Historical knowledge of our land, along with accent and cultural retention are not the fullest expressions of love one can demonstrate for his or her "home." Love for our particular culture is a deficient love if it is not first overshadowed and informed by a love for Christ and a desire to see our towns, cities, regions, nations, etc. come to know him. Paul writes in Romans 9:1-2, "I am speaking the truth in Christ--I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit--that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen, according to the flesh." Paul is in this instance writing about his Jewish kinsmen. He indicates that he has "great sorrow and unceasing anguish in his heart" for them. He even wishes that he himself "were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of [his] brothers...according to the flesh." At this point I must ask myself, "Have I ever experienced great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart because of the spiritual condition of my land, the Appalachian region? Have I ever been willing to become accursed and cut off for the sake of my 'kinsmen' in the mountains?" I find it easy to speak of lostness, but I find it much harder to feel the weight of lostness.
Furthermore, what about the evident decline or plateauing of churches in the region? The truth is that many of our churches are dying. Many, even now, are dead though they appear to be alive. Those Christians within the Appalachian region should be concerned about the state of the churches around them and should pray for God to intervene.
Read, then, of a man who loved Christ and loved his Welsh home enough to plead for their salvation and for their churches in prayer before the Lord.
In accepting preaching engagements I doubt if he gave any priority to the Principality, but it is remarkable how often he was there for that purpose. In 1948, for example, apart from holidays, commitments took him to various parts of Wales in no less than seven months of the year. A number of these engagements would frequently be far away from the large centres of population to be found in the South. The spiritual state of the countryside profoundly disturbed him. While taking one weekend off from Westminster in April 1948 he could not resist offering to preach on the Sunday afternoon in the hills above Newcastle Emlyn where they were staying. ‘The congregation consisted of 14 people,’ he wrote to his mother, ‘most of whom did not know me.’ Later in 1948 he had a commitment in Newcastle Emlyn, at Bethel Calvinistic Methodist Chapel which had formerly been a strong and lively congregation. After this visit to Bethel he wrote to Elizabeth (at Oxford) on November 3:
'Never have I felt so much that the people down there are in a state of almost heathen darkness. They listened well but gave the impression that what they were hearing was altogether new. I preached in Welsh on the Tuesday night and the Wednesday afternoon and then in English on Wednesday night…I see no hope whatsoever for Bethel and for the whole district apart from a revival. A new minister would scarcely make any appreciable difference. It is really a most sad state of affairs. I feel increasingly, and said so in one of my sermons, that the real trouble is inside the church. The vast majority of the people are not Christian at all and do not know what it means. The work must start with them.'
Roger Weil, who was a member of Westminster Chapel, recalls seeing a side of his minister’s character in a new light when he happened to visit the Lloyd-Joneses during one of their summer holidays in Aberystwyth. They spoke together in the course of an evening on the state of the Welsh churches, past and present, and this was followed by family prayer which, as usual, closed the day. The English visitor writes:
'I will always remember the deep note of sadness in that part of his prayer where he interceded for Wales, that God who had so signally blessed her in days gone by would revive his work there once more. It was that tone of sadness that stuck in my mind at the time—I did not realize how it grieved his heart. I suppose it was memorable, too, because while on our knees there together we were privileged to glimpse him on a more personal level than ever we could in the services at the Chapel. It was not so much the words but something more like a groan in how he said what he did.'
Evangelical witness in Wales had been so largely amongst the churches of Calvinistic Methodism (the Welsh Presbyterian Church) that when these churches were overtaken by liberalism and worldliness the cause of the gospel went down in many parts of the land. The last revival of 1904 had put a break on that descent and people involved in the ’04 Revival were, in subsequent years, those who kept prayer and fellowship meetings going in their chapels even where liberalism might be found in the pulpits. While ML-J was ready to admit some serious deficiencies had accompanied the work of 1904 he would also say, ‘I tremble to think what the churches would have been like without the plant y diwygiad’ (children of the revival). By the middle of this century, however, such people were becoming few in number and the general condition of the country was well described by ML-J’s brother-in-law in the words, ‘The old religious background of our people is disappearing and a pagan generation is springing up.’ (Ian Murray, The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones 1899-1981, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 2013, 274-275)