Saturday, 12 November 2016


Once again it was Christmas in Hebron Hall. This Ladies weekend is always special, and every year the wonderful committee plan some special surprise for us.
We arrived to find beautiful Christmas trees adorning the place. And then Saturday morning I could not get out of our room because a row of Christmas stockings were strung across it, filled with loads of nick knacks which are still surprising us.
But for me the very special Christmas gift was the ministry. The joy of leaving our daily burdens and meeting up with so many friends of old and new, being spoiled with the excellent meals, and the lovely young people who served us, was all part of the of the blessing, but most of all the ministry.
Just being Sarah is an important part of her ministry. We loved hearing about her family, and especially we were touched to see a photo of a seven year old with her little sister, one arm held firmly behind her back, ashamed of her missing hand. Now she uses both arms as she plays the key board with confidence and skill, never seeking to hide it.
I’m sure Kevin (the Clown) did us good as we dissolved in laughter, even if we had already heard about his mother, leading up to his proclamation of God’s great love for us, but when Sarah announced her theme, Running the Race, and one session concerning the Marathon, I knew God had me in mind as he had moved Sarah to prepare her ministry.
Probably many of us had felt the same, but I can only share my story. 
I had ben unwell of late. My beloved Brother in law would have told me I was suffering from de-o-bitis – (date of birth) – in other words ‘old age.’ I told my pastor that I felt I would have to give up my ministries, but he spoke a word from God, - though I didn’t not receive it as such at the time.
‘Pauline, I cannot allow you to do that,’ or words to that effect. I felt a little hurt, until God gave me a picture.
There I was, prostrate on the ground, having failed to make the winning post, while God’s servant was on his hands and knees, begging me to get up and assuring me that I could make it. Now here was Sarah with just the same message.
Perhaps the greatest ministry in this Well-Being conference was the worship. How we were lifted on wings as eagles, the refrains of these wonderful songs still echoing around in my head. We were so blessed by these two beautiful young women, whose whole lives are acts of worship.
But perhaps the message I hope I will never forget is this story Sarah shared.:- In London alone, with a few hours to spare, she slipped into this cheaper seat, just as the concert was about to begin.  She was embarrassed that she was in view of those in the expensive seats until the conductor stepped up the podium. She was able to see the delight on his face, everything in his control. Those in the best seats saw only the back of his head, but she could see his face.
We behold the face of our wonderful God. In the hard places, as well as the easy ones, let us remember that.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abides alone….’
One of my claims to fame is to be Welsh by Marriage.
Had I not married Joel it is unlikely I would have come to settle here in the land of Our Fathers, and I might never have heard of this brave Welshman who is so greatly honoured by the Christians  in Korea.
I had  heard of a group from Korea  who felt it their responsibility, year after year, to travel to Wales, always coming via Jerusalem, to seek to bless the church here in thanksgiving for this, their first missionary, Robert Jermain Thomas, who, now 150 years ago, gave his life in seeking to bring them the Gospel. But had it not been for the Koreans themselves I doubt if any of us in the UK would even have heard of this brave Welshman. But in the land of Korea  they know that, though this brave young man had been martyred on arrival, it was he who had brought them these Bibles, written in their own language, which had  so miraculously survived.
I have heard several versions of how it happened, but part of the story is indisputable, and that is that Thomas had taken ship to Korea, with crates of Bibles. Herein is the first miracle. Does anyone know who first was burdened to translate God’s Word  into Korean? Who was the first contact who had taken on this mammoth task of translating the whole of the bible in this strange tongue, and with such a strange alphabet? This was no small task.
Many years ago Connie had been asked to help a tribe in Congo to have God’s word in their own mother tongue. Thirty years later, what a celebration as at last the task is completed! Those  who translated the bible into Korean may not be remembered, or even the stranger from Korea who possibly had been brought to our shores, that helped them in this task. But we do remember Thomas, because he was willing to live or die that Christ be known, and God’s word heard.
I know how I have pictured the story as it was first told to me :- the sighting of this land of Korea, from the ship which had already carried him so far, but not the welcome Robert had hoped for. Seeing the angry mob on the sea shore the captain has the guns manned, and so, in order to avoid any loss of life this brave young man orders the sailors to throw his crates of bibles onto the beach, leaping over with them while the captain, no longer responsible, sails away from their danger zone. 
How long was it before the sad news of his death reached his family? Was there a sweetheart who had been waiting to hear that it was  safe for her to travel out to join him?  I have no idea. And how long was it before  other Christian missionaries had ventured to that previously closed land? Maybe not until the Welsh revival? But we have heard from the now vibrant church in Korea that eventually other Christian missionaries had arrived to find these previously warlike people now already with hearts softened and changed, and worshipping Jesus Christ, as Lord and Saviour.
Here was another miracle. Robert Jermain Thomas had expected to explain to them the gospel, for ‘how shall they hear without a preacher?’ And how could they understand the purpose of these heavy loads? But God had not allowed them to destroy Thomas’s cargo.

Instead of destroying the books, someone had thought to line their walls with the precious paper, helping to keep out wind and weather, and as others then followed suit, somehow they came to realise the significance of the words written thereon, now plastered all around them. And today, through the precious life of one young man, the Word of God has been sown into the hearts of the people of Korea, and this year, 150 years later, some of them have again visited the little county of Wales, not only in thanksgiving, but to pray for us that again we may know the flame of revival that first ignited one to translate the word, Thomas to willingly give his life and then later those so filled with the Holy Spirit to come as teachers among them that as a nation they all might run with the Word .  

