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Real Lives

Clydach’s brand new

Good News Paper

Issue 1 : June 2009

Overcoming my biggest fear
Good News problem? In eight months, Anna,
Nathanael and their new baby

for Clydach
(they’re expecting their first in
July) will leave that home and
move to Japan, long-term. But
why? “We want to tell Japanese
when success came, he found people about Jesus so that they
“it doesn’t fulfil what you can have the opportunity to
By Mark
think it will”. know the true and living God.”
The same story is told by So, how has Anna overcome
special guests and the Clydach her greatest fear? “God has
men and women who belong to taught me a lot about trusting
the church, and whose stories him for the future. I used to try to
2009 has not been a are also featured inside. Each control my own life and future —
year filled with good one discovered good news in but never very successfully. Even
news. Savings and jobs unexpected places. though the thought of being so
have been lost, and our The good news is that God far from my family — especially
confidence in banks and loves us, he wants us to know with my parents’ first grandchild
parliament is at an all time him personally, and deal with — is still scary for me, I now
our failings so we can escape
Anna never thought life relationship with God because
low. It’s not surprising realise that the scarier thing is
death and live forever in
would turn out like this. Jesus died on the cross to forgive
that the papers have trying to control things myself
heaven. That’s good news!
In fact, she really hoped it them.” Anna actually thought
been full of bad news. rather than trusting God. He is
Even better, God offers
wouldn’t. this was a great idea, she laughs,
The bad news is that in control anyway, so trusting
Anna was brought up in a “A great idea for someone else,
it is not just bankers and this as a gift. We don’t need to him and praying to him about
Christian family. “I always knew
parliamentarians who don’t earn his love by trying harder
live up to the standards we or doing better, by going to
Jesus had done the unthinkably “I didn’t want to my fears and concerns is a much
happier place to be.”
expect. If we’re honest with church or by saying prayers.
difficult thing of being punished do anything that Anna has a new home to set
by God the Father so that I could
ourselves, we’re no better than 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ
be forgiven by him if I just trusted was too difficult… up, a new culture to understand,
they. We have all done things was nailed to a cross, because
of which we are ashamed. he claimed he was the one
him. I knew this was good news, I just wanted to be a new language to learn, a
the bit I didn’t like was being new baby to look after, and no
But there is good news! – the only one – who could
100% committed to Jesus.
happy.” family nearby. With so many
That’s why we at Bethel restore our relationship with
“I desperately wanted all the but not for me! Some people love unknowns ahead of her, is she
Church are launching this God. And this newspaper is
good things being a Christian the idea of travelling, but not really in a happier place? “It’s
newspaper, and the Real filled with stories of people
has to offer; forgiveness, me. I’m a home-bird. Studying at funny how things turn out, isn’t
Lives events which take place who can testify that this is
what Jesus has done for them. heaven, etc. but I didn’t want Bible college in London seemed it? My biggest fear is coming
at the end of June.
What would be good news To find out more, read to do anything that was too like the other end of the world.” true and yet I am happier than I
for you? What do you hope for? through their stories, and difficult or uncomfortable for We all have different fears ever dreamed I would be. I know
At the back of this newspaper, come to one of the Real Lives me. I just wanted to be happy.” but for Anna, her biggest fear I can trust God with all my fears;
former Wales’ hooker Garin meetings advertised in the Anna knew that being a was being far from her family. knowing and trusting him is the
Jenkins says that as a boy he middle of this newspaper. Christian didn’t mean having Anna has a house in Clydach, happiest place to be. He made us
was looking forward to big You too might find that the an easy life. “I knew that some with her husband, Nathanael. as people who will only ever be
cars and holidays that rugby Bible’s message to us is very people who were Christians Her grandparents are round the truly satisfied and happy when
success would bring. But good news indeed. went to other countries to tell corner and her parents live a ten- we find our satisfaction and
people they can have a right minute walk away. So, what’s the happiness in him.”

