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Wales Prayer Journal, April 14 - May 13, 2003

March 23, 2003
A few Sundays ago we visited our other Verbo congregation on the West Bank, and the pastor asked me to share a bit about Wales. So I described the things the Lord has been showing me about bringing a new outpouring of revival there, and briefly about my experiences praying in the old chapel last October. I also mentioned our plans to pray there again for 20 plus days starting April 16th.

The following Wednesday one of the brothers visited me at my office, and told me that during the time I was sharing, the Lord had impressed him to read Jeremiah 32. This is story of how God first tells Jeremiah while he is in the prison court that his cousin Hanamel will come to ask him to purchase a field from him, and then it happens just as the Lord said. Then he takes the signed deed to the property and another copy, and has Baruch safeguard them in an earthen vessel so "they will last many days." And the Lord tells him, "Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land" in spite of the fact that the land was overtaken by the Chaldeans and Babylonians. And the Lord says in verse 37 and following, "...I will bring them back to this place and .... 'they shall be my people and I will be their God;' .... I will rejoice over them to do them good and will assuredly plant them in this land."

This brother told me that the Lord had impressed on him that this related to the chapel and my call to Wales. He insisted that the Lord's promise holds fast even though the appearance is that of a nearly lifeless chapel and a land devoid of the knowledge and fear of God. He repeated several times how the Lord still holds the deed to this place, and that there will indeed be a great move of restoration as the Lord had also spoken to Jeremiah.

While he shared this with me, I was deeply stirred because this was very similar to a word given to me by one of the pastors that came from Birmingham to pray with me on my last day in the chapel in October. This is what he shared and taped there in the chapel.

"Since maybe when it [the chapel] first began, that the signature was still valid, it's the Lords land. I just felt as we came in that we were coming on someone else's property, we were coming on property that belonged to another because the Lord was already here, His signature. So we've just been soaking it up really, trying to feel that sense of the Lords presence. Its that sense of His signature, and that something of what is going on is something of His signature calling into the present again to bring forth the purposes that He has. I felt that when I was on the balcony once or twice a real coldness of unbelief over an area. That there has been almost a vacuum here, the signature underneath the vacuum.

"I see the signature of the Lord in this place and it's written in what looks like ink, but it's like the sun comes up and begins to shine on the signature and it becomes red, which is the blood of Jesus. Again the significance of the blood of Jesus, the signature of God, written into the foundations of this place and that light of revelation needs to fall on the signature of God again."

So Amen Lord Jesus, I know You have specific and wonderful plans for this place! Help us be faithful and obedient servants to Your call!

April 3, 2003
Last Friday all of the men in our church leadership went off together for a two day retreat. On Saturday night, there was a special time of worship, and then each one was prayed for by the group, and covered by a white mantle symbolizing the Lord's Holiness. All were touched deeply in a wonderful time of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. When my turn came, I knelt on the floor and as the mantle came gently over me I was immediately caught up into a deep intercession for the people of Wales, and the whole plan the Lord has in store for us there. As I gave myself over to this crying out for the Lord's heart to break out over the Welsh people, I saw a very clear vision. There going down the road in front of Cilfowyr Chapel was a long line of people, and as I looked I could see the line curling back around uphill to where people were going left and down the little path one by one to the old stone baptistery that so many years ago was miraculously filled. Immediately I realized I was seeing the numbers of new converts from the coming outpouring that will be longing for the waters of baptism and confirming at once their newness of life in Christ Jesus!

Wednesday, April 16, 2003
This is the first day we came to pray at Cilfowyr with Gladys. What a blessing to have her with me now, and know the Lord is at work in her heart as well as my own about what He has in store for this place. After praying inside for a while, we took a walk up the to top of the hill beyond the chapel, where the Lord first spoke to me four years ago about His bringing a great revival to Wales again, and how it would spread outwards from there.

Thursday, April 17, 2003
Today I received the impression that I should go and clean out the baptistery and get it ready for use. I don't know if it will be needed on this trip, but I can't help but wonder about the Hymn festival on May 5th, and if perhaps the Lord will begin to move on people then, like he showed me on April 3rd. As I considered this, I found myself wondering how foolish it might look to anyone else, but really that should have no bearing whatsoever on my obedience. I will certainly act on this in the coming days.

Saturday, April 19, 2003
This is now the fourth day we've come to pray at Cilfowyr with Gladys. Afterwards we stopped in to visit Beti Bowen, the little lady who partook in the miraculous baptism here in 1932, as described in my journal of October 20, 2002.

