This issue in partnership with
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,
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!"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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,
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
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
Alas, it wasn't to be
and like I said, I was
Anyway, thanks Jill;
thanks John! Reunited
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
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: email@example.com Tel: 01443 434281 Website: www.sportingmarvels.com