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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hearts of Gratitude

Dear Friends:

Spring has come quite early this year to West Wales. In spite of the fact that two weeks ago it snowed and was so cold here, there are already crowds of daffodils in bloom in several places, and countless more on the way. Going to a prayer meeting Thursday night, there was a very long line of daffodils planted along the fence, but only the first few had opened up. And as we were praying, the Lord reminded me of that picture, and showed me that so it is in His Kingdom. There are wonderful things already taking place throughout the Body, but this is just the beginning, and "we ain't seen nothin' yet!"

Then Friday I got another one of those encouraging emails that keep showing up, and I'd like to share it with you here:

"Greetings to you in the all conquering name of JESUS. My husband and i are pastors from Nigeria recently moved to Cardiff because we have a passion to see revival fire burn here again. so glad to see you share the same. thank you for the wonderful testimonies they are an encouragement to us. may the good Lord contiue to bless and inspire you. Eniola Amona."

Isn't that awesome how the Lord keeps on drawing people into Wales with hearts and hands prepared to bring in the harvest that is coming? And as we hear stories from other parts of the world as well, we are looking forward to all the Lord has in store for those of us that love and serve Him, and those that will learn of His great love in the near future!

In the worship service this morning I had a wonderful experience. Our dear old friends Alex & Renie brought an earthenware goblet and saucer to serve communion with. Renie had made them over 30 years ago when we worked together at Maranatha Pottery Works in Eureka, California. As we sang, "Give thanks, with a grateful heart..." during worship I was overwhelmed by the goodness of our Loving Saviour. I could no longer restrain tears of gratitude and love for the Lord. I felt that I was just a small stone on the bottom of the river of God's amazing goodness and mercy which has been flowing over my life for the last 33 years. And as I realized afresh this amazing and privileged life he has given us, I couldn't help but long for the days when others come to know His forgiveness and unfailing love. It just doesn't seem fair somehow that we enjoy His fellowship while others perish without it.

So this fuels the fires of intercession in our hearts, and I hope it does likewise in yours. Days are coming when multitudes will be clamoring to know the simple truths of the Gospel. Please pray with us that we will all be ready to give reason for the glorious hope that lies within us through His grace. "Thank you Lord Jesus for all the things you have done, and are yet to do on the earth today!"

Yearning that all might come to know Him,

Dick & Gladys


Sunday, February 18, 2007

The ten minute tribulation!

Dear Friends & Prayers:

Yesterday our landlord called to say that he was going to be meeting a builder at our house in about twenty minutes and wanted to know if I would be around. I asked him if he was going to do much needed repairs on the south wall, and he said that was part of it, but there was more to it than that. He needed to talk to me about it and would be right over.

Well, perhaps you can imagine what began to go through my mind - I thought he might be fixing it up to sell. Because our initial rental was for six months, and continued thereafter on a month to month basis, he could give us a month's notice to move out! And after the five months and seven moves to took us to get this house, and the huge amount of work we had put into fixing and painting, etc., that idea was totally unsettling. Our vegetable garden had also been a major undertaking, and I even envisioned myself rolling up the fencing wire and pulling up the posts to take with us.

Then there was all the stuff we have acquired during nearly a year and a half, and a housefull would be a major operation. Would we have to squeeze into a trailer again until we could find a place? Could we even find an affordable place now? Maybe we'd find a place that has broadband? . . .

All of this and more had already raced through my mind before I got to the living room to tell Gladys! She was quiet for a minute and had a blank look of shock on her face. I told that I wasn't sure the landlord wanted to sell, but that seemed the most likely scenario. She had been watching a snooker match and said the first thing she thought about was the television, which belongs to the house. She really enjoys all the great soccer games here! Then there were all the things to be moved . . . After talking and imagining for a few minutes, we decided it would better to pray. As we thanked the Lord for all His wonderful goodness up to this point, and reminded Him that our lives were in His hands, He reminded us afresh that our trust in Him has been rewarded in every way possible by His faithfulness. And so immediately we were at peace again, and just thanked Him for the plans He has in mind. This took our minds off of temporary things and put things in the right perspective again.

It turned out that what our landlord wants to do is to divide the property in two. The fairly large "front yard" that goes up to the main road through Beulah is really the rear of the house, and the view out our kitchen window is that lawn and the houses across the road. He wants to build another house on that part and sell it. That would leave us with our vegetable garden in tact in the "real" front yard, and we still would have the beautiful views from our living room which faces down into the valley and across the fields and hills to the east! He said is very happy to have us as tenants and assured us that we'll be able to stay here long term. The Lord is always good, and what a blessing it is to be able to rest in Him!

