Back in the early 1980’s I’d been working for a ‘centre’ of British Youth for Christ’s (BYFC) national ministry for a few years, covering much of East Sussex. My role was to organise/participate in evangelism in towns and villages, organise events, visit schools and prisons to share the good news of Jesus. I never really saw myself as an ‘upfront’ speaker/preacher – I was – and still am – pretty shy (there might be some who’d question that(!) but it’s amazing what you can overcome with God’s help!
In 1983, BYFC organised a small conference, with a small invited audience, that seemed to be ‘outside’ of their brief as an evangelistic movement. It was on Healing – then very marginalised, and somewhat (in certain doctrinal circles) controversial. I’d become extremely interested in, and convinced by – God’s supernatural healing , as I’d been healed twice in earlier years – once from celiac disease, and then from a hole in my spine that caused incredible back pain. Though the conference was invitation only – about 50 people – and all of the delegates were the then ‘well-known’ leaders of that era: and I wasn’t – but I knew I had to be there however out of place I’d feel as a shy guy!
The speaker was Ian Andrews,pioneer of the wonderful God-given ministry of healing, and a founder of Chard Christian Fellowship, a pioneer church in healing from the sixties. The conference was where God got hold of me, and through Ian’s ministry, I knew – though terrified! – that I was going to embark on a whole new phase of life that involved praying for the sick all over the world.
Ian has been the instigator of numerous revivals in the past 30 years, one of his great gifts is ‘ushering in’ the power of Holy Spirit and seeing whole churches, towns, and cities turned upside down. Ian and I have remained in contact since that conference, and when I came here to mid-Wales just knew Ian would be the man to invite to begin a whole new transforming life for this area.
So, for just two days early this month, Ian was here in Welshpool, and a small village a few miles away, Abermule. The area has a history of ‘rejecting’ the Welsh revival early in the last century, and of not allowing John Wesley to preach here, so spiritually a rather tragic history!
On the Saturday evening, in Welshpool, a good number came – more than were expected to be honest – as Ian spoke, the Presence of God was tangible, it seemed touchable: and he got people praying for each other as well as praying himself – and to say the power of God was cut loose would be an understatement. A lot of people were healed and were confident in what God had done enough to testify in the meeting.
But in little Abermule, a much bigger number of people came – and Ian, from years of experience of being in revivals – knew that revival was right on the brink in this little Welsh community as numerous people testified to being healed, set free, touched by the lovely power of the Holy Spirit. When we talked later on, Ian felt that if we’d had a third evening of meetings, ‘full-blown’ revival would have broken out – and doubtless we’d still be having meetings even now!
All being well, it’s our hope – plan – to have Ian back in February, and in the meantime we’ll be continuing to ‘welcome’ revival to the county of Powys, and to Abermule especially!!