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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Europe's largest county fair!

Dear Friends and Prayers:

Once again time has rushed by in a blur, and I apologize for not having written in such a long time. (Or perhaps some of you are glad for a little pause! ;o) With nearly three weeks to cover, it makes it a challenge. But if a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps I can make a long story short!

Some good news on the family front - our son Michael, 27, is getting married in late October to Lauren, his long time girlfriend! So of course we are excited and very pleased about that. We are planning to be back in the States for the wedding, and really look forward to seeing all of our kids together - it will be the first time in over 6 years! Also, Mike and Lauren were able to buy a house last month, so they will be the first ones to really "settle down". Gladys' sketch here bears the message, "Don't get all wild preparing for the wedding!"

We spent most of last week at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in the heart of mid-Wales. As I mentioned last time, we were part of the hospitality team that manned a booth among the nearly one thousand trade stands for the Christian Rural Network. There are a few other Christian organizations also present at the show, and that is a real blessing - it is a fertile field indeed. I understand this is now the largest event of it's kind in Europe. Builth Wells' normal population of about 3000 is flooded by about 60,000 visitors each of the four days of the show. It is quite an amazing production, and you can imagine the logistic challenges of parking, moving and feeding so many!

There was way more than I can describe, but here is link to a short video that gives you a great overview of all that goes on there. There were over a dozen people helping out in the tent, and lots of people drop by just to sit and rest a while and enjoy a cup of tea and a chat.

Small talk is easy, and there are always opportunities to share our faith with people as well as pray for their needs if they want. It was a blessing to see how different ones' gifts came into play. It was also especially fun to see how Gladys' natural ability to engage anyone in conversation opened so many doors for her. She roamed around from booth to booth meeting people, and even made some follow-up visits with fresh made corn tortillas!

With both Gladys and myself, people immediately notice our accents and inevitably ask what we are doing here in Wales. That is always an open door to talk about theLord's amazing love for this land, revivals past and future, and that we are here praying for them. It gets pretty interesting sometimes!

One of the things we easily notice is the amazing variety of nature and natural resources that Wales is blessed with. Although the copious amounts of rainfall can be tedious at times, but the beauty of the land and its natural wealth make up for it. And actually, we've been enjoying the best summer weather in three years!

In the midst of all God's beauty and bounty, it is still hard to understand why people resist the knowledge of He who made us! It seems the multitudes would overpower us with their unbelief, and I have to echo the question that Joshua puts to the Lord in chapter 7:9, "... Then what will You do for Your great name?”

As we press on in this privileged work the Lord has called us to, we rejoice in that His promises are true, as His word says in Joshua 21:45. "Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass."

May the God of all hope bless you abundantly,

Dick & Gladys


Thursday, July 08, 2010

Signs of the times – Just Passing Through!

Dear Friends and Prayers:

Once again the summer pace of activities seems to be accelerating here! The last Saturday in June we were in Bath about fifteen miles past across Severn River in England. Gladys was kindly invited by friends to attend a women's conference there. While she and another friend were enjoying a wonderful time in the Lord with about 700 other ladies, I did a little sightseeing.

Bath is a picturesque and historic old town, named after the Roman thermal baths that were built up here in the first three centuries A.D. Of all the photos I took, this one on the right seemed to be the most important. As I walked along the sidewalk (pavement in UK English!), this message came into view, transcending the centuries since Jesus times.

We are all just passing through this life. But because He did die for our sins, we are "through traffic" moving on towards eternal life. For those that don't follow the signs, life is an endless snarl of twisting turns that lead to frustration and eternal loss. And so we pray He show the Way to every passer by.

Just as we were checking in to our hotel near Bath, I got a call from some friends in Florida who were on their way to a prayer mission in Israel but had to change plans at the airport. So we helped arrange things for their time here, and even received them here in the cottage that was our first temporary home in Wales for a couple of nights. We shared some brief but precious times with them, and they blessed us greatly with their prayers and gifts.

The most special thing was only two days before going to Bath we learned that our daughter Grace was going to be able to visit! Her last visit in February was just too short, so we were delighted to have her for a longer visit. We picked her up last Monday night and she was with us until yesterday morning. We haven't had that kind of uninterrupted time with her since we shared an apartment with her in New Orleans before moving here five years ago.

She has finished her time in Rome with Save the Children/World Food Program, and is on her way back to Washington DC in hopes landing a new job soon. There is a possible short-term position there, and then she hopes to get a longer assignment with the World Food Program's Latin American regional office in Panama City, which would be ideal! So can you please pray again for her, that God would guide her steps and strengthen her faith in these uncertain times.

We had mostly sunny weather and enjoyed some short excursions in our local area, as well as taking in a few games of the World Cup soccer championship. We also had a special opportunity, thanks to the generosity of our friends from Florida, to take a day trip with Grace to Skomer Island off the southwestern Pembrokeshire.

This is a seabird sanctuary, and home to thousands of puffins, and it was fascinating to watch them moving around among their burrows where they raise their young, and diving off the cliffs into what looked like pretty awkward flight and then plunging into the sea! So we all had a great time, hiking around the precipitous edge of the island and enjoying amazing close-up views of these curious and cute little birds. There were lots of other species, but puffins have always been favorites of mine ever since I was a child, so I just may have enjoyed myself more than Grace and Gladys!

As I said, summer is now underway with a rush of activities. Grace left yesterday morning, and next week we're back up to Blaenau Ffestiniog once again for our monthly prayer meeting there. The following week we will be going again to the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in Builth Wells. Like last year, we will be part of a hospitality and prayer team that reaches out to the nearly 250,000 people that visit the show from all over the UK and some other countries as well. So we appreciate your prayers for these different activities. We know that "...in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9)

As always, we earnestly thank you for your continued interest, prayers, and gifts of support!

Bound by the wondrous love of Christ,

Dick & Gladys


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