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Welcome to Wales Awakening
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hurricanes and floods and the basics of life...

llechrydflood.jpgDear Praying Friends and Saints:

After several days of heavy rains last week the Teifi River overflowed its banks. This is a picture of the bridge in Llechryd about one and a half miles upstream from our house. To give you an idea of how deep the water is, the inset photo shows us standing by the bridge on the far side when the river is at its normal height.

Of course this is no comparison to the disastrous flooding in different countries from hurricanes and monsoon rains recently. Our hearts and prayers go out to the thousands who have lost their loved ones, and the hundreds of thousands who have lost homes, possessions and even their livelihoods in some parts the world.

Thankfully there are wonderful humanitarian aid efforts underway in most of those places, but the damage and hardship are still great. And yet more storms are on the way. May the Lord extend His grace and mercy in this time of need.

While walking across the bridge we noticed some other people looking down over llechrydfloodvictim.jpga spillway section of the wall. On the ledge just below there was a tiny field mouse scurrying back and forth looking for something to eat. Another one was carefully making its way along the debris floating on the water's surface also hunting for food. In their suddenly upturned and miniaturized world, they were just getting on with the basics of living.

It is events such as these that should point all of us towards the real basics of life also. David certainly recognized his place in the great scheme of things when he said in Psalm 39:5, "Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor." And we read in James 1:11, "For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits."

In light of this fact, any humanitarian aid is, at best, just temporary. Jesus  addresses the only lasting "basics of life" when He says in John 17:3, "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." God provides the way to have our "lives of vapor" transformed into "lives for eternity" in Christ. And His promise in John 6:37 is that "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." Now that Good News is God's "aid package", and lasts forever!

Last week a young couple from the Netherlands spent a few days with us. We first met them as part of a prayer mission team to Wales a couple of years ago. Annetherlandsflag.jpgd then last year they came to serve for a few months at the Bible College in Swansea.

It was a real delight to have some dedicated time with them in our home. Their heart for the Lord is so genuine, and their simplicity and engagement in prayer were a great stimulus for us. We also now have a flag from the Netherlands, which we have wanted after having had two other groups from there over the years.

Before they left on Saturday morning we hung the flag in the chapel and prayed over their nation. And that same morning they got news from home that a statement had just been released declaring that the Netherlands no longer a Christian nation. So that made our prayers all the more significant.

Please join us in prayer for nations, as people there also pray for Wales. Pray that through the inevitable storms of life that people will recognize their need for God's  eternal "aid package", Jesus His own Son.

Dick & Gladys


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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The world's smallest museum? What is that all about?

teifivalleyrainbow.jpgDear Praying Friends:

The ever changing beauty of Wales is a constant reminder of God's gift of life to each of us. And like the changing world of nature around us, so are His love and mercies towards us. As we walk through each day in our relationship with Him, He is ever with us and enables us to grow as we go.

Against the backdrop of this bright rainbow we saw on Saturday, there are telltale traces in the leaves as autumn begins to make its entrance. The deep greens of summer are giving way to changes now too. The morning air is cooler and crisp, and brings with it the fragrance of early fall. How did that happen so quickly?

Last weekend we had a brief visit with friends from Singapore. We first met Moses and Angela in December 2008 when they came with two other couples to visit the nearby Ffald-y-Brenin retreat center. He has visited a few times since then, and we had a chance to meet their family when we were in Singapore a few years ago.

They came this time on combined business trip and mini-holiday, and it was good to spend some quality moses-angela-st.govans.jpgtime with them. They had a couple of prayer assignments that they needed to accomplish - certain places and specific prayers for each one. We were glad that one of them was at St. Govan's Chapel on the south coast of Pembrokeshire, a favorite spot of ours in our own county. It was a blessing to accompany them, and blend our hearts in prayer together.

On our way to the chapel this morning, I parked the car by the little bridge about a mile from home and went back to meet Gladys who frequently walks there from the house. Just before the bridge is a traditional olminimuseum.jpgd British "telephone box."  But this is no ordinary phone box. This one is actually a tiny museum, and I'm sure it must be the smallest museum in the UK, if not the whole world.

As I approached it, I considered how ridiculously tiny this is compared to any other museum. There are museums in small towns all around the world. There are massive and famous museums with every sort of collection imaginable. And there are specialized museums of technology, transportation, etc, etc.

oldbible.jpgSuddenly the Lord began to impress on my heart that this tiny museum is like the Bible among the world of books. One estimate says there are nearly 130 million books in the world, and about 1500 new ones are published every day. That is a lot of books. But there is none like the Bible. It is the Word of the Living God!

