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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Greetings from Washington, D.C.

Dear Friends and Prayers:

After foul weather scuttled our original flight plans, we arrived in Washington, D.C. on Friday afternoon and were delightfully greeted by our daughter Grace. It seemed hard to believe that we hadn't seen her in since January 2008! Perhaps our occasional video chats caused that sensation. It is such a joy to actually be with her again for this time. She is busy at work with World Vision, as well as looking for a permanent position in public health as her current contract ends with July. Thanks for your prayers that the Lord guide her steps.

We are really missing our prayer times in the chapel, and being in the middle of a huge metropolitan area is a big change. Of course we are happy to be here and recognize God's goodness and provision to enable our visit. We've been keeping our eyes and ears open as to the situation here in the U.S. and trying to hear the Lord as to how we can pray and encourage others to pray too.

Sunday morning I went to look for a place to pray and found my way to Arlington National Cemetery less than a mile away. As I began to meander among a few of the more than 200,000 graves here, I was struck with an enormous burden in prayer. It seemed so overwhelmingly clear that the ideals for which these countless men and women gave their lives have gotten lost in the fog of humanism and political correctness. I could only weep and grieve.

Surely the majority of these war dead from the Civil War onwards were knowers and lovers of God upon whose word and principles our nation was founded. And to think that the originating motivation for our country of "freedom of worship" has turned to banning school prayer and the absurd attempt to remove the name and memory God from public view was more than I could bear.

I found myself crying out to the Lord that surely the sacrifice and prayers of those lying here would still be heard in the halls of heaven. Just as God said to Cain, "The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground", I reminded Him of all those prayers, and our overwhelming national need for a true repentance and reformation.

It was fascinating to look at the vast variety of names and descriptions and dates on the gravestones. Here is one of a man was a "horseshoer" for the horse drawn artillery in warfare of a far different time than ours. From every background and office, great and small, rich and poor, the fruit of how their lives were invested is recorded in heaven's books. Not far from this area of simple headstones is a section of "more distinguished" persons, generals and admirals, and even presidents too, such as that of President William Howard Taft seen here.

There is much more than I was able to take in during my brief visit. The tombs of the Unknown Soldiers from different wars, memorials of many types. But they all point to one sobering fact. Just as each of our own lives will one day be weighed upon God's scales, our nation today is on the balance of God's Justice. Current national policies such as the honoring of the one true God, the sanctity of human life, the divine order of marriage and society, and the abandonment Israel, have been piling up on the wrong side of the scales.

We want to remind and encourage you that we must all cry out together that God not permit our Christian heritage to be brought to nothing. And as Paul says here in 1 Timothy 2, "1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

Our thanks and blessings to each of you in Jesus' name,

Dick & Gladys


Monday, May 11, 2009

Prayers and days in the sunny South!

Dear Friends & Prayers:


Among these wonderful days here in and around New Orleans with family and so very many friends, last Thursday was a special day here in the Kenner City Park. It was America's 58th "National Day of Prayer" and we joined together with countless thousands of saints praying around the United States. Clergy and Christian leaders from throughout the area joined members of the public and local politicians in marking the day. Prayers were offered for youth and schools, families and homes, as well as important national issues such as abortion.

This part of Louisiana was our home for sixteen years when we moved from Guatemala. Our children grew up and went to school here, and only blocks away is our home church where we loved and ministered to so many people. So it was a special delight to have the participation of young people who we watched grow up leading the worship and doing special songs for this important gathering for public prayer. The photo to the left was even on the front page of New Orleans' main newspaper the next day!

That evening we attended the English cell group that we used to lead before our move to Wales four years ago. A few of the same faces and other new ones are signs of movement and change, as groups have divided and some people haved moved to other areas. It has been so good catch up with old friends and enjoy their fellowship again. A few times we have asked ourselves, "Why in the world would we leave such a wonderful and loving church family behind?" But of course we knew God's calling was sure, and have been continually amazed at His faithfulness to us all this time.

