Marianne Smith, MLW Consultant, North Cardiff Partnership
One day the Father said, “Go prayer walk in Wales with the dog!” What an amazing journey He sent us on! From my home church in the US, Bear Valley Community Church, and through the MLW Consultancy Program, I was connected with Ainon Baptist Church in Tongwynlais.
It has been a privilege to serve alongside my new family here. Ainon demonstrates the love of Jesus for each other, their community, and Texans with dogs! I helped with a new family in the community and with Ainon’s Food Bank distribution.
My dog Asher and I have met many people while prayer walking and have had opportunities to pray with them and talk about God. We also gave away 100 Christian children’s books that Asher and I write together.
The support from the MLW team has been such a blessing! They made sure all my practical needs were met. Their love and concern is lifelong. Through weekly book discussions, I learned what it means to be a spiritual leader.
I encourage all “mature” believers called by God to come to this beautiful country and be a part of what God is doing.
Courtney McLean, Missionary in Focus, Caerphilly Partnership
Serving with MLW is one of the most unique and life-changing opportunities I have ever had. Immersing myself in Welsh life and culture for these past few months has shown me that opportunities to share the love of Christ come through both my words and my life. When you live life with people, showing up consistently, and engaging in others’ lives and stories, they will be open to hearing what makes you different, and where your hope lies!
I am so grateful for the relationships I have been able to cultivate through my placement church and with the MLW team. Although their focus is most definitely your excellence in ministry, MLW prioritizes your growth, prizes your individual gifts and journey with God, and provides all you will need to grow as a person, leader, and follower of Christ. I will forever be grateful to have been a Missional Links Wales Missionary!
Kayla Cradit, Former MLW Intern
Kayla was an intern with Missional Links Wales during 2016-2017, serving alongside a number of local churches in the Vale Partnership. Working back in the USA, Kayla recently contacted us to tell us how her time in Wales has helped her:
“I just wanted to say thank you. We have been teaching our youth the importance of evangelism and sharing their faith. I have been able to use the training I received from you all to help teach them. Although I have been a believer since I was young, I realize my evangelism training really did not really start till I was in Wales with you all. Thank you for all the time you invested in me and am so thankful I am able to apply it to my job today. Miss you guys dearly and pray for you often. I am praying over this new intern year for you all as well and hope it is an amazing one!”
It is always a privilege to invest in these young people and we feel honoured that Kayla is using our training to invest in and equip young people as they grow in their relationship with God.
Hannah Sober, MLW Intern, Vale of Glamorgan Partnership
God has been teaching me a lot lately and showing himself in some incredible ways! In one of my small groups, one of the ladies has accepted Christ into her life! It’s only the beginning of the journey, but God is already teaching her so much! We all have moments where we stumble, but God shows us how to ask for forgiveness and accept forgiveness when we have hurt someone or if someone has hurt us. This small group is prayer focussed and centred. I’ve seen almost everything that we’ve prayed for come to pass from healings, both physical and mental, to seeing the needs of others met. I’m encouraged by their sincerity and willingness to ask questions and come forward with whatever is on their hearts!
Coffee morning at New Life in Barry Island is beginning to be a place of prayer. Last week, one woman was sharing about the struggles in her family and some physical pain. The whole group came together and prayed for her! Her physical pain went away, and she told us that she now felt more peace about the situation. Something miraculous happens when we bring someone before the throne of God in prayer. I can’t wait to see how this group develops over the next month!
In Alpha, I’m becoming better friends with a few of the people in the group. One woman has so much joy because she has met Jesus! She is there to learn as much as she can about the God who saved her life. I’m hoping to continue our friendship even after the course ends! Another woman told us in the group how it was the lifestyle of the Christians she met that brought her to the group. It was their kindness that made her want what they had and to learn more about Jesus.
In one of the books the Missional Links Wales interns are reading, the difference between gifted evangelists and living an evangelical lifestyle was examined. I am not gifted in evangelism. Knowing myself confirms that I don’t operate in that way. Does it mean that I’m not supposed to share Christ then? By no means! I just didn’t know that there were other ways to share Christ; in fact, I thought there must be something wrong with me or my relationship with Christ because I don’t have this overwhelming, burning desire to tell everyone about Jesus all the time. Maybe this is you too. Then the question of how do we share comes to mind.
Live a surprising life! The Christians that the lady from Alpha met lived in such a way that it testified to the transformative power of Christ! From watching them and personally experiencing their kindness, she wanted to know why they are the way that they are. Just by living a life glorifying to God opened the door to tell someone about Jesus, to have them asking about him! I haven’t always lived a surprising life. There are many days where my life doesn’t really look all that different from the rest of the world. The monotony of life easily sets in for me, and I can become more task oriented than God oriented. I don’t want that anymore. I want my whole life to shout what Jesus has done for me, so that opportunities to share who He is spring up from it! So what does your life say about what Christ has done for you?
