Chapter 2

‘God’, he thought, ‘works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.’

And he smiled again, remembering exactly how those wonders had been performed for him.

The year had been 1817. As February began there was still snow on the ground, even in the valley. The lazy wind couldn’t be bothered to go round you, so it went straight through, chilling to the very marrow. It was a hard time. There was much poverty and great hunger. The previous year had been the year without a summer (something to do with an exploding fire mountain, on the opposite side of the world, blocking out the sun) and crops had failed. People had gone hungry. Misery piled on misery as several local farms went out of business. The sheep in his father’s flock were looking scrawny and sickly but that didn’t stop people trying to steal them. In nearby Tremadog there had been riots because their food was being taken away and sold elsewhere, for a better price.

One Sunday, Rhys Williams, one of the elders, had returned from preaching at Capel-y-Nant in the little village of Nanhoron just outside of Pwllheli. His face shone, and he couldn’t hide his excitement as he reported that a revival had broken out in the chapel, and told of the exciting things that God was doing there.

It seemed that one young boy, who had been crippled since birth, had redeemed the time between the morning Preaching Service and the afternoon Sunday School by praying in an upper room. He had originally gone there simply with the intention of getting away from the other children who were playing rough games.

After a few weeks a girl found where he was hiding and came and joined him, and they started praying together. Gradually most of the other children started praying with them too and soon the effect of their prayers was being seen powerfully in the life of the chapel there. Mr Williams suggested that perhaps the children of Nant Gwynant, Beddgelert and Nantmor might like to do the same thing. Wil was not intending to get involved. He had much more important things to do on a Sunday afternoon.

However, the knowledge that Bronwen (who he still hadn’t plucked up the courage to talk to) had joined in the praying caused him to become an avid convert to the hard work of prayer. Somewhat to his surprise, he discovered that he enjoyed these times, and couldn’t believe how quickly they passed. He also discovered that he and Bronwen were soulmates, and romance between them quickly grew. Before he knew it they were courting, engaged and, eventually, married.

They were married for 63 years before Bronwen went to be with the Lord, whom she had loved and served all her life. There had been some truly hard times but, at this point, all his memories were good ones. He and Bronwen standing together, working together, as they had brought up their four fine sons and their daughter, Bethan, who had all her mother’s beauty and independent spirit. She had broken many a suitor’s heart before settling down with her Gareth.

As he reminisced in his favourite spot, feeling the warm morning sun, his thoughts turned to the event that had changed his life more than any other. Even though almost 80 years had passed, he remembered it with a clarity and power that amazed him.

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