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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Glory in the North!

Dear Friends & Prayers:

Last weekend was filled with different activities. Saturday we headed north to Cymystwyth for two meetings, where we were just a year ago to pray in the geographical mid-point of Wales in the nearby mountains. The afternoon meeting was for prayer and intercession for the area, and also for that evening's meeting to commemorate the 1859 Welsh Revival that had a great effect here. Quite a few people from the local community came to hear a men's choir and a clear presentation of the Gospel, and that was a great blessing indeed.

This steep-sided valley was a large mining center in the 19th. century, where they extracted lead and other minerals. We stayed with friends right next to this old mine, and Sunday morning I walked up into the hills to pray. As I made my way along by abandoned old buildings and shafts sunk into the heart of the hills, I could imagine how grim life must have been then, the hardness, the drinking and other sins that go along where working men are thrown together. I continued along to the stream that comes tumbling down from the waterfall high up in the mountain, and when I started back, my perspective was now totally transformed.

As if the livings waters of the revival had repainted the entire scene before me, I could feel the reverberations of spontaneous songs of worship and praise that suddenly swept through this community. The warmth of the hearts of men whose lives had been transformed by the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the saving grace through Jesus' blood seemed now to fill the air. Joy and purpose, rather than stark survival, now permeated the surroundings, and my spirit soared with the recognition of God's own handiwork in this place. Saturday night's meeting couldn't hold a candle to what surely took place in the chapels here so many long years ago!

From there we headed for a village west of Conwy on Wales north coast to visit a elderly man named Arthur Burt, who at 97 years old is still ministering. He received a vision of a coming revival back in '30's and is still longing for the Lord's move. We had a wonderful time of fellowship and heard some Godly wisdom from his years of experience.We also took the opportunity to pray with him for strength and grace to see what God has in store for Wales.

On our way north, we drove through the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. This was our third time in this place, and although we only drove through, I had a most remarkable experience. As we went through the last part of town, below the huge old slate quarries on the mountains above, I was suddenly overcome by a palpable present of God's brooding over this area. I commented to Gladys that it was as if there were a dense dark cloud hanging above the town, and seemed as if I could reach up and almost touch it. It wasn't a "dark" darkness, but it was swollen and pregnant with revival! Perhaps like the dark clouds as the Lord came down on Mount Sinai. I could just feel it so powerfully as we drove through. I'd never experienced anything like this before, and it seemed like it just was waiting to be reached up to and it would release the glory of God all over this whole town and area.

Time didn't allow us to stop there, but I feel that we need to go back and spend a few days praying in that area. After we got home again, I read about how the Lord moved with mighty power in this very town and there were glorious conversions and thousands met together for extended times of Spirit led prayer and worship! So we are very encouraged by all that transpired over the weekend, and looking forward to each day with anticipation. We have visitors coming in from Iowa this weekend to pray with us in our chapel and key revival places. Please pray with us for His grace and hunger for more of Him to be imparted, and also especially for what He may have in North Wales in days ahead.

Thrilled by God's great love for Wales and the nations,

Dick & Gladys


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So glad to be back home!

Dear Friends and Prayers:

After a wonderful time in the U.S.A. with family and so many friends, and many miles driven on the right side of the road, it is great to be home again! You can imagine Gladys' delight to find the front of our house ablaze with Sweet Williams which she planted out earlier in the spring. They were only ten inches high when we left, so this was a colorful surprise.

Our return was marked by many blessings. We were greeted at the airport early Wednesday morning by our friend Kumar, who gave us a nice breakfast before he and his wife Jackie sent us on our way with a sweet time of prayer. And when we arrived home that evening, our "imported" house-sitters, Gareth and Ann from Vancouver B.C., welcomed us with a delicious supper and a very tidy house!

One of the best parts of our homecoming took place on our way back to West Wales. When we drove through Swansea we decided to stop at the hospital where our dear friend Julia Bettles has been for the past few months. Perhaps she was only resting, but as soon as we spoke her name she opened her eyes and her face lit up in a big smile of recognition. What a blessing to find her so responsive! We shared some things with her that we received in prayer earlier, and she was obviously touched by that as all our tears flowed freely. She still can't speak clearly, but seems to be making slow and steady improvement. Thank you so much for your prayers for Julia since we first asked three months ago. Please renew them and keep them active, as we are believing she will receive a total restoration and be used by the Lord with her harp playing and other ways too in the coming outpouring of God's grace.