Please pray that my relationships with the people I’ve met deepen, that prayer becomes a foundation in the ministries in the Vale, and that the lives of the Christians in Wales become a shining example of Jesus! Please pray that Wales will be reached for Christ, that Missional Links Wales will bless every area it is a part of, and that the church becomes ever more unified! May God bless you with his healing and a better understanding of who He is! May He show you how to live your lives in a surprising way!
Five interns arrived from the US in September to serve on mission in counties across Wales. Abby Smith, returning to serve at Lisvane Baptist Church and St Denys Anglican church for a second year, is following God’s calling to continue the work she had been doing in the North Cardiff Partnership and has also taken on the voluntary role of co-intern leader at Missional Links Wales. We can’t wait to see how God is going to use Abby to reach out to the community and to build on the relationships she has already formed.
Joining Abby on this year’s internship are Audralynne Burns, serving with the Caerphilly Partnership, Madison Perry serving in Bridgend partnership alongside Gilgal Baptist church, and Hannah Sober and Haven Taylor who are both serving with the Vale Partnership. It is a year on mission that will give the interns the opportunity to serve alongside faithful leaders and churches, sharing God’s love to reach the people of Wales.
Please join us in praying for Abby, Audralynne, Madison, Hannah and Haven as they share God’s love with the people of Wales.
Missionary in Focus – Caerphilly Partnership
Alex Burnett has returned to Wales for a fourth year and we’re so excited to welcome him back as Missional Links Wales’ first missionary. Having served as an intern over the past few years, Alex has returned in his new role to continue serving at Caerphilly Gateway Church.
With such a genuine heart and passion for the people and nation of Wales, Alex felt a clear calling to continue sharing the gospel in and around the community of Caerphilly. He will be serving through discipleship development, preaching and teaching, youth and schools work, and church networking, as well as helping lead parts of Missional Links Wales. We can’t wait to see all that God has planned for him!
Missionary in Focus, Vale of Glamorgan Partnership
Another of the brilliant summer missionaries we are so thankful for!
Willie Mack, Texas singer song writer, who made a living as a country music songwriter and artist and joined into the Vale Partnership Mission Week. He used his gifts and talents as a professional country music artist to share the truth of Jesus across the county!
We love to see how American churches partner into local welsh mission. Together we reach further than we ever could apart!
Ground Force Team, Vale of Glamorgan Partnership
US and Welsh teams, along with our intern Josh, serving the local community by tending gardens in Dinas Powys – the rain did not stop them!
The first Sunday of Mission week in the Vale, a lady was baptised having received Jesus when the teams were helping in her garden in a previous year! She now has a house group where a number of friends have also asked Christ into their hearts.
The ground force team cut grass and pulled weeds and saw people come into the Kingdom!
Abby Smith, MLW Intern, North Cardiff Partnership
Beginning of January we started back to work after our break for Christmas, and it’s been so good! I’ve been able to get to know the youth more and even took a few into town for the day just to get to know them better. They took me to an American candy store and they spent way too much on overpriced candy!
The highlight of my week is probably an event we do called Fun Factory. This is where we go into Lisvane Primary (elementary) School and do lots of fun games and then have a Bible story time. The kids really engage in what’s going on and it’s super high energy fun – and I get to work under two incredibly talented children’s leaders. Each Tuesday we have Missional Links Wales day at the office in Cardiff City Centre and we start the day off with a staff meeting with all the interns, it’s great to see how everyone is doing and really focus on what God has been doing in each county. We have Caleb training twice a month which is our Church Leadership Training and then we have different church leaders come in and we get to interview them. Overall things have been incredible, and it’s amazing to see how committed people are to seeing their community and country come to know the Lord. I am so excited about what the Lord is doing through Missional Links Wales in Wales!
Alex Burnett, MLW Intern, Caerphilly Partnership
I have known Rob Burns for many years and had heard about missions in Wales in my home church growing up. However it wasn’t until I was 20 that I answered the call that God placed on my heart to go to Wales as an intern. Originally coming as a Going Public intern with Vocate I began serving in churches and schools in Cardiff, Wales as well as, at the time, a brand new partnership in the Rhondda Valley.
Serving alongside Welsh people to accomplish Welsh mission was inspiring and allowed me the opportunities to be challenged in ways that developed me as a person and deepened my faith. Following this first year I returned for a second year where I was able to take on a different role in supporting that internship; running teaching sessions, discipling, travelling across Wales to visit churches, preach, and continue to be trained and mentored while serving.
After returning to Colorado for two years, where I worked in a local business and served in the local church, God began to draw me back to mission in Wales. Journeying through the process with Missional Links Wales I returned for a third year to serve as an intern living and serving in the Caerphilly partnership. Over this year I have been able to serve across churches, schools and communities to build relationships, share the truth of Jesus on a regular basis and help launch discipleship for young people in the church. God has used this year to focus his vision and purpose in my life through training, ministry, discipleship, challenges and constant support.
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 to Missional Links Wales 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 Missional Links Wales for bringing together the partnership in the Vale of Glamorgan 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.