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Read: Hebrews 13: 5,6
This poor man cried and the Lord heard him and delivered him from all his fears. Psalm 34:6 (RAV)
When I was still small enough to sit on my Daddy’s knee, I would love him to tell me the story about the old man who was walking along with his head in the air. He wasn’t looking where he was going, and suddenly, he had fallen into a big hole. And just as suddenly, my father opened his knees so that I fell between them. I shrieked with excitement, for I knew I was entirely safe, and that although he had appeared to let me fall I was still kept safe in his arms.

I was reminded of this the other day.  I felt as if I had fallen into a pit of depression. I used to suffer from depression, but over many years I have been learning to claim the Lord as my strength and my song. But here I was. A sudden attack from Giant Despair and I felt I was once again at the bottom of a pit. Then it was that my Father God gently reminded me of how my earthly father would never willingly have let me fall, though we had made a game of it; and even so, He had me safe in his keeping and I need not fear.
So God enabled me to call to him and once again he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Prayer: Father God; help us to trust you even in those times when we do not feel you near.
Thought for the Day: We know we can ask you to deliver us from evil. And we ask you to deliver us from all our fears too.

                                                                        Pauline Lewis (South Wales)
Prayer focus: those suffering from depression, that they may receive the right help

I have just had this thought for the day accepted to go in ‘The Upper Room,’ a devotional daily reading, but I thought maybe my Blog readers might appreciate it too. But, would you believe? This week I found myself in the pit once again. I remembered this lesson and knew God had firm hold of me, but I also knew God did not want me to stay in the pit. But   when I phoned a friend to ask her to pray with me, I found she was in the pit too. Had I made a mistake in turning to her? No, God had led me aright.
Together, we helped each other to talk through to the roots of our depression, and then, as we prayed for each other, we both heard God speak into our hearts showing us what action we needed to take in order to climb out of our pit.
So let’s make sure we do cry out to the Lord when we are feeling down, and listen to his answers too.
For me, I had been depressed because I was afraid the door of the school where I was hoping to teach Bible Explorer might not open, and until I had a day fixed for them, how could I make dates with the other schools?
With a nudge from the Holy Spirit, the next morning I phoned two of those other schools to book assemblies, where once again the doors swung wide in welcome.  I was not only out of the pit, but, in spirit, dancing on the mountains.
So may we all call out to the Lord and prove that He not only does hear but answers prayer and delivers us from all our fears.

Thursday, 8 September 2016


Belting the Globe with the Gospel

By Marcus Thomas
This book was written in light of the centenary celebrations of the establishing of the Apostolic church UK, yes, back in the year 1916.
The emphasis of the celebrations was, not just looking back but special emphasis was made on our continuing call to mission, and that we should always be a missional people.
In the light of this, it has been a joy to read Marcus’s book, well written and certainly holding my interest through every page.
I was blessed to be led by God’s Spirit to take membership in the Apostolic church when I was in my early twenties, and so privileged to be called to travel to Papua New Guinea and later to Ghana to serve with the Church in the children’s work, but then to marry Pastor Joel Lewis, who had worked for many years as a minister in Nigeria, and then in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. He was proud to know he was born the year the missionary work commenced, but also that his parents had been involved in those early beginnings of which Marcus writes.
It was many years ago that we were warned that when a movement reaches to a third generation it can so easily die out, but thank God we are not a people who have died out wandering in the wilderness, but now are a Joshua generation, entering into our possessions. It was wonderful to see whole families reunited for this special celebration, every one of them still involved in loving and serving the Lord.
As we read Marcus’s account we cannot but realise how great was the price paid, not only for the ministers, but for wives and children too, having to forgo having Daddy at home for Christmas because of a Christmas convention, or being left in a boarding school while their parents went off to Africa; and we can only praise God that he has healed those who have perhaps struggled with bitterness. Many of those Marcus has selected to write about we had been privileged to meet, and there have been other mighty men too whose names could not be recorded here. I so well remember Pastor W.H.Lewis, who is mentioned, in his old age, travelling across London to speak at a cottage meeting in Esther’s home and, knowing nothing of my background, leaving his notes to preach on the Divinity of Christ, or the personality of the Holy Spirit which led to me eventually leaving the cult I was in and taking membership in the little church in Barking. Another precious memory is of our friendship with dear Pastor Rosser, and him handing me the book, ‘So Send I You,’ which was a confirmation to me of my missionary call. How we thank God for the privilege of being part of this move of God, and for now having our zeal kindled afresh as we move forward into another century of service, ever looking forward and  hastening unto the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
But many of you may meet these great men of God for the first time if you read Marcus’ book. I recommend it. Read and be blessed.
For more information, contact-

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Centenary Celebration – Pauline’s Perusals

