Spotlight Nov-Dec 2018

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SPOTLIGHT

November/December 2018

jOHN 8:12

This issue in partnership with

www.sportingmarvels.com


Dear Friend & Partner,

Last Monday was our Sporting Marvels/Rhondda Netball photoshoot

where we had going on for 200 or so Marvels, All-Stars,

netballers and parents whizz in and out the building. The All-

Star Leaders though, are something else, and somehow embody

the very essence of my dream - influence the influencers,

see them take up God's mantle as agents of transformation,

and go influence an entire generation helping in the process, to

facilitate wholesale community transformation.

It set me thinking about our vision, and about

"leadership" in general, and took me to the story

of Joseph (Genesis chapters 37-50). Oh my,

there's some lessons in there... and here's a few

thoughts that I hope will encourage you...

Dreams are conceived long before they are

achieved, and the period between birth and

realization is always a process. Inevitably,

the process is filled with doubts, adversity,

disappointments, highs, lows, changes and

surprises. But as ever, it’s not what happens

TO you that matters. What really

counts is what happens IN you. And the

temptation always, when stuff doesn’t go

the way you hoped or expected, is to give

up, and go have a crack at something else.

I’ve seen so many people do exactly that

over the years and almost always, they’ll

make the claim “God said…” as if God’s changed His mind

when really, the change of mind is all theirs! If you’ve dreamed

a dream you know (that you know that you know) is from

God, let me encourage you not to give up on it. Like ever!!

So many people expect stuff to be easy and don’t want to

push through when the resistance, obstacle or problem manifests.

This usually happens early on and as a result, most

dreams are killed at birth. The great example I always think

of is the birth of the nation of Israel. Within 13 hours of David

Ben Gurion proclaiming the State of Israel on 14th May 1948

bombs were falling on Tel Aviv and the tiny fledgling nation was

under attack from the Egyptians from the south, Syria from

the north, and Jordan and Iraq from the east… all intent on

killing the new-born nation at birth. Here’s the principle:

Dream the dream and you will be attacked. Fact!

The story of Joseph is a stand-out example...

He was just 17 years old when he dreamed

his God-inspired dream! The problem

was it entailed his brothers and even

his father, bowing down to him. Rather

unwisely, he told them about it and it

landed him in a lot of trouble! I remember

when I had my dream. I thought

everyone would want to support it.

But no-one had ever told me what

I’m about to tell you – be careful

who you share your dream with!

Not everyone will be able to

handle it. Not everyone will

support you, or it. But

at the beginning

of a dream,

enthusiasm is

usually at its

greatest, and wisdom at its least!! It can get us off to a poor

start, or at least a start that's less than it should have been, if

only we’d been wiser! Those early days, months and years, are

when we are at our most vulnerable and fragile. It’s why and

when so many give up on their dreams – before they even

have the chance of coming to fruition. Israel didn’t. I didn’t.

And you don’t have to either. We all make mistakes – I

could write a book series on my mistakes – but the great

news is: God can always redeem the ground on your

behalf (Romans 8:28 - all things, that’s ALL things - work

for the good for those who love the Lord).

Joseph teaches us too, that we shouldn’t give up

on our dream even if our family doesn’t support

it. Genesis 37:19-20 is a great, if extreme, example

of what can happen to those closest to

you if you dream a dream, and how people

can taken offence to it. When I dreamed my

dream, it offended loads of people, many

questioning why God would give it to

me, a reformed thug, who didn’t know anything

about “ministry”, or even know that not

all Christians are the same, or that to some,

denominational differences matter more than

life and death! But God knows why he chose me, and one of the

reasons I’m sure, was that I’d been offending people most of my

life! A few dozen more, even if they were “good” Christians or

even pastors and ministers, wasn’t going to knock me off course,

and send me scurrying back to my safety zone in rugby!! When

your dream comes from God – I mean really comes from God

- the dream will hold you, even when you feel unable to hold it.

