Tech Mission Team, Bridgend Partnership

“The American mission is one of the highlights of my year.  I love doing what I can to help the gospel be preached and it’s so rewarding seeing people come to know Christ.  I love how intentional the Americans are with Christ.  I want to be more like that!” says Ben Pottinger, age 19, who has served on the mission for 6 years.

With the average working week lasting 40 hours and most humans spending a third of their adult working life in work, you would think that the normal person would ensure that the time they get off each year would be used for rest and relaxation.  That is not the case in the county of Bridgend where the churches are mobilising to use their time wisely and see to it that no one misses the grace of God.  The Bridgend mission relies heavily on the musical talents sent over from First West Baptist Church, West Monroe, Louisiana.  For this to happen it takes a dedicated sound team to move the gear from place to place, setting it up and down at each location.  This dedicated team of around 15 young adults take 10 days off a year to wake up at 5am, setting up and down the rig in schools and venues across the county.  It’s hard, physical work that requires a willing attitude to serve and do the work that nobody sees.  The team are the first to arrive and the last to leave, often getting home at 1am to wake up at 5am ready to go again the next day.  With an average 10-day working stretch the team clocks up close to 150 hours over the course of the mission trip.  A clear showing of selfless serving to see peoples’ lives changed.  This is one example of the many different roles people take whilst the mission weeks occur.

Both groups either side of the Atlantic bring different elements to the table.  The intentional attractiveness of the Americans alongside the servant heart of the Welsh people goes hand in hand to further the gospel together.  These partnerships create lifelong friendships and provide synergy for all groups.  With two groups of people working together, the mission serves as a catalyst for both the American and Welsh church whilst seeing to it that no one misses the grace of God in Bridgend.  It’s exciting what God is doing through these wonderful partnerships across Wales.

Pastor Jon Davis, Dinas Powys Baptist Church, Vale of Glamorgan Partnership

It was great to have Kayla and Brinsley working with us for a year.  Kayla noticed that in one of our youth house groups, mainly made up of non-Christians or new Christians, aged 14-17, there was one 17-year old girl who was very mature in her faith, and because the sessions were pitched at non-Christians and new Christians, she wasn’t getting very much out of the sessions.  Kayla recognised this and suggested that she might help by effectively mentoring her.  Kayla met with her every Sunday night and also in our schools’ work on Fridays – it was so good to see.

So I just wanted to say a big thank you on behalf of our church for what you do that enabled us to have Kayla and Brinsley with us for a year.  It was also great to have Brinsley encouraging some of our age 10-13 group in prayer, and seeing her willingness to take a lead in that group.

The two youth house groups that Kayla and Brinsley helped to lead each Sunday night were partly made up of young people from our church, but over half of the young people in these groups were from non-Christian families and would certainly be classed as ‘unchurched’.  A key part of the work with them in recent years has been to take them away for a long weekend in the summer to an event called ‘Spree Wales’ where there are over 500 or so other young people from churches across Wales.  In the past few years this has been a great time for the young people and many of them have given their lives to Christ or gone deeper with him during this time.

Barry Comprehensive School – Summer Mission Week 2017, Vale of Glamorgan Partnership

I just wanted to say thank you for yesterday and to share with you all the good feedback I’ve had from staff and pupils.  It was really nice to see everyone again and to meet a few new faces.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the team visit and was so enthusiastic about the lessons and presentations they delivered.

Boys have been asking about them today and telling me what they learned yesterday – have also seen the lyrics to the songs they put together with Willie and watched a short video of one of the classes singing along with him – brilliant!  The sports boys loved the opportunity they had to some extra PE with Kayla and Stephanie.  They really enjoyed the different quizzes and learning about life in Texas.  Please pass on my best wishes and thanks again to the team, we really appreciate what you did in school yesterday.

Alex Burnett, Intern, Caerphilly Partnership

I began my journey to Wales quite early actually. I have had a link with Rob Burns and Missional Links Wales for a while now. The church where I grew up and developed much of my faith was Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas where Rob and his family attended.

I had a calling to the UK for a while. It wasn’t until I was 20 years old, after having finished a couple years of university, while spending two and a half years working full time for a technologies company, and moving from Texas to Colorado, that I felt a clear call from God to go to Wales.

Through my link with Rob and Wedgwood and the support of my home church, Greenhorn Valley Baptist Church, I responded to the call and applied for the Going Public Internship with Vocate. Right from the start the link with Wedgwood was playing a part in my mission in Wales. Among the nearly 50 ministry opportunities I could be involved in, connecting with ACTS Community Church in the Rhondda Valley, Wales brought about an even broader range of possibilities. By the end of the first month living and serving in Wales I was going to the food bank run by Acts once a week for as long as it was possible. I was also helping with a family outreach called Messy Church every 6 weeks. The relationship made between Wedgwood Baptist Church and Acts through Missional Links Wales made it possible to see how all of the support and prayer that goes into missions was practically lived out.

Since my first year in Wales I have returned for a second year with Vocate focusing on leadership development. As a part of this I have dedicated time every week for Missional Links Wales either with website and media or occasionally on the ground when new relationships are being made or existing ones are being strengthened. Being with Vocate has allowed me to continue to see how these relationships and missions are lived out while keeping a balanced life getting training and one to one mentoring on what I am involved in. I love the opportunity to be a part of Missional Links Wales through Vocate and live out American support in Welsh mission.

Brenda Henderson, Rhondda Partnership

Sometimes in life you get to see God put the pieces together in ways you would not imagine. I love to travel, like the UK and enjoy serving others and going on mission trips. When I met Rob and Gaynor Jones during their visit to Wedgwood Baptist church in 2011 all of those interests fell together. As I got to know them and listen to their vision for Wales, I knew I wanted to be a part of what God had in store for Wedgwood there. I have grown to love the people of Wales and especially the ACTS church. I love the graciousness and warmth of the Welsh people. They are as beautiful as the countryside around them.

A group of 7 from Wedgwood traveled to Wales in 2013. We met members of the ACTS church and spent time visiting with teachers from Tylorstown Primary school. During the summer, a team of 20 from Wedgwood and Hillcrest Baptist painted a fence, renewed relationships and helped host a Texas bar-b-cue. We also helped with “Messy church” and the 6th grade leavers ceremony. I look forward to more times of working and serving along with the sweet people at the ACTS church.