Welcome to Wales Awakening
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A very full two weeks - and joining others in the fields!

commisionedgroup.jpgDear Friends and Prayers:

Wow, the past two weeks of this best Welsh summer in forty years has flown by incredibly fast. Temperatures have started to cool off slightly now, and thankfully we've gotten some much-needed rain. And in the midst of so many goings-on, I've attempted to write a few times but it just hasn't happened until now.

The photo was taken last Monday when we had a spontaneous meeting at the chapel of folks that wanted to hear the story of how the Lord brought us here. There was a small group from Iris Ministries Harvest School of Missions doing their prayer and intercession outreach here, hosted by our friends Stan and Sue next door. Our friend Alan from North Wales brought three visitors from the US, and we also had another couple from Idaho that we had just met the week before.

Telling the story of how the Lord brought us here is always a good way to keep our focus clear. When people hear some of the details of how God showed us His plan for this coming great revival in Wales, and arranged things to enable us to move here, they are amazed and encouraged. And so are we! (I made a 30-minute video of our story if you'd like to watch it here.)

It is important for each of us to remember how God has called us, and to what. When we read how Paul exhorts his disciple in 2 Timothy 1:5-6, "...when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you... therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands...", it is a good exhortation for ourselves as well. And we find ourselves amazed once again at the gift and privilege it has been for us to be here praying for Wales and the nations.

ukfellowship.jpgAs I arrived at the chapel to prepare for our guests, I felt the Lord speak the word "commissioning" to me. And again as I parked the car I heard a second time, "commissioning." By the time I had finished telling our story, it seemed clearer what this meant. In the first place, God has called each of us believers into His harvest as co-missioners—co-laborers with Him. And He is the one that does all the work, and we are like a co-pilot or an observer. Our part is to stay close to Him, and He does all the rest. This is the only way The Great Commission can only be carried out successfully.

In the second place, God calls us to be co-missioners with one another. In 1 Peter 2:5 He says, "...you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood...", belonging to one another as we belong also to Him. We are all on the same team. And so our stories and testimonies serve to encourage and build us up as we open our hearts and share with one another.

The previous weekend we a great opportunity to do precisely that. We had been invited by a dear old friend to the annual gathering of the UK branch of The Fellowship Network, where we found several old friends and made many new ones. And the main emphasis was just to be encouraged and challenged by one another's stories.

llangeithochapel.jpgLast Sunday we had the privilege of taking the group from the Harvest School to the very remote old chapel in Soar-y-Mynydd, near Tregaron. A friend of ours was preaching there, and it was fun to take the group to experience a traditional Welsh-language service. It was there when in 1779 Daniel Rowland had a transforming encounter with the Holy Spirit. Then after a marvelous visit with our pastor friend and his wife in their home, we went on to Daniel Rowland's own Gwynfil Chapel in Llangeitho where revival broke out and blazed across many parts of Wales in the 18th century.

Among the many others we've met in recent weeks, one thing that stands out is an increased dedication to prayer and a hunger for the coming outpouring of God's spirit both here and abroad. The pace seems to be gradually picking up, and we are thrilled to be here for such a time as this.

Thank you for your continued interest and prayers, and may God bless you mightily with more of His presence and anointing in your lives and may He spill out through you into the people whose lives you influence.

Dick & Gladys

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The harvest is ready! And learning some lessons from sheepdogs...

harvestgate.jpgDear Praying Friends and Saints:

When we came up to the chapel two weeks ago the gate into the field was standing wide open like an invitation. It was clearly giving the message that the harvest was now ready. The combine and tractors could roll in to take up the crop of barley at any time.

We have watched the harvest take place every year, but this is the first time we've seen the gate opened in advance. It just seemed like the Lord was giving us a sign of readiness, a fresh promise of His intention to bring revival to this land of Wales.

In John 4:35 Jesus said, "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" This is Jesus' exhortation to not lean on our own understanding, and to look to the fields of the world through His eyes. Just like this one, the fields on the hills in the background are also ready. It is the invitation to open the gates of our hearts and our understanding to embrace His view of things.

harvestchapel2.jpgThis view of the heads of grain helps show us the scale of what we are really praying for when we pry for revival. How many grains of barley are there on each plant? And if we consider how many plants there are in just this one field alone, what might those numbers add up to?

A little investigation and some quick math shows that this 15-acre field could produce about 500 million barley grains. That seems like a good-sized harvest of souls. It's no wonder Jesus said in  Matthew 9:37-38, "Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'"

Last week Gladys and I went to the Royal Welsh Show which takes place here every year in late July. We stayed for two of the four days it lasts, and the Lord gave us several opportunities to speak with folks we met. Inevitably people ask us what brings us here to Wales and that opens the door to share about our prayer mission here. And that in turn makes it easy to talk about the good news of God's love and power of the gospel to save people from there sins and receive eternal life in Jesus.

sheepdog.jpgWe always enjoy watching the sheepdog trials and this year was no exception. But this time I saw something about it I'd never seen before. The shepherd has to get a small group of sheep to go through a series of gates standing in a field. There are no fences, just the gates in middle of an open space. You can see a short sample at this link.

