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Thursday, August 31, 2023

Parenthood Plus! — A Glimpse of God's Heart?

The first grandchild now makes 3 generations of this
family of Funnells!Dear Friends:

Last week we returned from a brief family visit after our extended trip in the spring. As you might have guessed already, we had a very special reason to travel again. We are grandparents for the first time! Our youngest son Richard and his wife Emily are the new parents of Sylvie Grace, born May 19th in Portland, Maine.

Of course we had seen photos and done video calls too, but holding and cuddling her was a joyful and life-changing encounter. There were tears and wonder, thankfulness and admiration. The phrase from Psalm 139:14 came rushing to mind, that we are indeed "fearfully and wonderfully made..."

And the word "generations" now takes on a sweetly tangible and more intimate significance when we read Psalms 100:5 which says, "For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." To take this beautiful little girl in our arms and watch her grow and change even in the short week we were there was a very lively and clear testimony of God's goodness and faithfulness.

Not long after first meeting our little Sylvie Grace, it occurred to me that this heart-warming joy provides us with certain insight into the nature of God's love for us. We had waited longingly for years for a grandchild, and to me at 75 that seemed like a long time indeed. And now here she is and it's like some sort of internal fireworks going off in rejoicing! And surely the Lord has a similar but far greater joy when His children's children are born again into that direct and personal relationship with Him through faith placed in the redeeming work of Jesus at Calvary. While it's true that we can live out Enjoying Brooklyn
cuisine with our daughter Gracewhat Psalm 145:4 says, "One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts." But God has no grandchildren. And when our children become directly His children, we all become one generation—siblings forever in His eternal kingdom!

We spent a second week in New York with our daughter Grace on our way home. It was a great chance to catch up since our time together at Thanksgiving last year. And now she and our other kids are suddenly aunts and uncles, and that adds another special dimension to our family as well. She enjoys her job with UNICEF making a life-changing difference for thousands of malnourished children around the world. She also loves being a Brooklynite, and we had a good time meeting some of her friends, taking in a very loud outdoor concert with a featured Guatemalan singer, and a special exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library a few blocks away.Headed for the top in The Big Apple

Gladys likes visiting and experiencing life in the big city too. Having grown up in Guatemala City, going out her door meant finding people and activity everywhere. Brooklyn is much busier than Guatemala ever was, and the cultural variety is staggering by comparison. But after our years of living in rural West Wales, and with several more decades under our belts, the phrase, "It's a great place to visit but..." takes on a whole different meaning.

The pace of life and its demands for survival on every level is a challenge for people living here in "The Big Apple". For the materialistic world, this is the epitome of the proverbial "rat race". Go as hard as you can, as fast as you can, to get as much as you can, and get as high as you can while you can, because that's all there is to life.

And for those who aren't so driven, getting through life with a reasonable degree of happiness is acceptable and desirable. But when the going gets tough because of financial pressures, family or relationship difficulties, health problems, or old age, what then? After it all, the generations come and go. Did we leave a mark anywhere—perhaps our name on a stone or even a monument? Who will ever know or remember? What was it really all about?

Home again crossing over the Severn RiverWell... there IS A NAME that makes all the difference—JESUS! Isaiah 9:6 tells us all about Him. "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." He is the One who makes us one in His eternal family. 

Driving back across the bridge into Wales is like coming home to the reality of why we've been here all these years. Our prayers for revival—the revealing of the reality of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our entrance into His kingdom—are spurred on by the needs we see each place we visit. And we know what God does here will not only touch the many nations where people are praying for actively Wales, but all of the earth with His glory.

Jesus makes His purpose very clear in John 10:10, " I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Thank you for continuing to pray with us for the fulfillment of His plans!

Dick & Gladys


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