Welcome to Wales Awakening

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Our LIVING HOPE in challenging times...

sunsnowonbrecons.jpgDear Friends of Wales Awakening:

Last week we had a whole day with sunshine and blazing blue skies. It was a real delight after a few sporadic hours here and there of sunshine during recent months. Through God's grace and perfect timing, that day I had a dentist appointment in Lampeter about 30 miles to the east of us.

On our way home again I saw a hilltop and set off through the farm lanes in that direction. We managed to find our way there, and what an expansive view awaited us. It was very windy and cold but the clearest we'd seen in a long while. In the distance we could see snow-covered Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales about 25 miles away.

There is something about being able to take in wonderful views like this, especially after long periods time when your surroundings are much more limited. It seems to restore our faith in nature and strengthen our hope for better days and encourage us while we wait.

floodingstream2015-1.jpgMeanwhile all the clouds and rain were back the next day and the rivers were rising again. This little stream we cross on our way to the chapel is normally quite small but has now come right to the top of its banks. And a little farther downstream it has overflowed them and is turning the woods into more of a lake as you can see in the next photo.

Sometimes it seems that our walk with the Lord is not so much different than this. We may be just sort of plowing ahead through circumstances and conditions that not exactly as we would wish for, and wonder if things will ever really get better. Perhaps we've been struggling with a particular issue, and even wonder if our prayers and cries for help are getting through or having any effect at all.

Well here is our source of hope, here are the sunny skies we long for. Isaiah 59:19-20 says,"So shall they [His enemies] fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. 'The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,' says the Lord."

What a sustaining truth it is to know that "...we walk by faith, not by sight." as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:7. In that whole chapter he draws our attention to the bigfloodingstream2015-2.jpg picture - that glorious view of our place in eternity, and our place in the here and now. And it is just such a perspective as this that we can and must constantly refresh ourselves with. And more importantly when we are going through trying times and needing strength from above!

While reading the story of Abraham, after God stopped him from actually sacrificing Isaac on the altar, He made an amazing promise to him. And this particular phrase just struck me profoundly. In Genesis 22:17 He says, "...blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies."

In view of this huge declaration, and in spite of evidence to the contrary as it may apply to Israel past and present, the church in today's world, or our own circustances, we know that His promises are true. Our unchanging point of reference and hope is the big picture according God's perpective.

1 Peter 1:3 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."

May we all be encouraged in our seeking His kingdom first,

Dick & Gladys


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gladys tells her story about our New York visit...

jan2016sunrise.jpgDear Friends:

Last week I managed to catch this beautiful sunrise on the ridge up above our chapel. It was the first such a view in a very long time as it has been cloudy and raining here nearly every day since late October.

To give you an idea of just how wet it has been, the nearby Llechryd Bridge has been underwater 3 times during the time we were away. Before then it had only flooded 3 times in the ten years we have lived here.

Speaking of bridges, it is hard to believe that we are now back in Wales. It seems almost like a dream that we actually went to New York at all. But it was only two weeks ago today when we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in freezing cold but sunny weather with our daughter and youngest son on the day we left!

I've asked Gladys to share her thoughts about our time there, so this is her writing from here on out.
"I had never been in New York before and so it was something of a spectacular adventure for me. And only being there but being there with family made it so specially enjoyable for me. It was a real delight for us to be staying with them in their apartment in Brooklyn rather than them being fam1-NYC2016.jpgin our house. It is just the two of us here with no family anywhere close, so it was just wonderful. The closest to family here are our old friends Alex and Renie of 40 years.

"Being in New York was a real treat, it is such a huge city. Not having a car, we had to walk a lot, and take a subway or hired car for the longer distances. But what a huge difference it is from rural West Wales. I really enjoyed the convenience of having a warm car waiting for us outside, especially on the bitter cold days. Or we would be rushing to catch a subway a few blocks away, buteverywhere we had to walk.

"Another fascinating part of it all was to see the movement of so many many people that live in the city. I could see how they all are just wrapped up in their lives. The business of life seemed to have everybody busy - getting to and from work, keeping their homes going, doing their shopping and staying indoors out of the harsh cold.

"Before we arrived our kids asked us what would we like to do while we were there. At first we didn't have much idea of what there was to do. All we had planned was a visit to Long Island sometime during our stay, but apart from that we didn't really have a clear plan other than spending time together. I had thought about the statue of liberty because I'd seen in in photos and once we caught a glimpse of it driving over the George Washington Bridge a few years ago. Sothat became a very enjoyable day's project when we took a boat tour around Manhattan.

fam-NYC2016.jpg"We also took the opportunity to visit the Museum of Natural History by Central Park in Manhattan. It was really interesting because there was a line over a block long just to get in, and we we afraid that by the time we got inside and there wouldn't be much time left to look around. One of the guards arranged to let Dick sit down inside and wait, which was really nice. We were glad that the 90 minute wait we were told to expect was much less, they even let us in for free because of the holiday crowds. After all the walking we did in the museum our legs were aching because we're just not acustomed to walking such distances. All the animal displays were interesting enough, but I found seeing so many people of all shapes colors from so many nations really fascinating. While we sat to rest, suddenly a group would pass by speaking Spanish, and many other groups speaking languages. It was just very interesting to me.