Joseph’s story is littered with opportunities to give up, crossroads

where consciously and sub-consciously, he was forced

to make the decision all vision carriers have to face – Give up

or Go on? Make the choice to go on, and you know you will

have to face and make that same choice time and time again

moving forward. But make the opposite choice and give up, and

it’ll be a one-off, one time thing. It’ll also be over. Done. And then

like so many, you’ll be tempted to claim it was a God thing. He

said give up. He said go try something else. Oh my; get real!!

No matter how tough it gets, or how stuff doesn’t make

sense; know that it always makes sense to God. It’s part of

the process where everything is a test. You can deny it all you

want, but we are constantly being tested where we are to see

where we can go. It’s an unescapable, universal law of life

that applies to all of us, all of the time. It's is a key part of the

process of God forming us so that we’ll appreciate

the dream, embrace its magnitude, and understand

who we have to become and how we have

to grow in order to see it come to pass. But our

society tells us that if it hurts, just move on, and if

it doesn’t happen like tomorrow, it’s too slow and

too much work; so try something else. No, no, no!

Hold the dream. Dig in. Prepare. Just like Joseph!

23 years passed from the time Joseph

dreamed his dream until it was fulfilled.

In the end, Joseph ruled his family, was

reconciled to his brothers, and from a

big picture perspective, was used by


“The dream or vision comes free of charge. But the

journey necessary to see it come about, is anything but!"

T.D. Jakes

God to save the nation of Israel. God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah

55:8-9) and neither is His timetable our timetable!!

In life, stuff happens… to you, me, Joseph… everyone! So when "stuff"

happens to you, it’s normal, not abnormal. Yes, it can hurt loads, and

the disappointment can threaten to overwhelm you, but the dream is

still the dream. You press on. In tough times, you need tough people to

see it through; and God never holds you responsible for what happens

TO you, He holds you responsible for what happens IN you. When

you suffer injustice or hard times, complaining doesn’t do you any

good. When people knock you down, the best thing you can do

is allow it make you better. That’s what Joseph did, and it’s how

“some you win; some you learn” can become a foundational principle

of your dream and your strategy to see it come to pass. No

matter what, you never lose! You just learn!!

Five of our Africa bound All-Stars photographed at our recent

photoshoot. From left, Dylan, Tom, Caitlin, Jake and Liss

Another aspect of Joseph’s life that fascinates me is jealousy, from a

variety of perspectives. In Genesis 37:3-4, we read that his Dad (Jacob/

Israel) loves him the most because he was “the son of his old age”. Now,

the older brothers would have picked up on this from the time Joseph

was born. They’d had a gutsful of it! So when Dad makes the coat of

many colours for his favourite boy 17 years later, it tips them over the

edge. Again, Joseph’s story is an extreme example of a principle I’ve

seen time and again over the years: your blessing can oh so easily, be

someone else’s problem. If it happens in you when you see someone

else being blessed, know this: it will undermine your dream. Watch for

it in others too, because it can corrosively and insidiously wage war

on your dream and crucially, on its DNA. When people can’t celebrate

your successes with you, they are not with you at all, and if that’s the

case, the time will come when ultimately, they’ll be against you. If they

are inside your team, or worse, really close to you, ending it sooner

rather than later is the only way to keep the “cost” down and keep

the dream on course. Success always costs what it costs. There’s no

discount, and only you can decide if you are prepared to pay the price.

Stuff changes for all of us of course, all the time, and as we at Sporting

Marvels draw ever closer to every school and every kid, the more I realise

that even when we get there, it's not going to be enough, because

every school and every kid is just a part of the big picture, the real vision

as it were: namely wholesale community transformation.

Joseph is a major inspiration for me, for you too I hope, and as our evidence

for what God is doing in Rhondda continues to mount, the dream

can be dreamt with confidence and surety, because it's indisputable that

we're now closer to seeing it come to pass than we've ever been!

Thank you for your heart for us, dear partners. Thank you for your support

and partnership. I hope that as you encourage us in our dream that

we will encourage you, in your dream!

See next pages

Philip R. Davies, LLB

Founder & Chairman

5th November 2018

For further information

please turn over...


MATCH FUNDER OPPORTUNITY POINTS

If you’ve made it to this page you’ll have noticed that our

normal “finance update” is missing. And that’s because

the week of 27th November to 4th December now has

ALL of our attention from a financial perspective!

