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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Storms of life, with God's thunder, lightning, and power to break through!

From darkness to the lightDear Friends and Prayers:

We have started through the story of Moses recently, and many portions have been highlighted to me and energized our times of prayer. This particular verse in Exodus 4:31 triggered something beautifully."Then the people of Israel were convinced that the Lord had sent Moses and Aaron. When they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped." How precious that they discovered God's concern about them.

This a wonderfully amplified and reflected  in Jesus' own words of concern and invitation centuries later. He says in Matthew 11:28, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He's saying we can come in out of the raging winds and storms of life and find rest for our souls.

A little farther into the story of the Hebrews departure from Egypt, Exodus 12:22-23 tells us, "So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings."

Once again this provides a great picture of being born again and transferred into His kingdom of light. This doesn't mean we won't have storms and trials. In fact, Jesus warns that indeed they will come. But He promises us peace and hope in the midst of them, and freedom and fullness of joy where we are headed in His eternal kingdom.

Three brave the storms of winter!Last week I mentioned The Send that took place in Brazil the weekend before last. I've since seen some of the results that are extraordinary and very exciting. Of the mostly young people that attended, these are the statistics. 7,008 made commitments to do missions within the universities, and 5,027 for missions into the schools. 14,072 committed to helping with the vast number of orphaned children—including singles promising to only marry someone willing to adopt in their future together. On top of this,  another 14,010 made a commitment to go into world missions, both short and long term!

Another development on a local level, I heard from a friend a few days ago about an evangelistic activity that took place in some schools last week in North Wales. She sent me a report that said, "Last week, the first Higher Tour of the year took place across North Wales. Our teams visited schools, sharing the gospel and inviting the students to a gig (concert) in Llandudno on that Friday night. 1,213 young people showed up to hear the truth of Jesus, and an amazing 452 responded." That's over one-third of all that attended!

Also last week we had the chance to participate in a meeting at the Bible College of Wales to commemorate the Legacy of Rees Howells 70 years after the date of his "homecoming" to the heavenly kingdom. It was marvelous to hear first-hand stories from a student who was there during the time when Samuel Howells, Rees and Elizabeth's son, was the director. There is an excellent overview of the story at the link above.

Rees Howells Memorial Service at BCWThe previous night there was a tremendous rainstorm over Swansea, complete with resounding thunder and flashing lightning. Some of those present commented on how there had been similar manifestations prior to or during some key prayer meetings in the college's early years. Needless to say, this empowered our times of prayer as well. During one brief interval, the sky lightened up considerably and I hurried outside to capture this picture. Looking out over the Italian Garden and Swansea bay the sun had made its breakthrough in the dark cloud cover—it was as if the Lord was saying He was listening and responding to our prayers.

If you have never taken the opportunity to read the book, Rees Howells, Intercessor, I highly recommend that you do so. It will change your prayer life dramatically and challenge you to go deeper. You can read it online at this link, or if you prefer a physical copy, you can find one easily if you just search for it by the title, Rees Howells, Intercessor with any online bookseller.

This morning while reading and praying through God's word, I found this little nugget to fuel our prayers in Mark 4:24. "Then he added, ‘Pay close attention to what you hear. [of God's secrets. See vs.22] The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more.’" (NLT)

May God bless you with multiplied grace, wisdom, and power in your prayers,

Dick & Gladys

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Prayers answered in gatherings great and small!

Llanelli group prayersDear Saints: 

On Saturday we enjoyed a wonderful visit by a small group of friends who brought along some of their friends also for a time of worship and prayer at the chapel. From the beginning, there was such beautiful freedom and spontaneity that we were all swept into a marvelous flow in God's presence.

The second song we sang was one that has been close to my heart for decades, but I hadn't heard it for many years apart from the few times that Gladys and I have sung it by ourselves. I had never heard it in English, and I found myself suddenly overcome with such a mixture of joy and nostalgia that couldn't hold back my tears. I could have stayed there forever!

