It was New Hope‘s 10th year, and Holland Road‘s 18th year, doing mission in Wales. Our headquarters is a town called Merthyr Tydfil and we operate out of a church on the town’s High Street. Over the years, we’ve been able to establish strong connections with townspeople, as well as pastors and leaders across the area. Before we started coming in 2002, hardly any leaders knew each other. Now about 40 of them are in partnership across South Wales, and it is a joy to be involved. The Welsh leaders are so great at what they do… their perseverance and passion for Wales is incredible.
During the day, we send teams to nursing homes, elementary schools, work sites, door-to-door, prayer walking, handing out flyers for the evening performance, and street evangelizing, and in the evening we host women’s events, “beast feasts”, and a gospel presentation with music, the gospel, and the Lifehouse drama.
#1 cool thing: UNITY. Turning Point at Calvary from St. Augustine joined us for the second time, bringing around 20 people. It reinforced the sense of unity that has developed over the years. We’re looking forward to them joining us again next year!
#2 cool thing: PURPOSE. We always say that once you come to Wales on mission, you keep coming back! A lot of people develop a burden for the country and sense the potential and brewing revival.
#3 cool thing: PASSION. There’s so much of it on our team! Around 30 people got saved every night, 6 nights in a row. There’s something about gospel music that reveals God’s heart: passion, joy, emotion, longing. Mm. 6 of us performed the Lifehouse Everything skit each night, and it sure was powerful. It provides such a clear visual of the gospel.
A few personal, scattered thoughts:
In the elementary school classrooms, we were allowed to explain the gospel using the “Colours of His Love” bracelet. My sister and I led a group and walked through each bead with our 5 kids. The Holy Spirit was completely working through me, because I am awful at explaining things! Ask me to give you directions, and you’ll probably be more confused than before. On the second day in the schools, a girl called Elizabeth was in my group, and she had mentioned earlier about coming to the presentation on Sunday night. Turns out that she brought her family, and they were ALL saved! What redemption! Imagine…. their whole family dynamic is going to dramatically change. WOW. Who would’ve thought that the Lord would use what I thought was my worst gift–my speaking ability–to encourage a little girl to bring her whole family that Sunday? My heart is still bursting at the seams.
On the third day in the schools, and after we had tied all of the kids’ bracelets, a little boy named Cohen asked if there was a bead for us to show how much we can love God. This is coming from a first-time hearer of the gospel! Wow. What an advantage we had… to explain the gospel to these kids before the world distorted it.
Gatehouse Church in Porth is such a special place. Not only has our family developed a great relationship with the pastors family and others, but is a place so full of life. Sporting Marvels was established 10 years ago. It is a ministry that employs around 10 college-age, sold-out interns who go into schools all around the area to share the gospel by forming friendships with kids, holding sporting events, teaching sports and religious education lessons, and living like Jesus in front of kids who’ve never come in contact with Jesus before. It’s outstanding.
We did our presentation at Gatehouse on Sunday morning. Dad usually gives an invitation of the gospel, and our team passes out cards to enable local churches to follow up, disciple new believers, and connect, but he didn’t on Sunday. About 10 minutes after the service while people were chatting (after one of the most joyful and freeing services I’ve ever been to), everyone starting cheering. When I asked, I was told that a girl got saved! This girl had worked as a Sporting Marvel for a year, but hadn’t yet fully committed her life to the Lord. The Marvels and many church members had been praying for her for months, so it was a true celebration! Now THAT is the way of salvation! I caught a glimpse of the angels that party in heaven every time someone is saved. So cool. Gatehouse was my highlight of the trip; partly because they went barefoot in church (I hate shoes), but because my heart was exploding with joy that morning. Joy is a reaction to great redemption.
It was the most full-on trip by far in every aspect, but
1) It’s why we went, and
2) It was amazing.