A very special match-funding opportunity has been offered to just

20 charities in the UK, and we are one of them! It means that if

God can inspire £25,000's worth of donations for Sporting Marvels

during that week, it'll be doubled to £50,000!!

The stakes are massive therefore and couldn't be higher!

The match funder is taking place through The Big Give Christmas

Challenge (www.thebiggive.org.uk). Full details on how to participate

will be sent out by post and by email over the next

week or two and rest assured, we'll be doing everything possible

to make it as simple as we can!

This unique opportunity has the potential to take us to a

new level in 2019. It's timely, and God's Hand is definitely

in it. For the last two years, we've grown our

reach and influence quite significantly. Yet somewhat

miraculously, our costs have hardly gone up

at all because God's used the growth of our church,

Heart for Africa, and particularly Rhondda Netball, to

help us expand without creating a financial Sporting

Marvels pressure cooker. But as a ministry working

with 25 schools - some of which are absolutely huge

as a result of the recent educational changes in RCT -

we’re about as efficient as we can be given

the magnitude of our reach and influence.

That means the next level of growth has

to see us take the step of faith of adding to

our costs. If we don’t, we can’t grow. It's that

simple. So it's a test of faith for our ministry,

particularly for my Dad and I, because when

the squeeze comes on everyone looks in our direction!

But we know God hasn’t brought us this

far (after 16 years) if He didn’t intend taking us all

the way, and whether I/we like it or not, any big

journey in God is ALWAYS going to be a test of faith!

I once heard Jesse Duplantis say that he felt God

say to him in one of his most challenging moments,

“I’ll never ask you to do something for me that doesn’t

cost you something!” I’ve definitely become more

adept at carrying the burdens that come with the

territory, because after innumerable counselling sessions

sat on my Dad’s settee, I’ve realised that in the end I

can only do my best – the rest is up to God!

I believe this opportunity through The Big Give is

part of God doing His bit in response to our faith,

because in 2019, we need to be bold if we are to

reach even more young people with Jesus and His Gospel

message. If you're able to help us with a donation,

or if you know anyone else - church or individual

- you could share this with, in the hope that they

might donate, then we’d be most grateful.

Success with this campaign will not only help us

steam into 2019, but it'll also give us the opportunity

to pour more time and energy into our big

picture plan for wholesale community transformation.

It’s strongly on my heart (because I believe, that

God's put it there) for us to create something along

the lines of “The Community Transformation Trust”.

Let me explain...

Over the last few years we’ve been funded more by Christian

trusts, ministries and foundations than by people.


TO NEW DIRECTION AND FUTURE!

Trusts that were created by successful business people to ensure

that their wealth and legacy has an every-year impact on Christian

causes in the UK. God has used the generosity of these philanthropists

and Trustees to have an everlasting and every-year

effect. While we are so grateful to God for ensuring our vision

has captured the hearts of some trusts around the UK, there's a

limiting factor of being so reliant on finance from these types of

sources, and that's our geography! Most small and medium sized

trusts or foundations prefer to make grants locally, in their region,

as opposed to nationally. The larger trusts have more scope, but

really and truly, there's not that many in the UK. Now as you'd expect

given Rhondda's status as one of the most deprived areas in

the UK, the number of Christian trusts and foundations in Rhondda

is… zero! That's right; none!! So that means we are always

sending applications as “outsiders”.

While we give praise to God for still making a way despite this

massive obstacle, we're now thinking bigger, and asking the question:

why can’t we create Rhondda’s first modern-day Christian

trust that can have an everlasting impact on Kingdom

work in the Valleys… every day, forever?!

Well, we’re going to try;

we're going to have a go!!

And crucially, we’re believing that The Big Give campaign will be

successful to not just focus our thinking but to give us a start-point

for the Trust during the early months of 2019. The key objectives,

like the name, have yet to be finalised (we’re open to suggestions

by the way), but they’ll look something like this I'm sure…

To support the work of Sporting Marvels in its pursuit of

God-centred wholesale community transformation and the

seed-planting effort to put a positive Christian role model in front

of every kid, every day, forever.