No A life- Wedi’i alw

regrets changing i bregethu
Page 3 decision Tudalen 6
Page 4
Page  Real Lives

Wasted years
Colin didn’t have an easy time when he was growing up.
His dad died when he was four years old, leaving his mum
struggling to bring up three boys on her own. In his early
teens he became seriously ill with life-threatening pneumonia
and pleurisy. As a student, a bad motorcycle accident
ended his dreams of becoming a doctor. Colin says
this early part of his life was wasted years — but not
for the reasons you might expect.
With all these problems in Detective Sergeant in the Drugs laden and I will give you rest’ Pontardawe. “All I wanted to do about it though. You look at
such a short space of time, Squad was challenging work became a personal invitation to was provide a good service to things differently as a Christian. I
Colin could perhaps be and I spent a lot of time in pubs me and I accepted Jesus as my people.” Since Colin has retired, know I’m in God’s hands.”
forgiven for not knowing and clubs where the drug users personal Saviour there and then, he’s had two new hips and suffers Despite telling me he’s had
where to turn. He did were. It was around this time and became a new person in the a fairly clean bill of health,
what many people do in that Jean and I were invited Lord. From then on I wanted “I went for a Colin also suffers from arthritis.
extreme circumstances. by our two eldest daughters to live for the Lord. My life had “I’m sure that’s a result of
“In desperation I asked to attend a meeting which the changed. I used to drink and I walk on the playing prop forward in rugby
God for help”. But Colin is
honest enough to admit, “I
young people were taking at
Bethel. We had refused so many
enjoyed smoking but I no longer
wanted to do those things and
first morning for so many years. I used to
play for Liverpool University,
soon forgot all about God
once I’d recovered.”
invitations that we decided gave them up immediately. What of 1978… It Aberystwyth, Trebanos and the
to go. I sat there and watched God had given me was so much police. Rugby was such a big part
After his early struggles more wonderful than anything was a new of my life – it was my priority.
Colin had been thrilled to “I thought the world had to offer. I went for
year, and I was “I look back and wish it
have the opportunity to a walk on the first morning of hadn’t been so. I wasted so many
study medicine at Liverpool that academic 1978 and I remember breathing a new person.” years. I thought that academic
University. “There were grants
back in those days, which was
success, in the pure fresh air and thinking
how wonderful creation was. It from deteriorating eyesight
success, alcohol, playing rugby
and other things like that
good because we wouldn’t have alcohol, was a new year and I was a new that takes him for regular would bring lasting happiness.
been able to afford for me to person.” injections at the hospital. He But I know now that everlasting
go otherwise.” Sadly, Colin’s and playing laughs as he tells me, “Every happiness can only be found by
desire to be a doctor never Next steps
materialised. In his fifth year rugby would It was not long after
time I go they tell me this
injection could give you a
accepting Jesus as Saviour. This
is my prayer for those seeking
of study he had a motorcycle
accident which shattered his
bring lasting becoming a Christian that Colin
retired from the police force. He
heart attack or stroke, or if
it goes wrong you may lose
happiness in drugs, alcohol and
other temporary things, that
leg and he spent a long time in happiness.” obtained a degree in pharmacy, your eye — I have to sign a they would turn to Jesus, accept
hospital — but as a patient, not eventually opening his own form to say that’s alright.” him and know true and lasting
a student. “I just didn’t have the young people — their faces pharmacy on Herbert Street in He then adds, “I don’t worry happiness.”
the money to re-do the year so I radiated such joy and happiness.
had to give it up. It really moved me. It was such
a contrast to the young drug If you would like a lift to any of the Real Lives meetings, more information
Real Lives Response Form

“In 1957 I moved to Swansea

and joined the Swansea Borough users I was dealing with in about the church, or would like someone to visit you, please just ask.
Police Force. I married Jean in my work;  they too sought
1963; we settled in Ynystawe, happiness but I know from the Your name:
and had three daughters.” many incidents I attended they Address:
It was really through his never found happiness through
daughters that Colin came into taking drugs — sadly, many
contact with Bethel Evangelical ended their lives.”
Church. “My mother-in-law’s email:
friend insisted on taking our A changed life Would you like? □ A lift to church?
girls to the church. Jean and I After that Colin began □ Some information in the post?
were happy for them to go but attending church regularly but □ Someone to visit?
weren’t particularly interested it was in the last hour, of the last □ Something else? (let us know what)
in going ourselves. day of 1977, whilst attending a
New Year’s Eve service that he Please post to Bethel Evangelical Church, Heol Y Nant, Clydach, Swansea,
Divine intervention actually became a Christian. “The SA6 5HB, telephone the minister, Rev. Mark Barnes on 01792 828095, or
“But in 1977 God started words of Jesus ‘Come unto me email bethel@bethel-clydach.co.uk
to intervene in my life. Being all ye that labour and are heavy
Real Lives Page 

On a mission to Clydach One journey I’ve

never regretted
For Lorna, religion was a way of life. Her father was
a lay-reader, and they went to church three times
every Sunday. But despite all the church-going, she
came to realise that deep-down her religion was
just hypocrisy.
“When I left home and went to teacher-training college
in North­ampton, I realised that going to church had just
been a habit; it hadn’t challenged me or made me think. I
was a hypocrite, really. I did carry on saying my prayers but
that was just me being superstitious.”
Lorna’s first teaching post was in London, where she met
her husband, Malcolm, who was from New Zealand. “After
London students James, Stefan, Liz, Tim and Duncan are excited about coming to Clydach we were married we moved out there and I went to a church
which helped me to think about what the Bible said. Then
For some university
students, the summer is
“I truly believe Perhaps this perspective
is not one you would expect
my mum back in Llansaint became a Christian and I started
to notice a change in her. Despite losing my father some
a time for a well-earned the Bible’s to hear from your average years before, I remember thinking that I didn’t need to worry
rest after assignments are university student. So what has
handed in and exams are message can caused this change of thinking?
about her any more because of the security and happiness
that she now had. It was a good influence on me, I think it
completed. For others, change lives.” Stefan explains, “I called myself made me want something of that same security.”
it’s an opportunity to earn a Christian for as long as I can When they moved back from New Zealand, Lorna and
money and pay off those Liz explains, “I really think
remember. This used to mean her family eventually settled in Clydach. “My sister told me
ever increasing debts. Clydach people need to get to
church on a Sunday and trying Clydach was a nice, friendly place to live, so we moved here.
But for five students from know Jesus. Many people are
to be good. On my gap year I God knew what he was doing, as I’m just around the corner
London, the summer disinterested in the Bible and
realised that being a Christian from what my mum called ‘a lovely little church’.”
brings a very different church; I guess church seems
is what your whole life is about, Following her mum’s advice, Lorna started going to Bethel
opportunity – James, like the most boring place to
not just a part of life. I could Evangelical Church, with her four children. “I asked myself
Stefan, Liz, Tim and Duncan be and the Bible seems like the
‘What’s the point in being a hypocrite?’ as I had been for many
are coming to Clydach most boring book to read. I used
to think like that too. But the
“I realised years and was in danger of becoming again.
to help at Real Lives. We
asked them why. Bible is all about Jesus, and Jesus that being a I was challenged by sermons and
prayers I heard at church and I
is not boring! He is awesome
Tim says, “We all know Liz
as we go to the same church and I can’t think of anyone else Christian is what came to realise that I wasn’t
in London. She’s from Clydach I’d rather tell people about.” your whole life right with God.
“Coming to know God was
and asked us if we’d come and James agrees, “I can’t think
help her home church, Bethel, of anything more exciting than is about.” a slow process for me — but
helping people to know Jesus for it is one journey I’ve never
during the Real Lives week. I’d never be good enough to live
never even heard of Clydach themselves as they find out how regretted. It’s funny how
for God with my whole life, and
before I met Liz!” much God has done for us.” things hit you. So many times I
that was the problem! I learned
So, is Tim only coming But Duncan admits, “It will thought, ‘That sermon was just
that Jesus had done everything
because Liz twisted his arm? be quite scary talking about for me’. And although I don’t
I needed to be forgiven by God
“Liz is very persistent and things many people disagree when he died for me.” remember exactly when
persuasive! But I truly believe on, to people I don’t know, As unpaid volunteers, I became a Christian I
the Bible’s message can change but what you believe about what will make the trip from know that God has
lives. I love meeting people with Jesus has eternal consequences London and all the hard work forgiven my sins
different life stories to tell, and so I’m looking forward to worthwhile? Liz says, “We hope and I have peace
I want to share with them the conversations where we talk and pray people will come along with him.”
greatest true story — that Jesus about who Jesus is and why he to Real Lives so they can make up
died for their sins.” came.” their own minds about Jesus.”

