Monday, 3 October 2022

Memories Wakened

 

Few of us in Grace knew Delora Morris in her prime. To us she was one of ‘the old originals’ who had been a members of Hope Chapel, but I am one of the few privileged to have known her in her prime.

Like myself she was married to a minister and when we first came to live in Porthcawl I became involved with Delora who was leading the Women’s World Day of  Prayer. Though she was a Welsh speaker herself, ‘Delora worked hard to get the Welsh to unite with us foreign English on that special day. I admired her for that.

I always knew where Delora lived because of the name of their home. It was ‘Cana’r
aderyn.’ (Sing like the birds)

It was one of her uncles I believe who wrote this beautiful Welsh hymn. When Joel and I were invited to preach in some of the many Welsh chapels now without ministers I would sing this as a solo, and they would lustily join in the chorus.

Our husbands were both theologians and enjoyed many a discussion.’ He became affectionately known by fellow Christians as ‘Rightly dividing the word of truth.’ We became widows around the same time and did our best to support each other, but while Delora had her house crowded out with bardic chairs won by her grandfather, and other members of her family, God was helping me to declutter and leading me into new ministries. Several years her senior, Delora was talking about retirement homes long before I thought of such a thing and even now, believe I am here on a mission. But our hearts were in the same place and our treasure hid in heaven.

I am so sorry that I was unable to attend the funeral of this special lady, and my friend. She had taken me to visit her mother shortly before she died. She was finding it so hard to cope with the thought of parting with this lovely woman who previously would had been such a strength in her life and when I heard so many tributes of the godly life she had lived I longed to bring my own thanksgiving for this, another godly woman who, together with her husband had dedicated her life to live for God, and after going through Bible college together went straight into the ministry.

I remember her reminiscing with Laura, our busy Pastor’s wife of her days as a young pastor’s wife.

A programme I enjoy is ‘Homes under the Hammer.’ Like many others I think her house, cluttered with memories will have to be stripped bare but I do   hope the  inspiration of its name will remain.

 

May we, like Delora, ‘sing for the glory of heaven

                                    Like a sunbeam has swept over my heart;'

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Healing by the sea

One of the blessings of moving into a care home was to be living within reach of a walk by the sea. Convalescing after a cataract operation, I seemed to have lost my ability to hear God’s voice. Had I lost my ability to commune with him?

I thought of how Jesus had walked the shores of Galilee and how I too as a young woman had shared the joy of his first disciples who had answered his call to follow him. But now after years of joyful discipleship I felt I had nothing to offer him.

Then, wonderfully, melting in our unusual heat wave, I was advised to rise before breakfast to come for my walk by the sea. There, resting on a bench I was aware of Jesus’ sitting beside me, demanding nothing, just enjoying my presence, and happy that I had come to meet with him.

Credits to Frank McKenna at Unsplash

‘Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what thou art. I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart.’ My time of the desert was over!

I have longed to put into verse my own wonderful blessing of sitting beside my Saviour in my weakness on the shore, not of Galilee, but of Porthcawl.

I hope this may bring assurance to each of us who may also have times when they need God’s own personal ministry.

 Oh Christ who walked by Galilee

 Have come to walk this shore with me

 And you who called those young and brave

 Call us afresh though old and frail

 Lord, though oftimes I fail to hear

 And know that you are always near

 You never leave us or forsake

And you who called me when so young

Like those you called by Galilee

Are with me here , another shore –

Porthcawl indeed, not Galilee

But near and dear, yes all we need

Come, rest with us each beside the sea.’


I am struggling to share this, to me, very special experience, but pray we may all know his love afresh, whatever our circumstances.


Monday, 27 June 2022

Mephibosheth

 If you were to choose a Bible story to illustrate the Gospel to someone brought up a devout worshipper in our local Golden Temple, I doubt if you would have chosen the story of Mephibosheth, yet I had a strong urge that God wanted me to somehow share the blessing I had received from the sermon we had heard.

But how could I? When I tried to repeat this wonderful story I was struggling even to pronounce the name of this young prince who, as grandson of King Saul, instead of being heir apparent was suddenly the enemy of the throne.

The more I wrestled with such a task the more impossible it seemed. It was not until my heart  was stirred in love for this lovely, devout and gifted Indian lady who was one of the team of carers who was one of the team who are now assigned to care for me that I realised the necessity of Jesus’ words, ‘No man comes to the Father, but by Me.’

Doesn’t the angel declare?