To support Christian charities and churches in the Rhondda

Valleys to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

To support Christian leaders and help them remain committed

to full-time ministry.

To invest in property and business for the purposes of generating

income for the Trust to fulfil its commitment to support Sporting

Marvels and Christian causes on a long-term basis.

We believe that this “everlasting” vessel will encourage our faith

and allow us to believe for bigger things in the future, and we’re

asking God to allow our Trust to make an annual grant to Sporting

Marvels of £25,000 every year, forever, from 2022 onwards.

It sounds impossible, but if you need inspiration, check out the

testimonies, right. God can do it! He can do anything!!

So please pray for this endeavour, that God would guide us and

give us wisdom. And please also bring The Big Give campaign

before the Lord, and if you feel led to make a donation that would

also be incredible. We appreciate and love you, we couldn’t be

more thankful that God has used YOU to help bring us this far!

But the best is still yet to come! Declare it by faith in Jesus name!!

MARSH CHRISTIAN TRUST

It’s funny how God recalls things to you in certain moments

isn’t it!!? Because the moment I felt like it was time for us to

start thinking along the lines of a “Community Transformation

Trust”, the anniversary leaflet from the Marsh Christian

Trust came straight to my mind as if my brain had previously

photographed it and stored it away for safekeeping!!

The opening line read, “The Marsh Christian Trust started

in 1981 with a donation of £75,000 from Mr Bryan Marsh

OBE…” By 1985 the trust was giving away £30,000 per annum,

and by 1991 this had risen to £99,000 - all whilst the

capital sum was growing year-on-year, ready to produce

more and more to give away to Christian mission all over

the UK. Like many incredibly generous trusts & foundations

around the country, the Marsh Christian Trust has taken

heed of the parable of the talents and turned a relatively

small sum (in the big picture at least), into a sum that now

helps to power hundreds of Christian charities and churches

through grants totalling nearly £700K annually. My reason

for sharing this testimony with you (and there are many

others I could have shared), is to show you that God can

do it! I know it sounds crazy, but I really believe God needs

us to create something that can ringfence and produce finance

on an every-year basis so that our Valleys have a

Christian Trust helping to power God’s work here. I believe

it so much that myself and Chelsea have already filled out a

faith pledge form believing God that we'll be able to donate

£10,000 to the trust specifically for the ongoing support of

Sporting Marvels. My Dad believes in it so much that he and

Benita have filled one out for £25,000! Yes, that’s really out

there in faith because A LOT has to happen to allow us to

do that, but why not?! We believe! God can do ANYTHING!!

... “Nothing is impossible with God!” ....Luke 1:37

ALLCHURCHES TRUST

If you think the Marsh Christian Trust gives away a lot of

money to Christian causes and churches each year, then

you’ll be shocked to hear that Allchurches Trust Limited

give away around £10,000,000 (yes… ten million!!)

annually. Their story directly relates

to what we’re trying to do with our small

businesses (see page 10) because this

trust actually derives its money from its

ownership of Ecclesiastical Insurance.

Profits from the insurance giant go directly

to the trust and their funds

help power churches and diocese

all over the UK, at enormous levels! Us doing the same in

Rhondda seems a zillion miles away, but everything big

starts small, and even more importantly… “Nothing

is impossible with God!” ....Luke 1:37


“Start as you mean to go on!” is a principle that's applicable in ministry,

business, sport, and life... and it's certainly relevant to Sporting

Marvels, because we've all heard Phil say it a thousand times!!

Well, we’re pleased to report that we’ve taken our own advice

when it comes to our Events Programme, and the year got off to

a great start with our first event: Head-2-Head!

Preparation in the build-up was pretty intense and the fact that

the 160-capacity event sold out in just 24 hours - our fastest selling

event ever - got everyone super focused! It's an incredible

thought, but here in little old Rhondda, our magnificent team of

Christian role models has a pulling power in secular schools that

resembles a pro sports team!! How awesome is our God!!?

But this particular event saw the Marvels almost eclipsed by our

big-hearted and totally awesome All-Star Leaders who stole the

show somewhat (see photos, left). There’s something special going

on with lots of them at the minute and it’s clear that they have

something our younger kids like and want. The Mighty Marvels kids

and younger All-Stars absolutely adore the All-Star Leaders, and

Head-2-Head was a great illustration of the increased harvest we

can expect as we get even better at “influencing the influencers!!”