Brian was born and bred pubs and clubs to drink in “Now I wasn’t going to go God was dealing with me,
in Clydach. Like most the nights and on weekends. to church but I had no issue convicting me of my sins. For
children in those days, he That was my life — no real with the rest of the family the first time I realised I was a
went to Sunday School as direction or focus.” Things going. Although I had always sinner and that my sins needed
a youngster. started to change for Brian felt there was a God, I had no to be forgiven, so I asked God
when he married Marlene. real thought about him. But to forgive me.
However, as soon as Brian
“When our sons were old one Sunday I just decided to “I had become a Christian
was working, he stopped
enough my wife started go to church with the family and I realised I didn’t want to
having anything to
looking for a Sunday School. and I have been going there go back to my old way of life
do with church. “I
A friend recommended ever since! which involved drinking and
worked during Bethel, so the boys went — a “I found it difficult to not much else; I would much
the day and couple of years later my wife understand the Bible and the rather be in church learning
went to the started going too. preaching. But over time, more about God.”
Page  Real Lives
An unlikely hero when the game was called off

A life-changing
“Up until the end of 2002 I would and we were awarded a draw,
probably have never imagined which was enough to get us to
myself doing what I did. South Africa. You make up your
Zimbabwe had lost hundreds of own mind about what happened,