‘Call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’

Here in this little known story of this unfortunate prince, rescued by the grace of God through David was the poem God wanted me to write.

  

MEPHIBOSHETH

Mephibosheth! Mephibosheth! You’re summonsed by the king.

Now grandson of his enemy, how dare he enter in?

No pride in his father’s loyalty, but banished, crippled, shamed!

Photo by Zane Persaud on Unsplash
Prostrate he lies at David’s feet – for mercy has no claim

But David, great in majesty, is great in mercy too,

‘Come! There’s room here at my table and in my heart a place for you.

For your father was my truest friend and our love was pledged for ever

Even as we rest in God’s great love, know naught from him can sever.

Not our desserts but Christ’s sacrifice has bound us safely to him

So rise with joy to join the throng who’ll worship God for ever.

                                                            Pauline Lewis+-

 

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

KITSUNGI HOPE

 It was my first trip out from my new abode in Pinehurst, a rest home in Porthcawl.

Such a treat for me to make my way independently, apart from the help, of course of  my reliable walker, to the end of our street to the Promenade, only to find not only that the Lord  was with me but had gone before me, for there on the pavement was a china effigy of  Snoopy.

But why was he special?

Why, there was something that immediately caught my attention, for this one seemed to be carefully adorned with numerous cracks, all high lighted in gold.

Photo by ali mousavi on Unsplash
I am told it is a delightful practice of the Japanese, not just to repair broken china so that
the damage is almost impossible to be noticed. It is called Kitsungi, where they enhance the breaks, not just  by repairing them so that they are almost impossible to discern, but by outlining the breakages in gold.

Snoopy here is gracefully covered in delicate gold tracery. I was aware of the story because of a programme on the Bible network where Patrick Regan and his wife are developing a ministry which they call Kitsungi Hope. On the programme I had happened upon he was interviewing a young man who has been greatly used by God in developing the work of Street Pastors, But what connection could this successful young man have with broken pottery?

Why should I have been surprised to hear of the pain that had been involved as he found himself broken and separated from the fellowship in which he had thought he was so secure but had eventually led to his leading a much wider ministry.

Much interest is aroused by this and many other Snoopies placed around Porthcawl, part of a treasure trail to raise money for a safe doggy path for our well- loved pooches, but as I  met a young woman, alone as I was, I felt I had to share the true meaning of Kitsungi and I know it meant more than just Kitsungi but Kitsungi Hope to someone who needed her pain to be turned to a ministry of beauty.

We thank God for Patrick Regan, Les Isaacs and the many others of us who have allowed God to turn the pain and brokenness of our lives into ministries of beauty. And those of us privileged as I am to enjoy the message Snoopy brings us, may we  day by day trust in the God who is able to turn the painful cracks into Kintsungi Hope.

Has God not promised us ‘beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning?’ Kitsungi Hope indeed.


Wednesday, 27 April 2022

A SPECIAL GOOD FRIDAY

Photo by Alicia Quan on Unsplash
Special? Of course. It is the day we remember the sacrificial death of our Saviour, for the
world, yes, but I am remembering his death for me. I am one of the sheep who has gone astray, and because my sins were laid on him, the spotless lamb, my life has been wonderfully transformed.

Yes, but special for another reason. On this Good Friday I had a bath for the first time for over 25 years. I had showered, of course, because I could get into but not out of a bath. Now in a Care Home they have a special facility where we are put into a seat then hoisted over and lowered into the lovely warm bubbly water. Oh, such a treat, yet rather humiliating to be raised naked, waiting to be covered.

In the wonderful atmosphere of worship before we shared the bread and wine the Lord gave me a beautiful picture. I was in that chair, washed but naked, longing for any old rags to cover my nakedness when down from heaven was lowered a garment made of the fleece of the Passover Lamb , a garment of glory and beauty. I was raised like a queen, my shame dealt with.

How wonderful. Jesus hung naked on the cross. He took my shame that I might be clothed with beauty.

It isn’t easy to give up my independent living, but I am lapping up the love and care and in many ways am being prepared for heaven.

           

            ‘All hail atoning blood, All hail redeeming grace

            All hail the gift of Christ my God, my strength and righteousness.’

 

Thursday, 21 April 2022

A SHINING PATH

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

We were in a Watch-night service, perhaps around mid-night when I clearly saw a picture of a path of light, spreading before me. Then God began to put into words  this picture he was giving me. This was my first experience of the gift of prophecy, which my friend, Esther Knight informed me would become the most precious thing in my life.

