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Monday, October 31, 2016

Portentous pipelines, living waters , and prayers...

pipelinegoingin.jpgDear Friends:

Once again there has been so much going on lately that it is hard to find the time to keep up with our updates. But in the background during the last couple of months something is being played out in the landscape that paints a wonderful and significant picture of things to come.

The Welsh water company has undertaken the major task of replacing hundreds of miles of main supply lines that are more than 100 years old and needing frequent repairs. And in many places the large pipes are so filled with mineral sediment and scale that their capacity is greatly reduced.

They are not only renewing the infrastructure to meet current demand, but are also expanding it to meet future growth. Through fields and forests, under roads and rivers, state-of-the-art plastic pipes are gradually being put into place to be connected to towns, villages and farmlands in many areas.

Then suddenly one morning about a week ago at the chapel the Lord showed me that what has  been happening in the natural realm here represents what is taking place in the spiritual. The churches and chapels throughout the years have gradually lost their influence in their surrounding communities. Old structures and traditions have choked off the supply of living water and made them all but irrelevant to today's values and lifestyles. That's why hundreds of old church buildings in Wales have closed down, and many ministers pipelineready.jpgare serveing several tiny congregations like old-time circuit preachers.

For quite a while we noticed piles of pipes appearing in many places, but it didn't register what was really taking place until the installation began. (Then we remembered that the water company had written earlier in the year about their plans for this massive project.) Now it is plain to see that this new network of pipes will bring an abundant flow of fresh water to existing users as well as supply new residents as development takes place.

Just as these stockpiles are building up, we've observed and commented many times over the years about how the Lord continues preparing things here fpipestacks.jpgor revival. Besides bringing Christians into Wales from other places, we see Him calling more and more people into a commitment to prayer. He has been establishing networks of prayers and intercessors, and is linking people together from different church backgrounds in an unprecedented way.

Putting this pipeline together looks very much like Ephesians 4:15-16, "but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."

So as the church—body of Christ—begins to function more effectively in this way, the living waters begin to flow freely again and then, as Jesus says in John 13:35, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." As the body progresses in this transformation from tradition and membership to function and relationship, then lives and families and communities will autumnblaze.jpgbe impacted by the Gospel being lived out in relevant and practical ways. When people can experience God's love, acceptance and forgiveness in the blood of Jesus through the greater church family, then the ground is ripe for revival. I don't think it will be "pulpit-dependent" but rather "people-dependent."

This coming change also seems to be highlighted by the autumn colors that are now everywhere. We're well beyond the first hints of changing seasons, and leaves are falling freely now with the slightest puff of wind. How we long to be as sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit as these leaves, easy willing to release our plans in exchange for His!

eveningprayers.jpgMonday evening we enjoyed a time of spontaneous prayer at the chapel with some friends. Sharing needs and prayers, as well as testimonies of answered prayers, was great encouragement to all. And just last week we learned of yet another small group in Swansea that are also praying for transformation and revival.

Among many overwhelming prayer needs in the earth today is the upcoming U.S. presidential election. If ever there was one, this is a time for persistent and Spirit-empowered prayer. As the scripture says in Isaiah 62:6-7,
"I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth."

Dick & Gladys


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Crosses on Snowdon - signs of a future glory!

crossesonsnowdon.jpgDear Friends and Prayers:

Two Saturdays ago our friend Emyr finished his 3 1/2 week pilgrimage from Saint David's Cathedral to the top of Mount Snowdon in the north of Wales. He was accompanied by two other seasoned cross carriers as well as a group of supporting friends. We would love to have been there but were otherwise occupied here at home.

He has shared several stories with me since his return. There were lots of opportunities to talk about God's love along the way. Many people gave their hearts to the Lord, and others who had not been active in their faith recommitted their lives to God.

It was wonderful to hear how groups of believers along the long route made arrangements to meet for times of worship, testimony and prayer. And more than these, only the Lord knows how many thousands of people passed by the cross on the road and were given cause to wonder what it was all about. Perhaps there were even some who will be drawn to seek farther, or just to pray, or even go back to church again!

northwalesprayers.jpgOn the home front we have been busy here with a continued stream of praying visitors. These folks came down from North Wales for the monthly prayer day at Ffald-y-Brenin, and spent an extra day with us to share and pray together. It was a great time of fellowship, and to hear about things happening in their home area. A weekly meeting to pray specifically for revival was started recently, and that was very encouraging to learn of.

As we continue to hear of others praying, and they in turn learn of still others, it is like adding more fuel to the fires of intercession. I was reminded of how precious these connections are while reading yesterday morning in 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, "And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints."

Meanwhile, we've had several beautiful days in the cooling fall weather, and in between visits we've tried to make the most of them to catch up on yard and garden work. There is always something to be done, and it seems to be a constant balancing act.

sundogsmile.jpgWe have also taken a few walks into the nearby Preseli Hills with friends, and enjoyed some great views and blue skies and amazing clouds. Last time out we saw this sun dog. Made us wonder if God was smiling!

We also want to thank you who have prayed for our landlord's family. We are so glad we had the opportunity to lead him and his wife in the prayer for salvation, and know that he is now in Glory. The small service went well, and the Lord gave me some great scriptures to share about our amazing hope!

I also shared this story from a book called History of Welsh Baptists by J. Davis, from 1835. I'll share here with you because it is a marvelous testimony!

"[Philip James, was a Welsh Pastor in Pennsylvania in the 1740’s.] This venerable man passed through a very singular scene about three months before his death; the narrative is related in full by Mr. Edwards, but we shall be able to give only the substance of it here, which is as follows: He was greatly afflicted for the death of a favorite child, and bewailed his loss in the language of David, 'O Absalom, my son, my son, would to God I had died for thee, etc.'
In the midst of his wailings he fell to the ground as if dead, and was taken up and put on the bed, where he continued for near an hour, without any signs of life. foeldrygarn.jpgWhen he revived and saw the people about him weeping, he bid them desist, adding, 'had you seen what I have seen, you would not be in trouble about the dear little one.'
His wife and the company urged him to tell what he had seen concerning the child. He was reluctant to it, but their importunity prevailed, and he went on, ‘The child now enjoys more happiness in one moment, than compensates for all the miseries he endured through life, and the pangs of death also.’ He then related how he had been transported by a celestial conductor to the paradise of God, where he was chided for his excessive grief, and saw his child in the full stature of a man, in company with the angelic hosts, and uniting in their songs of praise.
At length his conductor said to him, ‘I am one of that company, and must join them.’ Having said this, the entranced spirit began to sink fast, and soon found itself united with the body. This account is preserved by the family, and signed by four respectable witnesses. After this vision, the old man minded no worldly thing, but was full of heavenly joy, and attentive only to spiritual concerns."   

We send you blessings and encouragement as together we pray for the outpouring of God's Spirit in these times of desperate need for His grace in every arena of this "civilized" world we live in,

Dick & Gladys


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