millions of dollars in a war with but I know the Bible tells me
the Democratic Republic of about a God who has the power
Congo. Then Mugabe’s decision to intervene in people’s lives.”
to take all farms away from
the white farmers — which An even bigger decision
was clearly racist — made the The decision to speak out
economy nose-dive even more. against Mugabe’s regime was
It destroyed the country. literally life-changing for
“Everytime I went on tour Henry. It cost him his cricketing
I was constantly being asked career, and even his homeland.
by international journalists to But according to Henry, it was
justify and back up my country. not the biggest, nor the most
“At the same time I began important decision of his life.
to realise that the corruption That had come several years
in the government was causing earlier when, still a teenager, he
orphans, pensioners and decided to begin investigating
widows to really suffer. It broke whether God really existed.
my heart — it made me mad. “At boarding school there
was a compulsory church
Moved to action service on Sunday, and I had
“One day I read a verse from the many Christian teachers, so
Bible, and it said ‘Defend the there was constant Christian
cause of the fatherless, plead input into my life — hymns,
the case of the widow’. And in the Lord’s Prayer, sometimes
the very same verse, the Bible Evensong. But this memorising,
said, ‘Rebuke the oppressor’. and the priest reading things
The verse hit me between the off bits of paper didn’t work for
eyes. I felt that God was calling me. I’m an emotional creature,
me to say something, to speak and if I was to ever relate to God,
out against this oppressor. I it’s not going to be through me
saw the country desecrated by reading off a sheet of paper.
its rich and powerful leaders, I “I thought the way you
just felt I’ve got to speak out. became acceptable to God was by
“After Andy and I had made being a good person. I was one of
the protest, we got articles those kids who kind of avoided
written in the paper calling the big trouble the other kids got
us ‘British spies’ making into, so I thought, ‘I’m not such a
accusations against us, and had bad person’. I thought that the
threats against our lives. bad things I did weren’t that bad
“I knew that my life was in really, and the good things I did
danger, and that I needed to easily offset them.
get out of the country. But I “I remember debating with
didn’t want just to disappear mates about the existence of
— I wanted to see this through. God. I loved those debates, but
But I knew the next round of the it wasn’t until high school that
Cup was going to be played in this moved into the classroom.
There are some decisions length and wrap it round our what is happening… People have South Africa. If we got through, Some of the teachers were
that can change our lives left arms. Andy calls for quiet been murdered, raped, beaten I would be safely out of the saying, ‘There is no God. Billions
forever. For Henry Olonga and announces to the team and had their homes destroyed country when our World Cup of years ago, there was nothing.
— the first black cricketer what we are doing and why.” because of their beliefs… If we ended. But only three teams Then ‘nothing’ went kaboom!
to play for Zimbabwe, and Both players also release a remain silent that will be taken from our pool would qualify, and — it exploded in a big bang. You
still the youngest to have statement to the press. In part as a sign that either we do not we had England, Australia, India can imagine as a child growing
represented the country it reads, “We cannot in good care or we condone what is and Pakistan competing for up, wanting to believe in God,
— one day will stay in his conscience take to the field and happening in Zimbabwe… We those places. It meant that if we and now being told that nothing
mind forever. ignore the fact that millions of will each wear a black armband lost to Pakistan in our last game, created everything, caused me
The day was 10 February our compatriots are starving, for the duration of the World we wouldn’t get through, and I a bit of confusion.
2003. Henry was in Harare unemployed and oppressed… Cup. In doing so we are mourning wouldn’t get out of Zimbabwe. “So off I go, on my quest to find
— Zimbabwe’s capital city — Hundreds of thousands of the death of democracy in “I went to my hotel bedroom out what the truth is. I thought
preparing to face Namibia in Zimbabweans may even die in Zimbabwe. In doing so we are the night before the match that maybe I’d find it in enjoying
Zimbabwe’s opening game of the coming months through making a silent plea to those and said a prayer: ‘Lord I’m in sport — I love the high of sport,
the Cricket World Cup. “There’s a combination of starvation, responsible to stop the abuse of trouble, and I need your help!’. I love to win. Losing sucks! But
about fifteen minutes to go. poverty and Aids… Many people human rights in Zimbabwe. In The next day I got to the ground, even after a win, there’s always
Andy Flower and I look at each have been unjustly imprisoned doing so we pray that our small we played about fifteen overs, the feeling that there’s got to be
other and nod. We get out the and tortured simply for action may help to restore sanity and it rained. And it kept on more to life than this.
rolls of black tape, cut off a expressing their opinions about and dignity to our nation.” raining, until mid-afternoon “So I immersed myself in
Real Lives Page 
music and performance, but I read the whole verse from the
didn’t find what I was looking “The Bible Bible, ‘The wages of sin is death,
for there, either. I thought I then
ought to try something more
totally under- but the gift of God is eternal
life’. He said that God the Father
spiritual, so I bought a book mined my hung his Son on a cross to
called Teach Yourself Yoga. But I reconcile us to God, and all I had
couldn’t do the exercises and the confidence to do was call on the name of
meditations were just baloney! Jesus to be saved and forgiven.
that I was It doesn’t matter who you are,
Giving God a chance
“I was sixteen-years-old by then,
good enough it doesn’t matter what you’ve
done. Whatever you’ve done in
and I knew it was time I gave God
a chance. So I finally agreed to
for God.” your life, if you turn to God in
repentance he will save you.
go on a Christian youth camp. but sin is also not doing the good “It was a no-brainer! So
Each day there were activities things God asks of you like ‘Love I prayed, but no angel from
and sports, then each night a your neighbour’, or ‘Forgive heaven sounded their trumpet.
guy got up to speak. Using the those who sin against you’. I thought that there must be
Bible, he totally undermined “So I know I’m damned. more than this!
my confidence that I was good One, I’ve broken God’s law; “But over time I discovered
enough for God, which was what I two, I haven’t done the good an assurance that my sins had
had put my trust in. He read from things I’m supposed to. The rug been forgiven. The barrier that
the Bible where it says, ‘All have is being pulled from under my I felt between me and God had
sinned and fall short of the glory feet. The speaker read from the gone. For the first time in my
of God’, and he said that nothing Bible that ‘The wages of sin is life I knew there was nothing I
we do can make us good enough death’, and that God needs to could do to make God love me
for God. He also said that sin is punish those who do wrong. more. I was accepted just as I
not just doing the wrong things, “But the speaker went on to was.”

Meet Henry Olonga — hear him sing and tell his story
Thursday 25th June, 7:30pm, Admission Free
Bethel Evangelical Church, Heol Y Nant, Clydach
www.bethel-clydach.co.uk/henry Since being forced from international cricket, Henry has
become an acclaimed speaker, artist and singer-songwriter

Real Lives
Wednesday 24th June
12:30pm Talk and Lunch
7:30pm Real Lives: Garin Jenkins
Thursday 25th June
10:30am Coffee Morning
7:30pm Real Lives: Henry Olonga
Friday 26th June
7:30pm Y Gair a’r Gân
Wed. 24 June, 7:30pm Thur. 25 June, 7:30pm Sat. 27 June, 7:30pm
Garin Jenkins on facing up Henry Olonga on speaking Billy Burns on forgiveness Saturday 27th June
to the challenge of God. out against suffering. and friendship.
8:30am Men’s Breakfast
Everyone welcome. Refreshments and crèche provided. Free entry.
7:30pm Real Lives: Billy Burns
Sunday 28th June
Real Lives is organised by Bethel Evangelical Church. All the events
last about an hour and are held at the church. They’re not church 10:30am Real Lives Family Service
services — apart from those on Sunday, of course! Real Lives evening and buffet lunch
meetings will feature Paul Hinton (pictured right) introducing the 6:00pm Real Lives Guest Service
special guest, who will tell their real-life story. Then Paul will give a
St. John’s Road

short talk from the Bible on the topic our guest speaks about.