It was only later that I  came across this verse in the Bible, and indeed many utterances I had heard through seasoned prophets, were all based on this wonderful Book, the Bible.

Looking back I remember how I began my walk on this shining path. It was through Billy Graham and also my faithful friend Esther that I had learned that Jesus had died, not just for Adam, but if no one else had sinned, that he had needed to die that terrible death for me, but although now I was meeting with God in a wonderful way, I was still going to worship with those who  denied this evangelical teaching.

I was in mental agony, until I cried out, ‘Lord, it was so easy for your disciples. They just had to follow Jesus and I am trying to find out what is right and what is wrong.’

Clearly God spoke into my heart.

‘No,’ he told me. ‘ It is just the same for you. It is just for you to follow Jesus.’

‘Lord, if that is really true, make it so plain for me that it is either to choose you or deny you.’

It was a very few weeks later that God did just that. Explaining my dilemma to Esther’s father, he told me, ‘For me to go where they deny that Jesus is God would be to deny my Lord.’

I knew the decision was made. I would never go back. I found myself embraced in the fellowship of the Apostolic Church and on the shining path. No turning back.

It was a few years along this path that I thought God was calling me to be a missionary. Every time I heard a missionary speaking I felt I was being called there, until I realised that maybe God wanted me to be willing to go anywhere for him. So for several years I continued as a teacher in the needy mission field of London’s East End.

Esther meanwhile had gone to Nigeria. But there was no call for me to work beside her, and yet there had to be somewhere with no mountains or log bridges, for I was not of an adventurous nature.

Then a request came from Australia for teachers or nurses with a missionary calling so I responded, but heard nothing back for two years. Perhaps all God askes is for us to be willing? In the meantime I had become a deputy headmistress and in line for a headship which had helped me to become more confident.

So I was being led along this shining path until I was in a prayer meeting, my flight booked for the following Sunday en route for Australia and eventually Papua New Guinea. It was then I had a panic attack. 

‘Lord, I won’t be able to leave everyone I know and go alone.’

The Lord answered me.

‘I am going. You can come with me, or leave me.’

Whatever decision I have to  take, it is always – to choose Christ or to deny him, as I had asked.

Now in my old age I know some have feared that I have rushed into decision-making, but my Saviour is the Wonderful Counsellor, and  he continues to prove to me that his will is good and acceptable and perfect. He never asks me to step into any situation without coming with me.

Our Saviour does not ask all of us to go to foreign shores or to learn foreign languages, but he has a plan and purpose for each one of us that is good and acceptable and perfect and if we ask him he will make it a shining path for each one of us.  

 

Thursday, 17 March 2022

RETIREMENT

My husband and I were agreed that as Christians we should never retire. Our work abroad was over when we married, and at 65, Joel retired from his pastorate in UK, happy to lay down his duties of administration while we continued to take every opportunity of ministry in whatever sphere. We were still missionaries


When God called me to write, my children’s books had opened doors for me to take assemblies in our local schools.


Joel was eighty one when he was ‘promoted’. He had been studying and preaching up to a fortnight before he died. He didn’t suffer and he hadn’t seen old age. Our diary was full, so  I was left to fulfil our many Sunday preaching opportunities as well as becoming further involved in the schools as I now was able to train to teach Bible Explorer. What a joy.


Nearer ninety now, Lock Down gently closed this door for me into the schools. Was I the only one who enjoyed it? Long undisturbed days for writing? But now, aged 91, my health seems to have hit a low. The two books I have been working on are published. So what now Lord?


I find the Lord reminding me of a visit we were asked to make some years ago.

A son had taken his mother into their home. ‘She is in the waiting room.’ He told us.

Another dear lady my brother used to visit, had gone into care, knowing she also was a ‘lady in waiting.’


So, with health problems increasing, and in spite of a pace maker, experiencing  unexpected and painful falls, is it time for me too to become a lady in waiting?


But I’m sure the Queen does not think of retiring her ladies in waiting. And though I may not be engaged in other ministries God has a purpose for me as I still am able to shed his love abroad.

Many years ago Joel and I  had the privilege of going into a local care home to take a service, never thinking we might one day be one of their residents. What a joy then to find a harvest field happily prepared to welcome me. So no, no retirement, but maybe a new field of service will open up, still with church friends  around making sure that as long as I am able I will be in the prayer meeting and Sunday services.


So let’s take receive each day as a gift from our Father, who promises that our days so shall our strength be.