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Monday, January 27, 2020

From California's west coast to the west coast of Wales!

Cardigan Bay in January, 2020Dear Friends of Wales Awakening:

We've been home again now for a week and a half, and are amazed at how our time in the USA seems almost like a dream. It was wonderful to be with family and friends, and even hard to say "goodbye" again. But the years and the distance have a way of multiplying the love we enjoy each time, and life is richer and fuller because of it.

Probably like many of you, we love to travel to see new places and meet new people. The sense of discovery and excitement is always an adventure. But somehow, as much as we enjoy the experience of going around from place to place, there is always a great sense of peace and satisfaction when we get home again safe and sound!

One thing that always intrigues me about travel is that inevitably the more we see, the more we realize the immensity of all that we have not seen. This brings to mind Moses' peculiar request of God in Exodus 33:12-13 when he says, "...You have said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.' Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight...'" And as if that weren't enough, after all the incredible things that he had witnessed of God's working through and around him with breathtaking Back home in our prayer tent!and terrifying miracles and wonders, in verse 18 he asks the Lord for even more when he says, "...Please, show me Your glory."

Now that we're settled back in at home and engaged again in our daily times at the chapel in our winter prayer tent, it dawns on me that we, like Moses, are seeking more of God too. During our years here we've seen the Lord do some awesome things, but we long for more. But where Moses was crying out for God to show him more of His glory, our great desire is the God show His glory to the people of the world around us. That is the real heart of intercessory prayer. In fact, this was Jesus' prayer in John 17:24, "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me."

Our travels also highlighted another aspect of this desire to see more of God's glory. For our last stop, we spent five days in Charlotte, North Carolina, with our Latin-American friends who we met here in 2016 at the Bible College of Wales in Swansea. Nidia, from Colombia, pastors a vibrant church here that has a majority of Spanish-speaking members. And our friend Natalia, from Argentina, is helping with the worship ministry. We had such a great time with them while they were here in Wales,Community Bible Studies friends it was a real joy to find them again and meet many of their friends and co-workers.

I had the opportunity to share in their Sunday meeting two weeks ago, and it was such fun to speak with a translator and hear him switch back and forth between English and Spanish when I would unwittingly change languages! But the best part here was discovering more of the Body of Christ and the fruit of God's glory in them.

That is the beauty of the unfolding answer of Jesus' prayer above—people being changed from glory to glory as they are washed by the word of God and growing together in unity into His church. And just like travel, the more we see of God's people and the operaton of His grace in their lives, the more we realize we have yet to see of the beauty of His workings throughout the nations of the world. And unlike this physical world which is passing away, God's works are everlasting!

We are delighted to have been given such a marvelous time but are very glad to be home again, rain and all, and jump into all the Lord has in store for us in this new year. And it is an even greater delight to join with you in prayers for all those to whom Jesus came to give salvation from sin and eternal life. And together we will see the fruit of God's promise in 1 Corinthians 2:9, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

May God bless you as you travel ahead in The Way,

Dick & Gladys


Sunday, January 12, 2020

A travel-inspired perspective on this new year and decade...

melting frostDear Praying Friends and Saints:

A belated welcome to 2020! Not only do we enter another new year, but we embark on a new decade as well. Leading up to beginning of a new year we always hear prophetic words and promises about what is to come, and even moreso now at the start of this new decade. I'm sure we all have heard more than one of them. And yet somehow the years slip by without any great fulfillment of much of it, and we find ourselves back into the day-by-day of one more journey around the sun.

While reading though the first chapters of Luke, I found a few verses that spoke strongly to me, not about things that will come to pass, rather about things that are. John the baptist's father, Zachariah, spoke out by the Holy Spirit in Luke 1:78-79 saying, "Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

Then shortly after this wonderful declaration, Simeon says in Luke 2:29-31," Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples." These imperishable truths set the backdrop for the big picture. Everything else, be they days, years, decades, or centuries, are small matters on the stage of God's eternal kingdom–like so many waves on those golden shores.

The second chapter of our family visit found us landing in San Jose, California, on Christmas Day where Richard and Emily live. They met us our with daughter Grace and so it was a very happy moment when we all found each other in the baggage claim area!

Although both Grace and Richard have visited us in Wales on their own, we hadn't seen Emily, our 2nd daughter-in-law, since their wedding in October, 2018. So that made our time very special indeed. Richard's birthday was that Friday, and we went to see the redwood forest on the western slopes of the California coastline. Gladys and I hadn't been among those giant redwoods for many long years, and I had forgotten what a special place they create. I clearly remember the awe and wonder these ancient living monuments inspired in me almost fifty years ago when I was searching for the Lord I did not yet know.

Then on Monday we all drove north past Sacramento to join our oldest son Peter, his wife Allie, and then, for the first time, meet her parents, and our co-inlaws, Matt & Lorena. We had such fun getting to know one another and discovering yet another facet of our growing family. Lorena is Mexican born and speaks fluent Spanish, so she and Gladys hit it off big-time and really had fun together. We all did in fact, and also got to savor some amazing home cooking and good times around the table.

During our time in California we also enjoyed an added dimension of family. We made a surprise visit to the Verbo congregation in Redwood City on our first Sunday morning, and had such fun meeting some friends from long ago from this group of Spanish churches that Gladys and I helped start up in Guatemala in the late 1970s. We also spent two wonderful days with Francis and Suzie Anfuso. I knew him when we were both very young Christians, and we've reconnected a few times since then. They spent a week with us in Wales nine years ago, when they came to make an excellent documentary about the Welsh revival called Awakened, which you can watch at this link.

The way that we love and cherish our own natural families point to this broader element of family—God's eternal family. What lies at the heart of revival is His great desire and purpose bring people of know Him, to embrace His Son, and" to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
May God bless you and your loved ones richly during this new year as we pray together for His coming Awakening,

Dick & Gladys


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