Bethel il S
Other events give you an opportunity to meet many of the people in Bethel


Church whose lives God has changed forever, over a cup of coffee or even a meal.

Barclays t
These events will deal with equally absorbing topics and Paul will also take part. Clydach
Tudalen  Real Lives
Yr Iesu nad oeddwn i byth wedi Ei adnabod
Wedi’i alw i bregethu Ganwyd Eleanor yn
“Crist wedi Ei groeshoelio” Rhydypandy ac mae hi’n dal i
fyw yno. Mae ei theulu wedi
Ar ôl hyfforddi yn Aberystwyth, dysgodd John y bod yn byw yma am gant
Gymraeg am dair blynedd ar hugain. Roedd yn namyn un o flynyddoedd,
swydd oedd wrth ei fodd . Felly, pam, yng nghanol ac maent yn byw yn chwech
ei ddeugeiniau, wnaeth e roi’r gorau i’w yrfa fel o’r tua deg ar hugain o dai
athro? I ateb y cwestiwn rhaid i ni fynd yn ôl i yn y pentref. Wrth iddi dyfu
blentyndod John. lan, âi’n ffyddlon i Gapel y
“Pan oeddwn yn fachgen yng Ngorslas, roedd nifer o bobl Bedyddwyr Cymraeg lleol,
yr ardal wedi cael eu newid gan Dduw yn ystod diwygiad 1904. fel y gwnaethai’r rhan
Roeddynt yn wahanol i’r dyn crefyddol cyffredin - roedd eu fwyaf o bobl yn y pentref,
ffydd a’u tystiolaeth yn fywiog ac roedd ganddynt frwdfrydedd felly roedd yn syndod i nifer
mawr tuag at Dduw. Y cyfan y byddent yn siarad amdano o bobl glywed Eleanor yn
oedd yr Arglwydd. Cafodd hyn effaith ddofn ac, weithiau, dweud nad oedd yn Gristion
ofnus arnaf. Yn fy arddegau hwyr profais argyhoeddiad cryf o mewn gwirionedd tan oedd
bechod, felly gelwais ar Dduw am iachawdwriaeth a chredais Esboniodd Eleanor sut y ni allu cyrraedd Duw – roedd
yng nghanol ei thridegau. daeth hi i ddarganfod pwy oedd yn pregethu am bethau nad
fod Crist Iesu wedi marw dros fy mhechodau. “Roedd Salem yn rhan
“Fodd bynnag, nid oeddwn yn llwyr ymroddedig i Grist. yr Iesu mewn gwirionedd. “Daeth oeddwn byth wedi eu clywed o’r
fawr o’m bywyd. Roeddem yn gweinidog ifanc, Mr Dafydd blaen a gwnaeth hyn fy mhoeni
Rhoddais ran o’m calon yn unig Iddo a chedwais ran i mi fy
ymfalchïo yn y lle oherwydd Morris, i Salem a dywedodd yn wir. Bob noson yr wythnos
hun. Wedyn, ar ôl dyddiau coleg, rwyf yn cofio’n glir wrth
bod y capel wedi cael ei wrthym o’r Beibl fod yr Iesu wedi honno roeddwn yn crïo, gan
weddio un noson cael fy ngorlethu yn sydyn gan bresenoldeb
adeiladu ym 1777. Fy nhad oedd marw ar groes, ac roedd wedi ddweud ‘Beth fydd yn digwydd
Duw. Roedd yn brofiad nerthol a gorfoleddus, a ches fy
yn chwarae’r organ ac roedd nawr?’ Methais gredu yn llwyr
narostwng a’m trawsnewid. Trowyd fi yn llwyr at yr Iesu, ac “Methais gredu yn
ein holl deulu yn hoff o ganu.. fy mod i wedi mynd i’r capel
roeddwn mor ddiolchgar i Dduw am Ei amynedd tuag ataf
gan iddo fy nghadw i gredu drwy gydol y blynyddoedd hynny
Euthum i’r gwasanaethau, yr llwyr fy mod wedi drwy gydol fy mywyd ond nid
Ysgol Sul, a’r Band of Hope ond
pan oeddwn yn byw ond yn rhannol Iddo. mynd i’r capel drwy oeddwn yn gwybod y Beibl ac
gwnes i fwynhau’r cyfarfodydd nid oeddwn yn Gristion.
