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Monday, December 21, 2009

Family News and a white Christmas in Wales?

Dear Friends & Prayers:

Saturday morning we awoke to our first covering of snow on the ground, and though it didn't last all day, it certainly made things bright and beautiful! The patches of sunlight coming through the windblown clouds overhead made for some wonderful views as highlights and shadows danced through the woods and across the hills.

It's hard to believe we're already coming to the end of the year, and once again we look back with wonder and thankfulness for the Lord's goodness to us during 2009. He has joined us with some awesome prayer partners from around the nation and other parts of the world, and we been blessed by His care and support in this respect. We also have seen His hand countless times, providing for us from unexpected sources when things were difficult. We are so glad to know He is always faithful!

Yesterday afternoon we met our youngest son Dicky at the train in Carmarthen. He will be with us for a week, and of course we are delighted to have him here with us. He has just finished packing up his house and his company's design department in North Carolina, and will be taking up residence in southern California where he has been relocated to upon his return. It has been great just catching up on all the changes in his life, hearing about his work experiences, new responsibilities, etc. This is the first visit we've had from one of our children since before we moved here from Beulah just over two years ago, and look forward to a week together over Christmas.

Also in the plans were to have our daughter Grace here. Originally she was to have arrived last Friday, but she has been "stranded" in Washington, DC since November where she has been "telecommuting" with her office in Rome. She was sent to get the necessary visa to continue her work there, but due to administrative delays, the visa is still not ready. She has re-booked a flight for tomorrow night, but it will take something just short of a miracle for that to happen. Your prayers for her will be much appreciated!

There have been some positive elements to this situation however. She got to spend Thanksgiving in Washington with her cousins from Gladys' side of the family and they all had a great time together. From there she went to New Orleans for two weeks where she carried on with her work in Rome, and visited with her many lifelong friends there. She also had a chance to spend time with our middle son Mike, as you can see in the picture here.

Mike has finally found a better paying job than his first "survival" job after nearly six months of unemployment since losing his computer mapping job last November. He still hopes to find another job in his field, but meanwhile is happy to be able to make ends meet again!

He has plans to get married next year and so getting this present job was a real blessing and answer to prayers. Of our four children, he is the only one still living in Louisiana, and thankfully is not in an area endangered by the hurricanes there.

Our oldest son Peter, a recruiting officer for the US Marine Corps, is in his second year of a three year assignment in Victorville, California. He seems to like his job, and finds time to enjoy himself as you can see here. Sunshine and hot weather are not as scarce there as here, and we wish we could find a way to swap some of our weather for his!

With Dicky living and working in California we will have two kids in the same area, and are glad they'll be able to have some more contact with each other. We also hope for a chance to visit them towards the end of next year. We haven't seen Peter for several years and look forward catching up with him and share some of that California climate.

We want to take this opportunity to wish you all a special and blessed Christmas. May your times together with family and friends be joyful, and may the presents of Christmas be far outweighed by the abiding presence of Christ in your lives.

In admiration of His loving kindness,

Dick & Gladys


Monday, December 14, 2009

Intercessors meet in Blaenau Ffestiniog!

Dear Friends and Prayers:

Last Thursday evening Gladys and I met with ten other praying saints in the home of our friends Eric and Jane in this part of Blaenau called Manod. Most of us had not met before, but a common desire to see revival come to this town and surrounding areas brought us together.

After brief introductions and a time of worship, we made time for people to share from their experiences and their burden for the area. One sister well on in years has been praying for the area since the 1970's! Others shared some prophetic words and impressions that gave us some goals to pray about.

I described the strong impression I received in June and some of our experiences on subsequent trips, and then we got with got down to the business at hand - crying out to the Lord for His mercy to come and dispel the darkness that besets this town with His glorious light! It was a really significant time and some powerful and effective praying took place.

Everyone was very encouraged by what took place, and plans to meet again in January were enthusiastically approved by all. It seems like people were just waiting for an opportunity to pray, and we were delighted to be able to facilitate the meeting. A few others who weren't able to make it plan to be there in January, so that is exciting too!

This incline apparently continues upwards without end through mountains of slate waste, and seems to portray the heaviness surrounding the area. Yet in the face of this it is so liberating to remember Jesus' words in Matthew 17:20, "... assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." I know that all of our faith was strengthened by the meeting, and we expect to see mountains moved and the glory of the Lord breaking out in dazzling strength!

It is interesting to note that Gladys and I actually hiked up this very same slope in the spring of 2003 when we spent a month here praying about moving to Wales indefinitely. As we drove through the town, we were just "drawn" up here. Little did we know then that this place would become part of our "prayer itinerary" years later. The Lord is so full of surprises!

After nearly two months of rain, we had beautiful weather for our trip to North Wales and we are so thankful for the change. It has turned colder - Sunday morning saw temperatures in the mid-twenties - and winter is upon us now for sure. But with some sunshine and blue skies during our less than eight hours of daylight, it makes it a lot nicer!

Please continue to remember our friend Julia Bettles and her family in your prayers - she is still in the hospital, and is slowly improving, but she still has a long way to go. Also for our friend Jane in Blaenau who has struggled with chronic fatigue syndrome for many years. Prayer for her Thursday night brought a marked improvement, but we would love to see her totally restored. Your prayers for both these ladies are greatly appreciated and do make a difference!

Thank you for your continued interest and prayers for us and our work here in beautiful Wales.

In His inestimable love,

Dick & Gladys


Thursday, December 03, 2009

A call to watch and pray . .

Dear Friends and Prayers:

In Luke 21:36-38, Jesus said, "'Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.' And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet. Then early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him."

His exhortation to watch and pray is a timely reminder of what our priorities should be. Last weekend we received a prophetic word that the Lord is about to shift gears for us and things will start to happen faster. So with all the more reason we need to focus our hearts and minds on Him.

This beautiful sunrise a couple days ago highlighted the end of verse 38. Early in the morning is when we get to see things like this - less than an hour later it turned grey and rained the whole day! I noticed it said all the people went to hear Him. These were folks that really were hungry for God, and didn't want to miss out on anything - they were living in exciting times.

I believe that we too are living in exciting times, and that includes a challenge to all of us as well. Watching and praying takes on more of an urgency - earnestly seeking the Lord for His guidance and wisdom. Again, as we read of all the people coming to hear Jesus early in the morning, it speaks getting into His word and prayer. He also said, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God..." and pray we are compelled by the Spirit to run to Him at all times!

Jesus says in John 5:24, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." So as we enter into His word and His word enters into us, and occupies our hearts, we are continually being passed from the perspective of a dying world into an outlook of joy and abundance of lively hope in Christ. That equips and enables us to be a blessing to those around us from day to day.

Several times during the last few weeks I've been strongly reminded about Blaenau Ffestiniog. And so we are organizing a small prayer meeting there next Thursday and will make an overnight trip there. We plan to do this on a monthly basis and hope to see more people get involved as the Lord leads them. We appreciate your prayers for those that be called to pray, and for the Lord's plans for that needy area.

Some news with us is that our youngest son and daughter will be joining us here over the Christmas holidays, and we are excited and thankful for such a blessing to have them here with us!

Thank you for your love and prayers, and may God's blessings shower upon you,

Dick & Gladys


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