Tuesday, 8 December 2015


I may not have had a bath in years, though yes, I do shower, but now I enjoyed telling my friends that I was going to Bath.
My legs are not up to much shopping these days, but when you live alone it is good to seize any opportunity for fun and fellowship. With my dear mate Kitty beside me, we were on our way.
Meanwhile a prayer partner, my blind friend who lives in Spain had been given a picture of an old fashioned bath. What could it mean? Then she remembered Pauline was on her way to Bath. Could there be some special need? She was praying for me throughout the day. And God was answering.
By the time we had walked  into the town my legs had had enough, but a handy coffee shop was a refuge. Everywhere was full, but someone moved so there were two seats for us together. We were refreshed. Next stop a toilet. Go to M & S we were told. A feast for the eyes, though we didn’t buy anything before we queued for this facility. Ready then for directions to the Abbey. Like a great mother ship surrounded by people bobbing about on a stormy  sea,or maybe a mother hen, ready to gather her chicks, but  we found the doors shut. We must wait for the Carol service for shoppers which would be on the hour, and sadly no cafeteria.
But all we wanted was a place to sit. We went into the Abbey bookshop, and here was an open door into the Abbey, where we were able to rest, basking in the beauty and blessing of God’s house.
 A stewardess greeted us as she passed and we invited her to sit with us. How wonderful to share the various ways God has led us, and we felt the Lord’s touch in a special way as we joined hands and prayed together.
Not only had this gracious lady blessed us, but she directed us to St. Michael’s for a simple lunch. No, not far. Soup and bread and butter for me. Just right. Then another  struggle through the surging crowds  and by now the doors of the Abbey were wide open and a wonderful welcome for all the happy, but weary shoppers, until every seat was filled.
Just a twenty minute service and how blessed we were by the simple message and participation in the carols and prayers.  We went on our way with the gift of a Jesus booklet and offer of prayer or ministry. They were doing this every hour and each time that great abbey was packed. What a wonderful bir
thday gift for the Christ child, our Saviour.
We decided to have a cup of tea in the cafĂ© in M & S, but a fruitless search for two seats led us directly to the expected queue for the toilets. As I came out, two seats were vacated - just for us. My dear Kitty then queued for refreshment while I sat and enjoyed ‘people watching’. Everyone seemed so happy, as if they had all been as blessed as we had been.
Time  to make our way back for the bus. The lights were on, making the city a fairy land. It was only  then that the heaven’s open, though it had been raining in Porthcawl all day long. How grateful we were to find the bus waiting for us, and to step out of our dripping coats. And though it was a very windy day, somehow it had always been behind our backs, blowing us along.
Yes, we were worn out. I could hardly move the next day, but our trip to Bath had been a blessing I will long remember, and remember, too, the gift of friendship and fellowship. Especially I thank God for those who,  no longer able to share such blessings, claim God’s guidance and protection for us through their prayers.

Thursday, 12 November 2015


No,  not a wedding anniversary, but very special nevertheless. The first of our Ladies Weekends was held  at Bryntirion Bible College, Bridgend, but of later years we have been meeting at Hebron Hall, Dinas Powys and  are now named our ‘Well-being conference.’  It is thirty years since it began and we thought it worthy of a special celebration.
I am privileged to have been one of the ‘old originals’, but sadly missed a few through the years. Bryntirion was on our doorstep, so Joel could bring me, then pick me up in time for us to make the evening service. He was not keen to take me all the way to Dinas Powys, and yes, I confess, I thought I was getting too old.
Then they booked an additional weekend for Eunice to lead a prayer seminar. Asked to pray for good attendance, I became part of the answer. Promised a lift, yes, and a room to myself, it was a mountain top experience, and I knew now that I must be share in this special ministry among the ladies.
This weekend it  was wonderful to be reminded of those beginnings; especially for me  to hear Mair recount how God’s hand had been heavy upon her, and how she and Miriam had stepped out in faith to launch this ministry. As she shared of Pastor Ian MacPherson’s reaction when she dared to ask him to be our speaker, I realised how indebted I am to his ministry, for he had carried this message for women in his heart for over twenty years before being given this opportunity to share it, and it is a word I have treasured and seen outworked in my life; to know that, as Mary carried the Word of God in her womb, so to us it is given to carry within us the living Word, and we too can know a quickening and nurturing until the right time comes for it to be brought forth. I often say to people, I may not have given birth to children, but God does give me books and poems, as well as other ministries.