Easter Sunday, April 20, 2003
This is Easter day and we went to church with our hosts the Elsaessers at the Cardigan Christian Centre, a small non-denominational congregation where they have been attending regularly now for some time. to pray at Cilfowyr with Gladys. They asked me to share a bit about what we are doing here in Wales, so I very briefly told them of our prayer journey here. I was very encouraged by their prayers for us. They also told us that many prophetic intercessors have come to Wales in recent times, and some have even said that the key to widespread revival has to do with something taking place right here in Wales!

After lunch we went to the chapel for the afternoon. While there, a gentleman came to visit his sister's grave, and noticed the door open and came inside. He recognized me from my visit here last October, and so I had a chance to tell him a bit about why we are here now. He did seem genuinely interested, but took it more as if our time here was for our own personal inspiration. Similar to the other members of the chapel who I visited in October, I think he has no way to relate to what revival really means, where God sovereignly moves on people by the Holy Spirit. He said he'll see me this coming Sunday at their regular monthly meeting. I also look forward to seeing some of the other folks I visited with on my last trip.

Monday, April 21, 2003
This morning I sent an email to a "Prayer for Wales" promoter, a brother with a great heart for prayer, and who appears to be a recognized figure here in Wales. I hope to have a chance to meet with him while we're here, and compare notes, and perhaps even enlist some intercessors for what I believe the Lord is setting into motion here. I told him "I am proceeding slowly and cautiously because of what all this could mean for the 20 elderly members of this old chapel. For this reason I'd like to ask your discretion concerning this, as I feel that at this time I'm still praying here "undercover".

In the chapel today as I read aloud Psalm 119 from the pulpit, verse 126 stood out very clearly, as the Psalmist expresses the current situation, "It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law." That describes so accurately of the general condition here in Wales and the U.K. The nations have tossed any knowledge of God into the trash bin, and are devoid of godliness almost totally. Less than 2% of the population have any church involvement at all. Any organized efforts at evangelism have seemingly little results, and most of the churches are shrinking rather than growing.

When He first spoke to me a year ago about bringing revival to Wales again starting with this little chapel, I remember Him clearly telling me that all I needed to do was come here to pray every day at this chapel. What the Lord has been speaking to me all along has been about Him doing the work of convicting and redeeming the lost. He will be the one that will start to move and do things that will bring people in to be transformed by the knowledge of His holiness. "It is time for thee, LORD, to work."

Another impression I got for a second time today was to ask the pastor if Sunday I might invite those interested to stay on a while after the meeting is done and tell them about what the Lord has been showing me about their shrinking little congregation. Please pray with me about this that I might really hear God's heart on this matter and not lean on my own understanding in any way.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003
In an email from our daughter Grace, she wrote about her own frustration and that of her friends who have studied so hard these last four years of college, and yet they have not gotten accepted into the medical schools they applied to. I replied to her something the Lord was showing me as well.

"I see how hard you work, and we admire your diligence. And not only us. The Lord knows better than us. And you can be sure that all your work will not go in vain, or stay unrewarded. I know how easy it is to be guided by what we see in the natural realm: grades, school acceptances/rejections, or whatever. And I also know how easy it is 'to be having a hard time not giving up.' But those are the parts of life that help to forge endurance and character in us for the long haul of life itself.

"Just yesterday while praying up on the hilltop beyond the chapel with Gladys, I found myself wondering whether or not I must be crazy to think that God really wants to use us here somehow. As I looked down over the two closest towns, and tried to imagine the people from these places being the first ones to be drawn to the chapel and be touched by God, it seemed suddenly that I was just inventing things in my mind, making up scenarios of how what I know will take place here might actually come about. And then I thought to myself for a moment, "Maybe it is all just a big fantasy and we should just go home again and stop pretending..."

"Well, these are the kinds of places we must all go through to get to where we're going. This is where the rubber meets the road, where we pit our faith against reality, where the unseen things of God must take precedence over what meets the eye. This is where scriptures like 2_Corinthians 5:7 "For we walk by faith, not by sight:" become that sharp cutting edge dividing between soul and spirit, and work to build into our very nature that godly character that enables us to walk in the newness of life in Christ, and so fulfill our destiny in Him.

"How common is the temptation to just chuck all our dreams out the window and settle for something far less. And yet without these temptations, the final triumph would be impossible to attain, and the reward far less than satisfying."

