This article was originally published in Edition (6) of Prayer Magazine,  Apr-Jun 2006.

1904 - A time when a Woman’s place was in the home and not in the public eye and certainly never in the pulpit. But the a revival having just started the sands of change were shifting.

A year that many would remember when the great Welsh revival saw 100,000 come to faith in just over nine months. But how many would know the great role women and indeed girls as young as 15 played in this revival? How many would know of the sufferings and prejudices these women had to endure to just be heard?

There is testimony after testimony of lives changed, surrendered, and brought back from the thresh hold of hell. One such account belongs to Pamela Morgan later known as Mother Shepherd.

Her family were forced to move to London from Wales when she was a young girl. Her Farther had been involved with the chartists in the struggle for workers rights; this led to him being driven out of his job in the Cambrian Iron Works in Maesteg.

In London with his dreams demolished he slid in to alcoholism leaving Margaret his wife to support the family by tacking in washing. Pamela his daughter became an alcoholic after marrying Bill Shepherd how would spend his time in and out of prison, deserting her and leaving her with three young girls. As a deserted wife she was utterly destitute, in a worse position than a widow as the poor guardians would offer no help. At this point of desperation she decided to kill her self and the children.

She sewed the irons here mother had used to “keep them alive” by tacking in washing into her clothes and took her children with her to a spot on the canal “were the suicides go”. She knew she was walking towards judgment day stamped suicide and murderess. She was walking towards the canal “full of torment” when through the darkness she heard a voice calling her name – it was the voice of Mrs Evans, an old friend of her mother’s. Mrs Evans told her that that very day she had been thinking of her and the, request her mother had made before she left London, that someone would befriend her daughter. The thought came” I wonder if she has been befriended, why should she not come to me? “Like an answer Pamela’s face and gown passed the window, she had hard work to open it in time before Pamela went out of sight in to the darkness. Both women felt God had helped open the window for them.

Some time later Pamela became a Christian through what would become the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army made a way for Women to minister.

Pamela would return to Wales to preach the gospel. A task that required great courage as the Welsh Valleys at the time had become a place of drunkenness, gambling and violence and not a place for a woman to stand in the open air and tell these men of the love of God and that they needed to repent of there ways. She was very much a foruner of the revival that was to come.

The testimony of Mother Shepherd is one of many that this challenging book brings back from history. Another is that of Rosina Davis who was at first forbidden by her mother to attend the the church meetings. Her mother would lock her in her room to stop her going. However she would escape through her window and attend. She knew that on her return home she would be greeted with a flogging so she would pray twice about it.

“My Mother would be waiting and the birch-rod was administered across my shoulders and I took it without a murmur. She gave me another stroke thinking I was hardened and then I told here I was not hurt because Jesus bore the strokes for me, “With his stripes we are healed”. The birch rod fell from her hands and her face filled with tears, my beloved Mother she suffered more than I did, she feared her little girl was going astray and wanted to save my soul. God took the matter in to his own hands and answered her prayers, both our souls were saved.

These testimonies leave us with little room for comfort as does the book as a whole. The above statements are a taste of how hearts were beginning to change in the towns and villages across Wales. The Lord could see if know one else that these women were laying down there lives to take up the cross and He came in power. Wales was taken by storm as Gods Holy Spirit swept the nation, crime dropped, pubs were empty and families reunited as the Gospel began to change the hearts of thousands. The name Evan Roberts stands out most of all when the revival is talked about today and not to take away from the great work He and others did but it seems a shame that the Women who Evan laboured and toiled with seem to have been forgotten, names such as, Mother shepherd, Rosina Davis, Sarah Jane Rees, Maud Davis, Mary Roberts, Annie Davis, Florrie Evans, May John and many many more.

These Women were living proof that the Holy Spirit “was being poured out on all flesh” and they were passionate that none should miss the opportunity to come to Him”

The story of the revival is woven from the storeys of wrecked lives turned around. May we be wrecked by the broken heart of God as we read them, not simply for there lives then but for the lives around us now. These testimonies of the past release faith for radical salvation now.

Two of the more famous to History characters of the revival were Florrie Evans and Annie Davies.  Florrie Evans is now seen as one of the first people recorded to see an outbreak of the Holy Spirit in New Quay in West Wales.  On Feb 14th 1904, She stood up in a meeting, interrupting the speaker and cried out ‘I Love the Lord Jesus with all my heart’, this took the whole church on a collision course with Revival.   Annie Davies, when then revival some months later had captured the heart of Evan Roberts, used to travel as part of a small group – five young girls and Evan.  Annie often stood outside pubs and started to sing, alone, and working through the ridicule, often saw the hardest of men slowly become silent, and then broken by the power of the Holy Spirit, many a drunken man being led to the Lord by these powerhouses of prayer – The ladies of the 1904 Revival.

Extracts from the book Carriers of Fire, used by kind permission of the Author – Karen Lowe.

With renewed fire, Karen Lowe and other ladies from around the nation are holding a conference called Carriers of the Fire on 7-8th July 2006 at the Antioch Centre, Llanelli, South Wales, just a few miles from where the Revival saw it’s main activity.  For more information about the conference contact 01554 741674 or visit the website www.antiochcentre.co.uk

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