With many of the All-Star Leaders now regulars at church, there's

a growing sense that as we take Jesus to today’ generation, we

are seeing the unfolding of an important dynamic in God's big picture

plan for Rhondda and wholesale community transformation.

When we caught up with Connah who, alongside Smithy, headed

up the event, he told us: “As an All-Star, I guess I sort of took for

granted the preparation that goes into the events so, actually taking

responsibility for Head-2-Head was a real eye-opener for me!

To see so many children, so many smiles, and so many memories

being created was absolutely brilliant and I’m massively thankful -

to both God and to Sporting Marvels - that I get to play my part in

His amazing vision for Rhondda!!”

Head-2-Head is just the first of plenty of incredible relationship

building opportunities throughout this year, so please pray that t's

already launched us into a year of unprecedented favour!


CHURCH LIFE GROUPS

What a rollercoaster the last few

months have been at Dream Centre

Wales! Big opportunities, big changes;

big thanks to God!! The 2017/18

year ended in August with a bang,

with more young people flocking to

church than we could ever have imagined

so early in our church journey!

It all really kicked-off on Easter Sunday

when lots of All-Stars came to

church for the first time,

to hear Phil’s speak on

Jesus and the crucifixion,

and several prayed the

salvation prayer during

the altar call.

They've kept coming back

ever since and then, on

8th July, we had Phil

share his testimony, and

an incredible 68 people

attended, the vast majority All-Stars.

Though it's been awesome, it's not

been without its challenges!

When John & Jaci made the decision

to move on to the next chapter of their

ministry early in June, we didn't exactly

have anyone lined up to replace

them! Lawrie decided to up the ante

for the team that had done such a

great job during the January to June

period, and myself, Smithy, Chelsea,

Naomi and Lucy found ourselves

tasked with the responsibility of taking

church forward under the oversight of

the Trustees. Imagine it: 5 of us in our

early/mid-20's thrown into the cauldron

of running a church with almost

50 people in attendance each week!!

It may not be a lot at a national level,

but for us at a Rhondda level, it was

pretty daunting!

Then, later in July, we visited our first

Hillsong Conference in

London, and quickly got a

picture of what was possible

with God!! We felt it was

time to give DCW a clearer

identity, and let people

know who we ar” and what

we stand for. Fast forward

to September 1st, to our

first ever Vision Sunday....

and you could feel the enthusiasm

and excitement

as we shared our vision for 2018/19

and launched our vision statement

– Taking Jesus to today’s generation.

Coupled with the unveiling of a

new contemporary logo, launching

8 new church teams that members

could sign up to, a brand new website

(www.dreamcentrewales.com) and

the biggest one of all - the launch of

DCW’s “Crews”, better known in the

church world as life groups, small

groups, or cell groups!


ARE UP AND RUNNING!!

Our Crews were inspired by “Vous Church”, and what Rich and

Dawn-Sheree Wilkerson (see photo, top left) have pioneered in

Miami, and we were blown away by the interest, nearly 70% of

the church declaring their desire to be part of a Crew! But with

only enough leaders for two Crews, it was a miracle that came

with a built-in prayer point, because we desperately now need

God to develop more leaders from within the church! And when

you look deeper still, it was all a bigger miracle than any of us

first realised, because the group leaders (myself & Smithy and

Chelsea & Lawrie) didn’t even own houses until early August!!

But God saw the problem in advance, provided both couples

with mortgage offers so we could buy our first houses, and even

ensured that we got the keys in time for Crews to start on the first

Sunday night in September!! And even then, there's another miracle

that in today's day and age is perhaps the biggest miracle

of all, and that's the fact that with most of the Crew members being

under the age of 18, ALL their parents have signed consent

forms giving their express permission for their son or daughter to

attend the groups and to talk about, and be taught about, Christianity

and JESUS!! Like with our Mighty Marvels Bible Giveaway,

there wasn't one refusal, or even the tiniest hint of a dissenting

voice. Talk about God going before us!!

