraging us, as well as the review team.  So that was good.

Ifor was invited to speak at an outreach dinner in Llandysul where he challenged the thirty people there to 'let go and let God', using lots of 'God stories' from our life so far.

The lady in the nearby village I've been praying with is continuing to receive healing from Jesus.  During the Easter service in her local church she felt the Holy Spirit come on her very gently but powerfully and the little pain she had left melted away.  She is now able to walk without frame, or crutches and is even able to drive again.  Praise God.

On the family front we have very exciting news.  Our daughter Becky gave birth to our gorgeous grandson Thomas Owen Bela Matyus on 17th April in Cardiff, weighing in at 8lb 6oz.

Our equally gorgeous first grandson Caleb is now six months old and was quite intrigued with his younger cousin when he came down from Chester to meet him.  We are so blessed, as are both babies and their parents.   Both babies will need their own passports to travel out to Estonia at the end of May for our daughter Lucy's marriage to Timo.  Ifor will be taking the service and our three other daughters will be bridesmaids, along with a good friend of Lucy's. We're looking forward to it and to meeting Timo's family.

Thank you again for your support and prayers.  We feel we are on the edge of another stage in our work here and that God is very definitely on the move.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Early Spring Update 2014

Wasn't it lovely to see the snowdrops coming through after a dreary, wet winter?  They always bring with them the promise of a new season, and Ifor and I both feel that 2014 is going to be significant.  This sense is also held by many Christians we speak with, so we go into the new year with hope and expectancy, watching God's Kingdom quietly spreading.

We have now been in Breconshire for four years, and sometimes we are frustated with the lack of any obvious progress or breakthrough, but Ifor was encouraged recently with a prophecy he received while at a New Wine Cymru leaders meeting. It went something like this......"Ifor I saw you wearing what appeared to be 'school shoes', and I felt God was saying that you are like a teenager still at school but frustrated, wanting to leave school and experience life in the 'real world'. But God is saying he has put you in a situation where he wants you to learn. He has sent you back to school, and you need to accept that, and focus on learning what God is showing you."   We recognise the truth of that, but at the same time feel as if a new term is about to start.

It was good to meet up with Sarah and her husband Brian in Hay.  She moved here soon after we did and like us has been watching to see what she thinks could work in this county.  Talking with other mums at the school gate, she has become aware that a number of them would be interested in exploring Christian spirituality together with their children.  Starting this coming September Sarah has planned a gathering every other month around bring and share food, with such intriguing titles as "Communion by numbers", "a Nursery Rhyme Mass" and "Celtic Breaking of Bread".  The aim is to learn together in creative ways how to be the body of Christ in their community.  I will be supporting her in this.

A major event this year will be the visit of Angus Buchan, the South African farmer who has seen
many miraculous answers to prayer, especially on his farm.  Breconshire will this year be the venue for the Wales visit on his tour schedule.  The Barn at Bronydd Mawr, Trecastle, will seat 500 to700 and the planning is underway.  Although a well known speaker in other parts of the country, very few in Breconshire have heard of him.  So far we have bought over forty copies of his book "Faith Like Potatoes" which tells his story.  We are taking these to different farmers we know around the county and encouraging them to lend them to their friends and families before the event on June 10th. Included in the books is a coloured postcard invitation to the event and to one of three (so far) village hall venues where we will be showing the film of the book at the beginning of May after most of the lambing will have finished.  These have been very well received.

Also included in these books are cards informing farmers about the Goshen Project by directing them to the website .  This is a recent project where a small group of intercessors in Breconshire pray confidentially for farms and farmers on request.  Based on the fact that the cattle of the Israelites who lived in Goshen, Egypt, did not suffer the plagues sent on the Egyptians, this prayer group intercedes for farms under threat of TB and other things.  It is advertised to the farmers as "Seeking practical and spiritual solutions to farming problems through prayer."

The very first person to receive a 'Faith Like Potatoes' book invited me into the lambing shed where a lamb was born at my feet. She accepted when I offered to pray for a painful frozen shoulder she'd had for a few weeks and was amazed when the pain left and she was able to lift her arm higher and higher.  I'd prayed beforehand that as club leader for one of the Young Farmers' Clubs she would open a way there for me.  Without my mentioning anything, she was asking me about the possibility of showing the Angus Buchan film to her club!  Another farmer I took a book to was also open to prayer for her knee, which needed an operation. She felt a tingling there as I prayed which surprised her.  As the pain was not constant, she said she would let me know.

