In September 2011, a small team of pastors from my church in Singapore went on a short assignment to Wales. Our assignment was to re-dig the ancient revival wells and pray at the very places revival broke forth in Wales in the early 1900s.
Little did we know that a pleasant surprise waited for us in the seaside town of Swansea. At Swansea, we visited a place called Derwen Fawr, which in the Welsh language means “Great Oak” and is a reference to the great oak tree that stands in the gardens of the Bible college that Rees Howells established there in 1924.
It just so happens that 17 years ago, I picked up a book written by Norman Grubb, called Intercessor, that chronicled the life and times of that amazing man, Rees Howells. Besides the Bible, no other book has had as profound an influence on me as that book. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that it was Howells and the wonderful praying saints at this little Bible college in Swansea who, through their amazing intercession, thwarted much of Hitler’s plans in World War II and altered the course of the war. They were also instrumental in the prayer and travail that birthed Israel as a nation in 1948. What a great debt we owe those wonderful saints!
In addition, the 1904 revival in Wales has always captivated me since my early days as a believer. I have longed for revival to come to my own nation of Singapore, and for some reason I have always felt deeply connected to the 1904 revival and the men who carried its fire.
You can understand, then, why I was saddened to hear during our visit that the property of the Bible college was being put up for sale—the board of trustees planned to sell it to a developer. I couldn’t bear the thought of them demolishing the site of such heritage, history and inheritance. So our team stood there that day, under a little drizzle, and cried out to God, asking Him to preserve the property.
It was a divine moment in God—one that would change the course of our church.
Claiming Our Field of Lentils
When we got back to Singapore, we started negotiating the purchase of the property. But after several months of negotiations, we got stuck over the price. The whole deal threatened to collapse, and I was a little despondent. We couldn’t come to an agreement.
During that period, our church was hosting its Kingdom Invasion conference, and on the second day of the conference, Bill Johnson preached an amazing sermon on supernatural courage. At the end of the message, he spoke about Shammah, one of David’s mighty men. We are told that in a conflict with the Philistines, the Philistine army had formed itself in a troop and that the children of Israel were in retreat. The Philistines came to a field of lentils, and Shammah, who knew the historic value of the field, stood his ground in the middle of it. His singular act of courage so inspired the Israelites that they turned back from their retreat and came to the battlefront, and on that day God gave a great victory to Israel. (See 2 Samuel 23:11-12.) Shammah’s name is recorded in eternity as one of the most courageous men.
For the longest time, I had pondered the significance of that field but never fully understood it—until that day. Bill remarked that the field was the very same field upon which David slayed Goliath. Shammah was defending a field that had much history to it. In other words, that field represented the past victories of God’s people. It represented their victory over the enemy. And to God, it carried important historical significance.
That just about unraveled me. Bill got all of us to stand, and I was weeping, and the presence of God came upon me like a mantle. I heard the Lord say to me, “Buy the Bible College of Wales.” Now I was a wreck and totally undone.
About 10 seconds later, a man walked up to me, put his arm on my shoulder and said, “The Lord is talking to you about buying the Bible College of Wales.” I don’t know if anything can be more prophetic than that. I made up my mind right there and then that no matter how much it was going to cost us, we would be valiant and purchase that piece of property without any discount. Like David, I was determined to buy it at full price. The Bible College of Wales was our field of lentils, and it was something I was going to defend with all my heart.
Poised for Revival Beyond Borders
Almost nine months later, on December 21, 2012, I stood in my church and announced that I had in my hand the title deed to the property. It was a glorious moment.
I do not fully understand everything about this situation, but I am convinced that the purchase and redemption of the Bible College of Wales is just one piece of the amazing puzzle God is revealing that is making ready a new revival to come to Wales—and to the nations.
Wales is undoubtedly the nation of revivals. No other nation on the planet has seen more revivals than that nation, with the possible exception of Israel. The revival that broke forth in Wales in 1904 is of special importance because of the power and influence it generated. There have been many other great moves of God through the ages, but most of them were localized. But two historic revivals—the Azusa Street Revival of 1906 in Los Angeles and the Welsh Revival of 1904—had international influence.
Both those revivals went past the shores of their countries of origin to impact generations in the nations. And we have this prophetic sense that what God did in that 1904 Welsh revival is still having a profound effect on us 100 years later. When the Lord told us to buy this property in Swansea and redeem it, we realized we were being pulled into the greater eternal purposes of God and that this could be a sign to the Welsh people that their time has come yet again. That God is now stirring the Welsh people to cry out for revival is a beautiful thing, and I have no doubt that we are at the cusp of another great wave of the Spirit.
What God is doing in Wales right now is unprecedented in almost 100 years. God is moving in a fresh way again in that little principality, and when the Welsh are stirred up for revival, we need to take note.
Prepare Yourself for the Ripples
An interesting phenomenon takes place every year at the southern tip of the South American continent. At a certain time of year, millions of butterflies come out of their cocoons and start to flap their wings. Because of the sheer number of them, the simultaneous flapping of wings is known to have a direct impact on the weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere. This is called “the butterfly effect.”
In a similar way, what we do in the church has repercussions in places we sometimes don’t even know exist. It is like dropping a little pebble into a pond—we don’t know who is going to be affected by the ripples.
May the Lord bring forth the promised revival, and may we live to see and be a part of it.
Yang Tuck Yoong is the founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Community Church, an independent Pentecostal congregation based in Singapore.