We did it! #CW4HT

Just a quick post guys to let you know that WE DID!! The bike ride that is!

It was a fantastic, though at times gruelling, 4 days of riding, friendship and encouragement – all in the context of breathing in the beauty of God’s creation! (The Lon Las cycle route must be one of the most stunning rides in the UK). We also managed to fit in 3 awareness raising nights in Barmouth, Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff Bay. On top of all that we have been able to raise some significant money for IJM and AIM. The target we set ourselves before the ride was £5,000 and as things stand we are just short of that amount. Therefore, if you feel you could help us reach our target you can do so here.

Thanks so much for all your prayers, support and generosity. For all of us who were involved it has been a memorable, life-giving journey that will live long in all our memories! It’s also got me feeling fitter than I have done for years!

Check out this little video I made to capture something of the adventure:

Through the eyes of a child

On Saturday the Hankey family went to the cinema in central Cardiff. After the film we hurried back to the car along St Mary Street in two units – me and the girls in one, Michelle and the boys in the other. As we dashed though the drizzle we passed several homeless guys sat on grubby blankets in doorways seeking shelter from the elements. Having spent many years in Cardiff this sight was nothing new to me, so I just walked on by as quickly as possible in a bid to get the kids back to the car before they got too cold and miserable.

But that’s when Anastasia spoke up:

“Daddy, why aren’t we helping those men?”

I was stunned to a standstill.

“What’s wrong?” Asked Michelle?

“Ana wants to helps those homeless guys.” I replied.

“Yeah, Ezra just said the same thing!” She replied.

So after a brief family street conference we decided that we should offer to buy the men a hot drink each, and Ezra accompanied me to go and take the order, which I phoned through to Michelle and the others in a nearby Costa. I then went with the kids as they delivered the drinks to the grateful guys. It was a beautiful moment,but one that I have to confess challenged me deeply!

Why did it take the intervention of my 5 year old twins for that to happen?

I mean I had seen the same men as they had just seen. But whereas my instinct had been to rush on by, theirs was to reach out and help. My response was the most cost effective – we could have saved time and money if we had just passed by. Their response was more costly…but certainly more compassionate!

Now I know that historically I have not generally been indifferent to the poor. Indeed much of my  ministry has involved a great deal of serving the impoverished and the downcast. And certainly when I was younger and less time-pressured I’d regularly take time to sit with, eat with and pray with the homeless in Cardiff and beyond. But not on Saturday. In fact the truth is – the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind!

Why not?

  • Have I got cynical about helping the homeless over the years.
  • Have I lost sight of the world beyond my immediate family and their needs.
  • Do I deep down feel the need to protect my kids from the realities of the streets?
  • Is there a lack of love in my heart towards other people right now?
  • Am I just too busy?

To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s any, all or some of the above. All I know is that I have much to be thinking and praying about (and probably repenting of!) And as we begin our new gospel adventure in the inner city of Cardiff, I thank God that He has blessed us with beautiful kids whose eyes are open to the broken world around them, and whose hearts are soft and courageous enough to dare to believe that they can, and should, do something about it!

Father, forgive me for being so cold-hearted, bitter, cynical, busy and selfish that I don’y always see the opportunities that you surround me with to make Christ known in this broken world. Please forgive me for the times that I have modelled the example of the Priest and the Levite more than the good Samaritan to my family. Thank you for the lesson you have taught me this week through the faith and kindness of my precious kids. Please bless them. And please give me the grace to once again see the world through the eyes of a child. For your glory. Amen.

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Jesus

Riding Wales for Human Trafficking

 

unnamed-2Hey guys next week I’m attempting something kinda crazy and would really appreciate your prayers and support.

Riding Wales for Human Trafficking is a 4 day bike ride across Wales from Holyhead to Cardiff that will include several awareness events along the way (including Barmouth, Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff Bay). We (myself and a small team of mad-heads) are doing this ride to raise awareness about human trafficking and modern slavery, and to raise financial support for IJM.

This might not sound like the biggest challenge in the world, but trust me, it’s going to be a big challenge for me! Until a few months ago the furthest I had ever cycled was 15 miles (as a teenager), so to cover that kind of distance is going to be hard graft. However, while it’s been a crazy season for our family with the house move etc., I have been blessed to be able to get out on my bike quite a bit over the last few months and am therefore in more likely to make the distance than I otherwise would have been.

Anyway, I’m posting this to ask if you would consider sponsoring me and the guys. All money raised will go straight to IJM and will be put to very good use! If you would like to support us financially you can do so here.