We have been blessed with so many new and wonderful friends and relationships in Wales, and there is no other place on earth we'd rather be. In fact, we've already started missing home, and look forward to getting back again in another few weeks.

This Thursday we go from New Orleans to Washington, DC where we'll spend ten days with our daughter Grace and then go to North Carolina to visit our youngest son Richard. Then back to Washington and Virginia for a few more days and we fly home again in early June. We will also be visiting some old ministry friends during our time there and pray that we will be an encouragement to them. It is indeed wonderful to discover that in spite of the years and distance, the love with which the Lord binds our hearts together does last forever if we make the opportunity to discover it!

Could we ask you to please pray for our son Mike and his fiance? The job he has taken doesn't cover all of his bills, and he really needs to find a position with a salary closer to what he made before. He is taking what practical steps he can, but could seriously use some help from above. Thank you so much!

Thank also for your prayers, love and support for us and our work.

Love and blessings,

Dick & Gladys


Friday, May 01, 2009

Travels in America

Dear Friends and Prayers:

Greetings from Louisiana! We arrived here ten days ago, and are delighted to be spending time with our middle son Mike and his fiance Lauren. He is so glad to be working again after over three months of unemployment, even though he's only making a fraction of what he did before. He continues looking for work in his field of computer drafting or mapping, but this is far better than nothing.

We have been enjoying the warm weather here and almost forgotten what it's like. It is amazing how we've been able to adapt to the cold and wet weather in Wales, and see God's grace has helped us in so many practical ways. Back home in Cilgerran the leaves were just getting started in the large oaks and ash trees in the river valley, but here they are fully out and make a beautiful canopy in the tall trees in Mike's back yard. It is nice to see bluejays and cardinals other familar birds that we've missed in Wales. There is even a family of red-headed woodpeckers nesting in a tree outside.

After two days here, we drove north to Shreveport where we shared with an intercessory prayer group last Friday night. It was such a blessing to see old friends and meet new ones, and share some of the wonderful experiences the Lord has blessed us with in recent days. (Even the Saturday just before we left we were blessed to have a visit from the directors of the Welsh Prayer Breakfast in our home.) So we were all encouraged by testimonies of how God is drawing more and more people of prayer into new depths of intercession, and building relationships as well.

On Saturday we drove to Dallas where we spent two nights with our old friend Allan Aguiire and his family. We've known Allan since he was a kid in Guatemala almost thirty years ago! They have just launched out into a challenging new area of music ministry, Men As Trees Walking, so please remember them in your prayers! Then Sunday morning we were with a church that helps support us, and had the opportunity of sharing again some of what the Lord has been doing with us in Wales. Several people were really touched by the Lord and hope to be able to come join us on a short term prayer mission the in not-too-distant future. We also had a specially blessed time praying with some of them, and received some wonderful prayer for us and our work in Wales as well.

In Phillipians 1:8 Paul says, "For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ." And we see how our hearts are being knit together with love for the many praying saints we have been continually meeting of late. The exciting part of all this is knowing that we see only a tiny part of the larger picture. There are so many more people around the globe earnestly praying for God's intervention in human affairs than we'll ever know about here, but in the Spirit we know we have and awesome and unlimited God who is orchestrating prayers and events with absolute precision in the great scheme of things.

It has been a treat to drive through areas of rural America and see evidence of God's hand of blessing on this country. In comparison to the 3-4 % of church attendance in the U.K., the evidence of our Christian heritage may be waning, but the evidence of how powerful an influence it has been throughout our short national history is visible everywhere, as in this roadside sign. How we long for the days ahead when God once again moves throughout the hearts of America, Wales, and the nations of the world.

I believe there is an important key as to how we should pray in Jeremiah when he says in Lamentations 5:21, "Turn us back to You, O LORD, and we will be restored; Renew our days as of old." This makes it clear that it is only by God's initiative that things will happen. He is the only one that can turn us back to Himself. And so we press on in prayer, encouraging and exhorting one another to hold fast to the plow. We know He hears from heaven and will answer in His perfect time!

May His best blessings be yours,

Dick & Gladys


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