Among all the many blessings we enjoy here in Wales, the best by far is the time we have to spend in chapel, doing exactly what we came here to do - praying and lending our hearts to the Lord on behalf of this tiny nation. This is the mainstay of our mission here, and we grow ever more aware of the privilege we have of simply being here! We have the freedom to come and go when we please day or night, and to pray and worship, read and proclaim God's word, and bring others along for prayer also from time to time.

In this picture I took yesterday from the top of the cemetery looking towards the village above, this year's wheat is growing green and tall, and the heads of grain are well formed and starting to fill out already. This gift of nature is such an amazing example of God's love and provision for humankind's physical needs. Yet the world marches on by, oblivious to His goodness. And a closer look reveals a pale rainbow very low in the sky, speaking also of His heavenly provision of grace and forgiveness, His love and promise of eternal life and purpose. But in the same way that it is not apparent at first glance, such also is the Kingdom of God. Once we know of it and look for it, evidence is abundant everywhere, but we need to look.

Our prayers in the coming days are that just as these heads of grain swell to fulness, that peoples hearts grow more and more aware of their need for God's grace in every facet of their lives. Not only do we need physical provision, but in every other way as well. The scripture encourages us in Proverbs 3: 6, "In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." Like a head of wheat has many grains, so there are many ways and thoughts in the heart of man, and all need to be brought into His marvelous light. And like the gentle light of this rainbow, we pray for an intensifying of His glory over this needy land, and that men's hearts be drawn to acknowledge that Jesus Christ alone is Lord and Savior.

Ever thankful in His fields of harvest,

Dick & Gladys


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Homeward Bound At last!

Dear Friends and Prayers:

 It seems time has raced away since we first arrived in Washington. We finished off our first week here in great style, with a combined Latin style birthday party for Gladys and Grace. Here Gladys is delivering the "toque de gracia" to the "piñata" full of candies! She has lots of family here, and my older brother and sister came down from New England with their spouses too. It was the first time that my siblings had ever met any of Gladys' family. We had a wonderful family time together, and there was lots of fun and laughter.

For our second week we went back to North Carolina with our youngest son Richard to visit with him on his own turf. It was a special treat to get a private tour of his workplace and see some of his design work.While he was gone overnight on business, we drove to Charlotte to visit some old ministry friends who we've known for well over 30 years. The following weekend our daughter came down for the weekend and we spent a day at a beach with perfect weather. (Meanwhile, back home in Wales it is mostly in the 50's and raining!) Then last Monday we drove back to Washington again with her.

It has been wonderful to spend time with our children in and around their work schedules. They are each learning life's lessons of independence and the responsibilties that entails, and it is a blessing to see God's faithfulness in taking care of them as he promised us before we left for Wales. Many times friends have asked us if it has been difficult to leave everything to be in Wales. We easily reply that the hardest part was leaving our kids behind. But these weeks have been a sweet reimbursement for our sacrifice, and we are very grateful for this time the Lord has permitted us.

Praying in different places around Washington has been an interesting and challenging time. While reading some of the words of President Abraham Lincoln on Saturday morning, I was once again impressed by the open acknowledgement of our very public commitment to and dependence upon Almighty God as a nation. There is no possible justification for our apparent wholesale abandonment and even opposition to any connection between ourselves and our Creator. Looking out from here over the reflecting pool, the Washington Monument and the Capital Building that houses our seats of government, here on the very steps where so many historical acts and speeches have taken place, it seems a pity that most of the many tourists that come and go have no concept of the spiritual overtones pervading this place.

This is a good place for prayer, and I am quite certain that there were others there that morning who also read Lincoln's words and are praying for a renewal of the American consciousness towards the spiritual heritage that have made the existence and survival of our nation possible.

Today we are living in times when it seems that the sustaining values we have known and held dear as a nation through our brief history are awash in the ebbs and flows of secular humanism and liberalism. Confronting the terrible conflict of the Civil War, Lincoln stated in his second innaugural address, "Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray ...." And so it is for us today, hoping and praying for a restoration of true righteousness to sustain this country through troubled times both here and abroad.

Now we are really looking forward to getting home again soon. It has been a time of refreshing and a unique opportunity to renew and gain fresh prayer burdens for the U.S.A., but we have been counting the days until our return to West Wales, the place the Lord has sowed us to stand in the gap and wait upon Him as Isaiah 32:15 says, "...until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, And the fruitful field is counted as a forest."

Relying on His all-sufficient grace,

Dick & Gladys


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