It was quite a step of faith for me to head off to Cheltenham for Ablaze UK ( we used to know it as the Penygroes convention)   this year  celebrating a hundred years since the founding of the Apostolic Church UK.
We were in celebratory mode. Balloons and cakes and the joy of meeting old friends, and then settling into the main hall where thousands of us gathered for wonderful times of worship and hearing from God.
If you are into technology you can hear the ministry on line. Gone are the days when Pastor Frank Parker would write a report, illustrated too, for the Riches of Grace, and though we had attended we loved to be reminded by reading it over again. Once Frank retired I would type out the notes I had taken and send to missionaries etc who could not make it. But this year it will only be titbits, since often I cannot read my own writing because of my ‘shoogley (shaky) shoulder’.
So here I am, home with my (usually) friendly computer, and I would like to reminisce a little.
No, it was not Penygroes, but even when we were still in Penygroes, people would say, ‘Oh, it is not like it used to be.’ I used to think this, even if I did not say, it, until the Lord convicted me. When I first came, back in 1956, I  thought the convention week was heaven on earth. Fast forward to 1981, now married to Joel, I met a couple there for their first time, and they were as thrilled as I had once been. Through them, God was  showing me, it was I who had changed, not God. I realised that if we come to meet God we will never go away disappointed.
So now, a (comparatively) elderly lady, in these excellent premises of the conference centre at Cheltenham, we raised our voices in joyful worship and had those quiet yet powerful times of worship and singing in the spirit that had so thrilled me in the Temple in Penygroes all those years ago. Maybe we did not have a surfeit of prophetic ministry that had so thrilled us in days gone by, but God still speaks to us, for it is always through his word.
It was those times of holy worship which have kept me through times of spiritual dearth in the church, times of dryness and recession, times of loneliness and when it seemed my prayers would not be answered, and I know the God of the Mount is still with us today.
I had such an experience on Sunday night. I had been thrilled as I first arrived, first to meet Joyce, from Ghana who became such a dear friend when living in Ilford, and then yes –  I met a party from Papua New Guinea. No, not anyone I knew, for I left there back in 1972. But they were so delighted to meet me and I told them, ‘You must be my children, for the people used to call me ‘the little children’s mother.’ Oh! Oh! Big photo shoot. So many selfies. Joy abounding! But my strength was ebbing away. Maybe I should not have come.
What a joy to meet up with the family of Pastor Jones Williams, who together with pastor Dan had been a pioneer in the church. Now his children had met up for this special celebration. We had been together in the Barking/Ilford assembly when we first came into the church and such a joy to meet up now. We were booked into the same accommodation so had some special breakfasts together.
In the convention we found Ilford  much in the news.  Bryon Jones, their pastor, led the worship and told us of the  expansion which has meant them leaving the church we had seen, or even helped to build. I found Byron’s workshop on Worship to be a special blessing, and noted it was several  of us ‘old originals’ from Ilford who were making contributions here.
I didn’t get to all the excellent workshops. I no longer feel I have to get to every event, but it was such a joy to meet up with so many faithful souls who have prayed for us over so many years and lovely to have time to chat. Look out for the  magazine we brought home with us bringing us up to date with news of Action Overseas, as our Missionary movement is now called.
Though much was made of us reaching our centenary, in no way was it suggested that we  had reached our goal. ‘A Missional People’ was our theme, and we are still looking for the 40 nations and reminded of our calling to ‘belt the globe.’
Pastor Emmanuel Mbakwe welcomed us – he, with Helen, has been such a humble yet powerful leader, and godly example to us all, but now he was passing on the baton to Pastor Tim Jack, God’s gift to us from Australia. By the way, the baton which had been taken around all the churches in UK now completed its journey by cyclists  from Hereford, who had brought it the last 30 miles.
Pastor Alistair Matheson gave the opening ministry, ‘Just say Yes.’ – how Peter always had to say yes – eventually, and we have to say ‘Yes,’ for God’s will to come to pass. Abraham had to say ‘Yes,’ and his yes meant doing something about it for Sarah to conceive.
Sunday night we had an amazing testimony as Todd White presented the gospel. Often mistaken as a Rastafarian, he was not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ – though much appreciated by those present from Teen Challenge.
I had been struggling with my health and wondering if I had been wise to come, and now he called us to worship the Lord and reach out to him for healing. God heard my cry. I woke up with the same weaknesses as before, but I was a new Pauline. Before, when people had asked how I was, I would tell them, ‘Well my inner man is alright,’ or maybe ‘I walk by faith,’ but now I told them with confidence, ‘Oh, aren’t we being blessed?’ I was in no doubt I was meant to be there, and so grateful to those who had made it possible, for though I still drive, I don’t go that far.
We had a special centenary choir, led by Bryon’s sister – one of the Jones Family that used to sing in Penygroes, all those years ago. They were a great blessing.
Then there were meals arranged for all our overseas visitors, and retired staff etc. I was amazed at the logistics of such an arrangement. 5 huge buses to carry us to the school where they fed us, and then to get us back to our various lodgings. The wonderful ladies from Kennington were on the look out for any who were struggling with walking. I was so thankful for the beautiful ladies who would take me past the queue, seat me and t hen go to fetch me a beautiful meal. Some of the high lights for me – sitting on the bus with Dario, such a lovely clown from Italy; sitting with the whole Parker tribe for dinner, and then  chatting with Alan and Sandra, from Malawi, on the bus coming back. And meeting the party from Ghana. Another photo shoot!
The logistics of organising the whole conference was amazing, yet all was done with love and grace, yes, and peace. What a privilege to be there.
-        Well, just a few thoughts from my scribbled notes.
Sun. a.m. John Gass, spoke from Daniel, being tenacious in prayer. He spoke of Wilberforce, encouraged by Wesley not to give up and 45 years later, 3 days before he died,  anti slavery laws were passed.

Monday afternoon there was Mission Cheltenham. The sun came out. The choir was there, and our lovely clown, while teams mingled and chatted and prayed, and at least one young man responded to the Gospel.(No, - I was not there!)

Dr.Aaron from Ghana gave a challenging message – that we are called as labourers, and God is saying to us, as to Isaac, when the enemy kept on filling his water supply with stones – ‘go dig another well.’

Pastor Dominic Bird took workshops on evangelism. He was so humble and joyful and didn’t put us under condemnation. But he spoke of Jonathan & his armour bearer – ‘Perhaps God would do something’ – he was willing to fail. If you don’t do it when you have nothing, you won’t do it when you have everything.

