The pastor of this church, John Thomas Job, was a well-known poet and hymn writer. The town had been going through a dreadful time as there had been a terrible strike in the Slate Quarry in 1900-03 when hundreds of men had to leave the area to find work. The owner brought in men who were locally called 'traitors' to take over the work. Even when the strike ended the owner refused to take back those active in the strike. Hundreds were left without jobs. Most of the 'traitors' were not welcomed into the chapels and so were forced to worship at the Anglican church which was the church the owner attended. So there was not only division in the community, but division in the churches. The pastor himself endured terrible tragedy before the revival. His young daughter died first, then his next child from meningitis; then his beautiful young wife of typhoid and finally his last child from whooping-cough - all within two years. Despite this, the grieving father only had his eyes in one direction - to the Lord. Job's father-in-law lived in New Quay, where the Welsh Revival began in February 1904, and he started to send letters describing what was happening. This drew Job and his church to their knees as they prayed for something similar. He preached in New Quay himself in August. Most of Bethesda were 'Chrisitians', although many would probably be called 'nominal'. In November news of the Revival in the South filtered through, which gave them added impetus to pray. On the first Sunday in November Job preached two powerful sermons on the 'Cross'. The free churches decided to have a series of meetings, starting November 21st in Jerusalem chapel and they invited a revivalist, Hugh Hughes to preach. For two weeks there were many meetings and prayer meetings. Job said the people were, 'conqurered by the death of the Cross'. There was a sense of God's presence, but more was expected, hoped for! From 11 to 18 December the Christians separated to their various chapels and the meetings in these were continued on a daily basis. But they came together again at Jerusalem Chapel the following week Joseph Jenkins had come to North Wales on a preaching tour bringing with him some of the young people so that they might share what was happening in New Quay. He came to the village of Talysarn, a few miles south of Caernarfon, and there was much blessing in those meetings. It was natural that he should respond to a call from his old friend Job, and on Wednesday, 21 December, he arrived in Bethesda, together with two of the New Quay girls Florrie Evans and Maude Davies. He also brought with him three girls who had been set aflame at Talysarn.
Wednesday evening began with a prayer meeting from 5.30 to 7 30 pm. Then Joseph Jenkins spoke for about twenty minutes on a phrase someone had uttered in the prayer meeting—'As you will so may it be.' He stressed that we must allow God to perform His will amongst his people. Following this, the five girls took part The first sang a hymn of praise to The Rose of Sharon. The second was one of the girls from Talysarn, and she gave her testimony, prayed, and appealed to the people to give themselves Christ. Florrie Evans then spoke, without any airs and graces, just as a child might speak about its father. Maude Davies then came forward to lead the meeting in prayer. Job noted how wonderful it was to hear one who had been taught by God how to pray. Following this meeting the hills around resounded with songs of praise as the people returned to their homes. The whole area seemed to be filled with an expectancy that something greater still was about to happen.
On the following night the believers felt that greater things did indeed happen. It was Thursday, 22 December. Job describes the meeting as a 'Hurricane of the Holy Spirit'. Although it would have been easy to have been caught up in the emotion of the occasion, he gives a clear description not only of the meeting, but also of the heart of what was happening.
The meeting was preceded by an hour and a quarter of prayer, during which time a service was held for the children. Joseph Jenkins then preached from Philippians 2:12—13 'Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure,' His theme was God's work in us—not God working in us and then ourselves working it out—but God doing it all—from the new birth to glorification. God takes hold of man's will and makes him captive to Christ. The Holy Spirit turns man's nature, as the tide of the sea, towards holiness. The sermon was described as being full of bolts fired from heaven through the furnace of the fiery heart of the preacher himself. The people listened in silence as God spoke to their hearts. After twenty minutes the whole place was awash with tears. The chapel was as a field of wheat shaken by the wind. One young man could not control himself any longer. As the preacher recalled his father rising up from his knees during family devotions with Jesus Christ shining in his face, the young man shouted out for relief. Another gave out a hymn, 'Y Gwr afu gynt o dan hoelion dros ddyn pechadurus fel fi' ('The Man who was once nailed to the tree in the place of a wretched sinner like me'), and everyone in the building rose to sing together. It seemed like another Pentecost.
Another young man came forward. He had heard an unexplained heavenly singing in the sky late during the previous night. But he did not speak of that here. Rather he gave out a hymn which everyone sang, then read the story of Zacchaeus from the Scripture. We are told that everyone was weeping as, in their imaginations, they took their place amongst the branches with Zacchaeus in the tree and looked down to see Jesus calling him to 'receive the Great Salvation with joy'. Then the young man proceeded to pray, confessing that he had never seen Jesus so gloriously as on that night. This opened the door for much further praying—some with pleas for family members who were not yet saved, others rejoicing that God had shown them mercy. Job described the scene as a godly mayhem, and the meeting continued until 10.30 pm
What really happened that night? Job himself tried to discern the essence of what occurred:I felt the Holy Spirit as a deluge of light causing my whole nature to quake; I saw Jesus Christ—and my nature turned to liquid at his feet, and I saw myself—and I abhorred what I saw! And what more can I say? I can only hope that I am not deceiving myself. But Oh! The Love of God in the death of the Cross is wonderfully powerful!
From, 'When God came to North Wales', by Dafydd Job, published by Quinta Press 2010, pages 93-95.
The Revival has been the means of infusing A New Spirit—a spirit of consecration in the service of Christ—into the churches of the district. It is felt already as a Breath of love from on high amongst us—real and divine, and among its results, the spirit of enmity between workmen and families gives way. Oh! The grandeur, the gentleness, yea, the sweet reasonableness of Divine Love! Verily, it is a pleasure to live here now; the 'Society' in each Church is blossoming as a rose under the Breath of a Heavenly Spring. Truly Christ is to His garden once more come among us. The vast majority of our people are church-going and are with only a few exceptions enrolled members already. Hence we cannot expect very many new members here. Still, about 50 have joined the churches already. A scene was witnessed in Carneddi Church the other night—when a young man of about 32 got up and said he desired to give himself anew as a member. The love of Christ constrained him to do so, he said, although he already enjoyed that privilege. What is this, I asked, but a true revival within the church itself?—And when Zion itself puts on 'her beautiful garments', the unbelief of the world will soon vanish away. We still expect greater things. The Death of the Cross is gradually conquering the young people of the district; they already in hundreds put forth wings and rush like eagles to bask in the divine sunshine.
From 'British Weekly', and 'When God came to North Wales', by Dafydd Job, published by Quinta Press 2010, page 103. The wonderful revival brought only about 40 salvations because most were already Christians, however, many had their spiritual lives greatly impacted. The Revival brought some reconciliation regarding the strike, but sadly, the Anglican church did not join in with the revival so many of the hurts remained.