How true rings God's simple promise in Mathew 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

Thank you for your interest, prayers and support!

Dick & Gladys


Monday, February 12, 2007

A crispy frost and snow in Wales

Dear Friends & Prayers:

Last week temperatures dropped severely, and made for a few days of beautiful scenery but terrible driving conditions in many parts of Wales and the U.K. Wednesday morning's bitter cold (22 F. is cold for here!) brought a heavy frost that wrapped things in icy crystals. It looked like hairs standing on end on the railings of this bridge a mile down the valley from us, as if a freezy monster had gone by and given it a good scare!

The fields were glazed in a delicate white cloak, and gave everything a wonderful newness about it. Even the sounds of the woods are heightened and clearer, the birds songs and stirring breeze contributing to the dazzling clarity of the morning sun and symphony. Seeing everything enveloped by frost like this gives me such a clear picture of how we would love to see the world made aware of God's presence. The moisture in the the morning air is always present but invisible, but the freezing cold makes it appear as nature works its "magic". In the same way we know the Lord's presence is everywhere, and we are praying for the right conditions to bring it into the realm of the tangible.

Acts 17:28 says, "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being." How we long for this awareness to break through into the world we live in. And as we continue here, we grow ever more confident that the day is drawing nearer when this very thing will come to pass. Earlier last week we were at a monthly prayer meeting that we attend, and heard some great testimonies from a brother about the Lord's workings in surprising places, including the halls of the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff!

Then late that night snow began to fall and we awoke Thursday to another whole new glimpse of the world. About three inches of fluffy snow had fallen and blanketed everything in pure white. The wind had blown it into drifts and things looked totally different than the previous morning. With schools and many businesses closed, traffic through our little village was minimal, and sounds were now muffled by this latest addition of our landscape. In a nearby field we saw children sliding on the snow, and enjoying their extra day off. More than 800 schools had been closed in the U.K. due to the weather, so there a lot of happy children throughout the British countrysides! By lunchtime however it was melting off the roads, and things began to get back to normal. So we were able to get to the chapel with no difficulty, and enjoy the newly painted landscape on the way!

Thanks for your continued prayers and interest. And as you pray, ask the Lord that once we, you and us, and all His body, have seen His glorious light, that things will never "get back to normal" in our lives, and that we continue to have special and "frosty" days in His presence!

In His mighty love, Dick & Gladys Funnell


Monday, February 05, 2007

Reconnecting the dots

Dear Friends & Prayers:

Recently we were praying in the chapel cemetery. It was the first sunny day in a while and we were making the most of it. In the hedge the snowdrops were coming up and so we went over for a closer look. We can just see the buds starting to split open and show line of white as they make their push upwards towards what may be an early spring. Soon they will look like these from last year.

Upon closer examination I noticed that several plants had their little root bulb mostly exposed because of the heavy winds and winter rains, and one in particular was totally out of the ground. Its root was practically dried out, with just the tip barely in the ground at all, and the green shoot only an inch long. So I made a slot in the ground with my pocketknife, and reinserted this forlorn little plant in hopes that its life could be restored.

Later that day when we were praying with some friends at our home, the Lord brought this scene back to mind. I realized that this little snowdrop was like several believers that we have met in the area, who have been uprooted by the rains and storms of circumstance. They are hanging on to their hope in God by a tiny thread, and have little or no source of stability and nourishment for their spiritual lives through fellowship with other believers. The dynamics of "normal" church life have left them discouraged and disconnected, or perhaps offended or bored or burned out.

As I shared this we began to pray for these many beloved ones of the Lord. I know there are many more like this, and that are in need of a little good earth around their roots. We don't know who most of them are, but the Lord has called them by name, and they are His. So we have been asking the Lord to nurture and restore hope and strength to these saints and bring them into fellowship again. Psalm 68:5-6 says, "A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity..."

I know that this condition of isolated saints does not only happen in Wales, is all too common everywhere. So please pray with us that the Lord would bring these solitary ones in to be connected with families of faith. Let's pray with our eyes and ears open to the needs around us, so that Jesus be glorified in many thankful and joyful hearts.

In His nurturing love, Dick & Gladys Funnell


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