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Welcome to Wales Awakening
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


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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


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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


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