The shepherd has his dog, his staff, and a whistle. The sheep are out in the wide open area and don't have a clue where they are supposed to go. The dogs are highly trained, and obey the commands of the shepherd's whistle. This takes a great deal of patience, and a lot of the dog's running back and forth. Butthe shepherd coordinates his own and the dog's movements to get the sheep where he wants them to go.

As I watched, I was deeply impressed that this was like trying to bring people into God's kingdom. Jesus is the good shepherd, we are like the sheepdog, and the whistle is like the Holy Spirit who instructs and guides us. Only God knows the way with each person's heart, and without the guidance of His spirit, we are uncapable of bringing the sheep through the doorway of life.

So as we pray and follow His leading, God does what only He can do. Zechariah 10:8 says, "I will whistle for them and gather them, for I will redeem them; and they shall increase as they once increased."

What joy is ours to work along with so many others around the world to see God's desires fulfilled. 2 Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

May God's grace and guidance strengthen each of us for His purposes,

Dick & Gladys

Monday, July 16, 2018

A unique baptism, and another touch from the nations!

star-baptism.jpgDear Friends and Prayers:

A week ago yesterday our chapel congregation joined with the Baptist chapel in nearby Star for a special joint meeting. The son of one of our families and a girl from Star were baptized by immersion as they made a public declaration of their faith in Jesus.

This was the first time Gladys and I had seen anyone baptized from our chapel, and that was a real blessing. What made it even more special was that at the end of the service, they set fire to their old clothes as a symbol of leaving their old life behind them. Apparently one of the ministers had seen this done in Israel, and they decided to introduce it here.

What a great object lesson here! Not only do we go through the waters of baptism and leave our "old man" buried with Christ, but this represents an important next step. All the external trappings of our lives must be renounced as well in preparation of the "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." of 2 Corinthians 5:17.

The little girl in the foreground of the picture above reminds us of what Jesus said in Matthew 18:3, star-baptism1.jpg"Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." We need to continually come back to this place of simplicity and trust in our Savior's finished work.

The sermon that Sunday also made reference to the group of Thai students who were trapped in a cave due to flooding. Their only means of rescue was much more than a simple immersion difficult passage–they had to be taught how to use scuba gear and were extracted by professional divers through very long and twisty flooded tunnels. That delicate rescue operation was started last Sunday as well. Perhaps we were all gripped by the seriousness of the message and its implications for us as believers.

oldandnewdutchfriends.jpgThe rest of our week somehow became very full with several spur-of-the-moment visits added to one we already had planned. One of the visits came with the call from a brother who came with a small group from Holland nine years ago! We met them at a Ffald-y-Brenin prayer day and they came to visit with us and spend some time praying at the chapel.

We lost touch with each other after a couple of years, so it was a real surprise to hear from him and to learn that he was here in Wales again. He told us with delight how God had so deeply touched him during his time at the chapel during their first visit, and how that had begun a long process of transformation in his life. The change in his countenance since we first met was evident as he glowed with excitement and the joy of the Lord.

oldandnewdutchfriends1.jpgHe came this time with another friend from Holland who has been doing missions work in Myanmar (Burma). It was fascinating to hear of his call to a specific region bordering China that is actually almost impossible to enter as a foreigner. We had a wonderful time of fellowship together, and it was a tremendous blessing to be able to pray for him and the work in Myanmar the Lord has called him to. It was also a real joy and privilege to pray again for Holland with the two of them holding up their nation's flag that was brought by other Dutch friends last autumn!

We are continually surprised and encouraged at how the Lord keeps bringing us in touch with so many wonderful saints from around the world. We grow more and more confident the God has an amazing plan for this nation, and that somehow we find ourselves being a part of it. What an amazing gift that His grace doesn't depend on our performance but on His great love for us, for Wales, and for all the nations of the world.

How we long to see His plans fulfilled, and that countless multitudes turn to God and embrace His unfathomable gift of love, forgiveness, and eternal life through faith in Jesus' atoning work at Calvary.

Thank you for praying for us and with us that "...the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:9

Dick & Gladys

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Where's the water in Wales? Praying for heaven's rain!

dryteifi.jpgDear Praying Friends:

During the long and very wet winter, there must have been a lot of people praying for the rain to stop. We have had one of the longest dry spells since we've been in Wales, and have seen more sunshine and hot weather than we can remember here. But not it's all good news, especially for the farmers.

The Teifi River usually runs with a healthy amount of water, but the low water level is very evident here at Cenarth Falls just upstream from where we live. The photo below was taken from close to the same spot in the springtime a couple of years ago, so you can see what I mean.

When we saw this the other day, Psalm 63:1 quickly came to mind, "O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water." Now many people that were praying for dry weather not so long ago are now longing for some rain!

falls-cenarth.jpgIn the natural realm, changes come with the seasons. But the spiritual drought here has dragged on for far too long. The overall influence of the Gospel has been on the wane since the war years of the 20th century. Many unused old chapels and churches continue to be converted into private dwellings or put to commercial uses, while others are just abandoned and left to ruin.