It shows that we're making a positive difference at a level that's

starting to go way beyond the Mighty Marvels and All-Star Programmes.

The platform and influence has reached unprecedented

levels and now, like I said earlier, we need God to help

us make the best of it, and develop more young leaders so we

can grow more Crews.

Incredibly, we’ve got 25 young people already signed up for Hillsong

Conference London 2019, and if last year’s conference is

anything to go by, we know it’s going to be a life-changer! We've

also built great relationships with the likes of Freedom Church,

Cardiff (see pic, left) and 21st Century Church, Llanelli, that

are helping us learn and grow, and providing us with

inspiration and encouragement as we develop our

church vision.

But success never comes without challenges,

and for the five of us leading, the responsibility

of building church alongside our other responsibilities

hasn’t been easy... partly because it

can be tough, and partly because nothing

worth having ever comes easy! So please pray that God will

grow us, give us wisdom, and increase our capacities so we

can do the best job we can for Him on this journey.

While the power of Rhondda Netball on top of the Sporting Marvels

influence, has taken the female side of what we do to new

heights, the male side doesn’t have a Rhondda Netball equivalent.

So we’re standing in faith believing for a church breakthrough

as far as the boys are concerned! We need God to smash the

barriers down so please stand with us in prayer on this!

And finally, please pray for God’s protection at a greater level

than ever before. We know the enemy doesn’t want to see our

church succeed, and he doesn’t want Sporting Marvels to become

the effective bridge to church that it’s becoming.

I truly hope our journey is helping encourage

and motivate you because honestly, it wouldn’t

be happening were it not for the support and

prayers of our partners!

There’s still a long way to go of course, but

there’s a strong sense that God is on the

move!


PRAYING FOR BUSINESS BREAKTHROUGH IN 2019!

If you read the Rhondda Netball article in the last issue of Spotlight

you’ll likely have been blown away both by its remarkable

success since starting a little over two years ago, and also by the

way God is using Rhondda Netball to benefit the work of Sporting

Marvels in more ways than we could ever have imagined!

But fact is, it wasn’t till Rhondda Netball’s Year 2 that things

took off. So now, we’re asking God to do something similar

with the second year of our business start-ups, in 2019!

“We’re believing that the second year of Smiffle.com,

True Vine Media and Universe Sports will be a breakthrough

year and, on the back of the All-Star Africa Trip

in February, even Experience East Africa”, said Lawrie.

“We know business is part of God’s big picture

plan for Community Transformation. Unless He has a

plan for us to strike oil, it has to be! The kind of money

that'll be needed in the future can’t just come from donations,

grants and Gift Aid. It also can’t just come from a

few small businesses throwing in a thousand pounds here and

there! While these will all remain vitally important, the only way

to ensure that large amounts of finance are available and sustainable,

is to gradually build businesses that can pour resources

into our vision every month, of every year. But it’s hard enough

building business from the ground up when it’s your sole focus,

let alone when it’s behind Sporting Marvels, Dream Centre

Wales Church and Rhondda Netball on the list of priorities.

And that’s why we need God’s anointing!! We need Him to develop

us, help us work smarter, harder, fast-track the speed of

our learning, and more than anything else, we need His grace

and favour to open doors of opportunity for all our start-ups. It’s

impossible in the natural, but nothing is impossible with God!”

We know building successful business is long haul, because

God has to grow all those who are involved. He

must also bring the right people into our core who have

the passion, commitment, character, DNA and skills to

take us forward. But we’re making progress. And as

a testimony we can tell you this… Rhondda Netball

contributed over £6,000 to our vision’s central offices

costs in its Year 2, costs that previously, were

carried entirely by Sporting Marvels. It's shown us

what's possible, and established a principle. So why

not more? Why not again? We are believing!!

So please stand with us as we pray for breakthrough

on he business front, in 2019. We’re taking a big step of faith this

month with Smiffle.com where we’re hoping that a 10,000-house

leaflet drop (leaflets enclosed for you look at and pass on please)

will help increase awareness for the Smiffle.com range of products.

Nobody creates memories and bespoke canvasses & acrylics

like Smiffle.com and Christmas is the purrfect opportunity!!