If you would like to come to one of our awareness raising events they are taking place at the following locations and we’d love to see you:

Thursday 25th (7:30pm)
Barmouth Elim Church, Barmouth

Saturday 27th  (7:30pm)
Hope Church, Merthyr Tydfil

Sunday 28th  (6pm)
Costa, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay

If you’re interested and are on Strava you can check out some of the training rides that I’ve been doing.

Blessinz dear people. See you soon.

Dai

Redemption Conference

Next Saturday we (Red Community) are hosting our first ever Redemption Conference in Cardiff. We have a great line up of speakers and practitioners who together will be exploring what a gospel-centred response to human trafficking and slavery looks like. If you are free it would be wonderful if you could join us. You can book tickets here.

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Word Alive 2016

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Hey guys, just a quick post to ask for your prayers. This weekend I am privileged to have been invited to attend the Word Alive event in North Wales. I am only there for a day but will be doing A LOT while I am there. The stuff I’m going to be involved with will include:

Story Time: 2 separate slots of reading books to some of the little kids, including Eric Says Thanks.

Red Community: 2 separate slots in the morning celebrations to share about the work of Red Community.

Seminar: leading a 70 minute session in which we will seek to explore how we as God’s people in the UK should respond to the refugee crisis.

Evening Celebration: Preaching in the evening celebration on the second “I am” saying of Jesus “I am the bread of life” from John 6. (You’ll be able to watch a livestream of the evening celebration on Word Alive’s YouTube channel).

I feel really humbled and honoured to be involved and in all sincerity would appreciate your prayers.

Blessinz.

Red Alert

RED Alert homepageHuman trafficking is happening in Wales.

Right here.

Right now.

It’s well over a year since I managed to secure a significant sum of money from Gwent Police’s Partnership fund to make a series of short films that raise awareness about trafficking and modern slavery in Wales. Well, after a lot of hard work alongside the good people of TorFilm I am delighted to announce that Red Alert is now officially released!

Red Alert is a teaching resource that revolves around  3 short films that are based on actual events that have happened in Wales. The films are further complemented by introductory videos, a next steps video and a film that explain the gospel roots that lie beneath all that Red Community stands for. We are getting 1000 DVDs of Red Alert pressed in order to give copies to every high school and college in Wales, as well as churches, youth groups etc too. The content is all freely available for viewing and downloading online too. You can find it here:

Please do check it out and let us know what you think.

Blessinz

Am I worth following…?

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I woke up early this morning and was promptly greeted with a beaming smile and a huge hug from my 5 year old son, Ezra.

“Dad, can I take Cassie out with you this morning?” he chimed.

“Course you can!” I replied.

The weather was predictably murky and so we put on our waterproofs and wellies then headed out together into the wind and freezing rain with the dog.

“I love taking the dog for walks with you, dad!” chirped Ezra.

“I love it too Ez.” I replied. “It’s nice having a mate to walk the dog with on mornings like this.” 

“Yeah, I’m your dog walking mate aren’t I dad?” exclaimed Ezra.

“You sure are!” I replied.

We continued on with our walk chatting and praying as we went.

“What are you having for breakfast, dad?” inquired Ezra.

“Weetabix fella.” I replied.

“Dad, I want Weetabix for breakfast too!” blurted Ezra.

“But you don’t like Weetabix Ez!” I replied.

“But I want the same breakfast as you!” enthused Ezra.

“OK then.” I replied.

When we got home we went upstairs to get ready for the day.

“Dad, can I use the same toothpaste as you today?” asked Ezra.

“It’s the blue one Ez, it’s quite strong.” I replied.

“I don’t mind, I want to use the same toothpaste as you.” insisted Ezra.

“Alright then fella.” I replied.

I put the blue toothpaste on both our toothbrushes and passed Ezra his. I then started brushing my teeth. As I looked down I noticed that Ezra’s gaze was fixed on me and he was copying my every move. When I scrubbed side-to-side, he scrubbed side-to-side. When I brushed up-and-down, he brushed up-and-down.

And that’s when it hit me – he’s mimicking my every move!

He’s observing.

He’s learning.

He’s copying.

That’s what kids do.

And that’s terrifying!

I mean, it’s not only my taste in breakfast cereal and toothpaste that I’m passing on.

  • It’s my words, my values, my passions and my priorities.
  • It’s the way I relate to my wife, the way I talk about others, the way I use technology and the way I spend my time and my money.
  • It’s the integrity of my faith, my attitude to church, my commitment to prayer, my devotion to Scripture, my appetite for mission and how I treat those who are different to me.
  • It’s how I suffer, how I celebrate, how I sabbath and how I serve.
  • It’s my whole, uncensored life that I’m putting on display to my kids.

