Saturday, 4 June 2011

A trip to Harlech and memories of pioneer missionaries

My daughter had always wanted to have a holiday on a motor home, so seizing the moment, we rented a monster one and headed down to Harlech in Wales.
We were blessed with wonderful sunny weather and deeply appreciated  the sheer beauty of the surrounding coast and countryside.
Despite the warm weather and the fact that it was half term the beaches were fairly quiet and we enjoyed long walks and I even swam in the sea (deifinition: "being fully immersed and doing at least one swimming stroke!")
I am not convinced that I would do this kind of holiday often (it is a big vehicle to drive on narrow coastal roads)
and the bed was not that comfortable for someone of advancing years like me.I am glad though that I tried it

The last time I was in Harlech was in the early 1980's when a group of us from Ross on Wye Baptist Church enjoyed a church holiday there. The place therefore brought back happy memories of many good people like Pat and Byron Webber, Norman and Diana ,Joyce and Stan,Everett and Yvonne  and a good number of others,many of whom are with The Lord.
I thought especially though of Kathleen and Arthur Elder, I have a photo of them walking hand in hand on the beach  during that holiday ,I suspect they would have been in their late seventies, even early eighties ,then. .Arthur had been a brilliant scholar and linguist but  was then  in the early stages of dementia, which was to get worse and worse as the years wore on

Arthur Elder baptising
.Kathleen was a strong woman, devoted to Arthur and given to strong opinions on( among other things)my sermons (not usually favourable ones!).They were an amazing couple who had served in China (where they met Eric Liddell of chariots of fire fame) with the Baptist Missionary Society, until persecution came and the doors for service closed.They had then pioneered the BMS work in Brazil using their gifts and evangelistic talents to great effect in building the Kingdom in that country for many years, before retiring to Ross on Wye where they served the local church until their deaths a few years apart in the 1990's.

 I only realised how respected and loved they were by the large number of leading Baptists who turned up at their funerals.  There is a bit more about them here.BMS website

Happy memories of good and faithful servants who rest in peace and will rise in glory!

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