Our student mission team has arrived in Caernarfon, Wales and are gearing up for a week of prayerwalking and personal engagement with Welsh speakers and others in the town and beyond. I am honored to be here with them for this task. This is our second year here working with the CeLT (Celtic Languages Team) and once again, I am overwhelmed by the task ahead of us, but comforted that God is not.
During the summer months, a holiday home is leased in this town (Caernarfon is designated a town, not due to size, but due to the fact there is no cathedral here. Read about this process here, if you care) where the summer mission teams stay as well as short-term groups like ours. It is a comfortable venue, but basically becomes "little America" for a few months with a "Big Brother" feel (though without the voting off of roommates, HoH competitions and of course, the debauchery that often comes with the famous television show.) Believe me, the residents in this town know "the Americans" are here. That is a good thing, we hope. Our focus is to spend as little time as possible in the house and spend the majority of our time walking routes for prayer, meeting with the locals and serving with believers here.
Today consisted of orientation and once again, I was reminded of why we do trips to locations like this. The mission is the same regardless where we are, but the contextuality of serving in a post-Christian culture is unique. The spiritual soil here was tilled up centuries ago. There is a rich history of Christendom and the movement of God in this region. Stories from the Welsh revival are rich with instances of great things. However, that revival was over one hundred years ago. In North Wales, where our work is centered, a minister named Joseph Jenkins was used by God to reveal His calling and truth to the people. Other ministers came along, with Evan Roberts being the most well-known.
Following this time of revival. . .Christianity has been in decline here, especially among the Cymry Cymraeg (Welsh speakers in Wales.)
The spiritual soil was tilled, worked and reaped for a great harvest.
It is our belief that there is still another harvest yet to come. That is why we are here.
As our leader shared with us during orientation, there are many trips around the world where "prayerwalking" is added to the agenda for teams simply as spiritual filler. That is not the case here. In fact, we believe that intentional and strategic prayer throughout this area serves as a re-tilling of the spiritual fields.
We are not Welsh speakers, but we have a great love for these people. Over 85% of the people in our city (Caernarfon) and the surrounding regions here in North Wales speak Welsh as their primary heart language. The few Welsh-speaking, evangelical congregations here have much work ahead of them and they need face-to-face encouragement. Many in this region, especially the younger generations (40 and under) consider Christianity to be a fanciful religion, based on lies and fairy tales. Atheism is embraced, as espoused by Richard Dawkins, who is perhaps one of the greatest evangelists of our day, albeit for atheism rather than biblical Christianity.
The soil is hard.
While physically it rains often, spiritually, the rain often doesn't break the surface of the ground.
And yet, we have come.
We have come and we pray.
We pray, believing.
We pray, knowing that God loves these people.
God desires to rescue them, just as He has us.
The spiritual battles here are great. From ancient druidism to modern atheism, the Enemy has blinded the eyes of so many.
But, the story is far from over.
I believe "post-Christian" to be just another name for "pre-revival." Maybe it should be "post-religion" to "pre-relationship?"
So, as we accept our role as spiritual ground tillers this week, please join us in prayer. We know we could pray from home, but by being here, walking these streets, meeting these people, and praying for them by name, we aver being obedient to God in this part of His story.
Will the harvest come this week? Maybe it will be next week. . .or next year. . .or years from now.
God is the one who draws people to Himself.
I'm just excited He has chosed to use me and others, like you, in this story.