“Roedd popeth wedi newid nawr. Doeddwn i ddim am
pen chwarter yn enwedig. gydol fy mywyd,
fyw i blesio fy hunan bellach ond byw i blesio Duw. Gwnaeth “Dros gyfnod o amser,
“Pan oeddwn yn un mlwydd ond nid oeddwn gwnes i dderbyn yr hyn yr
fy agwedd tuag at bobl eraill newid; roeddwn am dystio i
ddaioni Duw. Newidiodd y ffordd o ddefnyddio fy arian, fy
ar bymtheg oed, a dechrau yn gwybod y Beibl oedd y Beibl yn ei ddweud.
ennill fy nhamaid gofynwyd i mi
amser, a’m doniau; newidiodd popeth. Effeithiodd ar ein ac nid oeddwn yn Felly, gwnes i gyffesu i Dduw fy
: ‘Ydych chi’n credu yn yr Iesu?’ mod i’n bechadur a deuthum i
bywyd teuluol; mae’n effeithio ar bob agwedd o fywyd.
a dywedais, ‘Ydw, wrth gwrs!’
“Dyw hyn ddim yn hawdd, gan fy mod yn filwr mewn wybod nad oedd unrhyw obaith
achos ei fod yn wir - wedi’r cwbl, colli Ei waed fel y gallai faddau i Hebddo. Teimlais gymaint o
brwydr; yn brwydro yn erbyn fy hen ffyrdd pechadurus, yn
roeddwn wedi mynychu Salem fi fy mhechod. Wrth i fi wrando ryddhad. Ac wrth i fi heneiddio,
erbyn y byd ac yn erbyn y diafol. Ond mae gennym ni Waredwr
drwy gydol fy oes. Felly, cefais fy dechreuais sylweddoli yn araf rydw i’n sylweddoli fwyfwy pa
rhyfeddol sy’n rhoi lloches a thangnefedd i ni. Mae’n diwallu
medyddio a deuthum yn aelod. deg pwy oedd yr Iesu yn union mor gwbl annheilwng rydw i
pob angen sydd gennym, ac yn ein harwain. Mae’n rhoi i ni
Ond y broblem oedd, roeddwn yn a’r hyn roedd wedi ei wneud. o bopeth y mae Duw wedi ei
ddedwyddwch ynddo Fe a’n gwna’n fodlon ymhob peth mae’n
credu mewn Iesu nad oeddwn yn “Dywedodd fod megis mur wneud i fi. Dyna fe, y cyfan
rhoi i ni.
“Ar ôl sawl blwyddyn euthum yn anesmwyth fy ysbryd er Ei adnabod mewn gwirionedd. Yr mawr rhyngom ni a Duw ond oedd gyda fi oedd crefydd, ond
fy mod yn mwynhau dysgu yn fawr iawn. Gofynnais i mi fy unig beth yr oeddwn yn gwybod fod yr Iesu wedi torri trwy’r nid yw’n ymwneud â chrefydd;
hun a oeddwn wedi bod yn rhy hir yn yr un ysgol , felly gwnes am yr Iesu oedd y ffaith Ei fod yn mur hwnnw, gan faddau i ni mae’n ymwneud ag adnabod
gais am swydd newydd ond hyd yn oed wedyn roeddwn yn ddyn da a wnaeth wyrthiau.” ein pechod a chreu ffordd i Duw mewn gwirionedd.”
dal i deimlo’n anesmwyth. Dechreuais sylweddoli bod Duw yn
rhoi awydd newydd ynof. Ces i fy ngorfodi i weinidogaethu
Gair Duw - ond roedd yn deimlad a bylodd o bryd i’w gilydd.
Roedd hyn yn fy mhoeni, felly rhenais fy ngofid gyda ffrind
o Gristion ac awgrymodd ef y dylai’r ddau ohonom gwrdd i
weddïo ar Dduw gyda’n gilydd . Dyna beth y gwnaethon ni
Y Gair a’r Gân
bob dydd Llun am ddwy flynedd nes i mi gael sicrwydd mai
gweinidog oedd Duw am i mi fod” Eglwys Bethel, Heol Y Nant, Clydach
Galwyd John i fod yn weinidog ar Eglwys
Efengylaidd Bethel ym 1980, felly symudodd Dydd Gwener 26ain Mehefin, 7:30pm
ef a’i wraig Elizabeth a’u dau fab i Glydach.
Croeso i bawb. Dim tâl. Lluniaeth ar gael.
Ond er i John ymddeol fel gweinidog ar yr
eglwys yn 2000, mae’n dal i fod yn aelod
St. John’s Road