So this scene is a good reminder for serious prayer. Happily, we do see evidence of change, and many of God's people are encouraged, but the need for an outpouring of God's Spirit is massive. Words like these in Isaiah 44:2-4 are great fuel for prayer. "...Fear not, O Jacob My servant; And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring; They will spring up among the grass like willows by the watercourses."

cenarthwaterlow.jpg God's many promises throughout the scriptures are an enormous source of strength, and keep us going and keep us on track. We don't depend on what we see around us but rather we depend on what God's word says. And we learn to be patient and to rest in the fact that the times are in His hands, and not ours!

This photo from just below the falls shows again how low the water is just now. A few years ago the water was so high that it reached the tops of the arches and was running through the "eye" in between them. That was put there to help ease the pressure against the structure when the river is at flood stage.

In a similar way, we know that as God continues to prepare the land here for the coming revival, and that He is also building structures into the church that will hold firm when things really get going. Networks of prayer being established and more people are getting involved, healthy relationships are being developed across denominational lines in the church, and different groups are working together on projects to serve communities and wider areas across the nation.

gwaunriverbridge.jpgThe first Tuesday of each month is the Ffald-y-Brenin Prayer Day. The time of worship yesterday morning was exceptional and went on uninterrupted for longer than usual. This provided more evidence of a growing hunger for the coming move of God, and His response was the sweet lingering of His presence during the long silence after the music stopped. It is exciting to see that as the desire to be with Him increases, and we make our time available to Him, so do the precision and the power of our prayers increase through the grace that He imparts.

During the noon break, we walked down to this little bridge over the Gwaun River with some friends and enjoyed our lunch in the shade and the warm breeze above the murmuring water below. It wasn't quite as wonderful as His presence had been with us earlier, but almost!

In your own prayers in the coming days for our needy world, remember the words of Isaiah 55:1 that say, "Listen! Every one who is thirsty, come to the waters. And you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (NLV) As we draw ever closer to Him, we can ask boldly that many would come to know His great love and plan of salvation.

Dick & Gladys

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A few miles later... God's extraordinary faithfulness!

oldstonebridge.jpgDear Friends of Wales Awakening:

The middle part of June of has shot by like an arrow! Two weeks ago found us just returned from a two-night visit to the Cotswolds, a very old and beautiful farming area in the west of England. The stay was a thoughtful gift from friends for my 70th birthday in December. The rolling hills, fields, and woodlands reminded me of rural Maryland where I grew up.

Then June 17th was, incredibly, our 40th wedding anniversary! So we took a drive to beautiful North Wales where we were graciously hosted by friends. We had planned to do some hiking in the mountains but it was mostly foggy and wet so we adjusted our plans accordingly.

It was nice to just get away and admire the beauty of God's handiwork. We spent our first months together in The Andes in Ecuador, and have always loved the mountains. And so this was a special time to reflect on the many blessings the Lord has given us over the years. And the northern part of Wales is still very dear to our hearts since we traveled there every month for nearly five years to a prayer meeting for revival we started in Blaenau Ffestiniog, and is still going.

sheepinfog.jpgLast Tuesday we stayed with some other friends on the north side of the Llŷn Peninsula. They host a weekly prayer meeting in the Welsh language, and it was a great blessing to meet a few people from their group that evening, and then at lunchtime the next day. And an extra treat for us was to be joined by another old friend who used to come to the meetings in Blaenau, and also the daughter of a wonderful older sister that we had visited and prayed with there a few times. It was amazing for us to see the special connections the Lord has blessed us with here.

It was exciting to be able to share with our Welsh speaking friends about a very brief but significant visit we had back in April. A pastor from India called and arranged to visit us with a friend. He excitedly told us how in 2015 God gave him a vivid and remarkable dream. There were three points: the Welsh people, the Welsh community, and the Welsh language that were going to be involved as the epicenter of a worldwide revival. When he woke up from the dream, 40years.jpghe grabbed his dictionary to find out what "Welsh" meant.  He had never even heard of Wales, and was amazed to discover that Wales is a country, and one of the four nations in the United Kingdom! So as you can imagine, this was especially exciting for our friends to hear, and of course for us as well.

So it has been a time to consider each of these milestones in our lives. foxgloveonblue.jpgWe realize that it is only God's grace that has made it all possible. And as the years continue to roll by, we are ever more aware of how He has so faithfully sustained us every step of the way. All we can do is give Him our thanks and our service, and be constantly looking to Him day by day.

This is such a wonderful portion in Psalm 63:6-8 that says, "When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; your right hand upholds me."

And as we read in 1 Samuel 7:12 after his victory over the Philistines, "...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 so may we all keep foremost in our hearts that the Lord's help is ever present with us, and be encouraged and strengthened daily by His words of life,

Dick & Gladys


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