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 www.bronyddmawr.org.uk
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
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.
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.
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.