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Monday, May 31, 2010

Salvation revisits historic Soar-y-Mynydd!

Dear Friends and Prayers:

We are enjoying a visit from a friend from Singapore this week, and today we drove out to Soar-y-Mynydd, a very old Methodist chapel from the mid-1700's, for a picnic lunch and to spend some time in prayer. There is a quite a history to this place, which I quote here.

In April 1779 a revival broke out in the remote mountainous area of Soar-y-Mynydd, Cardiganshire. One Sabbath afternoon, whilst a very ordinary exhorter, Jack Edward Watkin of Llanddewibrefi, was preaching, the fire kindled, and 'numbers who had been so far hearers only became deeply concerned for their everlasting safety.' The meeting continued until daybreak on Monday morning. Daniel Rowland heard the news, and resolved to go and preach there.
'He preached, and the power was still present, and even mightier than on the preceeding Sabbath. On his return home he said to his friends, "It is a heath fire and will spread abroad." And it did spread.... until it reached many and far-distant localities in South and North Wales, and thousands were brought to seek everlasting life.'

After lunch we spent some time in worship, and for some reason I suggested we go inside, and that perhaps someone would come inside and be saved. We hadn't been inside more than a few minutes when a couple about our age came in for a look. And by God's amazing grace, within a few minutes we prayed with them and they surrendered their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ with tears and joy. What a glorious day in God's goodness!

Time has been very full and busy lately, and I will give a brief recap here. Saturday we had fun celebrating Gladys' birthday. We had a bunch of friends over for a barbeque, including 15 Koreans that are connected to the Celebration For The Nations, coming up the last week in July. It was a good opportunity for some of our many friends to meet and share for the first time.

We had invited everyone for 3 p.m., and the weather cleared up just in time, much to our relief. Again a sample of God's goodness in every detail. After lots of food and deserts, Gladys introduced everyone to the Guatemalan game of "cascarones" - decorated eggshells filled with confetti - which are handed around and then broken on the heads of whoever you can catch! Nobody had never seen this before, and it was quite a surprise and hilariously fun. A good time was had by all (we hope!).

The previous Saturday we participated in a tri-county prayer meeting in South Wales, similar to the one we hosted here last spring. It was an amazing clear and hot afternoon, and we had the opportunity to go up onto a high hilltop with spreading views over three counties that had been engulfed in the revival of 1904-05. There is a full account of that meeting at this link.

We are looking forward to a busy summer, and what things the Lord has prepared for us and the many dedicated saints here. We continue to meet more wonderful people who are praying and longing for God's outpouring on this tiny but significant nation.

Please join us in praying that more and more Christians will find themselves with divine encounters like to one we enjoyed today. How the world needs to know the goodness of God and the Good News of salvation and eternal life in the midst of a world that is awash in the tide of relativism, uncertainty and purposelessness.

Mercifully rooted in the love of Christ,

Dick & Gladys


Friday, May 21, 2010

Blessings away and blessings at home!

Dear Friends & Prayers:

Since my last update there has been so much going on I haven't had time to write, and the longer I wait the harder it is to catch up! Last week we were invited to participate in a small prayer gathering near Welshpool in mid-Wales. It was at a prayer and retreat house built on the mountains almost on the border between Wales and England, a wonderful place to pray for both countries.

This is a scene toward the end of one of the prayer sessions and I was fortunate enough to capture this picture. It seemed such a clear statement of the place where we need to be in the Lord for our prayers to be effectual!

During a break one afternoon I went for a walk out across a field to the border itself, and through an old gate into England. From there I found my way up to the hilltop where I had great views of both sides. I had a good time praying blessings into England from Wales and vice-versa. You can watch and pray along with me here!

We were home again for two days and we've been getting the rest of the garden prepared and planted, and trying to keep up with the runaway grass which has been growing with wild abandon. We also had a very special time of prayer with some new friends who dropped by last Sunday and witnessed once again His great goodness and healing grace.

We continually realize how of ourselves we can do nothing at all, but His goodness knows no boundaries! I was reminded once again this morning while reading 1 Peter 4:11. "... If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."

Then Tuesday we headed off again for our monthly meeting in Blaenau Ffestiniog, where we had a really good time of prayer that evening. The following morning we met with a friend and spent part of the day together sharing and walking and praying in the village. Although we don't have much clarity about how things may happen, it does seem to be getting clearer that God does have a special plan for this place. Please remember to pray for Blaenau Ffestiniog!

Thank you for your continued interest and prayers.

May God bless you with His eternal grace,

Dick & Gladys


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Five Years of Praying in Wales!

Dear Friends and Prayers:

It's hard to believe that five years ago this morning we found ourselves standing with half of our worldly possesions outside Heathrow Airport in London! Our Welsh adventure had begun and here we were full of expectation and perhaps a little trepidation too!

It has been an amazing time and we have seen the Lord's faithfulness in sustaining and blessing us from day one. For example, we had rented a car for a week and hoped to be able to buy a vehicle by then. But on drive out to Wales I said, "Lord, it would be really cool if I could find a cheap car quickly and turn in the rental tomorrow and save a few hundred bucks." It was just a casual mention if you know what I mean, not at all a serious prayer.