As I wept, I realized that what was affecting me so profoundly was the realization that most people in the world simply don't know the joy of being enveloped by the Holy Spirit. And more than this, I realized that far too many people in Christ's own church rarely, if ever, have experienced the glorious joy of God's embrace.

praying friends at after lunch and fellowship!This week I've been reading the story of Joseph again, and Genesis 46:29 describes the following scene. "So Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; and he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while.'" What an amazing picture this presents—so similar to what I experienced on Saturday. It is this embrace of the Father that this world is desperately needing and longing for, and yet they haven't a clue where or how to find Him!

After an amazing time together in the chapel, we all went into the vestry next door for lunch and hot drinks. It was such fun to get acquainted with new friends and discover some of each other's stories and backgrounds. This is the family of God. And as I have mentioned in my last two updates, the more we learn Him through one another, and more thankful we are and the stronger our faith grows.

At the same time we were together on Saturday, there was another much larger and significant event going on in Brazil. You may recall that I mentioned The Send last February that took place in Orlando, Florida. That was the first one that they've had, and it was amazing. The send, Brazil, Feb 8 2020But this past Saturday went way beyond that.

There were 140,000 mostly young people from Brazil, and many other nations, gathered together to respond to God's calling. Jesus made very clear what God's plan was in Matthew 28:19-20. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you..." The great commission to make disciples among the nations, and take personal responsibility to reach out to a world that is in dire straits without any moral compass, hit home with a depth and on a scale not seen Touched by God at The Send Brazil 2020
(https://www.instagram.com/p/B8SPArYB484/)before. Thousands responded to the call to reach out to schools, universities, and the nations.

We are living in truly exciting times. I believe we are seeing  the beginnings of the answers to the prayers of the church down through the ages. These are not isolated events, but all are part of the fulfillment of God's longing to see people run to Him for that incomparable embrace of acceptance, forgiveness, and the eternal salvation of their souls.

With so many uncertainties in the world around us today, the prospect of a massive mobilization of God's people into obedience to His word is a massive encouragement, as well as a challenge. We need only to step outside our own front door to be surrounded by a mission field! And what a blessed privilege we have been given to extend God's invitation to a needy world—"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

 May God bless you, and thank you for your continued interest in and prayers for Wales, and the nations,

Dick & Gladys

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Reaching upwards for God's kingdom and glory to come down...

Snowdrops surging upwards, February, 2020 Dear Praying Friends:

Some of the earliest signs of the coming of spring are snowdrops. Somehow they always bring smiles and warm feelings, in spite of the cold winter weather. There is no holding them under the ground, and like brave and stalwart little soldiers, their annual appearance is as sure as is the sun to come up every day.

This ever reaching upwards of the plant world is always a good reminder for us to do the same. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..." And with an even greater surety than the rising of the sun and the coming of springtime, we know that God's kingdom will outlast the earth itself and that His promises are true forever.

While visiting our old friends in California last month, Francis asked me if we ever had any misgivings about our assignment, or felt any sense of disillusionment. I told him that we do, of course, have momentary doubts from time to time, but that the Lord has been amazing in building and sustaining our faith. In fact, I said, we are actually more encouraged and excited now than ever. And we are not the only ones to feel this expectancy by any means.

Reaching heavenwardsWe hadn't even been back home for a week when we went to a small gathering of praying saints on a nearby farm. There were a few young people that had come from the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California for a short-term mission. They all felt a very clear impression that God has Wales poised on the verge of a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and revival.

And then yesterday a friend in North Wales emailed us to say that she had heard from a friend who goes frequently to prayer meetings at Pisgah Chapel in Loughor. (This is the very chapel Evan Roberts helped build in 1895 shortly before the outbreak of the 1904 Welsh Revival, and was one of his favorite places of prayer.) Her friend told her that they been having "some wonderful times of prayer in Pisgah Chapel.