There must be so many more testimonies of how God has spoken to us through the years.
Usually we’ve had  women bringing the word to us through the years, but for this special anniversary, we were back to a man, our dear Pastor Warren Jones, with his wife Anne. His theme was Treasure Seekers, and the treasure, of course, the Pearl of great price, our Wonderful Saviour..
We are always sent home with a gift. Last year we had a little box but - no portion of cake inside. It was empty! We were sent home to fill it with prayers of thanksgiving. Mine soon became full. I am a writer after all. So now I have a  book in which I write these  special prayers of thanksgiving. But this year, can you guess? We had already had a piece of our Pearl anniversary cake at our surprise Saturday afternoon party, with jelly and ice cream, games and all. But now we each had a pearl in a little presentation box to bring home to remind us, not just of a very special weekend, but of Jesus, our Pearl of greatest price.
We had special times of praise and worship; special testimonies, and special times of fun and games, and fellowship, but for me the most special time was when we gathered around the Lord’s table for communion. It was  the beginning of the day, before breakfast. I felt overcome with emotion. What is this? I asked. Then the Lord told us, it was a very special time, but it is because we are all so special to him that he wants us to be able to experience this communion with him at any and every time.
So, to all those wonderful ladies who work so hard to make this weekend so very special, and who let us know we are never too old to come and bless as well as be blessed, and to our wonderful Heavenly Father, who gave his precious Son to be our Treasure, and who meets with us year by year at our Well-Being conference at Hebron Hall, a big big thank you

Monday, 5 October 2015


Do you enjoy fancy-dress or, for some reason, taking on a disguise? There is a story in the Old Testament about a queen who is told to put on a disguise, but sadly it was not for any party. It was her husband the king’s idea that she should go to the prophet, but -   in disguise.  Did she, or her husband, King Jereboam,  really think she could deceive a prophet? In any case, by now was blind. But if you read the story, (you can read it in as it in the book of Kings), perhaps you will agree with me that both of them were already  living in disguise.

Perhaps all she needed to do was to take off her tiara, her jewelled sandals and the paint from her face - as well as her fingers and toes? Maybe it would have been enough to go and borrow the worn and scuffed sandals of a servant, and wrap the old shawl around her that was usually used to cover the woman’s straggly hair. It would have been no problem to disguise her voice, for it was usually brittle as glass, when she commanded her unfortunate servants, and of course, she would have had to bend her proud head.

But are not many of us, like King Jereboam’s wife,  already in disguise? I used to laugh at my mother when she used her special telephone voice, but some of us renounce the dialects or even cockney accents of our childhood, and some would-be preachers have  even be known to adopt a slightly American accent, hoping to be another great evangelist.

Some of us ‘oldies’ would not dream of going to the cinema, yet do not discriminate over what we have ‘on the box’ at home. And we all know what it means to ‘put on a face.’ How often does beautifully applied make-up and a confident poise hide a broken heart or a painful addiction?

Jereboam’s wife was sent to visit the prophet in disguise, hoping she might hear some good news concerning their son, who was so desperately ill. I suppose visiting the prophet was the nearest they felt they could get to God? But did they really think they could fool God with a disguise?

The prophet might be blind, but God was not. She has not yet reached the door when the old man calls out, ‘Come in, Wife of Jereboam,’ and before she can utter a sound he is speaking out the word she dreaded, that their child would die. But there is more.   He continues, and now  he  speaks those words that should encourage all of us who teach God’s word to the children: that their child would be the only one in all of their family who would have a decent burial, because he had lived to please the Lord.

We do not have to go to a prophet to hear God speak. Through the death of Jesus, God’s own Son, on the cross, we are able to go to the great Creator God himself and call him our Father.   We can come to him with open face. No need of a posh voice, or of putting on a face. He sees us as beautiful, even if our hair is a mess. And he knows just what we have been watching, or thinking or saying.

We can pray with the Psalmist, ‘Search me oh God, and see if there be any wicked way in me..’

Oh yes, we all have need of some beauty treatment, but we must go to our Father. It is he who is already at work in our lives, changing us; transforming us into the likeness of his Son, and he loves to hear and answer our prayers. So – be glad. We can take off our masks.       (You will find this story in 1 Kings 14)

Tuesday, 1 September 2015


Many years ago I was introduced to the children as ‘a real live missionary.’ We have laughed about it ever since. But when, recently, I was introduced as someone who used to be a missionary that made me sad, for I know that being a missionary is a calling and does not depend on location, financial support or lack of it, or even age, and we should all be missionaries.

I had to learn to be content to be a missionary in the East End of London before ever I went to the ‘uttermost parts of the earth.’ 

I had read about Mary Slessor, but did not know anything about present day missionary work when God first spoke to me. It was through hearing the scriptures read of how Jesus sent his disciples out into the villages. Somehow I knew this was a word to me. I presumed this would be the villages of UK as I had heard about a Caravan Mission to Village children.

Then God led me into the Apostolic Church and my eyes were opened to a wider field and  met some ‘real live missionaries.’ Whenever they came to visit, from Africa, India or elsewhere, I felt God challenging me, Was I willing to go there?

Maybe I had to be willing to go before I could really pray for them?  I told the Lord I would go anywhere for him, but not alone. I was hardly of the calibre of my friend Esther, who had already gone as a single missionary.

But Mr. Right did not appear, God’s call became more persistent, and teaching in London’s East End became even tougher. Was I regarding my missionary work as a way of escape?