One farmer arranged for Ifor to go on a lambing course.  This is run by a vet and popular with both experienced sheep farmers and beginners.  Ifor learnt a lot as he has done very little lambing.  This farmer then had him cement his learning by putting it into practice the following week and left him to it for a couple of afternoons during which time Ifor lambed twelve ewes including dealing with awkward presentations.  Ifor is hoping to be able to help farmers struggling on their own during these busy couple of months where they have very little sleep.

The Royal Welsh showground is a wonderful place to pray into all sorts of national decisions and situations around Wales as many businesses have buildings there for the show weeks.  This time the outdoor prayer group prayed for the young people of Wales outside the Young Farmers building, the Welsh Assembly outside that building, the lambing, etc. in the sheep shed, situations affecting cattle in the cattle sheds, and that God would be glorified in the main ring where some of the best of His creation will be on show.

The outdoor 'hill prayer group" prayed at Mervyn's farm in Lower Chapel. He is converting an old barn into a house, and had previously seen it as a purely financial venture, but more recently he is feeling that God wants to use the place for something spiritual. None of us know what God's plans are, but as we prayed we all got a sense that God has real plans for the place. One of the group shared a personal matter, and as we prayed and saw God minister to her, we all felt as though this was just a small sign of how God is going to be dealing with people in that place in that place in years to come.

Last month we drove down to Wentloog near Newport to visit Nigel and Maria Phipps. This couple have recently started a growing home church which meets weekly with people taking it in turns to provide the evening meal which always ends in sharing the bread and wine.  We stayed on to join their gathering of mostly unchurched guests in the evening.  This included three teenage boys who are just as keen to come as their parents. The concept of multiplying these home churches was introduced from the start and so already a few of the group are looking forward to starting their own groups from amongst their neighbours.  Nigel and Maria's website is:  The following week Ifor went down to the group again as they were having an evening where they were considering their vision for home churches.  This week Ifor went down to a meeting in Cardiff where several pioneer church planters came together under the auspices of the Baptist Union.

I was asked to be the speaker at the Women's World Day of Prayer for a several churches gathered in Gilwern.  The theme of the day was "Streams in the Desert" with an Egypt focus. I centred it on part of Hebrews 11 and spoke about "Hope in the midst of apparent Hopelessness", ending with praying for commitment and for being so filled with the Holy Spirit that "streams of Living Water" would flow out of each of us to change the situations around us.  It even got applauded!! Around here very few people comment on the sermon, but that was not the case this time.  I pray that the people there will continue to let the Holy Spirit work in and through them. It turned out that my talk was spot on for a first timer there whom I got to pray for afterwards.  She says she now wants to start going regularly to one of the churches represented.

Recently Ifor took the wedding of the daughter of a local vet.  The wedding was held at the ancient chapel of Maesyronnen, built in the 1690s by converting the cattle shed of a traditional longhouse. It is has hardly changed since then and was visited very recently by Prince Charles because he was intrigued by it. The name of every minister of this chapel since its founding is engraved on the pulpit. The chapel is the white part of the photo, the nearest half being the cottage. Seven of the members of this chapel came on the Alpha course we led last year at the cafĂ© in Glasbury.

The monthly youth group in our home has not met since the end of November, mostly because of many commitments the majority of the teenagers have with events with the Young Farmers Clubs.
This has provided time for me to reflect on the way forward with them.  Usefully in the middle of this time, a Youth Leaders' Retreat was held at Llangasty, organised by the Officer for Youth of the Anglican diocese.  He has lent me some resources which I might use.  Whilst standing outside under a heavily laden larch tree, gazing out at the beautiful lake view, God drew my attention to the clusters of larch cones suspended above me.  Some twigs carried many, some just a few, rather like the grains on the ears of wheat Jesus referred to.  As I pondered this in terms of home groups and effective outreach, a beautiful rainbow shone!
I enjoyed doing a Uganda evening with the Brownies in Brecon.  This invitation came about as a
result of contact made at Brecon Museum when I lent some things for a big guiding display there soon after we moved here.  She was leading the Brownies that week as the Brown Owl was away, and remembered me!  The girls were very interested in slides showing life over there and had fun trying to balance books on their heads whilst dancing Ugandan style!  They also had a go at making beads, learning some Lugandan words and singing a praise song in Kiswahili.  Their parents were generous in buying the jewellery made by the Ugandan children to help pay for their schools.

