It's been great to slowly reconnect with many of the people I haven't seen for over 10 years. Today was no exception as I was asked to speak at a Prayer Gathering in Swansea.
I love my Nation, which is 3 million people, thats one person for every hill or mountain. We have a mix of Welsh and English first and second languages as well as some differences between north and south. Yet our love for Song, Rugby and Beer (not necessarily in that order) is unrivalled. We are financially dependent on the UK government and don't mind spending that money on free prescriptions, free hospital car parking and as much state owned and maintained coastline and parks that we were blessed with as a Nation.
The Welsh are known for living their life on their sleeve. That means, we are brutally honest, quick tempered and once through that phase, devastated to upset anyone and loyal to a tee. It's kind of a mix between Terminator, Forest Gump and Mary Poppins all rolled into one LOL.
The biggest problem when you move away is you quickly fall into the out of sight out of mind category with both ministry connections, friends and family. For me it was no different. Working in England and living in Congleton, Rugeley, Stoke on Trent, then Manchester put us in touch with hundreds of people, but what about the hundreds of people I left behind. How would I keep in touch with the folk I met when I lived in Neath, Swansea, Dinas Powys and Blackwood ? The tough answer is I didn't do a good job and neither did they. I'm back in Wales now, so I'll try not to make the same mistake with the friends I made in England !!
The biggest problem moving back to a region you have lived in before, is that your memory and therefore expectation gets frozen in time. Your brain wants to pick up where you left off, yet everything around you has changed. The people, the village size, the town etc. I think on reflection its harder to reconnect with something you were part of before than to pioneer your way into a new area.
Having said all of that - it is such a blessing to reconnect with folk who are so faithfully continuing what they do over so many years. Reconnecting with Kingdom hero's is not just a blessing its a humbling privilege.
Today I squeezed a ten year life and ministry update to eight folk, four I knew and four were new to me. All so precious and all of them so faithful in their own ministry. To be honest I poured my heart out, reciting many of my own experiences over a decade away. Yet I was so moved by the short testimonies contained in the prayer requests at the end of the meeting. Folk who had prayed for 8 years for something before an answer or 13 years for another situation. The dedication was amazing.
Another couple moved to a Church which wasn't doing too well and was sacrificing their own desire to invest and pray and help serve. That testimony sounded like a modern day story of the Moravians.
The meeting had been organised by Ann & Dudley who I hadn't seen for about 12 years, they were still totally sold out for God and doing everything they could to grow Kingdom.
I must admit, I am really quite disconnected with the Wales of 2009, but am slowly doing the rounds, meeting the faithful and the new to faith, praying and discerning what God is going to next with our little Nation.
What is sure from today - God is NOT dead in Wales, plenty is going on, it might not be connected in some ways, but in the nw networks Kingdom is growing strong.
I hope I can play a part of reporting what God is doing as I seek to develop Radio, TV and publishing for Wales to the World in this next coming season.
What an awesome day.