I was praying, asking God where I was to go. Maybe Southern Ireland? It was certainly a mission field at that time and I had contacts there, and no scary mountains or vine bridges.

Then God spoke to me through his prophet. ‘Your calling is not to a person or to a place. It is a joyful abandonment to your God.’

And so God made me willing to be a missionary just where I was, and I believe God did do great things through me in those few years, though I didn’t see it at the time. But still his word persisted, that I would go abroad.
At last a request came for teachers or nurses with a missionary call to volunteer for the Australian mission fields and I knew I must answer. No Mr Right, or conviction concerning the place, but I wrote, expressing my willingness. There was a two year delay, and I must admit to some relief thinking that maybe all God had required was my willingness, but eventually I was all packed up and ready to go as a teacher to the Highlands of New Guinea.

A holiday, shortly before leaving, I stood on a bridge, watching the waters rushing over the brink to fall on the rocks below.  I had to turn aside. This is what it felt like for me to answer this call, but the Lord gently assured me, ‘The river is not afraid.’  

He reminded me of his word concerning a joyful abandonment to God’s will and knew he would work it all out.

Friends were coming to the airport to see me off. Again the fear engulfed me. ‘Lord, I won’t be able to do it,’ I whispered, ‘to leave all my friends and everything I know.’

In a picture I saw Jesus standing at the doors. He told me,  ‘I am going. You can come with me or you can leave me.’

There was a crowd at Heathrow airport, singing and praying. The call came for my flight. I almost ran through the doors, for I could not leave Jesus, and he was there waiting for me.

A month in Australia before another long and scary lap of the journey, but again the Lord spoke. ‘Rejoice in your going forth,’ and gave me the wonderful assurance, ‘I am pledged to come with you and you will be able to turn readily and easily to me at all times as to a friend who is alongside.’ These words God was speaking to me are all in the Bible, but the Holy Spirit brings them as a living word to our hearts at just the right time. They are still hidden in my heart and continue to be a strength to me.

At last I landed at Laiagam in the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea. I hadn’t any previous convictions concerning this place, but  it wasn’t long before I wanted to live and die there and when after five years I returned to UK and was told I could not return, the Lord had to remind me of his word, concerning a joyful abandonment to his will and that my calling was not to a specific place.

And so God made me willing to work again in UK until I was eventually asked to go to Ghana and there again I felt at home in God’s will.

In Australia I had been given a word, to ‘gain a knowledge of the language in the place where you are going.’ Having learned the Enga language, now I had joy in learning Ashanti Twi.

After yet another five fulfilling years in Ghana  God spoke about moving on. Was I to go back to Papua New Guinea? No, this time it to UK and specifically Wales, for I was to marry a Welshman. Yet another language to learn, though I have not yet become fluent in Welsh.

Five years as a minister’s wife and then Joel was retired from being a pastor with the Apostolic church, but we never considered ourselves retired from God’s calling in our lives We said we were re-tyred and used every opportunity to still serve him. When he died I had to learn the significance of those words, ‘…not to a person,’ and now as a widow and an octogenarian, many doors are still wide open for me to minister.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I believe we are all called into the ministry, in whatever capacity, and we each need to know our calling is ‘not to a person or to a place, but a joyful abandonment to our God.’ And we can each turn to him as to a friend who is alongside, for he has promised he will never leave us or forsake us.

So have joy in being a ‘real live missionary,’ just where you are, and may we together prove what is that ‘good and acceptable and perfect (just right) will of God.’

(Romans 12: 2)





Tuesday, 7 July 2015


One of the joys of family is the memories you share. We were four siblings – at one time aged two, four, six and eight. Now my brother, the oldest, was not only living in the antipodes but suffering from dementia. Seeking to awaken something of our precious memories I wrote this little poem, thankful that though I could no longer  contact him by phone, I was able to send it by email to be read to him.


Three little girls, just one boy, our big brother
And oh, it was fun as we grew up together
You might taunt us and tease us, but always we knew
Your support and protection as together we grew
And always in all we were there for each other
Out of childhood and youth you were still our big brother
And boldly we stepped into new life together
This life of adventure, of faith and of fun
Knowing in all that the race must be run
Always sharing our faith with John, our big brother
And now, older grown, what far paths we have trod
In life’s great adventure of walking with God
And though memories fade of our blessed yesteryear
Yet strong is that bond that still holds us each dear
And we’re thanking God for you, still John, our big brother.

But now my beloved big brother has been taken from all the pain and indignity of old age to his heavenly home.  His Australian  wife and family were looking to me for memories of his earlier life. As I tried to fill in the gaps for them I had a sweet recollection of our cycling days. (I wrote this story for The Upper Room.)
As a family we had wonderful outings on our bicycles. It was war time and hence few cars on the road. John was the eldest, and the only boy at that , so of course he liked to be ahead – though we still laugh at the time we thought he must have already reached our destination, when we saw him, head down, cycling on the other side of the road and about to pass us by. When at last he heard our shouts he was flabbergasted, until he realised he must have come full circle round the roundabout by mistake.

