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If you were to name one of the great Christian leaders of Welsh history who has influenced you, who would you name? I am a pastor in Wrexham and the Rhos area, so in the past few years I have taken particular interest in a man who had a tremendous impact on all of Wales, but especially here in Northeast Wales. William Williams of Wern was an Annibynwyr (Congregational) minister, a magnificent preacher, a caring pastor, a man of prayer, and an encourager of the younger generation. The Lord used his preaching to bring a multitude from death to life, and blessed him as he planted numerous churches and raised up faithful church leaders and deacons.

Sometimes it is good to spend time with giants. In this time of decline it is a pleasure to take myself back to the late 18th early 19th century, to be discipled by this man who is considered (along with John Elias and Christmas Evans) to be one of three 'giants of the Welsh pulpit'.

You may know of Williams, and the way God used him for the glory of Christ, but do you know of Catherine, his sister? She never preached a sermon, never led a Sunday school class, and never travelled the country preaching to thousands. Yet she impacted the nation greatly through her faithfulness to her Saviour. How? When William her brother started to feel that he was hearing a call from God to serve as a pastor, he realized his need of learning. But as a son on the farm he found it hard to find time for reading, praying, and meditating on Scripture, and so he struggled. The only solution to this problem came through the selflessness and dedication of Catherine. So William would take his Bible and study materials 'with him into a lonely spot, where his father could not see him; and his sister Catherine, who had joined the church at the same time as he, would run at once to perform any duties required of him, in order that he might have time to study his book'. [The great preachers of Wales, Owen Jones, Newtown (Passmore & Alabaster, 1885)]

We need people like William Williams in Wales today, to preach the Gospel powerfully, and to plant churches in rural areas where there is little or no Gospel witness. Indeed, let us pray for many men like him, who sacrificed greatly to make Christ known where He wasn’t before.

We should also pray for men and women like Catherine. There are no books written about her, she has no statue or memorial plaque, and yet through her work, feeding, watering and tending to the animals to let her brother study, she faithfully served the Lord.

Even if we ourselves are not called, like Williams, to plant churches and disciple converts in the needy areas of Wales, that does not mean we have no part to play. Will we pray? Will we give? Will we support those who are called to these needy areas? Would we move with someone to a needy area, and work so that he or she can be freed up to full time Gospel work?

It’s February, and some of my resolutions for 2016 have fallen by the wayside already, but we don’t have to wait until next January to commit ourselves to noble things which glorify God and which edify our brothers and sisters in Christ. Would you join me in committing to pray for the needy areas of Wales? Some of them are highlighted on the map on this website. Pray that God would raise up faithful servants like William and Catherine. Pray that we would see gospel fruit like they did, that we would see churches planted, men, women and children saved, and that we would see the Lamb given the Glory He is due.

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