The psalmist proclaims in Psalm 105:1, “Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” If you are currently attending the College at Southeastern or Southeastern Seminary, maybe you are considering how God is calling you to the nations. If so, Hands On is a program offered by the International Mission Board to allow students to spend a semester serving abroad with an IMB missionary.
My wife and I are both graduates of Southeastern and now serve in Cardiff, Wales. Cardiff is a beautiful city of 365,000 and the capital of Wales. In the city centre is Cardiff Castle. Part of the walls of the castle built by the Romans are still visible today. Wales also has a long and rich Christian history. In the revival of 1904-1905, it is estimated that more than 100,000 people came to faith. Chapels were built all across Wales to house these new worshippers. A century later, many of these chapels stand vacant. Our neighborhood, Grangetown, is a melting pot. For much of the twentieth century it was populated primarily by working-class Welsh. With waves of immigration, the community is now 20% Muslim. Our home is two blocks from the largest Hindu temple in Wales. There are also many young professionals in the community, as they have taken advantage of lower housing prices and proximity to the city centre. God has brought the nations to Western Europe, and there is opportunity for people to hear the gospel that perhaps never would in their home country.
In particular, we work with Grangetown Baptist Church. This is a church that a few years ago was on the brink of closing. The small congregation prayed for years for a pastor that would lead them to a place of stability and spiritual vitality as a congregation. Through God’s goodness and providence He brought them a pastor about two years ago who had previously been a church planter. Our family arrived in Grangetown to help with this church in March of 2019. We have seen conversions and growth, and the church is no longer at the point of closing. We view our work as a church revitalization and are looking for two young men who would be willing to invest their time and energy for a semester in Cardiff.
There is a Christian memory in this community, but a very small percentage of people would fall into the category of evangelical Christian. Recent data suggest that Cardiff is approximately 1.2% evangelical Christian. This number would be much lower in Grangetown as a result of the religious and ethnic diversity. There are definite social needs in our community, and we run a variety of ministries out of the church. Some of the ministries include a weekly food bank, a night shelter in the winter, an English class for women, youth outreach, children’s outreach, prayer walking, monthly evangelism opportunities, etc. In many ways, this is a pioneer context as we engage a community that has no space for the gospel. Our goal is to make disciples and aid this church in becoming a healthy, missions-focused, gospel-centered church. We would use the passions and skills with which God has given you to help in some of these existing ministries as well as engage in other ways in which you are equipped.
This can be a spiritually dark place, but it is also a wonderful city. Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country in the world! If you think God may be calling you to the nations, Cardiff is a great place to get your feet wet in a primarily English-speaking context.