Like I said – that’s terrifying.

But it’s also incredible!

In 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 1 Paul urged the Corinthian disciples:

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

Paul was confident that as he followed Jesus he would be living a life that was worthy of imitation. Not because he was perfect, but because the One he followed was perfect. Not because of his faith alone, but because of who alone his faith was in. Ultimately Paul knew that it wasn’t him but his Jesus that the Corinthians needed to follow. But he got the privilege of putting Jesus on display to a watching world.

Like I said – that’s incredible!

So I guess the challenge for me is to live a life worthy of imitation. To faithfully follow Jesus, and by doing so to commend Him to my kids.

  • To preach and to demonstrate the gospel.
  • To be gracious, merciful, compassionate and encouraging.
  • To speak the truth in love.
  • To cherish their mother, honour the covenant of marriage and embrace family.
  • To lead them in prayer, to guide them through Scripture, to include them in church, to involve them in mission, to walk by faith and not by sight.
  • To set the bar for my daughters on how they should expect to be treated by men.
  • To set the bar for my sons on what it means to be a man.
  • To have fun, enjoy life and laugh as much as possible.
  • To weep, mourn and grieve yet not as one without hope.
  • And when I screw up – to model repentance, reconciliation and forgiveness.

Today, it was all about toothpaste and cereal. Tomorrow it might just be about truth and salvation.

Father, please grant my Your Holy Spirit to enable me to live a life that magnifies Your Son so that by my example the little flock I lead might look to You and live. Amen.

God is Faithful

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GOD IS FAITHFUL.

This is my testimony at the end of the most difficult year of my life.

It’s hard to put into words exactly how and why 2015 has given me such a kicking – but it would be fair to say that I have reached December 31st emotionally, physically, spiritually battered and exhausted. This year, more than any other, I have dwelt far longer in the valley depths than I have danced on the mountain heights. I have known more stress, wrestled with more doubts, shed more tears and known more fear and loneliness than at any other point in my life.

But I made it.

By God’s grace.

Because HE IS FAITHFUL.

God has proved His faithfulness to me in putting amazing people in my life, not least my wife, whose love, care and patient wisdom has blessed and helped me more than words can express. I have been blessed with a wonderful and supportive family, good friends and gracious leaders who have sought to guide and encourage  me throughout the year.

But all these people are in my life and a means of grace to me because my GOD IS FAITHFUL.

There have been multiple moments throughout this year when I honestly didn’t think I would make it to the end of the year sane or still in gospel ministry. Times when I looked in the mirror and didn’t even recognise the man looking back at me.

But I made it.

By God’s grace.

Because HE IS FAITHFUL.

God has also proved His faithfulness to me through His Word. I have battled to spend time every day reading the Bible, sometimes more out of discipline than devotion. And this year there have been more occasions than I can count when the dark clouds that I have felt gathering above my head were pierced by precious, powerful words of light from the Scriptures that delivered timely grace and sufficient hope for the day.

As I write this post on the last day of this year, and as I look forward to a year of unknown days and mysterious providences that lie ahead, I do so persuaded more than ever that I can’t do this alone. That I don’t have what it takes in and of myself. That I have nothing to offer anyone apart from Christ crucified.

But also utterly persuaded of this – that my God is unstoppably faithful.

And I can rest in that beautiful truth.

Happy new year guys!

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
– Lamentations 3 v 22-23

My Year on Instagram, 2015

Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know that I take a lot of photos. Consequently last year I posted a review of my year in photo format, and I have the done the same again this year. As with last year I found it really hard to narrow it down to just one photo per month. But I did. I’ve tried to make the photos as varied as possible too – some local, some international. Some rural, some urban. Some colour, some black and white.

Enjoy…

Jan
JANUARY: snow-swept tree in Trevethin
Feb
FEBRUARY: gorgeous, hazy winter sunrise from Trevethin
March
MARCH: heading home after a family adventure up Garn Wen
April2
APRIL: sun setting over the Eastern Valley from our front gate
May
MAY: a man and his dog, Llanhilleth
June
JUNE: stars, stripes and skyscrapers, Miami
Jul
JULY: view down the valley and across the Severn Estuary from the Folly
August
AUGUST: just another incredible Trevethin sunset
Sep
SEPTEMBER: clouds and crowds in Cardiff
Oct
OCTOBER: autumn adventure with Elen, Jo and Cassie, Lasgarn Woods
Nov
NOVEMBER: Newport transporter bridge above the Usk in thick fog
Dec
DECEMBER: tree silhouette against a crisp Trevethin sunrise