A Life of Surrender: Mr. Rees Howells
Part one of a series of reflections from Rees Howells: Intercessor (book by Norman Grubb) by Emma, in collaboration with Faithworks Bookstore (Original article: https://faithworks.com.sg/blogs/bible-college-of-wales/a-life-of-surrender-mr-rees-howells)
Each time I pick up the biography of Mr Rees Howells, I find myself gathering nuggets of wisdom from the life and legacy of this incredible man of God who founded the Bible College of Wales (BCW).
I considered how heavy the weight of his calling must have been, just looking at the impact the BCW made in the nations through prayer and intercession, raising up so many missionaries including the evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. Even his son, Samuel Howells knew the size of the task at hand and could only take up the baton when he was sure the Lord was also commissioning him! What kind of preparation did Mr Howells go through to fulfill his destiny?
Long before Mr Howells was launched out as a missionary to Africa or called to pioneer the starting of the BCW, he was just like many of us, battling with life lived for himself, struggling with dying to the flesh. Ambitious, driven by the love of money, he left his hometown for Pennsylvania in hope of a better life. He sought for riches, but he found a priceless treasure – the Lord Himself. His radical encounter with the Holy Spirit changed his life tremendously, and He came to a place of complete surrender.
I am God, and I have come to ask you to give your body to Me that I may work through it. I need a body for My temple (1 Cor 6:19), but it must belong to Me without reserve for two persons with different wills can never live in the same body. Will you give me yours? (Rom 12:1).” – Intercessor Ch 5, Rees Howells Intercessor
What inspired me about Mr Howells was the intimacy he shared with the Lord and his tender heart of surrender. I believe this truly allowed God to use him so powerfully and became the foundation for his ministry at the Bible College Wales. His conversations with the Holy Spirit reflect a level of depth of relationship that many of us have yet to step into.
While I can relate closely with the areas he struggled with, his willingness to yield and to allow the Lord to have His way really amazes me. The 'self” had to go as the Lord dealt with so many areas of his life, including his ambition, reputation, pride, love for money, love for food.
He always said yes to the Holy Spirit, even if it meant doing something seemingly foolish like living like a tramp, giving up his job to live by faith or blessing others financially when he was in need himself. He even answered the call to go to Africa when he had to leave his son behind in the care of loved ones.
These little steps of obedience allowed the Lord to bring him to a greater place of authority and breakthrough during the days and years that followed. And in yielding to the vine, he remained faithful and fruitful to doing the will of his Father. When the time came for him to lead the BCW, he was ready to undertake the assignment because he had passed his season of training and moulding!
The Lord has a destiny and plan for each of us, and no matter where we are today, we can start to say yes to Him. We may not fully understand our call or life assignments yet, but allowing Him to do what He desires in this season will prepare us for what He has ahead. Philippians 1:6 tells us that He who began a good work in you and me is faithful to see it to the day of completion!
Rees Howells with wife and baby Samuel
I recall a song by Don Moen that I heard as a child,
More of You, and less of me; Lord, I pray that there might be More of You and less of me. Like a grain of wheat that falls to the earth And dies to live anew; All my plans and earthly desires I lay them down to follow You
Lord, make me willing to be surrendered and yielded.