Looking back on 20 years of Souled Out, there are so many things that stand out to me and so much to be thankful to God for. I was 16 years old in the very first Souled Out in the year 2000. I’d just sat GCSE exams and was really looking forward to the future. But God was not in my plan. I didn’t know God. During the two weeks at Coleg y Bala in the first Souled Out, God touched my heart. I saw afresh what God had done through Jesus on the cross and I had to respond. So during that first Souled Out I gave my whole heart to God, asking him to forgive me for thinking that I could live without him and leave him out of my plan. I asked him to guide me through the rest of my life. “The Alpha and the Omega” was one of the first themes of Souled Out and I’m sure I still have the t-shirt with those symbols on it somewhere! Jesus is “the Beginning and the End” and as I look back, I can see clearly how he’s endlessly fought for me from the very beginning to the present day, 20 years later. The journey has not been easy at all. Life has been uncomfortable and painful; dark and hopeless at times, but God is perfectly faithful. Although my circumstances have changed, God has not changed at all. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has kept me close to him and has been light and hope in the darkest of days.
I was looking forward so much to praising the Lord for his love and faithfulness to myself and others, in Bala during Souled Out 20, but that was not to be. Covid-19 had put a stop to that plan. But there was no need to despair! God was still at work. Through the miracles of technology we had the amazing opportunity to get together in a different way ‘online’ for two nights. Fun-filled evenings, people sharing about the past, songs, stories about how God is working in the lives of young people across Wales today and two sermons by Andy Ollerton on the life of Gideon. We were reminded that God uses unimportant, weak, fearful people like Gideon to win a nation back to Him. Only if we step out in courage, unity and faith can we be used by God to change Wales – to see old and young turn to God anew and give their whole hearts to him.
So thank you Lord for using the work of Souled Out to save me and for blessing Souled Out over the years. You are such a faithful God and we’re looking forward to seeing how you’re going to use us over the next 20 years to bring glory to your perfect Name in our beautiful little country. Amen.