o’r eglwys ac nid yw’n ystyried ei fod wedi


Bethel il S

ymddeol. “Nid oes modd ymddeol! Alla i Spar


ddim rhoi’r gorau i bregethu. Mae arnaf
reidrwydd i bregethu Crist a Christ
wedi Ei groeshoelio, a byddaf yn Dan arweiniad Peter Hallam a Martin Williams
parhau i wneud hynny cyhyd Mae Peter Hallam yn dod o Rydaman. Bu am gyfnod
ag y mae Duw yn rhoi iechyd a byr yn bennaeth Ysgol Gyfun, Ystalyfera. Am ragor o fanylion:
nerth i fi.” Daw Martin Williams yn wreiddiol o Abergwaun. Yn dilyn ffoniwch y Parch. John Mainwaring ar 01792 845957
cyfnod yng Ngholeg y Bedyddwyr Caerdydd, mae e bellach ebost bethel@bethel-clydach.co.uk
yn weinidog ar Eglwys Noddfa, Pontarddulais. gwefan www.bethel-clydach.co.uk/ygairargan

To view an English version of this page, visit www.bethel-clydach.co.uk/real-lives/welsh

Real Lives Page 

On top of the world grandmother’s house. Everyone

talked about the meeting and
qualified as a WRU referee.
The very first top-class match
“And I thought, ‘Lord,
you’re talking to me about
Hubert loves to tell stories even tell you what it’s like as we sang there were tears on I was given to referee was on rugby. It’s hindering my walk
and he’s got many stories to be a WRU referee. But people’s faces. I wondered why. a Good Friday; I had to reject with you’. But I didn’t want to
to tell! He can tell you the story Hubert loves to “We had the customary cup it as I wanted to be at church give up rugby and I made lots
about his years in the RAF, tell most is a very simple, of tea and sandwiches before instead. I was told I wouldn’t of excuses, like ‘I can speak to
or his time as a teacher or ordinary story from we started on the journey get another game like that the lads about the Lord’ which
headteacher in several local seventy-three years ago. home. As we walked I thought but the next month when my I could, and ‘it’s not sinful’
schools. He can tell you “One of the most vivid hard on those words, ‘If Jesus appointments came through, I which it wasn’t.
about Enid, his wife of more memories from my childhood has done all that for me I will had the Australian tourists. “But I came to realise that
than 60 years, or about the is that of a tinworker from follow him’.” “I was soon refereeing in wasn’t the point really. If I was
church, where he’s been Llanelli preaching in church. Hubert determined then to England, Scotland and France. I to follow Jesus, I had to put
an elder more than half his He explained how he had first follow the Lord Jesus and says was on top of the world and at him first in everything, and
life. He met with Jesus his Saviour. he has been doing so ever since. the top of my career but I was everything else second. I knew
can When he explained what the But what does that mean? “It still following the Lord Jesus by I couldn’t give him everything.
Bible said, it seemed as though was the same for the disciples in putting him first in everything. Something had to go. And I could
he was speaking only to me. He the Bible; Jesus said to them, ‘If “Then on three successive never refuse doing things for
spoke slowly, convinced every anyone desires to come after me, Sundays we had three different Jesus, so if I could do something
word was vitally important. let him deny himself, and take preachers, who had the same for him, then I would. So I gave
What struck home was that if up his cross daily, and follow text, Hebrews 12:1-3: all the rugby up. I was sad to
the Lord Jesus has done all that me’ and they did. It was a simple “‘Let us throw off everything finish but I was doing it for the
for me I must follow him. thing to do really but at times it that hinders and the sin that Lord so that I could serve him
“After church I proved to be quite difficult. so easily entangles, and let us better. Those words still come
remember how “You see, rugby ultimately run with perseverance the race back to me, ‘If Jesus has done
we crowded became a big part of my life. I marked out for us. Let us fix our all that for me I will follow him’.
into my played from a teenager until eyes on Jesus… who… endured the Giving him my very best, my all,
I was thirty-four, and then I cross, scorning its shame…’ is the least I can do.”

Jae-Hyun and Han-Sol are researching about the has the biggest churches become a minister in a good news
from South Korea and great revival movement in the world. There are church there. Or we might about
have been in Wales for of South Korea.” very many activities for stay in Wales and work Jesus.”
nearly five years. “We So, how do Welsh everyone, helping us all to here as missionaries.
wanted to study in the churches compare to study the Bible.” We both really love
UK. One of my Korean ones in Korea? “There So what are their plans Welsh people. But we
professors recommended are so many Christians in once Jae-Hyun finishes his just pray we can tell
Lampeter University Korea; their faith is strong studies? “We might return people, whatever
so we moved here. I’m and alive. South Korea to Korea for Jae-Hyun to their nationality, the

“He tried to kill me — but when I met him, I liked him”

“The bullet hit me just some time to come to terms my Christian faith. Forgiveness works with young people
under the lip, sheared off with his crimes. Eventually he is not about condoning or encouraging them away from
my teeth, went through my realised his punishment was a justifying someone’s actions, lives of violence.
tongue into my throat. It but it releases you from “It’s so satisfying to see
physically lifted me clean off
“I believe in what can actually be a very him moving on. Bearing in
the ground and knocked me forgiveness cancerous bitterness. mind I come from a police
unconscious.” “When I got to the prison, background, it’s good to feel
As Billy lay fighting
and letting go, I was anxious about his I’ve done something to help
for his life, his attacker not holding character — whether I would that happen.”
— teenager, Stephen Korsa- like him or dislike him; which Billy’s life has also taken off
Acquah — hijacked two other
grudges. I was way this was going to go. But in directions he didn’t expect.
vehicles before being caught very grateful to I liked him — it appeared that He’s appeared on television
on the M4. Eventually he was he was genuine... It’s seeing and radio, with Esther Rantzen,
The 6 April 1983 was the given three life sentences for
be still alive.” people for what they are.” John Snow, Michael Buerk and
day that changed Billy’s attempted murder. But for legacy of his own actions and Over the following years John McCarthy.
life. He’d been called to Billy, rebuilding his life did not something he had to deal with. Billy visited Stephen often “It’s not a one-way thing.
an armed bank robbery, mean simply trying to forget He knew part of that meant in prison, and eventually Stephen has contributed to
and had been chasing the his attackers. Instead, he sent saying sorry for his earlier supported his application my quality of life, he’s a true
robbers in a high-speed them a Christmas card. crimes. So he contacted the for parole. Stephen now friend.”
pursuit through the streets “In our Christian faith we prison chaplain, and asked if he
of Bristol. Then the car believe in forgiveness and could get a letter back to Billy, Meet Billy and hear him tell his story
the robbers were driving letting go, not holding grudges. apologising, and asking to meet
crashed. As Billy cautiously I was very grateful to be still him. Billy readily agreed, but Saturday 27th June, 7:30pm, Admission Free
approached the vehicle, alive.” with mixed emotions. “I had Bethel Evangelical Church, Heol Y Nant, Clydach
his world was suddenly The card certainly made no issues with forgiving him,
turned upside down. an impact on Stephen. He took that was the very essence of
Page  Real Lives