But there were times when it was no mistake. I would be struggling uphill when, from somewhere behind me a strong hand was planted in the middle of my back and I felt myself pushed up to the brow of the hill. He had been willing to give up his lead to come back to help his struggling little sister.

I think that is a lovely picture of what my ‘big brother’ meant to me as a child, and what he has meant to myself and to so many others through his life.

But in his fairly recent relationship with his Australian family and his increasing dependence, John was always appreciated as a gentleman, and the tribute which is very special to me is by one of his step daughters, who wrote of him as the Gentle Man.

With so few who may share my memories, it has been a joy to have his treasury of family photos placed now in my care. My beloved grandmother, and yes, Gran, my great grandmother, and Bob the dog, (how I had loved him) - and of course these wonderful albums of four little ‘angels’, as the photographer had made us out to be, that were presented to my father for his  birthday, every other year. 

Memories, how precious they are, and how we need to record them while we are able. It has been a joy to read these blogs that are being recorded on the web site of the Apostolic Church, of those pioneers in the faith, so mightily used by God;  many of whom paid a great price that we might be able to enjoy this fellowship and this grace wherein we stand.

So as we treasure our own special memories of yesteryear, may we appreciate and love each other just as we are, for today is the present, God’s gift to us.  Tomorrow cannot be taken for granted, and Jesus says, -‘Behold, I come quickly.’  May we all live in the light of his soon return.

Monday, 1 June 2015


Nearly time to get up, I suddenly turned up the radio for I was listening to the most amazing Christian testimony. Anthony Ray Winston, an innocent man, had just been released from 30 years on death row.

‘You must be so bitter,’ his interviewer questioned. ‘They have robbed you of thirty years of your life.’

It was his answer that arrested me. ‘No,’ he affirmed. ‘I won’t allow anything to rob me of my joy.’

In those thirty years when it must have cost the state thousands of pounds to guard him from escape, he was busy guarding his own heart against bitterness and anger, and now he had spoken into my heart.

I listened later to hear his testimony again, and also looked it up on the internet, but I did not find these words repeated. It seems the media wants to keep God out, but I had heard his words and I am determined to share them where and when ever I can.

I was challenged. Am I always full of joy, or do I allow the enemy to come and rob me of my inheritance? I have learned, the hard way, to guard my purse, so may I, through Winston’s amazing testimony learn to let nothing rob me of my joy.

Jesus not only left us peace as our inheritance, but he said, Ask and you will receive that your joy may be full.

For many years I knew God wanted me to go as a missionary. I thought it would be very hard, but God gave me a wonderful promise; a promise of joy and peace. Single and going alone, I realised that many women had a husband, children, a fine house in a civilised land, but without joy and peace they had nothing.

So I eventually went to work in the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea. Many times I would remind God of his promise of joy, and he is faithful. He always answered.

Now, back in UK, and struggling with widowhood and old age, I still do a lot of asking and God does a lot of answering, anointing with the oil of gladness.

We were young, not long out of college when one of our friends was struggling with a broken relationship. I was ready to encourage her in her self-pity, but Esther spoke out strongly, that nothing can rob us of our joy except sin.  She quoted the parable of the prodigal son. When he had confessed his sin and returned in repentance to the Father, ‘they began to be merry.’

I still have to remember this lesson. If we are indulging in self-pity, then it is self who is on the throne and not Jesus. But thank God, he is only a prayer away and we are immediately forgiven, restored, and able to rejoice without ceasing.

So what is it that can steal our joy? We can only imagine the devastation of the disciples when they had seen the Saviour killed and buried but, thank God, we can experience the joy of Easter morning when Jesus appeared and gave them the glad assurance that he had conquered death and hell, and that through the Holy Spirit they would always know that he was with them.

So is there anything that can steal our joy? Can tribulation, hardship, famine, or other unspeakable suffering? Paul assured us that in all these things we are more than conquerors, and God is able to take the worst the enemy can do against us and turn it into a testimony, even as he is doing for Anthony Ray Winston. And so we, like Paul and Silas in jail at Philippi, can always sing joyful songs of praise to  God.

Yet, even so, there may be days when we seem to be smothered in a blanket of depression; and when we even may have to accept the help of medication.

In my teens I suffered from depression. I thought this was caused by guilt and so looked round for the cause, but once I came to know Jesus as my Saviour, he helped me to put right whatever was wrong, and so, knowing I was right with him, I had to wait for him to heal me from what was physical depression.

Soon after my husband died I had been to a house group and then struggled against wind and weather to return to my car. ‘Oh Lord,’ I complained, ‘I don’t like being a widow.’ The next moment it was as if Jesus was beside me and we were laughing together. I realised how awful it would be if we did like being widows. Now I tell people, God does not take away the pain, but he does give joy and peace. Hallelujah.

