August is upon us and we are heading – with caravan in tow – for Pembrokeshire and a few other places along the beautiful coastline of Wales.
Our Facebook live Sunday services: the Sunday school message and mid-week meetings, have come to an end, for the time being. During the lockdown period, we are very pleased to have been able to maintain this service, without interruption since the beginning of March. The zoom ‘sei@’ has been a source of blessing and encouragement for all who were able to join with us. Many of our faithful participants have shown great perseverance, despite being faced with the lack of broadband and various other technical difficulties. We have worked our way through the book of Acts commencing with the Pentecost. This linked up well with our Facebook live services on Sunday mornings. Being unable to travel anywhere during these last twenty weeks of lockdown, studying God’s word together, has allowed us to enjoy visiting those places Paul once visited.
We were also able to hold the Bible Course on Tuesday mornings via zoom. We had around twelve people in attendance, eagerly learning about the great Bible story and as we did so, appreciating the foreshadowing of our Saviour, throughout the books of the Old Testament. Growing in our faith, seeing our relationship with the Lord deepening, as we studied and learnt from God’s word together, has truly been an experience to cherish. At present, it is our intention, this September, to continue with this internet course and the ‘sei@’. During this period of uncertainty, as we ponder what will materialise this September and coming Autumn, we have prerecorded Sunday services for transmission throughout August. It has also been a great delight to observe a group of local young people, gathering via zoom, in order to encourage each other in their faith.
During this strange period with no church meetings, one other great Facebook benefit has been receiving, from different members of Bethesda Chapel, a daily Bible verse of encouragement. The group has been operational since 2011; it has about 100 members. However, a month from the moment we joined the group and made contact with as many of our own members and families as we could, the number doubled. This contact has become a source of great blessing for many of our members and friends. As many as about 60 videos by 43 adults and children have been produced. These are still available on the group’s ‘videos’ page. This is in addition to the Sunday services and the message for the Sunday School children. By now, you need a whole working week to watch all the videos we have. We have all this, without mentioning our usual Singing Festival at the beginning of July, all made possible by the hard work of some of our members. Bear in mind that there were very few resources in Welsh, until March. During the lockdown period, the internet
has been flooded with Christian material by churches of every language all over the world. We pray that many will respond to the good news proclaimed and that the content will continue to be relevant to the listeners. Despite being confined to our homes and not being able to visit our members , we have seen how their confidence to share their faith via the internet, has grown, as well as that, their readiness to speak of how they have been upheld by the Lord.
Church contact with children, families and schools has been very difficult at this time. Our admiration for the manner in which families have home-schooled and entertained their children is great. It has been our privilege to lend our support with words of encouragement from the Book of Books. Nobody knows what form our children’s’ work will take in the future, but we hope and pray for continuity. We pray for the ability to support schools as we deliver the Christian message and support families with the Good News of the Gospel, that our work should transcend all language and denominational boundaries.
For many in the area, work has been very uncertain. It has been a very difficult time for many whose loved ones are in care homes or hospital, and often, heart-rending for those who have faced personal loss in very difficult circumstances. We admire their great courage and fortitude. We also remember those who have had to shield, remaining in isolation, as others of us are able to venture further afield. We continue to pray that the Lord would be a very present help for them.