It is this Book alone, far above all others, that has the power of God to change lives. Throughout history, this amazing book has changed the eternal destiny of untold millions. When Jesus asked the disciples if they also wanted to abandon Him when others turned away in John 6:68, "But Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'"

carriageladies.jpgIn 1 Corinthians 1:18 the apostle Paul tells us, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

We know that heaven and earth will pass away, along with all of its millions of books. But 1 Peter 1:23 says, "...having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,"

As we give our hearts to study the lives of the men and women of old throughout the God-inspired words of the Bible, we find invaluable lessons for life, and spiritual growth and strength. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we read, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for fancydudes.jpgdoctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Obviously I'm not saying anything new here, but I just wanted to pass my morning revery along to you as a reminder and encouragement. We have free access to the hands-down greatest treasure in the whole world. Let's keep it busy renewing our minds and changing lives, both our and those of others. And please remember to pray for believers that don't have this treasure of God's Word available to them.

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

Dick & Gladys


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Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Re-birth of a chapel, another Jeremiah 32:15 property!

silohupstairs.jpgDear Friends and intercessors:

When we had to go to Swansea last week, Gladys and I stopped in to visit the old Siloh Chapel in an area called Landore. On January 10th of last year, the chapel held their final meeting after a 138 year history. This large beautiful chapel has a seating capacity for well over a thousand people. But sadly, as is the case of so many chapels and churches throughout Wales, the congregation that was 600 strong a generation ago had only a handful of members.

It became impossible to continue and they were forced to close their doors. Their treasurer said at the time that when the congregation had shrunk to only 6 members, "...I think we've come to the end of the road."

However in Isaiah 55:8-9 we read,
"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your roads My roads,' says the Lord.
'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My roads higher than your roads...
"

And God's road for this chapel had a wonderful upward turn just ahead! Our friends at Liberty Church, which was started on the grounds of the Bible College of Wales about four years ago, were beginning to look for a bigger place to meet. And as only along God's amazing roads that things like this happen, they were connected with the remaining members of this chapel. It was all in God's timing and plans, and the whole silohsanding.jpgproperty was handed over to them.

It was just days before the opening service that we stopped by to say hello. Things were happening everywhere and the place sounded like a huge factory when we arrived. After greeting the pastor, Mark Ritchie, and a few others, we went inside for a look. There was a crew of men with huge belt sanders working on the main floors where the old wooden pews had been removed. The noise was deafening and the cloud of dust was like a thick fog.

I sought refuge upstairs and found this incredibly huge and beautiful space before my eyes. I was immediately overwhelmed by the presence of the Lord and my tears flowed freely. There were tears of sorrow that this place which had been once filled with worshipping saints was now abandoned, but also tears of joy because God's ways have a wonderful future for this majestic place. In my spirit I could clearly sense this house filled again with worship and the power of God's presence.

It also became immediately obvious to me that this was yet another confirmation of a powerful prophetic word the Lord gave me out of Jeremiah 32 back on August 23rd of 2010. Follow this link to read the details about it. Actually I just realized it was exactly seven years and seven days before our visit to this place that God highlighted verse 15 to me which says, "For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.'" And here I was last Wednesday being moved upon by the Holy Spirit in one of those very Houses!

siloh-re-opening.jpgOn Sunday morning we drove in to Swansea to take part in the inaugural service of this chapel's re-birth. Once again the noise was almost deafening, but this time it was with the excited voices of many people gathering and greeting one another and talking loud enough to hear each other! And this time there was a cloud joy filling the place.

There were saints from several nations besides Wales and England. We found several old friends there, as well as many who we had never seen. Among them also was the new group of Bible College students who would begin classes there on Monday. As the number of arriving people increased, so did the volume. And siloh-worship.jpgwhen the meeting started, that old house fairly resounded with the joyful singing of praises, cheers and heartfelt worship.

One of the most exciting things about this to me is that this very populated area of Swansea once held eight full and lively chapels, but currently there is no congregation or Christian witness in the area. And Mark gave a both stirring and challenging message about God's moving Liberty Church into action in this specific community to bring life and salvation to a needy area in this city. This is something to rejoice about!

Jesus said in John 12:24, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain." So in a very real sense this stalwart old chapel has done exactly that. A once lively plant, the old congregation, became this seed which died, and now is the time for new life, and growth, and for producing much fruit.

Please pray with us for this wonderful new adventure of faith for all involved, that there would be wonderful Kingdom fruit, and that this re-born old chapel become a shining source of light and hope in Christ for this community and beyond.

Dick & Gladys


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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Grief and mourning, or joy in the morning?

saul-samuel.jpgDear Friends and Prayers:

Yesterday morning when we read this portion in 1st Samuel, I found myself overwhelmed with grief for some reason, and could only weep and pray. And each it came to mind throughout the day I found myself deeply affected by it again. Although I don't understand it very clearly, I felt I should share it with you as fuel for prayer.