I was also invited to do a slideshow on Horticulture in Kenya and Uganda - a new one for me - at the Fuchsia Society which meets just outside Brecon. It went down well and resulted in an invitation to have a free stall selling Ugandan jewellery at Brecon Garden Club flower and veg show in September.
One of the schools I sell these beads for was founded by  Moses, mostly for orphans.  He cleared the rented site which was a town rubbish tip, built and leads the school as a Christian headmaster, but now the landlord wants the land back.  He has been increasing the rent ridiculously and has now evicted them. Moses fortunately now owns land near his home and would like to build a boarding school on this so the same children can continue their education.  His request for prayer and money with which to do this is urgent.  PLEASE contact us ASAP if you or your church could help with this.  We can vouch for his honesty and heart 100%.

I have joined a local walking group which brings together a growing number of people each month.  This gives a lovely opportunity to chat with and get to know people and our dogs approve!
I also went to a baroque concert in a church with my auntie and her friend in Llangynidr.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I already knew some of the people there that evening and they knew me.  Because of deep flooding, we had to find a different way back!

This week Ifor was elected to be the next president of the Baptist Union of Wales, starting in June at the BUW Assembly.  This is at a critical time when the English and Welsh speaking wings  of BUW are considering the possibility of joining together in some way with other Baptist groups to form one united Baptist family in Wales.  He has been involved in the move towards this for the last few years.  He is still Superintendent for Breconshire and chairs the National Settlement Team.

I prayed with a Christian lady in a nearby village recently, after a complicated operation and little progress.  The following night she was able to turn over in bed for the first time since the operation three months previously. Praise God!  Also she found she was walking with her frame more easily, had more freedom with one of her exercises and no pain in her leg.  At the day hospital she is now introducing God into conversations and senses God will use her increasingly in this way.  However, progress seems to be slowing now. I intend to visit and pray with her again soon.  Its lovely to hear how God is using her even through this convalescence.

I took a friend to see the Riding Lights Theatre company performing "Inheritance" - their excellent interpretation of the Passion of Christ. At the close, people who wanted to respond at the foot of the cross were invited to come forward, read a prayer of commitment and use the oil of "the fragrance of Christ" on themselves as they wished.  She wanted to come forward with me to do this.  It was a lovely moment and very special.

We had a shock at the beginning of February when my wonderful dad died suddenly but with a
lovely look of peace on his face.  He'd had heart failure for years, but when the time came he slipped away suddenly but peacefully.  He had fallen so gently as a glass of water on a wobbly table was still intact.  He was about to drive into town, as he did daily to get his paper and do his shopping.  At 92 he cooked lovely meals, looked after himself and still did a bit in the garden.  Last year was the first time he let us dig his bean trench. (He back-filled it though!). In the days before he went to be with Jesus, Dad had been involved with the AGM of Probus and taken an active part in a  long meeting planning the next five years of the Brecon Wildlife Trust he and Mum had played such a major part in. A few days later, when Iolo Williams came to Brecon Theatre as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Wildlife Trust, a public tribute was paid to him in front of the packed theatre. Ifor led his funeral service in the church where Dad had been warden and treasurer for so many years.   Dad's advice was still being sought even after the well attended funeral when a warden of the church hopefully asked if Dad had made any notes or comments on the survey of the church building!  He will be greatly missed by so many, especially me.  A huge thank you to all who came to the funeral, sent me cards, flowers and those lovely comments on Facebook.  They really did make a difference and it was only last week I took down the cards.

One plus was that Lucy and Timo came home a
week earlier for the funeral than they had planned.  This meant we could spend some time with them before they went to check on a team they had sent to Liverpool.  We joined them again a few days later for Lucy's hen do at Katie's home in Chester.  Lucy and her very pregnant sister Becky were dressed in loo roll wedding dresses by two teams.  After more games and food we all went go karting before a lovely meal out.  Their wedding will be in Estonia at Timo's church and home at the end of May.  Becky's baby is due mid April and will need a passport to get out there!  So will young Caleb who now has a tooth!

For those of you visiting us, the bridge is now open three months ahead of time after eight months of drastic surgery and reconstruction.  The village normally less than a mile away has been a 15 mile round trip all this time!  The nearby craft centre had organised a group together with some Young Farmers to dance on the bridge to celebrate the opening.  Ifor was asked to be one of the marshals wearing a high viz jacket.  We had been caught in a stingy blizzard on a hill just an hour before, and here these girls were, dancing in summer dresses!  A hot cuppa back at the craft centre warmed us all up afterwards:)

Thank you all for your support and prayers.  We appreciate you all.