"Two months ago on a Wednesday evening, just before the meeting commenced, a car arrived with three passengers. They hadn't been with us before. One of the ladies was from Texas and she had a word for us. Just before she left the States she had a vision of a wall of water crashing over the UK, I think starting in Wales. A few minutes later, another car arrived with three visitors, once again this was their first visit. They were from the Oxford area. One of the ladies then shared a vision with me. A few weeks earlier she had a vision of a tsunami breaking over Wales and spreading over the UK."

So as you can see, we are continually hearing things like this from people both in Wales and around the nations. I send an update about one of these occasions nearly two years ago when a man wrote to me about his remarkable experience as a 13-year-old while visiting Wales with his father in 1998. You can read his description (again) at this link. I'm sure it will encourage and invigorate your prayers.

Pond in Teifi Marsh from woodsThis little pool on the edge of the Teifi Marsh looks isolated and insignificant when viewed by itself. If you lift your eyes for a wider look, all you see right now is dry reeds. However, it is part of a much larger tidal system that is sustained by a constant flow of fresh and brackish water.

In the same way, one might not think much of this little nation of Wales. It really is just a drop in the bucket as far as the nations of the world go—just a shade larger than Lake Ontario, between Canada and the USA. But Wales too is part of a far greater system. In the correct order of things, in the Kingdom of God, its wide-area network spans the entire globe and is sustained by rivers of living water from  heaven itself and through connections around the world.

This is the vital and eternal context of where we are and what we do as part of the body of Christ in Wales. There are prayers for the nations going out from here, and there are prayers from the nations for Wales and the coming move of God. Missionaries go out from here to the nations, and missionaries come from many nations to pray and minister here, much like the natural tides flowing in and out.

I am reminded of Jeremiah 31:12 that says, "Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, ...and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all."

May His truth and grace uphold you and His mercy sustain you as we press on together for His glory and kingdom,

Dick & Gladys

Monday, January 27, 2020

From California's west coast to the west coast of Wales!

Cardigan Bay in January, 2020Dear Friends of Wales Awakening:

We've been home again now for a week and a half, and are amazed at how our time in the USA seems almost like a dream. It was wonderful to be with family and friends, and even hard to say "goodbye" again. But the years and the distance have a way of multiplying the love we enjoy each time, and life is richer and fuller because of it.

Probably like many of you, we love to travel to see new places and meet new people. The sense of discovery and excitement is always an adventure. But somehow, as much as we enjoy the experience of going around from place to place, there is always a great sense of peace and satisfaction when we get home again safe and sound!

One thing that always intrigues me about travel is that inevitably the more we see, the more we realize the immensity of all that we have not seen. This brings to mind Moses' peculiar request of God in Exodus 33:12-13 when he says, "...You have said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.' Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight...'" And as if that weren't enough, after all the incredible things that he had witnessed of God's working through and around him with breathtaking Back home in our prayer tent!and terrifying miracles and wonders, in verse 18 he asks the Lord for even more when he says, "...Please, show me Your glory."

Now that we're settled back in at home and engaged again in our daily times at the chapel in our winter prayer tent, it dawns on me that we, like Moses, are seeking more of God too. During our years here we've seen the Lord do some awesome things, but we long for more. But where Moses was crying out for God to show him more of His glory, our great desire is the God show His glory to the people of the world around us. That is the real heart of intercessory prayer. In fact, this was Jesus' prayer in John 17:24, "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me."

Our travels also highlighted another aspect of this desire to see more of God's glory. For our last stop, we spent five days in Charlotte, North Carolina, with our Latin-American friends who we met here in 2016 at the Bible College of Wales in Swansea. Nidia, from Colombia, pastors a vibrant church here that has a majority of Spanish-speaking members. And our friend Natalia, from Argentina, is helping with the worship ministry. We had such a great time with them while they were here in Wales,Community Bible Studies friends it was a real joy to find them again and meet many of their friends and co-workers.