fam2-NYC2016.jpg"It was Dicky's birthday while we were there, and that was great fun. Dick's niece and her family were there from Boston for several days, and her brother and family also live nearby in Brooklyn, and so several times we found ourselves overcrowded with all this wonderful bunch of family. At times it was just four or five of us, and then suddenly we would be almost drowning in our own family in middle of this huge city and laughing and remembering old times.We be all jammmed into the apartment one moment, and then out and about in a restaureant or elsewhere. All the one time little girls are now getting grown up, thinking about college and future careers and lives of their own.

fam3-NYC2016.jpg"Another special blessing for us was visiting with our old friend Lil Hamman and her daughter. We've known her and her husband and kids since way back in the days in Guatemala before we were even married! Very sadly she lost her husband and a son two years ago, and we saw her in their Texas home in June.  She just "happened" to be in Brooklyn with her daughter the first week we were there, so we were able to get together a few times. We really enjoyed our time together and her getting to know two of our grown kids and our getting to know hers.

"When we landed again in London after a long trip made much longer by a medical emergency stop in Newfoundland along the way, and it was grey and raining and cold. It suddenly hit me that our marvelous trip was over, and I was overwhelmed with sorrow, knowing that we had left our children behind once again. I felt like,  "OK, here we are again so get ahold of yourself..." But when our dear friend Sue came to pick us at the airport with her warm smile and big hugs to greet us, I could see so clearly how the Lord HImself had sent her to homeagainthanks.jpgmeet us and welcome us home with such love!

"She took us to her house, fed us a wonderful breakfast and gave us a room to just crash out for a few hours. When I woke up, and went down to the kitchen and gave her a big hug and thanked her for her special love and car for us. She was just a living sample of God's amazing love for us and His welcoming us back home by feeding and housing us. By suppertime I was feeling really tired and jetlagged and just wanted to rest. But she arranged a prayer meeting for that evening because we were going to be there and already knew most of the people. And while worshipping, I thought how our trip had been a real delight to us, but this communion with the brethren and worshipping the Lord together in spirit and truth was truly more like being where we permanently belong, with the family of God.

"The next day on the train when we went back to Wales and all the green of the fields everywhere and animals grazing, I said to myself, 'Wow we are going back home again now to Wales', and I thanked God for the wonderful privilege of living where we do, and special commission that He has given us to intercede for this land. When we got home it was like it had all been a dream,  and we just wept with gratitude for such precious time."

Thank you again for your continued interest in our intercessory mission here. And especially thanks for your prayers for the coming move of God this tiny land that will once again impact the nations of the world with His glory!

Dick & Gladys


Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Welcome to the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Sixteen!

NYCsunset.jpgDear Friends and Prayers:

A scant 30 miles from where I was born on Long Island many years ago, our son's office 12 floors above the East River and looking west over Lower Manhattan and New Jersey provides an interesting perspective on what is still a very New Year. And as the title clearly states, this is very much the Lord's year, not ours. Psalm 24:1 says "The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein."

I just came out of the New York Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn. It was a little excursion back into the late 1800's, looking and learning about the early public transit systems and their development. The first Subway opened in 1904 (just days before the outbreak of the Welsh Revival). It's first tunnels were dug using explosives and pick and shovel, it was hard and dangerous work.

Now I find myself looking out over the city that was about 1.8 million people in 1880, and today is slowly approaching the 9 million mark. As I reflect on my own lifetime, now exactly one half this period, it has me thinking about the bigger picture. What "progress" has mankind really made? The Freedom Tower in the background near where the Twin Towers were brought down by terrorists in 2001 is a stark reminder of our fallen and godless human nature. What are the things, then, that endure the test of time?

In comparison to where we were a century ago, with the advent of modern transportation, communications and so many technological and medical advances, we tend to pat ourselves on the back and say, "we've come a long way, baby!" But in spite of all of our supposed achievements, there is really nothing we can humanly do or make that endures that test.  James 1:9-11 says, "Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits."

NYCstatueofliberty.jpgSo what does endure the test of time? Here is where it gets good! Jesus says in John 5:24-25, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live."

Only God's kingdom and those who belong to it will endure. Jesus said very clearly in Acts 1:8-9 "'But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.' After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him."

And nearly 600 years before this happened, our eternal God, without beginning or end, shows Daniel this scene in chapter 7:13-14. "As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed."

This is the only foundation we can build our lives upon, and the glorious hope that is our privilege to share with the world around us. "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." John 8:36

We would like to encourage you to make these amazing truths the bedrock for this New Year, knowing that we can look to Him with every confidence for good things. May He bless you and your loved ones in 2016!

Dick & Gladys


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