No nap Wed. afternoon. It was the big Ladies meeting – Embrace, (while the men had their own in another venue with a Danish pastor)
We had two inspiring testimonies, one was a middle aged lady who has been wonderfully used in personal evangelism, and then the struggles of a young pastor’s wife. Our speaker was Fiona Castle, thrust into ministry through the death of her famous husband Roy. With many commitments herself she challenged us sometimes to throw away our ‘to do’ list and not to be afraid to relax.  (I had taken my latest poetry book with me. I was so blessed in being able to give them away, and this gave me the opportunity of a chat with Fiona.)
We were all sent home with a gift. I now have a tiny heart shaped blackboard with the name of my neighbour written on it hanging with my keys, so every time I come down stairs I see her name and pray for her salvation. Yes, we are a missional people.

As usual, there was wonderful provision for our children and youth, and we so enjoyed seeing them bring their contribution in the final session. Well done to our wonderful children’s and youth workers.

Our new President, Pastor Tim Jack, brought our time of blessing to a close with a strong word from the Lord, Not to be like the king in the O.T. who built ships – but they never sailed, but to rely totally on God who alone can quench our thirst and give us the Holy spirit in such measure that we will be a missional people, to carry the whole gospel to the whole world.

So now I am home, feeling I am convalescing. Well, even Jesus came down from the mountain, and it has always been so, only with maturity we understand that we do have to come down, and face spiritual warfare. But we have been obedient in making the effort to join with the great congregation to go up to the mount of the Lord. Our gatherings are still ‘Pen-y-groes’ – for the name means ‘ the head of the cross.’ And we look forward to that great gathering when from every tribe and kindred and tongue we will cry, ‘Salvation to our God and to the Lamb.’

I wrote the following sitting in my bedroom at the Premier Inn where I stayed:-


Further and higher is the cry
Eternity the reason why
E’en from our mansion in the sky
‘twill still be further on

So on we climb from day to day,
Upward, for we’re on the upward way
In Christ, the Truth, the Life, we say
It’s always further on

So onward, ever upward cry
No, not the grave but Christ on high
Each day his gift – ‘there’s more’ we cry
Yes, always further on

From every kindred, tribe and tongue
We’ll join to sing the glad new song
Of those, the blood washed, to the Lamb
With him, still further on

Tuesday, 19 July 2016


I was comfortably seated in the lounge of Prior Park, this prestigious mansion where we had gathered for the reception of a very special wedding. But I wondered why a friend was asking if I had been outside? I presumed he wanted me to be part of the taking of photos, but - I was not anxious to be included, even if I did have a new outfit. But once I had stepped outside, I understood.  To think I might have missed this magnificent view! As I gazed in awe as the spectacular scene I was reminded of the final book, and indeed final chapter of the Narnia stories.
‘It’s further on!’ This was the cry they heard as having come through the stable door of death, they were urged to run, gallop or fly ever onward, ever upward. Finally they came  to realise that this  was heaven itself.
For our newly-weds it may have felt like heaven as they stepped outside, but they had not needed to be urged to go further on. As I gazed in awe at the glorious scene of the valley which fell away before us into glorious vistas, I saw that far in the distance, central to the picture, they were already there, with the photographer, of course, to make sure the scene was one never to be forgotten.
What a wonderful day; such a homely, yet awesome service, with friends and family making it a time of joyous celebration, and the newly-weds dancing out of the church together into newness of life. And now enjoying such a wonderful time of fellowship and feasting too in this grand mansion, with old friendships renewed and new ones forged. But we may be assured that neither bride nor groom will have to look back on it as the best day of their lives. I am sure they will remember it as God’s very special gift to them; their entrance into a life of joyful service, but always knowing that God has more, and hearing the call,  that it is ‘further on and further up.’
And as I stood there, on the balcony, I knew that God was challenging me to remember we have none of us as yet arrived. There are more mountains to claim, more challenges and difficulties which he wants to turn to a testimony, more weaknesses to be turned into strengths, and above all the promise;- ‘You have shown us the path of life. You will make us full of joy in  your presence.’

May God  bless our newly-weds as they have stepped into abundant life together and as they, with us, answer the cry, ‘Further on and further up.’     

Friday, 8 July 2016


It was a very little prayer, but what a great answer. I was returning home after a wonderful holiday with ‘Bridgens Tours.’ It wasn’t just the weather, the food, but especially it was the fellowship which makes me describe it as wonderful. We were nearly thirty in our party, - some have become part of my history, and others newly discovered, but all members of my family through Jesus. So now, yes, I would be glad to return to my own bed, but how could I face an empty house?
When I was so happily married, I had felt I could never stay in my bungalow if Joel were not there. He always filled it with sunshine. But as I faced returning to an empty house for the first time, -thirteen years ago now, Jesus brought a memory to mind. Out in the highlands of New Guinea, I was standing on the veranda of a mission house, watching the truck driving away with my colleagues. I would only be alone for the weekend before my sister would be there to keep my company, but oh, as I looked at the grass lands stretching to the distant mountains and no house within earshot, how desolate it seemed. ‘Oh Lord,’ I sighed. What kind of a prayer was that?
Turning to go into the house, suddenly I knew Jesus was there, beside me. Filled with joy, I began to sing, and then I was dancing. He was keeping his promise, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’
As ‘this same Jesus’ reminded me of this story from long ago, I knew he would do it again. So now, every time I put the key in the door of my home I ask him, ‘Be there for me, Lord,’ and every time I step into joy. Every time, Jesus is there to greet me.
But now, having waved goodbye to all my lovely family, I was drugged with tiredness after the long bus journey. Would I fall into a pit of depression? Again I prayed, ‘Be there for me.’
‘Hello Pauline, I’ll help you with your case.’ I had not had to ask. My lovely neighbour had seen me drive in, and soon had my case on the mat and was giving me a hug of welcome. And, oh yes, as I picked up the mail (that had always been our first job) I found not one, but two very special snail mail letters, -what I call ‘proper’ letters.
Two very ordinary happenings, you may think, but because I asked, and God had answered, it became a very special welcome home.

