Getting to know… Rob Saunders

We had the privilege in the Spring edition of the Messenger to hear some of the stories that led the Rob Saunders and his family to Welshpool, where they are seeing God’s hand at work in their lives and ministry. He also shares with a word for Wales as we look to the future…

Thank you for chatting to us, Rob! How did you first find yourself in Welshpool?

I was born in Nottingham, grew up in Crewe and settled in Malvern, where my father was a Minister, and for a while it was the last thing I wanted to be! 

After an Archaeology degree and a short career in IT, I eventually said yes to the call of God, and my wife and I moved to Wales for me to begin training.  I graduated in Wales and was ordained in England – I remember at Baptist College someone giving me a word of knowledge about an English and Welsh flag – this turned out to be very appropriate…

We found ourselves in Welshpool via my first full-time church in the Forest of Dean.  While we were in the Forest we felt called back to Wales and specifically to Mid Wales. Welshpool Baptist Church knew about me from my training days, I knew about them, and God brought us all together!  It was the clearest call to a specific people and place that we have ever felt. 

Amazing! In what ways have you seen God at work in your story?

God was at work in the call here to Paradise.. Sorry, I mean to Welshpool.  From the initial meetings, to the provision of accommodation through the BUW, to grant funding, we could see His hand was guiding us all, although it was not a quick or simple route.  Any sacrifice or risk on our behalf has always been exceeded by God’s provision for us – there were easier paths for our family to follow, but none of them would have taken us to a place and a church we feel so at home in.

I would encourage anyone who was considering a major change in their lives to trust in God’s long term plan – never aim for short term success over and above the long call of God – in my experience he plays the long game, and so should we.

What do you believe God has on his heart for Welshpool, and for Wales in the years ahead?

For our church, I believe he is calling us to be a resilient, sustainable, vibrant and growing community of disciples who work in partnership with our community for the flourishing of God’s Kingdom.   Isaiah 12:3 tells us that:

With joy you will draw water

    from the wells of salvation”

That is a word for our joy-filled church!

For Wales – I detect a shifting of the tides, glimmers of hope beginning to blossom after years of faithful toil, even in a wider story of decline.  I truly believe that God’s Kingdom in Wales will grow bilingually, and that Welsh and English speaking Baptist churches (and others!) are being drawn together into something special. 

I am slowly learning Welsh in anticipation of the time when “every nation, tribe, people and language”  will be welcomed into this future.

To read the original article, and to access more stories and encouragement of God at work in Wales and across the world today, head to the BUW’s The Messenger


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