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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Louisiana Lagniappe & Sonshine!!

Dear Friends:

We've been in Louisiana now close to two weeks, and don't know where the time has gone. It has been especially wonderful to see our family. Our first Sunday back we visited our home Verbo Church in Kenner where we served for over 16 years.

We stayed with Mike and Lauren, and they organized a friends and family gathering in their home in Hammond with lots and love and good eats. Here we are with our son Mike and his sister Grace on the right, our co-in-laws Jimmy and Judith, and Mike's wife Lauren and her sister Jill on the left.

The weather here has been perfect - warm spring sunshine and the bright greens of new leaves and growth everywhere. It seems about two months ahead of Wales in that sense, but I doubt if we'll see temps in the low 80's like here now. We're also glad we will be gone before the serious summer heat gets cranked up.

Gladys is loving the weather too, and enjoys being outside and not having to dress in layers! It is always fun to be with her and watch her inimitable way with people. It didn't take her long to befriend these kids in Mike's neighborhood and have some fun in the Louisiana sun!

She is also beginning to feel some noticeable improvement in her digestive system, for which we praise the Lord for His goodness! She is carefully adding some things back into her diet, and it has been great to see her enjoying some bites of ice cream and other goodies that she's had to do without for a few years.

Yesterday we visited a very large Baptist church here in Covington where we are staying now. The old church pictured here would almost fit in the hallway! We really enjoyed worship among such a great number of saints. It was such a change from the much smaller congregations of Cardigan where we usually visit, and so alive and vibrant! The pastor invited me to a men's breakfast and prayer time and so I'm hoping for some good grits and real American bacon!

This coming Friday we are off to Tallahassee, Florida to share with a group of house churches at a weekend get-together about things we have been learning on intercessory prayer during our time in Wales. We are looking forward to the experience, a first for us, and hope to be a blessing and encouragement to them. We appreciate your prayers for this event.

In our last update we asked your prayers for our friend Norman Williams. We just learned yesterday that he has been ushered into Glory after five weeks in the hospital. Please keep his wife and family in your prayers over these next days. They will no doubt be flooded with visits by friends and family as they are a much loved and respected farming family in Pembrokeshire. Pray that the truth of the priceless gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ be known clearly by all.

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,"    Hebrews 2:9-11

Because of Him we look ahead with love and anticipation,

Dick & Gladys


Thursday, March 08, 2012

America or bust! ... And a sheep story: "Baaaah!!"

Dear Friends and Prayers:

Time is really racing by now - hard to believe that next Wednesday we'll be back in the U.S.A! We are really looking forward to seeing friends and family, and feeling some warm spring weather in Cajun Country!

Here is Gladys at the door of the chapel with our wonderful friend Brenda, who we have known almost as long as we've been in Wales. She has had a calling to go as an intercessor to France, and so we have a lot in common. The Lord has really knit our hearts together in a special way, as we each bear in our hearts a country that was not our own.

She has been living in France for four or five months and God has really confirmed to her heart that is where she belongs for now. We prayed in the chapel that the Lord give her a supernatural impartation - like a "jump-start" off the battery of our seven years here. Please remember her in your prayers!

The days are longer now that spring is upon us, and it is no longer dark when I get to the chapel in the mornings. The valley is still full of morning mist, and the sheep are still thinking about getting up after a nights rest, not unlike myself at times!

At times the all the clouds and rain of Wales can seem a little tedious. But that is the reason we have such lush green fields all year long. This is good grazing land, reminiscent of Psalm 23's, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul..."

It is interesting how the Lord frequently compares us with these woolly creatures. As believers we all have much to be thankful, but it's not always such a cozy picture. There are good times for the sheep, and then there are times that aren't quite so good. I took this next picture in the field just below the chapel a few weeks ago. Pretty slim pickings, I'd say!

Not long after this I noticed that most mornings there were several sheep in the lane and the cemetery, and then it dawned on me why. Sheep love green. In a turnip field, they never touch the bulb, till every bit of green is eaten. Then the braver ones would find their way through the hedges to where the grass was literally greener on the other side!

In some ways, the "fields" of the churches can also become empty of fresh greens to eat. Yesterday's fine crops were good for then, and maybe a few more weeks, but they just can't last forever without some heavenly intervention.

Not too many years after the big Welsh revival of 1904, the chapels and churches began to look a little bit like this. And little by little the congregations started to shrink. And today the state of things is pretty bleak. Less than 5% of the people here go to any church meetings at all. And many of the faithful are toughing it out on slim pickings too.Please pray for ministers and teachers here, that their ministry of the word be fresh from the heart God and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

But spring is on the way and things are looking up! We have every reason to be looking forward and looking up to see the moving of God's hand upon this land once again. And just as there are beginning to be flowers everywhere now, we are seeing signs of new life among the believers here, And that is why we are so glad to have you praying along with us for God's will to be in this beautiful land the Lord has made our own.

We also have a special prayer request for our farmer friend Norman Williams, who has spent the past two weeks in the hospital, mostly in intensive care. Pneumonia and heart failure have left him in serious need of prayer.

He has finally taken a turn for the better but now needs more than medical science can give him. Would you please remember him and his wife Moira and family especially in your prayers? We believe God is going to use this for His own glorious purposes among the farming community, and your prayers WILL make a difference.

The next time you hear from us we will be in Louisiana! Afterwards we will be in Washington, D.C. and then New England. Could you also please pray that during our time in the U.S., we might be a real blessing of encouragement to those with whom we will be sharing about our work and walk of prayer?

Thank you so much for your care and prayers,

Dick & Gladys


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