Fields Of Life. Ch.12.
Future Filled With Hope:
In 2000 I moved from Newport, South Wales, back to Blaenavon, the town where I began a pioneer work in 1986.
Returning for a second time to pastor the fellowship was both exciting and challenging.
It’s not unusual perhaps for one to pastor the same fellowship at different intervals, but I felt the bar was being raised as new ideas and demands for the ministry came into play.
Challenges accompanying needs that I and my team of workers orchestrated pretty much on our own – not without the input of the Lord, of course.
We had no intention of reinventing the wheel.
We were a church with a new expression, working WITH the community.
Having a God-inspired influence in a multi-generational neighbourhood.
Reaching people right where they were.
Through 3 weekly luncheon clubs:
A day centre for the elderly:
And an after-school club.
The outreach went beyond the walls of Church into the commuity.
Sure, with God’s help, we were determined to reach the unreachable.
And the lost.
For us, it wasn’t a matter of working for, but working WITH.
At all times we never compromised our Christian values, but as we worked together we added value to the community.
We were outward focused – trying to reach people on the outer edge of church and the outer edge of faith.
As the ideas and plans developed further, some of the work which I endeavoured to do in Blaenavon, included serving as president of Blaenavon Churches Together.
This was an opportunity for my having had some participation in chaplain work at the local hospital.
While I ministered in Blaenavon, other church colleagues from other parts of the South and West Wales regions, would invite me to share in different ministries.
On one such invitation to Ebenezer Baptist Church, Pengam, near Caerphilly, a young lady named Rachel found herself falling in love with the preacher.
Lest I sound a little vain, I have to say, “Yes, she fell in love with me!”
Was I honoured and flattered!
How complimented was I that this young woman of good character – furthermore, a beautiful person, both inside and out, declared her love for me.
God misses nothing when it comes to knowing what pleases His children!
He’s in the business of blessing!
On a lighter side – and would you believe that Rachel doesn’t remember what I preached about that day?
No matter, it was certainly a beautiful, turn-around day for both of us.
To get to the heart of the story here, Rachel and I met for the first time in February 2001.
For about a year, she would travel to Blaenavon to help out with the ministry of the Alpha Course, the three luncheon clubs and Ekwip.
Something should have told me she was preparing to become a minister’s wife!
It was amazing and delightful to discover Rachel’s kindness.
And her generosity was demonstrated as she, week after week, extended herself by spending so much time in route – as her home was in Pengam, Caerphilly – twenty miles away from Blaenavon.
Due to the infrastructure of the road system, which was typically characteristic of a valley and mountainous range, each returning journey would take two hours out of every day.
What a journey!
This amounted to a forty mile round trip.
Can you believe it?
Not just once a week, but as many as four days a week!
Rachel certainly had dedication and was determined to complete those runs to and from Pengam and Blaenavon.
Obviously, her intentions were more than just helping out at the church.
Yes, it was evident, that we were falling in love.
So, finally in April 2002, we began to go out as a couple.
And on Christmas Eve 2002 we were officially engaged to be married.
The wedding day, planned for 6 September 2003, coincided with the twelfth anniversary of the day when I was given just three days to live.
That, perhaps, was not a coincidence since both dates were very dramatic events in my life!
I like to call these events, “A God incidence!”
Nevertheless, the months leading up to the wedding day proved very hectic,because behind the scenes in church management quite a lot was changing.
Funding for the day centre was being pulled from underneath our feet, which would, consequently, have a domino effect on every aspect of the church’s life and its very existence.
As part of our overall circumstances, while these changes were happening, a church in South Yorkshire approached us to consider a “pastoral associate” ministry.
Due to some inside information, we already knew that something was going to happen.
Therefore, we were already praying about the situation way before we were even asked.
In reality we spent long hours engaging in prayer and seeking God’s heart.
Knowing that our call was a fulfilment of a prophecy which the church in South Yorkshire had received gave greater clarity.
And so, after obtaining a clearer insight, we spent little time in accepting the invitation.
This meant that during this upheaval while all these changes were taking place – trying to keep the fellowship functioning with the threat of discontinuation of funding, burdened with hardship of uncertainty – we were planning our wedding day!
Additionally we found ourselves making arrangements to sell up house and move 200 miles up north.
Oh-boy! weren’t we busy!
We don’t recommend anyone seeing the closure of a fellowship, selling a house, buying another, getting married, moving 200 miles and beginning a new ministry all at the same time!
Still, who says God doesn’t help with the details as well as the major decisions in life.
There’s always a bright side when He is involved!!
Anyhow, the wedding day was an absolute brilliant day, we had over 120 guests.
The ceremony held in Blaenavon New Life Christian Centre, was officiated by our friend Phil Johnson.
Unlike traditional weddings with the organ or even a piano accompaniment, we were honoured to have the Blaenavon Brass Band.
What a lovely touch this was to our grand occasion.
As my bride traditionally completed her walk down the isle with her father – my best man, Paul Dando, announced the details of how the bride was dressed.
It was easy for me to envision Rachel’s complete loveliness.
Yes, he shared in detail what Rachel Elizabeth Rawlings was wearing.
Even though Paul was reading the description from a prepared script handed to him there and then, he added a little line!
“David, she looks drop-dead gorgeous!”
Although his reading of such a script was not traditionally part of the ceremony, it was a lovely touch – as then, later, the official covenant words were spoken with the beautiful and appropriate vows of, “I do!”
And now husband and wife, as “Mr. and Mrs David Anthony Prince” – we happily walked down the isle together, knowing our marriage and our lives together would be forever – because God was at the helm.
It was a fine day, and the memory of our wedding was warm and wonderful, and will stay with us always.
For-sure, our whole day, beautiful and sacred, caused all the uncertainties of our lives at the time to fade into oblivion, at least for the time being.
And with our faith that God’s will for our lives would supersede anything that might be an obstacle, especially the factors that lay presently lurking behind the scenes, made our day complete without any fear or flaw.
Thank God though, for the knowledge of who we are in Him.
Safe and sound.
Snug and secure.
We are a son and daughter of the Father of love.
And so, lacking conscious awareness of the set of facts that would envelop us, we began a new journey full of optimism and hope.
It was now 2004.
The path we walked was charted by faith, not by what we saw with our eyes.
2 Corinthians 5:7
The Voice Bible.