Reaching rural Wales
As you travel through Wales, especially its beautiful countryside, you will notice, dotted on the hills round about, isolated farms, so remote, not only from each other, but from the rest of the community. The thought occurred to us that not only are these farms isolated geographically, but more importantly, spiritually too. We concluded that most of the occupants of these farms had probably never heard the gospel, and possibly never would.
As we prayerfully considered these things we decided to step out in faith and start visiting some of these farms. Our sole intention is to talk about, and challenge them with, the gospel, leaving them with clear gospel booklets to read in their own time. Through these two means, discussion and literature, they would at least have had the opportunity to hear and believe the gospel – an opportunity which to date has not been afforded them.
We had no real area of Wales in mind, and were prepared to go anywhere, but decided to start in the Cardiganshire area, as we had available to us a base in New Quay from which we could work. And so, from May 2010, for usually one week a month, we have been visiting farms in the Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire areas. We are generally well accepted by those we visit, and have only been asked to ‘leave the property’ once!
It has been necessary to make clear from the beginning, that we do not belong to any cult or sect, as there isn’t a farm that we have called on yet, that hasn’t been visited by Jehovah’s Witnesses – usually at least twice a year.
It came as a bit of a shock to see how much ‘spiritual’ activity there is in these country areas, not unfortunately of a true gospel nature, but of many false beliefs put out by the ‘prince of this world’. Satan is very busy in our countryside. There are Hindu enclaves, where people in the area meet for meditation, with one lady building an extension on to her house in order to accommodate her guru, who comes across from India. Our last visit turned up several Spiritualists, with some quoting Scripture and telling us that some of mankind came to this planet via flying saucers! They have led astray several bereaved and vulnerable people, who have been telling us how they now meet with mediums who ‘communicate’ with their dead spouses on their behalf.
We have met many who believe that ‘everyone has the right to seek truth and meaning for themselves’ – whatever it is! There was an astral traveller (an intelligent man) telling us how he can bodily remove himself to anywhere in the country. This same gentleman wanted to know whether we had called on the white witch ‘who lives on the farm over there’. There are several New-Agers who believe that we are merely part of an on-going cycle of oneness with nature. There’s the Mormon who freely spoke to us, but told us of his deep concern, because he has been taught that man is saved for heaven by faith, and works that follow. Now being older and nearer to dying, he lives in fear, because ‘how can I know whether I have done enough good works to be saved?’ This same man also had three young Mormon girls visiting his home who ‘had come to evangelise the New Quay area’.
All of this is taking place in a countryside area approximately twenty miles long and fifteen miles wide; an area which has chapels in abundance, even in the smallest villages. Places which God once smiled upon and where He made His presence known in a real and felt way are now in ruins – all of them spiritually and many of them structurally, as the ivy and decay take hold. There is a lot of darkness covering our land.
There is ‘C’, a black bearded tower of a man, who stopped his work and invited us in; for forty-five minutes we talked of eternal issues and the question of his soul’s destiny. At the end, however, he stated, ‘I don’t think I can cross the line’. We continue to call on him.
There is ‘S’, who has cancer and arthritis, who on a revisit invited us in for tea and cakes, and wanted to know ‘why are you so interested in me?’ Another half an hour was then spent explaining the depth of God’s love for her. There’s also ‘M’ with whom we are in regular contact now and who joins us for coffee, a chat, and a short walk when we are in the area.
There is ‘A’, who also invited us in to her kitchen, where the gospel was freely listened to, and where we heard of her sick mother in the bedroom upstairs. We were warmly welcomed on a revisit, when she told us her mother was to be buried in two days time, and that our visits were timely and much appreciated. Much literature has been left with her, and even though her circumstances prevent her from attending church, she regularly reads the Bible to her grandchildren.
There is ‘J’, an Anglican, who only has one relative in England, and who freely talks of the Lord and reads all the books he receives. On a revisit, we heard that he had been taken into hospital after falling in his home and lying there for three days. On visiting him we found he had been in hospital for eight months. We continue to visit (he is now in sheltered accommodation) and have a prayer time with him.
To date some 600 farms (including some isolated cottages) have been visited, but we have met only one born-again Christian, a young girl visiting her parents. Being totally aware that it is in nobody’s power to save one soul, no matter how much visiting, talking or reading is done, we rest on the Scripture that tells us that we are still to go and make Him known to all, because ‘how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?’ (Rom. 10:14). The great need is that the Holy Spirit will accompany the speaking and the hearing, as He alone can quicken a dead soul. Without divine power there cannot be any fruit, but if He deigns to touch even the feeblest effort done in His name (and this is our prayer – and perhaps you will join us in this) then there will be fruit, and all to His glory.
Wales, then, despite its glorious history of revivals, is today as real a mission field as anywhere. We thank God for all those He sends abroad to serve Him, but may He also, in His mercy, separate some for service here in rural Wales. The chapels are there but the empty pulpits cry out for pastors ‘and how shall they hear without a preacher?’ (Rom. 10:14).
What will be the result of all these visits? We do not know, but we trust that as the seed is sown, in obedience to His word, God will cause some to fall on good ground, bringing salvation to some and glory to Him.
Wyn and Angela Evans are members of Heath Evangelical Church, Cardiff.