This week’s Thought is written by Sharon Healy.
In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people… (Acts 2:17)
In 1904 God poured out his Spirit in Wales. It was one of the most phenomenal outpourings since Pentecost. The effects spread across the churches throughout Wales. People who attended revival meetings were used powerfully in their homes and churches to bring the sense of God to others. The fire was burning so strong that sinners repented and believers were radically changed as the Holy Spirit touched them.
Some lives affected became ‘sparks from the Welsh revival’ that subsequently spread to many parts of the world.
Watkins Roberts who was born in Caernarfon, Wales, was one who caught the fire. He went as a missionary to North East India, aged 22. He was stationed in a particular mission, yet felt called to reach out to the Hmar tribe who were known as savage headhunters. Compelled by the Holy Spirit to go, in February 1910 he defied the orders of the mission he was assigned to, and sneaked into the hills without a permit. Armed with a copy of the New Testament, he explained the gospel to the Hmar people using the Gospel of John. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he found a way to share the gospel message.
Watkins spent five days with the tribe. Five tribal men including a chief were born again. On returning to his mission, Watkins was expelled by them and never knew what had become of the seed he had planted. However, Chawnga, one of those saved carried the salvation message all across the tribe. Later, his son Rochunga was an instrument in God’s hand to bring the Bible to the Hmar tribe in his own language. He created a Romanised script for the Hmar tribe and translated the Bible into the language of the Hmar tribe. Tribes of North East India and further afield were effected and won for Christ through his ministry. Within 30 years every village of the tribe was evangelised.
Decades later, Rochunga managed to track down Watkins Roberts who was, by this time, an elderly man, living in Wales. Watkins had always thought that his missionary efforts had ended in failure. He learned from Rochunga how far from that was from the truth.
In Greenock, Scotland, a lady called Elizabeth Taylor, one of the founders of the Struthers Memorial group of churches, as a young girl was deeply effected by the ministry and preaching of the Jeffery brothers who came to preach in the Greenock Town Hall. These meetings were also filled with fire from the great outpouring in Wales 1904. As the Holy Spirit moved upon her, she was convicted of her sin and met Christ very deeply that night in her bedroom. She became born again and was subsequently a mighty instrument in the hand of God. Hundreds, possibly thousands of lives have been won for Christ, set free and baptised in the Holy Spirit directly and indirectly as a result of her life.
We see in the Jeffreys’ brothers, Watkin Roberts, Chawnga, Rochunga, and Elizabeth Taylor the effects of the Welsh revival and how these ‘sparks' have ignited many other fires. Watkins Roberts had no idea what would become of the seed he had planted. The Bible tells us to go and tell. The increase is not ours but His.
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