Back to main magazine page now!!

Everything Beautiful
in his time
I t is a beautiful day and a perfect setting.

The waves are gently lapping against
the seashore of Colwyn Bay, and the
sun seems to be resting on the peaks of
the Snowdonia Mountain Range. Tourists
are meandering through the ruins of Conwy
Castle. The sheep are lazily munching the
green grass on the hillsides of North Wales.

Mary Ray
14 • NATIONS
The old church with its beautiful architecture and its tow-
ering steeple has been a prominent feature in this town for
over 100 years. Although at one time it had fallen into disre-
pair, the light shining through the gleaming windows reveals
that every spot has been carefully and lovingly restored.

The organist “pulls out all the stops” on the organ that
has 756 pipes. As he plays the introduction, the congrega-
tion is standing and singing John Wesley’s great hymn “And
Can It Be.” The music fills the building, and I feel that surely
the sheep on the hillside must hear this glorious sound and
rejoice in it.

My mind wanders back through the years―more than
40 of them. It was a bleak, wet, cold day when we arrived in
Corby, Northamptonshire, England. There were 50,000 resi-
dents in the town, and we did not even know one of them.

Our goal was to start an independent Baptist church, which



to me at that time, seemed to be an im-
possible task.

We rented a community center and
began passing out flyers and knocking
on doors. At first, only children came—
125 of them. It was quite a challenge
for my husband, James, and me and
our children Joy and Jim to control and
teach children who had never been to
Sunday school or church.

There were other challenges. The
local newspaper wrote unflattering ar-
ticles about us. The Church of England
Vicar said that we were trying to use
the Bible like a medicine bottle. Van-
dals opened the door during church
services and threw rocks in. In spite of
the difficulties, we just kept witness-
ing, teaching, and visiting.

One day, James was knocking on
doors on York Road. It was there that he
met the James family. Mrs. James was
a kind, gentle, beautiful Scottish lady.*
She was a Christian, but her husband
was an unbeliever and had no interest
in God, Christianity, or the church. Be-
cause of this, he had made her life very
difficult, but she had a deep longing for
her four children to know God.

The James family began attend-
ing LifeGate Baptist Church. Eventu-
ally, all the children professed faith in
Christ and they with their mother be-
came faithful members of the church.

When the oldest son, Leonard was a
teenager, he dedicated his life to the
Lord for full-time Christian service
and later went to Bible college.

After a few years, the Lord led us
on to other ministries. Little did we
know that it would be 37 years before
we saw the James Family again.

The music has stopped and my mind
is abruptly brought back to the pres-
ent. Pastor Leonard James is standing
before his congregation. His beautiful
daughters, who are musicians
in the church, are to his left.

Sitting in the front pew is his
faithful and dedicated wife, and
his sisters are seated in the con-
gregation. His words are clear
and distinct and are filled with emo-
tion. “Our guest speaker today is MY
PASTOR, JAMES RAY.”
My eyes are filled with tears and
my heart is filled with joy. Two verses
from the Bible come to my mind:
They that sow in tears shall reap in
joy (Psalm 126:5), and . . .

HE HATH MADE EVERY THING
BEAUTIFUL IN HIS TIME.

Ecclesiastes 3:11
*Mrs. Susan James went to be
with the Lord in January 2009.

For four years prior to her death,
she was a member of Woodhill
Baptist Church where her son,
Leonard, is pastor.

NATIONS • 15