Facing the challenge

With more than fifty caps,

Garin Jenkins is Wales’ most
“After four or five months I
was back in Ynysybwl, and later
“We set our ended up in a place where there
was no pain, for eternity. And it’s
I think now I have more integrity
that doesn’t take away from my
capped hooker. A former got a job in the colliery. I enjoyed standards, that story that really spurred me competitiveness. Unfortunately
captain of Swansea, he’s playing for Ynysybwl youth and on my way.
played in three World Cups, working. But I always needed but when you I’m forty-two and about five
stone overweight so I’ll never
and won both league and
cup honours with his club —
discipline. I’d served a lot of
rugby bans, for six or ten weeks.
get there, it Not in charge
“I always used to think that
be able to put that to the test as

not to mention scoring a try It looked at one point that I would doesn’t fulfil there was lots of time. There’s
“If when I was
in Swansea’s famous 21‑6 not fulfil my rugby dream. always next week, but we’ve got
rout of Australia in 1992. “Then there was a lot of what you to realise that we’re not in charge. playing I’d
But in this special interview
he explains that his biggest
pit closures, and in 1988 I was
made redundant. Rugby was
think it will.” Not long ago I had a secondary
been where I
tumour in my neck. It was very
challenges have come not
on, but off the field.
a bit ‘what-if?’ at the time,
because it wasn’t professional,
father had had a heart attack on
challenging, and again I turned
to God big time in prayer. I made
am now – as
the terraces whilst I was playing.
“Throughout my schooldays but there was an opportunity to
“People who will have
a commitment to God because a Christian – I
I had a passion for rugby. But go to New Zealand to play. So I of what he’s done for me. I feel
there was a time in school went and things really started
watched me playing will think,
very blessed to experience the think I’d have
‘Well you weren’t much of a
when I was pretty much a non-
attender, I was pretty wild.
to take off. After I came back
my rugby career started to
Christian’. But I really believe
warmth and love from God that’s
been there all along but has come
been far more
I think I succumbed to peer spiral upwards. that the early days, going to
Sunday School and the little
to be very special. successful.”
pressure; I was out to impress. “I always remember I was “I’m very thankful that
“I had always been brought digging a trench in Pontypridd teachings on a Beach Mission in
things are working out good. But a player! But I’m sure there’ll be
up to go to Sunday School. But I Park when I had the call to say Newquay really stuck with me
this time there’s no ‘Aah great, many challenging opportunities
turned away and really rebelled I’d been selected for Wales. I during all that time, even if it’s God’s helped, now I’m off again’.
only come to prominence in the to come off the field.
as a thirteen-year-old, and went can tell you I stepped out of Now I’m committed to him.
last couple of years. “When I look back I know
off the rails. I got thrown out of that trench pretty quick! “Some people have said,
“It was always ‘Next week, that God has been with me all
school, and got sent away to a ‘You’ve had too many bumps
I’m really going to start going to my life. People will say, ‘You’ve
‘home for naughty boys’, shall Dreams fulfilled on the head so you’ve become
we say. It was a big wake-up church regularly’. I didn’t really worked hard, you’ve got good
“The first cap was great, but I a Christian!’. But if when I was
call. I really didn’t want to be didn’t just want the first cap. It’s want to come out and make playing I’d been where I am now determination’, but I know that
there. strange, we set our standards, a stand for God. I kept telling — as a Christian — I think I’d God has really helped me and
but when you actually get there, myself that I wasn’t ready yet. have been a far more successful blessed me with all the positive
Dark times it doesn’t fulfil what you think it But even through those times rugby player. I would have been things in my life. I feel so blessed
“It was a dark time and I will. When I was a kid I thought, the message that I heard on the inwardly stronger, and I’d have that God has shown me so much
didn’t think I would ever have ‘When I get to play for Wales I’ll Beach Mission in Newquay was had more discipline at times. And grace over the years.”
come back from where I was have a big car and holidays’, and always near me.

Real Lives
going. I remember thinking I’m yes they were nice — but they “They told a story in the Bible
going down the river here at a still don’t fill the void. about Lazarus and the rich man.
rate of knots and I can’t reach “Another dark moment came If I’m honest it always frightened
the bank. But I remembered the when I was captain of Swansea. me as a twelve-year-old. The rich
Meet Garin and hear him tell his story
little lessons I learned in Sunday We were playing at Cardiff — it man had everything in the world
School, so I was also praying to was the day that Gwyn Jones but when he died he wasn’t in the Wednesday 24th June, 7:30pm, Admission Free
God for help. Looking back, if it broke his neck. It was live on place where we as Christians trust
wasn’t for the love that God had S4C and at the end of the game I we are going. But Lazarus had
Bethel Evangelical Church, Heol Y Nant, Clydach
for me through my parents, I jumped over the barriers into the nothing in life, he was picking www.bethel-clydach.co.uk/garin
don’t think I would have made crowd. Everybody thought I was up the scraps from the dogs. But
it through. doing an Eric Cantona, but my when his life was finished, he (see centre pages for more Real Lives events)