God’s gift to us all is contentment. It was in my single days in New Guinea that he taught me to claim his word and to say, ‘I am delighting myself in the Lord and he is giving me the desires of my heart.’  I am still affirming this truth.

I wonder what Ray Winston’s testimony is, of how he survived that terrible ordeal, - of 30 years, made up of long, long days of living on death row, but this little poem written some years ago, tells how God has so often come to me in answer to my cry for his joy.



Joy is a fountain, springing, though the land is parched and dry,
When heat as blanket presses, gentle breezes from on high.

Joy is a lighted window for the child who’s far from home,

A hand upon your shoulder when you think you’re left alone.

Joy is a skylark thrilling, rainbow’s circle in a storm, 

The promise of God’s presence and his strength for each new morn.

Joy is the tug of anchor when storms sweep you from the shore,

A voice from deep within that speaks of life for evermore.

Joy is the sight of heaven given the Saviour on the cross

The certainty that Jesus will bring blessing out of loss.


Joy is!

Joy is Jesus!

Friday, 8 May 2015

Live Long

I have a star on my fridge, awarded me by one of our Kids Club. It has a prayer on it – ‘Pauline, live long.’

Strangely, I wouldn’t always have been happy to receive such a prayer, for I had a fear of living too long. I felt God had honoured my husband by taking him when he did. Though Joel was eighty one he was still young at heart. He did not suffer and he did not see old age. Almost his last words before he died were, ‘I believe God is going to do great things.’ And God is.

I guess I dreaded living with no quality of life. But when someone spoke into my life that I would still be ministering at a hundred, someone, I may say, whose words I have proved in the past, I remembered  a special holiday we had in Laugharn. Walking on a coastal path, I turned up a couple of steps, as we were not sure of the way. No, it was not the path, but I had been meant to step aside, for God had been there in a special way. ‘Lord, I don’t mind living to be a hundred now.’ His presence had been so awesome. How could I fear the gift of life if he was with me?

Now in my eighties, I’m glad they don’t think I am too old to still go into the schools. While teaching ‘Bible Explorer’ God is continually telling me not to give up, but always to embrace life as his gift, his ‘present.’  Terah kept the family in Haran waiting for him to die before they could continue to the Promised Land. I tell the children, if only he had been willing to take one more step, he could have got there too.

Then there is Isaac. He gave up much too soon, living  for many years after Jacob tricked his brother out of his birth-right. We can have a quality of life, even with little or no eyesight.

But best I love the story of Moses. He didn’t begin his ministry until he was eighty and when he came to die at 120, his eye was not dim not his natural strength abated. I heard of a lady who, aged 70, was healed of heart disease. Her daughter told her, ‘Remember, you don’t have to be ill to die.’ She wasn’t. Helping her with the chores, enjoying her dinner and cup of tea, she leaned back and was home with Jesus.

I have never had good health, and they told me I was not strong enough to be a missionary, but God has taught me to lean hard on him, and though some may think it is now time for me to give up, he is asking me to take life, a day at a time, as his gift to me, and to prove him still to be my strength and my song.

When a beloved partner dies it is easy to long to be in heaven with them. But the Lord reminds me that if he had taken me to heaven when I asked, and there I realised how many more children I could have led to him, I would  have been deeply ashamed. How thankful I am that a little child has prayed for Pauline to live long.

‘Children obey your parents and you will live long in  the land.’ Life is his gift, and it is up to us to enjoy it. We can still claim the Lord as our healer, whatever our age, and we can trust God for whatever task he places in our hands. So now, when I am weary and feel like giving up, I ask the Lord to anoint me afresh with his oil of gladness.

So do I expect to live to a hundred? I thank God that he has made me willing to trust him if it should be so, but I am content to know that he has numbered my days.

I believe it was George Muller who said we should live each day as if Jesus were coming today, but plan as if he may not come for a hundred years. So, whether he comes or calls, may we all take a day at a time as God’s gift, and a step at a time in his strength.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Journey into Easter

High days and holidays. It used to be holy days, but for those of us from unchurched background, it is the holidays that are important. We celebrate Easter with hot cross buns, chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies.

As children we loved pancake day, but pitied those who had to give up chocolate for Lent. But recently Laura spoke to the children about giving up for Lent, but suggested an alternative might be to give something to the Lord in these days leading up to the celebration of the death, and of course, the resurrection of Jesus at Easter.

I was blessed this year to be able to give some special time to attend a retreat from Monday, leading up to Good Friday, ‘Journey into Easter.’ As always, I received far  more than I gave.

Our venue was Nicholaston House. Gower has been described as one of Britain’s best kept secrets, but Nicholaston House, overlooking Oxwich Bay is one of God’s beautiful open secrets, a place of refreshing, healing and Christian fellowship. Less than an hour’s drive from Porthcawl, it  has proved a haven for me since I have been widowed.

