Dear Friends & Prayers:
While visiting with friends this week, I re-discovered a real spiritual treasure - In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon. In this powerful classic Christian novel from 1896, Sheldon was the author of "What would Jesus do?", which was a challenge put forth by the Rev. Henry Maxwell to his congregation. Perhaps you've noticed in recent years the WWJD emblem has been popularized in the mainstream Christian retail market. Well, In His Steps is where that comes from, and I highly recommend it. (You can download a free copy here!)
I was reading the Author's Forward out loud to my friend, where I found the following statement. "Mr. Bowden, the London publisher, sold over 3,000,000 copies of the penny edition on the streets of London." Immediately I was overpowered with the impact of this, and couldn't go on reading. What shattered my heart was the incredible contrast of today's total disinterest in the things of God. I was overwhelmed by a profound longing for such spiritual hunger to be awakened again in the hearts of this nation, and had to stop and pray together with my friend before I could read on. That was on Friday, and I still deeply feel the effect of that impression.
In the London of 100 years ago, the fact that three million copies of this book were sold speaks of a hunger for God that is unprecedented in our times! But today the prevalent condition in our modern society is one of nonchalant godlessness, like an undetected fatal cancer. So our prayers should be prayers of desperation for relief from this spiritual desolation. Some of David's Psalms come to mind when whe was in great adversity, or the cries to God for help of a (temporarily) repentant Judah when confronted by hordes of enemy invaders.
Not everything here is bleak, though, by any means. We continue to find more people praying in other parts of Wales, and realize that we are in good company. And we still are contacted by people that are encouraged by our being here, or have given us encouragement as well.
And even in the secular news, we see signs of Christian life. For example, one news article recently said, "A powerful army of nearly 100 Members of Parliament joined the growing backlash against British Airways over its decision to ban (its employees from wearing) the cross." And BBC reports elsewhere, "First Minister Jack McConnell has said public bodies must not break "the link between Christianity and Christmas". Mr McConnell also said trying to ignore the core message of Christmas was "political correctness gone mad".
So we heartily thank you for your continued prayers with us for God's outpouring of conviction and salvation for the people of Wales, the U.K. and the nations.
In His boundless love,
Dick & Gladys Funnell
Dear Friends & Prayers:
realize that autumn has fully settled in now, and just a few leaves remain on
the trees. We are still enjoying things from the garden, and have only had a
few nights of frost a couple weeks ago. About this time last year we had our
first snow, but I think that was not the norm. We are very thankful to have
our warm house now that it is getting colder!
With Thanksgiving coming up this week in America, we have been
asked a couple of questions.The first one was from someone in the U.S. who wanted
to know if they celebrate Thanksgiving here on the same date. Well, I must admit
that made me smile, because they don't celebrate it here at all. Many churches
and chapels seem to have a special Sunday service in October to offer thanks
for the harvest, but it's nothing like the American holiday with family gatherings
and 40 million turkeys getting the ax!
The other question was from an English friend who wanted to know
what our Thanksgiving was all
about. So I had a chance to share a bit of our history, and recount the story
of how the tradition began. It was a good opportunity to give testimony of the
Christian roots of America, and how central our dependence on God was for survival.
Gratitude for divine favor was our daily bread back then. We've come a long
way, baby! But way too far, I'm sad to say, from our beginnings. I sure hope
no liberal kooks try to change the name to "Take-It-For-Granted Day!"
In 1 Chronicles 29, when King David prays and gives thanks to
God after the offering taken for the building of the temple, he says in verses
17b and 18, "...and now with joy I have seen
Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. 18 O LORD God of
Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of
the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You."
Lord, may it be so in our day again!
arrival of cold weather has brought another change. We've "winterized"
the chapel - at least a corner of it! Last winter the average temperature inside
the chapel was 38 degrees F. We did get permission to use the small electric
element-type heaters, so we could turn around in front of them and toast our
legs a bit, but it was still really cold. So last month I asked for permission
to set up this little booth in the balcony, and happily they said that would
be fine, as long as it is just temporary and can be taken down for the monthly
meetings. So we got it done last week, and with a little fan-driven electric
heater, now we can actually keep warm without having to do the rotisserie dance
in front of the old "electric fires". As you can see, it's not a large
space, but at least the whole area stays pretty warm, and we can be a lot more
comfortable than last year. And so now we have the freedom to play our instruments
and worship and pray and stay longer.