I am so thankful that we have a God who hears and answers prayer, and who has promised that he will never leave us or forsake us. Yes, it does say, before you call I will answer, but I know he loves to hear his children call out to him.    A very little prayer, and a very special answer.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016


If we are asked to take a seat, that should give us a measure of security. We are welcome. But to be seated with Christ, that is beyond human understanding, but not beyond faith. 

The first time I met Esther, she was seated alright. We were at college and a friend wanted me to meet her. She took me to her room. We heard a clear ‘come in!’ but - where was she? As I entered I could not locate her until I lifted my eyes and there she was, perched on the round back of her sturdy office chair which was against the wall, her feet on the seat. Somehow it was much too ordinary to sit as anyone else of us would do. 

I’m sure that, as a child, Esther thought sofas were meant to be bounced on, or chairs to be made into tunnels or even castles. Life was not meant to be ordinary, but exciting. 

No wonder she entered with joy into the life we are offered in Christ, and she set out on a life of adventure with God, working for over twenty years in Africa.. Yes, she knew what it was to be seated with Christ in heavenly places. 

So how could it be that now, in her old age, she did not know how to sit down? Eventually she realised she did not have to perch on the arm of her chair but dared to yield herself to the comfort of its seat. 

I was grieved to see the deterioration of my dear friend, such a great women of God, but my companion assured me that she was not unhappy in her dementia. Indeed this friend she loves to drive me over to visit Esther as she is so blessed by hearing her sing. Once we get her singing the wonderful songs she learned in Sunday School, or in her early years in church, we have a little bit of glory. Her voice is still as strong as in our college days where she was chosen to sing the solo parts of Bach’s glorious chorales. Perhaps it is no wonder she doesn’t know what to do with a chair after misusing them for so long, but she knows a wonderful security in her relationship with Jesus, and she is still seated with Christ in heavenly places.

Monday, 9 May 2016


Driving out of the estate of Cricket St. Thomas, made famous for the filming of  ‘To the Manor Born’ we had enjoyed a break with Bridgens Tours, but now, packed into our comfy minibus, we  noticed this one solitary lamb. What was he doing there all on his own?  Obviously some days since his birth, for his legs were strong, we knew he should not have been alone. All week we had enjoyed watching the  flocks of sheep, their little ones gambling around or suckling contentedly.
We had nearly driven through the gates  when we caught a glimpse of an elderly shepherd. He already had a  newborn in his arms. Doubtless he was intent on taking it home to the farmhouse where his wife, maybe, would care for this helpless little one when he had spotted the wanderer, and was now striding purposefully towards it., this one was not in need of the warmth of the kitchen or of a nourishing bottle, just of being rounded up and sent in the right direction to where it would be reunited with his mother, safe and protected.
How comforting to know that however long we have been walking with Jesus, and though we are still prone to wander, we cannot go beyond the care of Jesus, our good Shepherd.

And perhaps God was using that wayward lamb to remind us that none of us are  meant to ‘go it alone.’ Yes, all we like sheep have gone astray, but the Good Shepherd has brought us into his flock and into his green pastures, and is far more concerned for each one of us, that we should not stray beyond his care.

Monday, 18 April 2016


There is an English speaking fellowship in the south of Spain, where everyone knew that Brenda had a telephone friend.
Well, that is how it started out. Another friend, also living out there, was very concerned for her. ‘Can you imagine anything worse’ she asked me; ‘to be blind and in constant pain?’
Well, yes I could. Whatever our circumstances, if we have Jesus we have everything. There are some who may have their health, wealth, home, but if they are not loved or appreciated, and if they are constantly abused, even just verbally, how wretched is their condition? That is, unless they have Jesus in their lives, to bear their pain and pour in the oil of consolation.
Those were my thoughts, until Brenda told me how she had intended to spray bleach into her sink, but, alas, the nozzle was turned the wrong way and found it had gone into her eyes, causing extreme pain and maybe even more damage.
Loneliness, too, can be very hard to bear, and my heart went out to this elderly lady suffering the affliction of blindness on top of many other ailments.