‘In this place I will give peace,’ is God’s promise as we enter in through the door, and we are soon at home with spirit, soul and body well cared for.  

Stuart Bell, with his wife Pru, late from St.Michael’s, Aberystwyth, led our meditations. He prayed over us Paul’s prayer in Eph. 3:16, that we too might know the width and  length and depth and height of God’s love.

After beautiful times of worship, where Anne with her violin and Diane on the piano, led us so beautifully, Stuart based his meditations on Jesus’ life in this last week of his life before he died on Good Friday, as God’s Passover Lamb.

Monday, he emphasised the height of his love; his tough love as he confronted those in power by cleansing the temple. 

Tuesday we considered the breadth of his love; his expectant love as he cursed the fig tree because it did not meet his rightful expectation of fruit.

Wednesday our meditation was the length of his love, love which loved and gave, yes, even Judas, every opportunity to repent, as Jesus knelt to wash the feet of his  disciples, - yes, even his: love which was enough to save the thief on the cross: his jealous love, which looks for our worship and was so blessed by those who anointed his feet with their fragrant offerings.

Thursday, Maundy Thursday we thought of the depth of God’s love as we came to the Passover meal which has become a memorial meal of such significance for us; God’s deep, mysterious love.

And so we came to Friday, yes, Good Friday, but bloody Friday.

Through the week our meditations had been interspersed with other activities. There was no view of the bay as we arrived, for the clouds were covering us. Tuesday morning, and still no sign of the sun so Sylvia was hoping for plenty of volunteers to help with banner making in the afternoon, but the sun came out, the beauty of the country side called and she was left with just two whose legs seemed no longer made for walking. (I must confess one of her elderly volunteers was not much help (me of course) but with Pam’s faithful help they produced a meaningful banner by the end of the week, of a cross, adorned by a crown of thorns and the letters L O V E added, representing the length, breadth, depth, and height of God’s amazing love.


Tuesday evening Stuart had a night off when his wife Pru showed us  an old black tin box which had held the archives of her great grandparents who had died as martyrs in the terrible Boxer rebellion. She held us enrapt as she told how the story of her ancestors had come alive to her; of how eventually she and Stuart had been able to visit the very village where this tragedy had occurred.

Pru refrained to tell us of the miracles that were part of their story as she wanted to whet our appetites to buy her book, ‘Lives from a Black Tin Box.’ I recommend it, but it is not for the  faint hearted.

Wednesday was a very special evening as we had a Seder meal together, complete with wonderful Jewish cooking, where we were instructed not only in the Jewish traditions in which Jesus would have shared, but all that evening must have meant to him and now to us.

Thursday evening we followed the Stations of the Cross. Modern portrayals had been placed around the house and we walked from room to room, reading the appropriate scriptures and pausing for prayer and meditations. We ended in the Celtic chapel for our final mediation, and after reaching the climax when Jesus cried, ‘It is finished,’   we all remained in silent worship, but then one and another struck up meaningful hymns and we knew our songs were giving joy to our Father in heaven.

Good Friday morning we had a wonderful time of worship, and sitting silently in God’s presence was a special blessing. Stuart gave his final ministry before we blessed each other by sharing these special symbols of the bread and the wine.

Paul tells us that we are not to judge those who keep special days as holy, or those who know that every day is holy to the Lord, but Easter is still a holiday that is recognised in our secular society, and for me it was a wonderful opportunity to leave my phone, computer and television behind and seek the Lord in a special way, so I felt I should share this special blessing. I am hoping to book in for next Easter, and if the trumpet has not yet sounded, maybe we who live in South Wales  could meet there?

Friday, 20 March 2015



What is it that makes us do it? To leave our comfy beds and home comforts; loading the car with sleeping bags, boots, and clothing for all weathers, while our wonderful leaders had been shopping and planning, working out rotas, for the feeding of the five (well, fifty something, if not the five) thousand.

Yes, once again, ‘Grace Community Church Porthcawl’ set out for our annual ‘Away Weekend.’ Using the same venue as last year, Barton Camp in North Somerset, we were better prepared to transform it from a rather Spartan facility to something nearer to home comfort. We had a row of comfy garden chairs at the back of the meeting room for a lounge area, while Ross’s curry this year, instead of ‘dragon’s breath’ was just right, and each team produced excellent meals.

Those of us who did not have to wait for school to close were fortunate enough to have been able to leave early and so avoid the heavy motor way traffic, but we all arrived safely, all the hassle of packing and travelling forgotten in the joy of being together.

You see, we are a family. We see each other most Sundays, but sometimes not in between, and families need to have special times of being together. It was such a joy to see so many young families playing happily together, and an even greater joy that some of our now college students had joined us and had prepared lessons and activities for our children so that the parents would relax, knowing they were well cared for.  

After the journey and unpacking, Friday evening was not the time for teaching ministry. We gathered for worship and then Tom read of Moses’ desire and delight in God’s presence, giving us the theme for the weekend.