Please pray that God would help us on this front and do more

than we could have ever asked for, hoped for, or even imagined!


SPECIAL TRIBUTE

Partner Feedback for this issue is a bit

different, marking as it does, the sudden

passing last month of Sporting

Marvels friend and partner, Jill Price.

This special tribute is written by Phil.

"Phil…Thank you for being so obedient

to the vision God gave you all those

years ago. When I see the photos and

reports in Spotlight of so many wholesome

young people from Rhondda, my

heart rejoices that they are coming to

know and love our Lord Jesus. This has

come about with a partnership between

the Holy Spirit and obedient, dedicated

leaders. I pray that you, Lawrie and the

team will all be empowered to take the

vision still further." Jill Price, Llangennech,

Llanelli

Jill Price, right, made the above comment in

what was to prove her last note to me, sent

during the early part of the summer. Jill and

her husband John, who died in 2009, were

a special couple. John, a leader at Porth

Christian Centre for many years, played

a significant role in the early years of my

Christian journey, and Jill was a rock; kind,

generous, and faith filled.

6 weeks after I was saved, Jill and John

invited myself, Benita and the kids, to Sunday

lunch. Ben and I had only been together

a year or two, and we were a big

family - the kids 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 (!!) - but I

remember Jill was so warm and so patient,

somehow managing to ensure that despite

the size of the group, everyone was individually

looked after. With the veg neatly laid

out on our plates, we were invited to serve

ourselves delicious lamb off a big serving

plate in the centre of the table. Now there

was never a danger of any of my kids becoming

vegetarian, so in a trice the plate

was laid bare! Jill smiled, disappeared out

the back, before returning a minute or two

later with the serving plate piled high with

yet more delicious lamb. The kids licked

their lips, looked at me to see if it was alright,

and dived straight in!

It happened a third time too!!

The warmth, humour and hospitality was

absolutely awesome, and despite being

so young, all my kids clocked it. It was one

of those unforgettable memories that

still gets talked about more than

25 years later!! In every sense,

it was a great Christian witness.

As a family, we were

all messed up by the past,

and outside of God, the

challenge in front of us,

was totally impossible.

But John and Jill modelled

something to us

that day that had an impact

way beyond Sunday

lunchtime. Somehow, it pointed

the way as sure as

any signpost, and

helped direct

me towards

somewhere I didn't even know existed!

It's hard to articulate exactly what I mean,

but suffice it to say, John and Jill were outstanding

role models... to me, to my wife,

and to my children too!!

A day or two before we sent out the October

Spotlight, I had an email from Jill's

brother Stephen - also a Sporting Marvels

partner - informing me of Jill's passing.

I was gutted. I had intended scribbling a

note to Jill with the October Spotlight.... The

previous Sunday at church, I was chatting

with some of our kids and in particular, to

16 year old, Liss (Elicia), left. An outstanding

All-Star and another Marvel-in-waiting,

Liss was saved in early summer. She and

I were in deep conversation and unbeknown

to me, Naomi took a few photos of

us. When Nai sent them upto me on the

Sunday night, my first thought was: “I’ve

become John Price!” because John had

many conversations with me (even though

I was 35 and not 16 at the time) that would

have looked exactly like the one I'm having

with Liss! In fact, to this very day, John is

the person I most want to emulate in such

a scenario and circumstance!! 25 years

ago, I was a new Christian dealing with a

lifetime of mess and chaos. John was a

key "go-to" person; a tough man, who was

a mix of coach, wise-old-sage, and hero!

Not once did I feel judged by him. No, he

loved me; encouraged me. Yet he never

ducked putting me straight, or giving me a

dose of firm advice either. He was tough,

but he was a world class crier too!!

Simply, he was awesome!

Though I’d told Jill all this several

times over the years,

I resolved that I would

send her the photo of

me and Liss and scribble

a note of explanation

on Jill's Spotlight

cover letter.

Alas, it wasn't to be

and like I said, I was

gutted!!

Anyway, thanks Jill;

thanks John! Reunited

in Heaven

together!!

Please keep your feedback coming!

As we've said a hundred times before, there's few things that

encourage us more than hearing that we encourage you!!


