By now a well established tradition at St David's Uniting, our 'poems and pies' evening was a relaxed and entertaining occasion. We sang carols (perhaps for the last time until next Christmas season), we ate (when everyone brings a 'small contribution' you invariably end up with more than enough) and we listened to humourous and serious contributions.
Our special guests this year were Rebecca, Miara and 3 year old Hannah, who live at Penrhys.
Rebecca is from Mizoram in North East India. She went as a CWM missionary to Madagascar where she worked in a church-run orphanage. Whilst there she met her husband Miara.
The family was called to Penrhys last August, again through the Council for World Mission. They are involved with the Llanfair church and with the community partnership - leading worship, running after school clubs and youth activities and supporting the team of young adult volunteers who come to Penrhys each year for a one year period, to gain experience in practical mission.
Rebecca showed us pictures from Mizoram, recently sent to her by a friend. They showed us our 'home' church, packed for Christmas services adn with its choir, drums and dancing in the aisles. The Boxing day tradition is to prepare a cooked meal for all who want it. it's an enormous operation, involving the men of the church preparing the meat , the youth doing the vegetables, and so on, all out of doors and highly organised.
To us it is an inspiration to hear of churches which are large and thriving, in communities where 95% of the population is christian. We are jealous perhaps! But Rebecca's message for us was to keep firm, and trust ourselves to God, wherever we find ourselves.
Miara spoke of some recent experiences at Penrhys, re-inforcing the message that God is still at work, even here!
Hannah stood up on a chair to reach the mic and treated us to a solo rendering of 'Away in a Manager' . English is a newly acquired skill for her, and she speaks with a definite Rhondda accent!
Saturday, 7 January 2012
What better way to start the new year than with a gentle walk with friends, to work of the christmas excesses.
We assembled at the not-too-early hour of 11.30 in the car park at Barry Sidings, just as the rain began. Some were better prepared for it than others but we continued and sunshine soon followed to dry us off a bit.
After an hour through Gelliwion woods and back through Barry Sidings we adjourned to Fiona and Gethin's house for food and board games.
Thank God for the beauty of the area we live in, for health and senses to enjoy it and for friends who's company we treasure.