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Monday, August 30, 2010

A Hot Time in the Old Town Saturday Night!

Dear Friends and Prayers:

This was one of the scenes on Saturday night when things were hopping in the bright lights of downtown Cardigan. I was part of this group of three "Teifi Pastors" while another threesome was in another part of town. We are now "regulars" in town and find ourselves accepted in the night life here.

These lollipops that we give away are almost always welcome, and are a good conversation starter. We also carry a supply of flip-flops when girls' enormous high heels become an obstacle to their mobility after they've had one too many. When people ask us why we are just giving things away, we simply say that we are showing them God's love in practical way.

People wonder if there is a trick to it somewhere. It is hard for them to understand why we do it. Many of these young people tell us, "The fact that you guys are out here volunteering your time when you could be home in bed is amazing!" "We really think that is great!"

Conversations are as different as the people we deal with, and inevitably they come around to each one's ideas about God. Lots of them have difficult questions, like "If God is love, why does he let bad things happen, like in Pakistan?" There are not easy answers and we have to trust the Lord for wisdom. While we are out on the streets, there is a group of people back at our base of operations praying for us, and that makes a great difference.

There is some superficial chit-chat, and sometimes things can get a little uncomfortable, but there are also times when people really open their hearts and we can minister to them and even pray with them. Many of these young people have real difficulties in life - drug or drink problems, sickness and loss of loved ones, heartbreak from wrong relationships, the list goes on. Others are just out having a "good time" and life seems to be treating them fine, but they still have questions.

It is hard to see so many of them floundering around with such aimless abandon. The "party spirit" and "good times" don't last very long or run very deep. The happiness and satisfaction they are looking for can only be found in a right relationship with God. And we have the privilege of offering them a listening ear, and words of truth. There is such hope in Christ, and such joy. If they could only see!

A night's partying in town brings a hangover the following morning, or worse. But the promise that "His mercies are new every morning" is an amazing treasure! There is nothing that compares with the newness of life and the love that come through Jesus Christ and a life grounded in Him.

What Paul says in Romans 15:13 is a wonderful prayer for the people we meet. "Now may the God of hope fill you [them] with all joy and peace in believing, that you [they] may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Would you please join us in praying for these young people? And not only these, but the ones in your areas as well, young and old alike!

Ever thankful for His endless mercies,

Dick & Gladys


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Monday, August 23, 2010

A clay jar and a massive promise!

Dear Friends and Prayers:

One morning last week in the chapel I received a wonderful impression from the Lord while I was reading Jeremiah 32. This is when God tells him that he is to buy a field from his cousin Hanamel who is going to come and offer it to him. And then in the very next verse his cousin shows up, and Jeremiah says then he knew it was the word of the Lord. (verses 6-8)

After the transaction when the money was exchanged and they signed two copies of the deed in front of witnesses, verses 13-15 Jeremiah says, "Then I charged Baruch before them, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Take these deeds, both this purchase deed which is sealed and this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may last many days." For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land."'"

Immediately my spirit lept as I realized that means us, the church, here in Wales (and elsewhere for that matter). It sure looks like everyone has been dragged off already to Babylon, in the sense of the body of Christ not having any real tenancy or influence in this land. Less than 4 % of the population here are Christians. But God says that "Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land." This will be the fruit of the coming revival! Here is this amazing promise!

Wales once was a large majority of believers, and so most of the houses, fields and vineyards belonged to His church, but because they all bailed out of His love and communion to serve other gods - finance, entertainment, status, etc. - they were all carried away to the world, and now most of the real estate belongs to unbelievers! BUT, possession (stewardship) will be returned to His kingdom when the throngs come running back to the Lord in the midst of widespread revival! Now that is fuel for some prayer and tearful, joyful crying out to God!

And just minutes later while still at the chapel, I got an email from an old friend who I'd just seen in June. His message said, "First I want you to know that several people have spoken to me that your story as related by me has inspired them. They along with myself are praying hopefully, holding up your arms in the battle to bring revival to Wales and Great Britain. Thank you for your obediance to the call."

So I recognized this as the Lord confirming this word to me immediately after I received it. It was just like Jeremiah hearing the word and then it coming to pass just as God had said.

So we are encouraged continually as the Lord brings things into position around this land. Unlike this beautiful chapel in Aberystwyth where we visited last week, many churches and chapels are currently struggling to stay open because of declining membership. But that is soon going to change! I believe we will see God move across this land with power and grace as never before, and "Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land."