Can you believe that later that first afternoon when I went up to the chapel, the caretaker had a little car that he sold me for about $100 more than what the week's rental would have cost? God's amazing grace has provided for us day by day by day, and we continue to be amazed and filled with thanksgiving.

On our way back from the chapel one day last week we met this unlikely band of travelers coming up the road. These foxhounds live on a nearby farm and were out for a little training run. They were obviously as happy as could be to get out of their pens for some excercise and fun. If I had that many tails, I'd be wagging them all too at God's goodness to us!

Yesterday we enjoyed a very nice visit by two couples who have been drawn to move to Wales in recent years. It was our first time meeting the younger couple who came here with four small children. It was encouraging for them to hear our story of God's calling us here. And of course for us to hear some of their stories was exciting too.

They each spend regular time praying in "their own" historic old chapels also, so it was very encouraging for us all. We spent some precious time of prayer together in "our" chapel, and look forward to visiting and praying in "theirs" too at some point.

We keep finding more and more pieces to the great puzzle the Lord is putting together here in Wales. We have been invited later this week also to go to spend a couple of days with another small group of intercessors to pray for revival across Wales. So we are looking forward to meeting still more of the people that the Lord is putting into position as part of a mighty army of prayers.

During our preparations for the move here, more than once people asked us how long we intended to stay here. My answer was that I hadn't heard a specific time from the Lord, but that we were thinking anywhere between five to fifteen years, or until revival breaks out and the Lord shows us our work here is done. And here we are today, which means the coming revival is five years closer than it was when we first arrived. And that is exciting!

Recently I was reading in the Psalms one morning and this portion practically leapt off the page as the Lord showed me how he has kept us so faithfully in His hand.

Psalm 26
"13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.

14 Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!

So as we enter this next stage of our mission here, we look forward with strengthened hearts and sweet anticipation of the goodness of the Lord being made evident to multitudes, and His spirit being poured out on all flesh!

Thank you so very much for your interest, your prayers and your support. We know we are not in this alone, and we rejoice through faith in Jesus our Savior and His loving plans for a needy world.

Dick & Gladys


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Hands in the dirt and hearts towards heaven...

Dear Friends and Prayers:

One of the joys of spring is working outside, trying to catch up on so much green growth that demands our attention. And then there is that back-aching joy of turning our patch of dirt back into a productive garden, and the many jobs that involves. This little retaining wall of redeemed slate will hopefully keep the raised beds from washing over the edge.

There is something about digging in the dirt that is very good for the soul. It brings things into a healthy perspective in the midst of a world that is filled with distractions and abstractions. We humans are extremely good at finding ways to not deal with the ultimate realities of life. We seem to be addicted to distractions.

And by abstractions, I mean that most of our experience in this modern world is quite far removed from the simple process of maintaining life itself. It really is quite simple: you dig in the dirt and plant a few seeds, a little warmth and rain and sunshine, and after a while you get some food to eat. End of story. Well no, actually because of this, our story now goes on! Get it?

Without what comes out of the ground, or what eats what comes out of the ground, that's the end of the story! So all thanks are due to God for the dirt, the air, the rain, the sun, the seeds, etc........ We don't have anything that doesn't come through His basic provision.

Of course you get it. But the world doesn't. The world lives on layer upon layer of abstraction and fluff that blinds their eyes to our total dependence on Him. That is what never ceases to amaze me, and wrenches at my heart at the same time. We too live in these layers of fluff, and so constantly need to cut through and get down to the bedrock of "In Him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)

God in His goodness gives us much more than just the basics. And once our eyes have been opened by His touch in our lives, the immense beauty that surrounds us in the natural world makes us evermore aware of just how great that goodness is.

But back to the fluff of abstraction with which modern man cocoons himself. All the wonders of modern science and technology tease us mortals with illusions of power and dominance and wonderful intelligence. ("Vanity of vanities" said Solomon.) And yet the most ironic thing is that the more we know, the dumber we get. We just don't get it!

This image from the Hubble telescope is staggering evidence of our smallness and God's majestic omnipotence. Recently I was reading Job and this portion in chapter 26 absolutely blew me away.

7 He stretches out the north over empty space;
He hangs the earth on nothing.
8 He binds up the water in His thick clouds,
Yet the clouds are not broken under it.
9 He covers the face of His throne,
And spreads His cloud over it.
10 He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters,
At the boundary of light and darkness.
11 The pillars of heaven tremble,
And are astonished at His rebuke.
12 He stirs up the sea with His power,
And by His understanding He breaks up the storm.
13 By His Spirit He adorned the heavens;
His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
14 Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways,
And how small a whisper we hear of Him!
But the thunder of His power who can understand?

In the face of this profound greatness and the infinite grace of His mercy towards us, it should make our hearts cry out like Isaiah's,

64:1 Oh, that You would rend the heavens!
That You would come down!
That the mountains might shake at Your presence—
2 As fire burns brushwood,
As fire causes water to boil—
To make Your name known to Your adversaries,
That the nations may tremble at Your presence!

Earnestly yearning for His outpouring,

Dick & Gladys


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