No, I couldn’t imagine anything worse. I have a special rate for overseas calls, so I asked for Brenda’s phone number.
What a feisty lady I met on the other end of the phone. Full of joy and faith for all that God was doing in their fellowship, and interested too in my circumstances, our time was whizzing by. We kept a date for Saturday evenings, but I had to remember to put my timer on so that we did not overrun the hour. And so, by now I too had a very special telephone friend.
Brenda may have been weak in body, but she was so strong in faith. She had known miracles in answer to her prayers, and though she did not receive healing for her sight, she was not deterred.
She had been so thrilled to tell me that though their fellowship had been through storms, now a lovely Irish gentleman, with his wife, was coming to shepherd them. This was a new beginning and her weekly telephone logs were full of joy, until –
Yes, sadly her dear Pastor seemed to be undergoing personality changes, and at last a brain tumour was detected. ‘But prayer was made’ along the coast, yes, and at the end of the line here in UK too, until the wonderful news buzzed over the wires, that he was healed.
But once again there was trouble in the fellowship. As it says in the parable, ‘an enemy has done this.’ Could it be?
But nothing deterred our Brenda from praying. By now dependant on carers coming in and other wonderful caring friends, she still spent hours in intercession.
I remember how she would laugh about how she and a friend were bouncing at either end of her sofa, but it was no laughing matter, for her flat was at the top of a high rise building. Their part of the coast were experiencing a succession of smaller earthquakes, while more serious ones were threatened. The bouncing may have seemed a laughing matter while a friend was with her, but when she struggled out of bed to find the furniture had been moved out of place through the quakes she felt completely disorientated.
And more serious quakes were forecast and I  remember too how she wrestled with God in prayer, and how, the following week she told me how the expected course had been deflected away from the coast and the lives of many people saved in answer to their prayers.
 But how grieved Brenda was that there seemed to be no further miracle for their dear pastor.  She had been so sure that he was to be the answer to their need in the fellowship. How she poured out her complaint to her Saviour and Friend.
I had known that Brenda might well reach heaven before me, and how could we wish her to linger? But a friend had prophesied that she would see her 82nd birthday, and I wrote this poem for this special occasion, and she pressed on for a few more months.
I confess I wept when her friends let me know that she was in hospital with a stroke, and where could she go when she came out? But I knew my tears were selfish ones, and it was with thanksgiving that we heard she was safe home. The Lord has been preparing a very special place for her, and a very special reception committee for her too, for only the day before, God  had called their dear pastor, too, into his presence and he would have been there, waiting for her.
We prayed for our dear Pastor Warren and now he is doing well not just in answer to our prayers,  but all in her fellowship had to pray for him (at her command), while there are other of her prayers yet to be answered and I am confident that they will be, since she has entered into the presence of Jesus, the One who ever lives to make intercession for us.
I thank God for this very special lady, and for the privilege God gave me of being her ‘telephone friend.’  So if sometimes the hours seem long and you are in need of a friend, maybe God has a special telephone friend waiting for you to call.
                                    SOLDIER OF CHRIST
Brave warrior, limping, weary from the fight,
As friends we’re gathered here to cheer you on
Not yet, not yet to lay your weapons down
But courage bring to face the last lap home

So let us pause awhile to give God praise
Strong in his strength, though ours may long have fled
Once more together drink this cup of joy
Once more in glad assurance break the bread

Then gladly we will trust you to the care
Of him whose death has won such rich reward
So soon will darkness yield to glorious sight

Of Christ our Saviour, Holy, Holy Lord

Wednesday, 13 April 2016


In the heart of  our land is the Gower Peninsular, one of Britain’s best kept secrets, they say, but in the heart of the Gower is an even greater secret, but one we need to share abroad. On the cliff top, over looking  Oxwich Bay is a very special place, Nicholaston House. Here is a welcome for all who need healing,   refreshing, or renewing of their faith.

‘Looking forward to Easter’ was a special week of preparation for our celebration of Easter, (Passover as some prefer to call it.) What a privilege to step into this house, to read afresh God’s promise  written on the walls of the foyer, ‘In this place you will find peace,’  and to know God was meeting with us in a special way as we were welcomed by the dedicated staff, settled into  the beautiful rooms with views across the gardens to the bay, and oh yes, to be  well satisfied by the delicious meals provided. Our fellow guests had soon become friends, and now we were safe and secure, ready to experience the ministry God had provided to refresh, restore and lead us deeper in our walk with him.

Out of her own experience of healing Helena first asked us all to introduce and share a little of our own walk with the Lord before she introduced the theme of our meditations, which was  Intimacy with Jesus, the shepherd King, the Lover in the story of the Shulamite recorded in the Song of Songs attributed to Solomon.  

Our time together met needs of spirit, soul and body. Those with still strong legs scrambled their way down to the bay, strode, or even puffed their ways to the top of Cefn Bryn while some of us were blessed by a quiet stroll in the beautiful gardens.

The Celtic chapel is a special part of the blessing. Staff and visitors met together each morning for devotions. Not only did God speak to us through his word, but helped us raise the voices some of us   thought we had lost, teaching us to listen too as he blended our voices in harmony, while the spirit of the Lord was present to heal.

We were not just looking forward, but felt we were walking towards Easter as we shared the Seder meal, where we were taught the significance of the Jewish Passover, - looking back to  the Passover lamb who died for them in Egypt, but of Christ our Passover whose death and resurrection we celebrate.
It was a precious meditation as we followed the Stations of the Cross (with pictures placed strategically around the house,) where we read the appropriate scriptures, ending with a time of worship in the chapel, while our last evening together was a very meaningful sharing of communion, our Lord’s Supper.

Good Friday: Our last time of worship in the chapel, and then those who could joined in a united service of local churches, gathering around the cross on the green at Reynoldstone and then carrying it to the top of Cefn Bryn.

As we returned to celebrate Easter Day in our own fellowships, I trust we will remain impacted by the meditations Helena led us in concerning Intimacy: that we will determine to refuse negativity but accept God’s delight in us as the Shulamite had to; continue to experience that wonderful sense of belonging; know he calls us too by name, and  share that deep experience of companionship that those first disciples knew, who shared their lives as friends of the Master. May we press on to know God as Lord, as our tender hearted parent, and provider;  understanding and being understood.
I’m sure we were all deeply challenged as we considered those blockages which may so easily arise, and even as I write to share my blessings, I ask myself, ‘Am I willing to be alone with my Saviour?’ May I, as the Shulamite had to, guard against complacency, and ever keep that spark of first love ready to burst into a flame, and to sing of those ten thousand reasons we each have to bless our wonderful Lord.

Yes, we were looking forward to Easter, but now may we all walk with confidence in the reality of Easter Day. Now is Christ risen indeed.