After King Saul disobeyed God's instructions to completely destroy the Amalekites and their livestock, God sent Samuel to him with this message in 1 Samuel 15:22-23. "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams... Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king."

In spite of Saul's plea for another chance, in verses 26-28 Samuel told him, "I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel. As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. So Samuel said to him, 'The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today...'"

The chapter ends with verse 35, "And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel."
And then the very next verse in chapter 16 says, "Now the Lord said to Samuel, 'How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?'"

Again a few times today I have been touched deeply by this, and even now writing about it. As I've thought and prayed about it, a few things have come to mind. One is on a personal level - are there still any areas in my own life that I have been holding out on the Lord and not willing to surrender? Have I been diligently making room for godly sorrow to produce the fruit He longs to see in my life? (2 Corinthians 7:9-11)

preselisfromfyb.jpgIn a historical sense, I have found this grief applies quite clearly to Israel as a people in a similar way to to Saul as an individual. Time and again throughout their history they turned their backs on God. For the most part they ignored the prophets He sent to them. And when God sent His own son, John 1:10-11 says of Jesus, "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him."

And then on a broader scale I felt this grief and mourning as concerning the body of Christ, both past and present. How many times has the church left obedience to the clear mandates of Jesus and the other New Testament teachings unfulfilled for the sake of personal security or comfort? Not unlike Saul and people who spared "the best of all that was good" rather than obey God, being a Christian has become a matter of a few hours per week at best rather than a lifestyle of surrender and welshsunshine.jpgliving sacrifice.

Our impact on the world around us today is negligible. In the days of the early church in Acts 17 we read of Christians "turning the world upside down". But in today's "civilized" world we have backpedaled on God's commandments and moral absolutes, kowtowed to the idol of "political correctness", and have become flavorless salt and light that can't manage to shine through the cloud cover like today's Welsh sun.

These are the main things that have been breaking my heart since yesterday morning. But then God tells Samuel, "OK, enough is enough, get on with it then, there is a future!" So my understanding is still vague. There seems to be a place of divine tension - balance between godly sorrow and the joy of the Lord; carrying a burden to the cross and then laying it down; weeping that lasts the nighttime and then joy that comes in the morning. This is another room in the house of prayer.

zimbabwe-uk-visitors.jpgOn a lighter note, both Monday and yesterday were also filled with the spontaneous and wonderful fellowship of the saints! First were three visitors from Zimbabwe. We are prayer friends with the couple on the right who live in nearby Fishguard and have been in the UK about 12 years. Their old friend was visiting them from Australia.

And then yesterday the couple on the left next to me were visiting our mutual friend in Tenby from their home Northeast England. He is American but has been in England as a missionary and pastor for about 30 years. So the international flavor of people that come to visit and pray with us continues.

He brings so many others who long with their whole hearts for His release of revival power here and in their own nations. It is such a joy to experience how the Lord orchestrates the movements of His body in such a way that we all, "...speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ - from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." (Ephesians 4:15-16)

Dick & Gladys


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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Declarations and dragons - "Greater is He..."

ebenezergospelhall.jpgDear Praying Friends and Saints:

Today we visited Carmarthen, the largest town near us, about 25 miles south of our home. While waiting for our return bus, I noticed the Ebenezer Gospel Hall just across the street. How refreshing to see a very clear Gospel message in such a public place. The well known verse from John 3:16 is there for all to see. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

The name Ebenezer is a wonderful declaration of God's faithfulness. After a victory over the Philistines in 1 Samuel 7:12, we read that "Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far the Lord has helped us.'"  And in each of our own lives we can see how day by day and year by year He sustains us. As David says in Psalm 63:8, "My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me."

dragonsculpture.jpgLooking from there just off to the right is this sculpture of a Welsh dragon, as if to remind us that as followers of Jesus we all will still have battles and trials ahead of us. As long as we keep our hearts set on going God's ways rather than our own, there will still be some opposition and difficulties. But we can rest in the words of 1 John 4:4 that, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." And Jesus taught His disciples in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

gladys-elitia.jpg

Last weekend we enjoyed a short visit from our friend Elitia from Singapore. We first met her at the inauguration of the newly restored Pisgah Chapel last May and the Lord has blessed us with a sweet relationship.

She has taken to us as a spiritual mother and father, and honors us with her openness and trust. The Lord has led her come to Wales next month for a masters program and to set up an English language school for international university students. That will provide many opportunities to share the Good News. Please help us pray that God's guidance will be strong and clear for her in this big step of faith, and next phase of her life as she comes into this nation in God's service.

Thank you for your continued prayers for us and for Wales. We pray you be strengthened day by day, and may His right hand uphold you.

Dick & Gladys


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