Our big news just now is our upcoming trip to New Orleans to visit
our children in December, and we are really getting excited about that. Every
day now, several times a day, Gladys pokes me in the ribs and says, "Guess
what? We going to see the kids soon!" We'll be there for about four weeks,
and are counting the days until we get to see them again. We will miss see our
oldest son who is in San Diego with the Marine Corps, but we hope he will be
able to visit us this coming year.
Praying in beautiful Wales because of His wonderful grace,
Dick & Gladys
Dear Friends & Prayers:
It's hard to believe another week has zoomed by amid lots of activity. Last weekend our friend Tom Tyer was with us, and shared of his prophetic gifting with our friends at the nearby Rhyd Lewis fellowship which we visit frequently. Then Monday, after prayer at "our" chapel, we went to Moriah Chapel in Loughor where the 1904 Revival broke out. The first Monday of each month there is a gathering of people to worship and pray for the Celebration For The Nations which will be held July 28th - August 4th next summer in nearby Llanelli.
I'd like to encourage you to visit their web page, and pray about this important event. I believe it is going to make a significant contribution towards the coming Welsh Revival. Perhaps you would even consider making plans to attend. And if someone else comes to mind that you think may be interested, please forward this email or link along to them.
Another related request is, do you know any missionaries or believers that are living in any of the countries that which touched by 1904 Welsh Revival? I am trying to help our friends who are organizing the event to make any and all contacts possible, and to build awareness of it. These include most of Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the Americas. Do you know anyone in out-of-the-way places like Madagascar? If so, please direct them to the Celebration website, thanks. This is a real and practical way in which you can play a part in this exciting event, even if you can't come yourself!
Last Friday we had the particular blessing of visiting the two elderly sisters of a local Welsh pastor friend's wife. The older one, in the middle here, is terminally ill, and so we annointed her with oil and prayed for her, that she have an abundance of grace and joy, and that God's will be accomplished. Please keep this whole family in your prayers, as my pastor friend himself just had major surgery last week, and is starting a long period of recuperation.
And we also spent a wonderful time playing our instruments and worshipping together. It was a special time also because the younger of the two has spent 40 years as a missionary in Patagonia, and so speaks Spanish as well as her native Welsh! We had a good time discovering what songs we knew in common, and singing them together. And they also helped us with few other songs in Welsh that we have wanted to learn, but have never heard them sung. I have the words to many contemporary worship songs, but putting them together with the music is a real challenge in itself!
As always, thank you for your continued prayers and interest as we pray and encourage others to pray and prepare for revival in Wales, and the nations of the world.
In His amazing love,
Dick & Gladys Funnell
Dear Friends & Prayers:
Recently I was reading through the book of Joshua. It's certainly not the first time I've read through this book, but this time I "discovered" a couple of things that really impacted me. That is what I love about God's Word. It really is alive, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword!
At the end of chapter 11, it says that "the land rested from war". But these wars were extremely bloody, and I have always struggled a bit with all this harsh violence. The scriptures say that in many instances they killed men, women, children and everything, literally that "they left none breathing". And then chapter twelve gives a review of all the kings and countries that the Joshua and the Israelites conquered.
After I finished reading this section, I found myself trying to reason through these things again. I needed to rectify in my own mind that we do have a loving and merciful but just God, but these two concepts don't fit easily together. So I rationalized that these nations were clearly heathens, with detestable practices, were demon worshipers, etc, etc. I said to myself that the Lord was justified in doing what He did, as if I were to have some say in the matter, and I left it at that, but wasn't really satisfied with my results, but had never been able to find any better conclusion.
I got busy doing other things and didn't give it another thought. Then a couple hours later, in the space of three steps between the kitchen sink and the coffee maker, it was as if the Lord hit me right between the eyes with a two by four! The words of Genesis 6:5 came flooding into my spirit and mind, "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
I suddenly realized that all of those people that were decimated by Joshua were not any different. It was the same exact bloodline of sinful men that survived on the ark. And then I realized that I too have that same sinful and fallen human nature. I was immediately broken to the utmost and wept, and all I could say was "Lord I'm sorry for how I am. I'm so sorry for how we were, and still are."
And then in almost the next breath I remembered this wonderful truth expressed in Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Oh, how awesome is the love of God!
We know what we are made of and what we deserve, and yet we also know the glorious hope we have in God. And so this is the gap in which we stand as intercessors. In this great divide we stand on the bridge Christ has provided us, and implore His mercy on Wales, on America, on Israel and the nations of the world. Please join us in Jesus' own prayer, "..that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
In His love and service,
Dick & Gladys
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