It has been some time since we have shared much by way of personal news, and as a number of people have been asking, here is a resume of some of the main events so far this summer, excluding our regular work and ministry. Here goes!
A de luxe “It’s Your Life!”
Some of you will remember Howard and Carol Porter, who were our wonderfully helpful printers for many years, before Howard entered the Anglican Ministry. Earlier this summer, Robert was delighted to attend an amazing surprise 60th birthday party for his wife, which involved over 100 friends and family assembling together, and the lights being turned up in a seemingly empty hotel room to reveal us all to her delight and surprise.
Howard had prepared an interesting and imaginative full length film of Carol’s whole life, with amazing footage from her early years in India. It was an extraordinary production and an exceptionally successful tribute to a very special wife, mother and friend of many. And she really didn’t have a clue that it was being made!!
Ffald-y Brenin and Out West
It was lovely to stay with a friend in Cardiff, and from there to head west to be with other friends in Pembrokeshire; I had been at school with Trevor in Leicestershire, whilst Kate trained as a nurse at Oxford at the same time as Ros before the Lord brought them together.
It was also a great joy to speak at conference retreat run by Ffald-y Brenin in a nearby meeting hall – almost 30 years since I first spoke at there in the early years of this remarkable centre of faith. It is delightful to see how its ministry and influence has developed around the world through the Houses of Prayer that they are instrumental in pioneering.
Shortly after that, I had a really precious few days back in Jersey, ministering at Love Song for Jesus, which this year ran for thirty-six continuous hours. Jim and Sue Socci were leading one of the sessions in the middle of the night when people started coming in off the streets, delighted to find a place open at that o’clock. One of them ended up as part of the worship group!
It was really good to be worshiping with groups from a variety of nations, as well as spending time with dear friends after the event, having allowed myself a couple of grace days to do just that. The contacts there feel very “live!” in all sorts of ways! I really sensed the Lord’s presence as I preached, and the “fire tunnel” at the end brought the presence of the Lord very close to many. Wonderful!
We had a special visit from a lady and her husband from New Zealand who Rosalind led to the Lord thirty years ago when she was student midwife. She is now deep in the Lord’s presence and hungry for more, which is delightful to see.
Reaching out . . .
We shared details of Robert’s time in Majorca earlier this year in a previous edition, but we thought you might enjoy this account of his time reaching out to visitors in a chapel in Valdemosa.
A Prayer Shower at a Wedding!
I had been invited to lead the prayers at the wedding of the daughter of some dear friends at the Elim church in Nantwich. It was a really special wedding, at which the Lord touched many people deeply, particularly the men.
The Lord had given me the starting theme of FEAST to base the prayers around, making particular points for each letter. When the time came, however, I felt led to make it a “prayer shower”, inviting everyone to call out words and concepts. Dozens responded, Christian and pre Christian alike, and I wove their suggestions for each letter into prayers. It was a delightful way to draw people in, and the Lord was very much present and at work.
A lovely young man from India (a Hindu) was really touched, and wants to expose his children now to Christian beliefs, and a lovely Muslim doctor was deeply touched too. Another man knelt on the grass at the end of the day to give his life to the Lord; and as he said ‘Amen’ the firework extravaganza started!
Linda and Keith were a blessing, helping to lead the worship, as well as playing at the reception, where there was also, on the secular side, an astonishingly lively group of classical musicians called Classycool.
It was an extra blessing to be back in a venue where we had held some of our conferences in the late 1980’s. At one of them, at the New Year, in one never-to-be-forgotten moment, one of the violinists in the worship group went into labour, and, much to the delight of the conference centre, Ros delivered her baby, the first ever born on site! Shirley was back the next morning playing in the worship group with baby in a Moses basket at her side! We are still in touch and now as a young woman she has just produced her first CD for the Lord.
The Glasgow Games
The Commonwealth Games opened on the same day as the wedding with the theme “Come on in, you are welcome”. Ros and Dom had headed north for this, and had a wonderful time staying with Ruth in Edinburgh and going across most days to watch the table tennis, rugby sevens and some of the athletics. The atmosphere was electric, and exceeded everyone’s expectations.
They even had the opportunity to meet the lass I used to play against in Shetland, who is now part of the Scottish table tennis team. (I was able to watch some of her matches live on the red button on TV).
They were also able to go to the preview night of the Edinburgh tattoo. Amongst many other incredible presentations were forty fiddlers from Shetland, including a Christian, who Ros had delivered of one of her babies.
Ros and Dom also met up with the young friends from Shetland who they had met down under in Sydney earlier this year, now on their way back to Shetland! Ros greatly appreciated spending time with Ruth without needing to be helping with packing, redecorating or DIY-ing! They had a good time at her church too.
While they were there, I had a brief but really precious time devouring books in my favourite library in North Wales, before going on to visit various friends in the north of England who it was lovely to catch up with.