After breakfast and a prayer time, for those without commitments, Saturday morning was a very special time  of worship and teaching. After Tom had spoken, first of Moses, and then  of our need to seek God’s glory and know him coming in power among us, as he has done in our nation in years gone by, we were released in worship.

Since my husband died I have had very little voice and usually sing ‘in my boots,’ but I found my voice soaring as I joined in a wonderful choir of praise. We were on the Mount of God, as Moses had been and God was among us, touching afresh, and speaking to us through his gifts. Oh, what a comfort to know that we don’t need a veil (tea-cloth someone said) as Moses did, because the glory must fade.

Some of us set out to explore the lovely country side in the afternoon, returning with an appetite for Ross’s homemade scones for a Somerset cream tea, while other relaxed or played games. There was no ‘Grace has Talent’, since most of our talent, sadly, had been unable to make it this year, but a wonderfully competitive and varied games evening, great fun for young and old alike, ensured most of us had a much better night’s sleep.

Sunday. Again, great praise and fervent prayers in our prayer meeting, and then sadly packing up before we gathered for our last time of ministry. Perhaps I was looking forward to a time of praise and release such as we had had the day before, but God always has fresh bread, and always something more. His challenge that we should be the people of God, his light in a world of darkness led us in humility to his table where we broke the bread and drank the wine together, as a family.

Then we listened to a testimony. It was a story of terrible suffering and there were not many dry eyes, but we were also awed at the wonderful deliverance God had brought about, through the invitation of a young mother to come to an Alpha evening. Though she only went three times, this one who had seemed to be so hopelessly ensnared had met with Jesus. He heard her cry and eventually brought her out of this horrible pit. Her feet set on the Rock, she was now able to bring her children up to love and serve the Lord.

Sunday morning; was this the right time to listen to such a harrowing story? The Communion should be a reminder of an even more harrowing story of how God gave his Son to save us. And yes, this story too brought great glory to God, for through hearing it we realised that here is someone who is now a servant of the church, always available to work, and to reach out to others who may be entrapped by the enemy. How we praise God for counting this ‘Trophy of Grace’ as our sister and friend, she and her family wonderful members of the family of Grace.
A final meal, scrumptious as always, the big Grace photo, and off to our own homes, and yes, our comfy beds.

As with every family gathering, there is great joy in being together – some of us, especially the younger element, wished we could have stayed there – but with the joy is an inevitable sadness when the circle is not complete, for whatever reason. We are so very thankful for this special family time together, but pray that maybe next year we may have less of us left at home, and more with us for this mountain top experience.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Giants in the Land

Selwyn Hughes had a series about bringing down giants. That got me thinking about Jack the Giant Killer. What do you know of him? There is one Jack, of pantomime fame, but I think it was a beanstalk he had to tackle, which, when he had chopped it down, caused the ogre to fall to his death. But Jack the Giant Killer was, I believe, a brave Cornish lad who refused to be intimidated by these great bullies who were robbing the people of their crops and making their lives a misery. Armed only with his club he took them on, one by one, until the people had courage to go on with their daily lives.

The Israelites had to go in and claim the Promised land, even though there were giants there, and if we are standing in the name of Jesus, then we too have battles to fight, and we have armour too that we must never take off. So, what are the giants that come against us?

We may know about Goliath, a huge monster of a man, out to intimidate so that the Israelites did not dare even face him. But we know about David too, who did not need any man-made armour but went against him with just his sling and stones, and his confidence in the Lord his God. Goliath fell to the ground and David cut off his head with the giant’s own sword. But did you know that wasn’t the end of the fight?
Later on in his life we hear of other battles against giants. Maybe they were baby giants when David fought his first battle, but babies grow up. And because we have had past victories over some of our ‘giants’ does not mean we can let down our guard.

So what are our giants? Somebody was sharing his need to guard against ‘pride.’

Well, that is something I don’t have to fight, was my first reaction. What was that if not pride? As one preacher, hopefully tongue in cheek, remarked, ‘You should have heard my sermon on humility.’

But – are we Giant Killers? I doubt it. I know that though I may have had victories in the past, I always have to be on my guard. As a young woman I  struggled with jealousy and a sense of inferiority. I was sorry for myself because, there I was in the middle of the family, not pretty or clever like my older sister, not the baby, who everyone knows is special, and not the eldest and a boy at that.

Wonderfully, Jesus came to my rescue. He showed me that all this jealousy and sense of inferiority was because self was on the throne instead of Him; that God had raised him up, a Prince and Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins.* All I had to do when these negative thoughts arose was to cry out to Jesus to save me. I still sing that wonderful hymn, ‘Jesus saves me now,’ when the giant of jealousy or depression rears its ugly head.

Once I had cried to God for deliverance, it was as though he took away every cause I could have for jealousy or self pity. But those giants are not dead. I still have to be on my guard. When bereavement strikes, in whatever form, I believe we have to purpose in our hearts to praise and trust our God, believing that he won’t allow anything to happen to us unless it is for our good. As David says in Psalm 59 (GNB) ‘My refuge is God, the God who loves me.’