I had the opportunity to share in their Sunday meeting two weeks ago, and it was such fun to speak with a translator and hear him switch back and forth between English and Spanish when I would unwittingly change languages! But the best part here was discovering more of the Body of Christ and the fruit of God's glory in them.

That is the beauty of the unfolding answer of Jesus' prayer above—people being changed from glory to glory as they are washed by the word of God and growing together in unity into His church. And just like travel, the more we see of God's people and the operaton of His grace in their lives, the more we realize we have yet to see of the beauty of His workings throughout the nations of the world. And unlike this physical world which is passing away, God's works are everlasting!

We are delighted to have been given such a marvelous time but are very glad to be home again, rain and all, and jump into all the Lord has in store for us in this new year. And it is an even greater delight to join with you in prayers for all those to whom Jesus came to give salvation from sin and eternal life. And together we will see the fruit of God's promise in 1 Corinthians 2:9, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

May God bless you as you travel ahead in The Way,

Dick & Gladys

Sunday, January 12, 2020

A travel-inspired perspective on this new year and decade...

melting frostDear Praying Friends and Saints:

A belated welcome to 2020! Not only do we enter another new year, but we embark on a new decade as well. Leading up to beginning of a new year we always hear prophetic words and promises about what is to come, and even moreso now at the start of this new decade. I'm sure we all have heard more than one of them. And yet somehow the years slip by without any great fulfillment of much of it, and we find ourselves back into the day-by-day of one more journey around the sun.

While reading though the first chapters of Luke, I found a few verses that spoke strongly to me, not about things that will come to pass, rather about things that are. John the baptist's father, Zachariah, spoke out by the Holy Spirit in Luke 1:78-79 saying, "Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

Then shortly after this wonderful declaration, Simeon says in Luke 2:29-31," Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples." These imperishable truths set the backdrop for the big picture. Everything else, be they days, years, decades, or centuries, are small matters on the stage of God's eternal kingdom–like so many waves on those golden shores.

The second chapter of our family visit found us landing in San Jose, California, on Christmas Day where Richard and Emily live. They met us our with daughter Grace and so it was a very happy moment when we all found each other in the baggage claim area!

Although both Grace and Richard have visited us in Wales on their own, we hadn't seen Emily, our 2nd daughter-in-law, since their wedding in October, 2018. So that made our time very special indeed. Richard's birthday was that Friday, and we went to see the redwood forest on the western slopes of the California coastline. Gladys and I hadn't been among those giant redwoods for many long years, and I had forgotten what a special place they create. I clearly remember the awe and wonder these ancient living monuments inspired in me almost fifty years ago when I was searching for the Lord I did not yet know.

Then on Monday we all drove north past Sacramento to join our oldest son Peter, his wife Allie, and then, for the first time, meet her parents, and our co-inlaws, Matt & Lorena. We had such fun getting to know one another and discovering yet another facet of our growing family. Lorena is Mexican born and speaks fluent Spanish, so she and Gladys hit it off big-time and really had fun together. We all did in fact, and also got to savor some amazing home cooking and good times around the table.

During our time in California we also enjoyed an added dimension of family. We made a surprise visit to the Verbo congregation in Redwood City on our first Sunday morning, and had such fun meeting some friends from long ago from this group of Spanish churches that Gladys and I helped start up in Guatemala in the late 1970s. We also spent two wonderful days with Francis and Suzie Anfuso. I knew him when we were both very young Christians, and we've reconnected a few times since then. They spent a week with us in Wales nine years ago, when they came to make an excellent documentary about the Welsh revival called Awakened, which you can watch at this link.

The way that we love and cherish our own natural families point to this broader element of family—God's eternal family. What lies at the heart of revival is His great desire and purpose bring people of know Him, to embrace His Son, and" to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
May God bless you and your loved ones richly during this new year as we pray together for His coming Awakening,

Dick & Gladys


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