Monday, 7 March 2016


Barton Camp is a great venue, especially when ‘Grace’ gathers as a family. We were well over seventy of us this year. - Wonderful to feel that it is Jesus has called us together, and that we are come up into the mountain with him, for refreshing, yes, and commissioning before he sends us forth again.
It would be our third year in this venue, and I knew I would be spoiled. A room to myself instead of bunk beds, and excused from washing up or cooking rotas. 
No Kids Club for us. Our own wonderful youth had come from Uni to care for the little ones. Why then did I have misgivings about coming? I may be of the same age as Caleb who at 85 was ready to claim a mountain, but not too steady on my pins, I was afraid of being a liability. Should I stay home and enjoy my lonely comfort?
But no. Our wonderful leadership team had been working so hard to give us all a special time of blessing. All they wanted was for us to come and be blessed. Thank God I had sense not to let the enemy rob me of this blessing.
Nearing meal time, the dining room (or was it the dinning room?) was filled with happy families, the children so happy with their playmates even when  rain kept them from adventure playgrounds outside. Always a happy hustle in the kitchen where cuppa’s were on offer while they prepared tasty meals and treats, and a special ‘tent of meeting’ where we met for worship. (With special drapes on the ceiling, it has the appearance, but not the discomforts of a tent.)
Each year the ministry is different. This time Ewan and Tom brought ministry from Ephesians, all to the end that we might be ready to go out with the gospel. And while the wind roared around the buildings, God’s Holy Spirit was moving so that, as a field of corn, we bowed before his great strength.
But now we got to the nitty gritty. Teaching on Spirit-led holiness and Spirit-led power are all to the end that we might put on our shoes of the Gospel of Peace, go forth and tell others. This is the hard bit.
Oh dear, whatever wonderful opportunities God gives me, in the schools and through my writing, still there is this issue of personal evangelism.  I was not the only one feeling convicted. But no – ‘there is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus.’ Once I win the struggle of telling God that I am willing for him to use me, all I have to do is go out into the world, knowing that it is  he who will create opportunities for me to tell others that God is willing to be to them too a wonderful Saviour.

Thank God for his family of Grace, and for his ministry to and through each one of his children.

Friday, 26 February 2016

THANKSGIVING FOR MY SISTER AND MY FRIEND – given at my sister’s funeral

It was when Mary had joined me for a year in New Guinea that one of the Missionaries children asked me, ‘Is Auntie Mary your sister or your friend?’ I was delighted to tell her that she was my sister and my friend.
We were in a family of four. Big brother John, Mary, me next and then our little sister Joy. We used to say the rhyme, ‘2,4, 6, 8…..’, but it was when we found salvation that we became very close.
Mary  by now was trapped in a very unhappy marriage. But I was teaching with Esther and had attended the house groups in her home – they had just been led into the Apostolic Church, - and was challenged to leave the cult in which we had been brought up. It was a very hard time for me. Our parents, and the dear friends with whom we had been brought up, thought I had gone to the devil. I was scared to meet them, and equally scared of the folk in the little Apostolic church in Barking where they spoke in tongues, but some would behave somewhat strangely. How could I go on?
I came home from the prayer meeting to find Mary had been sent back home by her husband. Tragedy for their marriage, but what a strength for me. It was just a few weeks and Mary too had left the ‘Bible Students’ and together we were accepted into Apostolic Fellowship at Barking. But before she left, she had had opportunities to speak out boldly of our faith in the Trinity,  that Jesus is our Lord and our God and the Holy Spirit a person within the Godhead.
At that time I found great difficulty in expressing myself and had felt that I had to speak by my actions, but together we were able to make our position plain.
Mary’s difficulties in her marriage increased, for now her husband blamed all his troubles onto Pentecost and the Apostolic Church. One evening he had come round to see our parents to warn them of the great danger we were in. Mary and I were huddled in my bedroom, wrapped in a blanket of depression fearing the outcome, when suddenly Mary began to sing –
            ‘I’ve wondrous peace through trusting, a well of joy within…..
It goes on ‘To the uttermost Jesus saves.’    We sang it right through, and that little room was filled with glory.
It was on one of the occasions when her husband had left her that we went to a Divine healing service. ‘We believe that God can heal marriages,’ the minister declared. Mary went forward for prayer for the healing of her marriage, and God did heal, though she had to face many trials before then.
Mary began to have serious health issues, which doctors had thought caused by her difficult marriage, and eventually they found she had a very large brain tumour. She was a tremendous testimony in it all, asking for all those who knew her to pray, and facing it all without fear. She was the Area Women’s leader in  London at that time, and she had courage to lead these big rallies, even though she struggled for some time with recalling  words.
Now reunited, she was able to care for her husband until he died.(He was 20 years older than she was.) She continued to care for his older sister for another 9 years, while she was a faithful deaconess in the Ilford assembly, like Phoebe, ‘full of good works.’
How happy we were when our dear Pastor Les cast his garment over her and became such a wonderful caring husband. With Les and Joel such good friends what a happy foursome we were, and I was able to see so much of my Sister and Friend.
In our childhood Mary was not only the pretty, but also the clever one, and went on to gain her degree at Cambridge,- how it is that now I am the one left with my wits I don’t know, but I do know Mary was always diligent to see she had her quiet time, and she had that deep relationship with the Lord with could not be destroyed.
Sometimes in her dementia she would get delusions, and if Les phoned me in the day I would know he was having difficulty. He would put Mary on to speak to her sister. It was always about  some meeting where she was supposed to be ministering, or someone in need she had to visit, and she could not convince her husband to take her..
‘Well, we’ll pray.’ So I prayed.
‘Well, you weren’t much good.’ She told me.
I acted indignant. ‘Yes, I was. I prayed.’  ‘Oh yes.’ She seemed satisfied.
It was just a few months ago that I had the sad task of telling Mary that our brother John had died. I took the album of us as children. Yes, she recognised John.