So be blessed and encouraged as you pray for the unfolding of God's marvelous promises!

Dick & Gladys


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Monday, August 16, 2010

Rejoicing in a Glorious Hope!

Dear Friends & Prayers:

Thanks to the Lord's goodness, we were given the opportunity to take a week's holiday in the home of friends in Northwest Wales during their absence. We had a wonderful time exploring the beautiful Snowdonia mountains and parts of the coast of the Isle of Anglesey.

It wasn't the warmest of August weather, but there was very little rain and we did have opportunities to see some sunshine! Just being out in the middle of such wide open areas was so very refreshing, and we were glad to have such a relaxing time.

On the Saturday we were away, our usual monthly evening meeting in Blaenau Ffestiniog was canceled because of a conflicting meeting elsewhere, but the Lord was one step ahead of us. It turned out that the Korean mobile team from the Celebration for the Nations was in the area, and so we had an inpromtu meeting in the town center. Open worship and vigorous praying raised more than a few eyebrows, and special blessings and declarations were deposited in that place that has grown dear to our hearts.

From there we went to Eric and Jane's home where we regularly meet, and shared some tea and also some special prayer time for Jane's health. I talked with Eric earlier this morning, and he said that she is showing some real improvement and is greatly encouraged in her faith. Please continue your prayers for her, and for Blaenau Ffestiniog as well!

Back to the birds!

After June's batch of swallows took to the air, a new nest was built next to the old one and these little guys took off for their first flight on Friday morning. As I watched they were zooming and swooping around overhead with obvious excitement and joy! (I must confess to an almost paternal sense of pride here ;o) Then a while later, reading and praying in the cemetery, they continued flying around perfecting their new, graceful and enviable art.

As I observed them some more, I got the impression of seeing souls loosed at last from the bondage of sin and rejoicing in their newfound freedom and joy of the Lord! And suddenly I found myself overwhelmed in a prayer of longing for this land of Wales, that its people would brought into the knowledge of their Savior and be able to revel in the newness of life like these joyous young aerial acrobats!

My readings in the book of Acts reflect a similar joy and excitement in the discovery of new life in Christ. The following portions among many others are especially encouraging. Chapter 2:46-47, "So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." and 13:47-48 "Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region." And even in the face of persecution and troubles we see in verse 52, "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."

This health and vigor of new life in the church throughout Wales is the heart of our mission here. Thank you for joining us in joyful and expectant prayers for His outpouring!

Dick & Gladys


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Monday, August 02, 2010

An Entire Nation In Tears?

Dear Friends and Prayers:

While reading in Judges early last week, I was stopped in my tracks by chapter 2, verse 4. "So it was, when the Angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept." Isn't that amazing?

They even named that place Bochim, which means "weeping!" God spoke to all of them about their sin of disobedience. And when they heard God's voice directly, they were cut to the heart and wept. They knew they had gone off course and were severely convicted. They all wept!

How did He speak to them all? This is a fascinating question to me and I wonder how exactly that took place? The scriptures aren't clear with those details, but they are very clear about the results of God's speaking to His people. There was a broken-hearted repentance that led to their serving the Lord for quite a few years afterwards.

That sure sounds like what we're praying and believing God for - That HE would speak directly to the hearts of all the people. More than once I have heard it said that in the coming revival, the Lord is not just coming for 100,000 like in 1904, but that He is coming for a nation.

It will take a mighty intervention of God indeed to see an entire nation in tears! But should we be praying for anything less? He has done it before, and He can do it again. In fact, we believe that He will!

Last Wednesday I went to the last few days of Celebration for the Nations. This is was the fourth year it has been held, and it was a wonderfully encouraging time once again. The fervor and exhuberance of these young Korean worshiping warriors is both inspiring and challenging. Gladys joined me for the last day and just that brief contact was a blessing for her also.

Tonight the two hundred or so Koreans finished their third day of mission in London, and tomorrow they leave for different assignments around the UK. Please pray for them as they take their enthusiasm for Jesus into churches and communities.

Hopefully one of the groups will be spending a few hours on the streets of Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales. This is where we have been going each month for a prayer meeting. It's hard to believe that it was a year ago that we spent a few days there with three of these wonderful saints and servants. You can read more about that visit in the August 14, '09 update here.

Trusting in His goodness alone,

Dick & Gladys


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