If you’re a church-goer in South Wales,

you’ve probably heard about the Higher

Tour which kicks off this month.

It's run by the Message Trust (who were so

supportive when we did our 700 Bible Giveaway

in July), and we’re fully behind their

efforts to help kickstart youth work across

South Wales!

Like Sporting Marvels, their focus is schools,

and over a one-month period they’re hoping

to get thousands of young people in Cardiff,

Newport, Swansea and The Valleys to engage

with the Higher Tour at a school PSE

day, then attend an outreach event on the

weekend. At these outreach events they’ll

share the Gospel in a contemporary way using

the power of music, believing that God

will transform lives.

It’s a big opportunity for churches across

South Wales and all of us at Sporting Marvels

and Dream Centre Wales will be praying

hard! Please bring the Higher Tour before

God in prayer, asking him to do more

than anyone could imagine this month!

THEY MADE IT!!! Fiona & Benita conquered

Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak and the

world’s highest free-standing mountain!

“It was the hardest thing we’ve ever done,”

said Fiona. “We were so prepared, but the

physical aspect of the climb is just one part

of it. The camping, the cold, the food, the altitude...

together they made it such a big challenge.

I’m so thankful to God that we made it

and for all the money that’s been raised for

the work of Heart For Africa as a result.”

The trip has been a major focal point for Heart

For Africa. It has signicantly strengthened

the relationships with the orphanages, while

at the same time giving Fiona the opportunity

to meet with our awesome Community Coordinators,

led by Pastor Steve Owino.

Thank you to everyone who prayed; Fiona

and Benita really appreciate it!

BEN & NON...

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE!

The 2018/19 ball is well and truly rolling,

and we’re “out there” in faith on more fronts

than ever before! And as you’ll have seen

on pages 4 & 5, we’re not just asking God

to maintain us where we’re at, we’re asking

Him to help us take the land!!

But a big part of that is seeing

more people grow and develop into genuine

top-class leaders… "fishers of men" as

Jesus would say! It’s a major key, as much

for Dream Centre Wales as it is for Sporting

Marvels. It's why we placed such big

focus on Taylar, Lucy and Connah coming

through and, praise God, they've all made

big strides since stepping up in September.

In addition, we also have Ben & Non

(Rhiannon) following in behind them... In

October 2017 during a prayer meeting,

Smithy handed out "prayer cheques", for

us to dream big and put our faith in God,

believing that He'd hear the prayer and answer

it. The cheques were sealed up and

put away for safe-keeping. Fast-forward a

year, to October 2018, and it was time to

review the "cheques" and see if God had

answered… It was amazing - salvation,

financial breakthrough, housing, healing,

answers to grant applications, personnel

growth, and more opportunities than ever!

Incredibly, “Non’s salvation” popped up

over and over, and we praised God that

she, and so many others too, went into

the pile marked “answered!”

But salvation is just the start; true in-

fluence for Jesus is about discipleship.

For both Non & Ben, the next level is all

about commitment - how much do they

want it? The Sporting Marvels 2-Year

Training Programme can shape, refine

and challenge, but ultimately, it’s God that

makes the real difference. If these guys

will make the choice to go for it, and really

commit, He can turn everyday teenagers

into extraordinary influencers!!

“Seeing them grow and develop has

been an answer to prayer,” said Chelsea.

“They’re both taking full classroom and

sports lessons, and while they still have

areas where they can improve, they’re

showing incredible willingness. We keep

repeating Matthew 6:33 to them,

and we’re praying that they

will mature very quickly over

the next few months as we

start to plan for even more

schools and more influence

in 2019/20. They both have the potential

to be ‘Super Marvels’ and we want God

to fulfil all the purposes He has for them.”

Please pray for Ben & Non, that they will

go deeper with God than ever before.

Pray too that as we focus our attention

on taking the land for Jesus, our Senior

Marvels will become

experts at developing

the leaders and influencers

of the future.

Sporting Marvels : Top Road : Gelli Industrial Estate : Rhondda : South Wales : CF41 7UW

Email: admin@sportingmarvels.com Tel: 01443 434281 Website: www.sportingmarvels.com

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