But remember, if we are doing well at school, we get put into a higher class, and the lessons get harder.

Maybe the giant you are facing now is different from mine, but we are likely to come up against them all at different times.

Selwyn Hughes names a few. The giant of Fear? I still have to speak out God’s word to send him packing. ‘God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.’ 
Lust? We are true to our partners, not because we do not find others attractive, but because we love our husbands/wives too much to ever think of stealing from them. How much more must we determine not to hurt our Saviour, who loves us so much, by desiring lesser things.

Do we struggle with Shame; the shame of past memories perhaps? Is not this a form of pride? We don’t want others to think we are capable of having stooped so low. But we are all sinners, and whenever we hear of someone committing what we may consider a terrible sin, we need to remind ourselves, ‘There go I, but for the grace of God.’

Then there is Giant Despair. Do you remember how, in Pilgrims Progress, Pilgrim and his companion had wandered into Bypass Meadow and were taken captive by this giant, and locked up in Doubting Castle. In this hopeless situation, Faithful realises that he has a key, the key of faith that will unlock every door. They speak out the word of God and are released from their captivity.

Thank God, however deep our depression, we all have this key, which is also our sword; the Bible, the Word of God. I trust we will all remember to use it so that, like Jack, we can become Giant Killers, or at least Giant chasers.     

*Acts 5:31

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Amazing Grace

‘What happened to Amazing Grace?’ I asked my friend.
Don’t worry, I was not into theology. I had a poem to read as part of a wedding service, and my new found friend had pointed out that I was to follow the singing of this hymn. But suddenly I was announced. My question concerning Amazing Grace was whispered as I scrabbled to get my glasses and sheet of paper.
I have been laughing about this ever since. But though the minister had to squeeze in the hymn later in the service, because he had not been wearing his glasses, God’s amazing grace was very evident in this beautiful marriage.
Both of their lives had been in a mess, but probably it was their messes that had driven them to the refuge that is in Christ Jesus, and then to meet up with each other.  Over the past three years we have seen God’s amazing grace at work in their lives, transforming them into children of God who are now responsive to his quietest whisper.
Thiers’s could not possibly be an expensive wedding, and yet every need had been met to make it a bountiful occasion. The church was  beautifully adorned, the service so joyful and relaxed, and when the beautiful bride arrived joy abounded as she walked, or was it danced up the aisle to the song, ‘His love lifts me higher.’ (No, I didn’t know it, but it seems most of us did.)
There were many from both of their families who did not ‘do’ church, but after this wonderful service they realised that they did not have to be afraid, or shut God out of their lives.
And my poem? As I read the words God  had given me I knew what had happened to amazing grace. It was evident in every part of the service, as in his provision for their lives, for as I read I knew God was there, speaking to and blessing this special couple, who will continue to be a blessing in so many lives.

Thank God for his Amazing Grace.  

Friday, 2 January 2015


What can I share with you as we step into yet another New Year? The word God is impressing on me is to face it with ‘confidence and joy.’


I have been going through a great sadness as my beloved Brother in law, Pastor Les Davies, has been dying. Glory for him, but a great loss for us who were close to him. And then there is the ever persistent challenge of old age, for Facebook will soon remind you that I have a birthday coming up; while always we hear terrible news of suffering around the world. So how can we obey this word?


God first told me to ‘face the future with confidence and joy,’ as I was about to continue my journey into the remote Highlands of Papua New Guinea. It had taken great courage to leave my family and everything I knew, to leave UK and fly to Australia. Staying there for a month I became overwhelmed by the thought of the vast distances that lay not only behind, but still before me.


But now God was asking me to step out with confidence and joy. If you had said it, I would have replied, ‘It is all very well for you to talk.’ But it wasn’t you, but God, who promises to always be with us. It is he who enabled me then, and  he will enable each of us to face whatever lies before us in this New Year.


Now, it is not the vast distances across the Pacific and the mountains of Papua New Guinea that I am facing, but just the drive, partly motorway, up the Swansea Valley to attend my dear Brother in law’s funeral.    Surely the Lord will provide someone to drive and look after this frail little old lady?


Yes, he is well able, but I know God does not want me to think of myself as a frail little old lady. ‘As my days, so shall my strength be.’ Moses didn’t begin his ministry until he was 80 and at 120 his strength had not abated, so God is reminding me, still only 83 years young, not to think of giving up but to share with you his admonition, to  ‘face the future with confidence and joy.’


A whole New Year, but first, just this day

To face with joy as we go on our way

We’ve fresh air to breath and a glad new song

To sing, and new fears we must bid ‘Be-gone.’

New friends to greet but our old ones to treasure

And always new blessings in richest of measure

So we welcome this year knowing life is for living

A gift from our God, always loving and giving.

Happy New Year,