I told her, ‘John is in heaven now.’ ‘Oh!’ and her face lit up. This was something wonderful. She listened happily as I shared something of her testimony with the friends who had brought me. As it was time to go we had a time of prayer. ‘Would you like to pray, Mary?’ ‘Yes’ she said, and burst out into tongues. 
Death is always an enemy and there is sadness in our hearts, for Mary has been a sister and a friend to many of us, but for me I shall always remember how, when she saw me come to visit her she would  joyfully tell the carers, ‘She’s my sister.’
I am so privileged to have had such a lovely sister and friend.

Thursday, 28 January 2016


Tribute to a special sister – Pauline writes

‘My earliest memory of my elder sister is of her playing peep-bo with me. I was lying by an open window in my pram. The breeze was blowing the net curtain and I could hear my mother’s voice, ‘Don’t wake Pauline.’ But this was our secret and we were supremely happy.

Two of our four siblings, we were the closest, and as so often happens, it was a love hate relationship, our happiness so often marred by jealousy.

I don’t think Mary often had need to be jealous of me. To me she was the clever, the beautiful one. I remember longing to be six because I thought then I would be like Mary, but of course by the time I was six she was eight and there was no change.

Mary seemed to sail through life. In the Juniors, all the boys loved her. In high school exams held no fear for her, and she went on to gain a scholarship to Cambridge. 

There was no competition academically. I was much happier at school once they accepted that I was not university material, and was at Saffron Walden teacher training college whilst Mary was at Cambridge and we got on much better now we were living our separate lives.

Back at home, we both went into teaching but I don’t think Mary ever had the satisfaction in this that I did. We all found our Dad difficult to live with, probably Mary more so because she  was a stronger character and so, sadly, she found her escape from the confines of home to find she was trapped in an unsuitable and very unhappy marriage.

Mary, so beautiful, so confident, gradually had all her confidence stripped away, but it was perhaps through this that she turned to the Lord, not just for intellectual satisfaction – we had been brought up in the Bible Students –but for salvation and all that it entails.

We became very close, but whereas I had found deliverance from my jealousy, it was very hard for Mary now, for I had become the one to take the lead in coming into the Apostolic Church, and while Esther and I were able to go the Penygroes convention, and had been baptised in the Holy Spirit, she felt she was missing out spiritually. But God had his own ways of meeting with her, and when her husband had a break down, which led on to times of separation, she was able to share with us in many of the blessings of being in Apostolic fellowship. Together we were received into fellowship in the little Apostolic Church in Barking (in London’s East End)

But now, while we single girls were hoping for a husband, Mary was feeling she was missing out on God’s blessings because of her married status, and that I had the best spiritually. It certainly didn’t help her marriage that her husband felt she was closer to me.

At a time when they were separated, Mary came out to join me for a year on the mission field in New Guinea. She taught in my place so that I could concentrate on language study and the Sunday School work, and was wonderful in coping with all the hardship of primitive conditions. She was thrilled when the suggestion was made that we return together, she teaching in a government school while I gave myself fully to the Children’s work.   

We returned to UK, and she coped with teaching, which, while not primitive, is still a great challenge, until she was told she could not be accepted for New Guinea because of her marital status – she was separated, not divorced. Her world seemed to have collapsed around her.

But she had previously gone forward at a service for Divine healing and asked prayer for the healing of her marriage.   Now, in wonderful ways, God brought about this miracle. Her husband, by now an old man – he was 20 years older than she was – was glad to ‘try again.’

Many years before, the Lord had impressed on Mary that she should spend an hour with Him each day. She had insisted on keeping this time on a previous occasion when he had returned to her. At that time he was seeking to brain wash her, blaming all their marital difficulties on Pentecost and the Apostolic Church – and she believed it was this precious quiet time which enabled her to survive.

He began to continue with this brain washing, but the Lord intervened and they were willing to accept each other as they were. It was then, when Mary had learned contentment in her lot in caring for her husband, -  I was now in Ghana,- that her husband realised that there was a serious problem with Mary’s health and they diagnosed a brain tumour.

Mary was a wonderful testimony through this time, asking for messages to be sent to all the assemblies to pray. She was the Area Women’s leader, and she continued with this, even as she was convalescing and had difficulty in recalling words. She made an amazing recovery, even driving again in London traffic.

She had been a faithful member, and deaconess in the small assemblies she had been attending; Barking/Ilford first, then Exeter when her husband bought a cottage in Branscome, Devon, thinking he was making it impossible for her to get to an Apostolic church, and then when they were back in Ilford. Mary would never come to church unprepared. She would be quick to pray, always praising the Lord, and usually had a  scripture portion, or something to contribute. She had learned the secret of godliness with contentment.

She cared for her husband until his death, and then continued to care for his elderly sister who lived in the flat upstairs, until she died nine years later. In all she had fourteen years as a widow until her dear Leslie took her into his heart to love and to cherish as she deserved to be. 

Those years which we had as a foursome were very precious. Mary had thought for me to marry a pastor had been a wonderful honour, as indeed it was, and God had the same honour for her. For some years we went on holidays together, and up to recent years, especially after I was widowed, we would meet in Gnoll park. They would come there from the prayer meeting in SAron. Coffee in the visitors centre, a walk round the lake and a meal together, and we would go on our way. But with the passing years the walks got less and eventually we were no longer able to meet like this, and though I was occasionally able to drive to Ystrad, my life line with my precious sister was the telephone.
Mary had been wonderful in her support of me. Especially since Joel went ahead of me to heaven, it has been so precious to be able to share my joys and sorrows, hopes and fears with Mary, who would always promise to pray, and she would always ask what I had planned so that she might pray for me.

Even when I knew there was no hope of her remembering to pray,  I knew it was in her heart to do so, and sometimes she would just pray for a need as we were talking together.

I have been so blessed to have such a precious, godly sister. She has been a witness, even in her dementia, content, and loving, shedding abroad the fragrance of her wonderful Saviour.