‘Do revivals only happen in the past?’ This was the title of WEST’s annual conference on revival held in the week commencing 4 June.
That revivals happened in the past was clear from Kenneth Stewart’s immensely searching and encouraging ministry on revival in the time of Samuel, and on prayers for revival in the Psalms.
The challenge was to us in the present. We may live in a ‘day of small things’, but we are to live faithfully for our unchanging God. He never bypasses his remnant and he stirs them to pray when he is going to bless with revival.
We are to sow with our prayers, lives and witnessing. Reaping will follow, and there is no excuse for Christian pessimism or passivity.
The conference swelled to overflowing in the evenings, as spiritually hungry Christians from many South Wales churches joined the residential attendees.
Jonathan Stephen preached two helpful messages from the early and concluding chapters of Job. Wednesday’s study visit to Trefeca with Gwyn Davies reminded us of the events of the 18th and 19th centuries that led to the establishment of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist denomination, 200 years ago. Eryl Davies dealt with the recent past, in describing a ‘visitation’ in Wales in the late 1940s and 50s.
Four other speakers spoke of revival today taking place in different parts of the world. Mervyn Neal gave a PowerPoint presentation on the astonishing work going on in Uttar Pradesh, northern India.
It was once dubbed the ‘graveyard of mission’ because of death from malaria and fierce opposition in the Indian state where both Hinduism and Buddhism originated. Now God is saving thousands through the witness of his people, in the teeth of persecution. Many churches have been planted in the past ten years.
Maureen Wise, a UFM missionary, spoke of her experiences in Romania in the 1990s and in Moldova today. Communism, persecution, poverty and corruption are no barrier to the Holy Spirit and a baptism of love among his people.
Another speaker focused on two amazing works of God in North Africa, while a fourth spoke about the Chinese diaspora. Chinese international students are wide open to the gospel across the world. Others sowed in tears among Chinese peoples, but today there is joyful reaping among them.
One attendee described the week as a ‘taste of heaven’. The fellowship of kindred minds regardless of age, denomination or nationality was sweet. The prayer times were rich too, while the delicious food was a stimulus to animated table talk.
Why not think of coming next year? The dates are 26 May–2 June, and, God willing, there will be a new conference centre to use (CDs of this year’s conference from firstname.lastname@example.org).