Later, inside the chapel, we had a wonderful time of worship with Gladys. Putting things in the right order. Then, while I was praying the Lord began to speak to me about interceding according to the words of Psalm 100 that say, "For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." In the natural realm, the enemy has trashed the church and there are pitifully few young people in churches here. Yet I felt a great anointing as I prayed and claimed His word to be truth and applied the promises to the generations of the families of this chapel. Reading some of the inscriptions on the tombstones on previous days has helped to solidify in my mind the faith of those gone on before them, such as Revelation 14:13, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."

So Lord, we do claim and lay hold upon your word reaching into these current generations, and ask you to manifest your grace to the Welsh people once again.

Thursday, April 24, 2003
A few days have slipped by now without having written, and so I'll just have to leave kind of a gap here. We prayed Wednesday and Thursday, and when we left the chapel Thursday we went to visit one of the couples I first visited last October. They received us graciously, and were also having a visit with friends from down the coast a ways, and we had a most enjoyable time together. They were delighted to meet Gladys. When I told them that we would be here nearly four weeks praying in the chapel where he has belonged all his life, and that I still have the conviction that God wants to do something extraordinary in their little chapel, there were no questions or any apparent interest. When they reminded me that she attends the Anglican church just up the road in the tiny Village of Carreg Wen, I couldn't help but think it a bit revealing. They seem so loving and devoted to each other, and yet attend different churches. It appears that their spiritual life is not something shared much between themselves, but rather kept more a personal and private affair.

I think that this must be the way with many here, where one's religion is not much shared or talked about, but is perhaps more a tradition, attending chapel and receiving communion, than a daily and continuous relationship with our Creator. This has helped to guide our prayers for the members of the chapel here, and the many religious traditionalists throughout Wales and the U.K. that have settled for far less that what the Lord would have for them in a revived Christianity.

Saturday, April 26, 2003 Outside today is cold, windy and rainy, but things are going well. Yesterday is the first day we didn't spend time at the chapel. A group of ladies from the chapel came to do a thorough yearly cleaning, and so we were asked not to come so that they could work without any interference. This big cleanup on both floors was in preparation for the annual Hymn Festival that will be held here on Monday May 5th. When we came in this morning, there was a noticeable difference as the dust and cobwebs and musty odors accumulated during the past year were gone. Much of the woodwork shone in the morning light filtering in through the windows, and the pleasant smell of polish was a welcome change.

So we went instead with Alex and his two youngest daughters, Alissa, 11, and Jessica, 13, to visit the old Roman gold mines nearby. It was fascinating to be poking around in tunnels dug by men nearly 2000 years ago, during the early days of Christianity. The Gospel actually was first introduced here in 64 AD, isn't that amazing? Even before some of the epistles were finished, the Body of Christ was growing on this very soil here. There are deep roots of the early church here, which were all but destroyed by the Catholics 400 years later when emissaries from the Roman church came and tried to impose their rules and rituals upon the believers, much as the Judaizers did in Paul's time.

As we prayed this morning, I found a fresh well of anointing in prayer as we cried out for God to awaken in today's church a hunger and thirst for His presence and power that will cause the saints to fervently seek Him out, much as those ancient miners sweated and toiled day in and day out for fleeting riches. We prayed that God would loose the chains of despondency and indifference that have crippled the church in this land and made it irrelevant and unattractive today. And we prayed that God would cause in the people of this land a dissatisfaction with temporal delights and entertainments, and make them long for a sense of significance and a deeper meaning to life. We spent a wonderful time in worship, and in a sense I felt that we are "priming the pump" for tomorrow's monthly service, and even more so for the upcoming Hymn Festival. Please pray with us that the lyrics and spirit of the songs to be sung here spring to life by the Holy Spirit in every heart and soul of those in attendance.

Sunday, April 27, 2003
This morning's service was a normal chapel service. After an opening prayer, a hymn is sung, a psalm is read, and then another hymn or two. That is followed by a long prayer by the pastor that sounds quite profound and sincere. After another hymn, a sermon was delivered, and then the Lord's Supper is served, and the service ends with a final hymn, a benediction and a few announcements.

The pastor, Gareth Morris, kindly made the service partially bilingual. He announced the hymn numbers and scripture cites in both English and Welsh. But that was all we understand of it. Welsh is a very old and guttural language, and not a single word is recognizable. During the prayer, the sermon, and ministering the communion, he spoke a small part in English, but I only could follow what the main points of his sermon were. I knew it was about loving our enemies, and how much we need God's help in this and other aspects of our Christian responsibilities, but that was all.

After the service itself was over, one of the men with whom I have corresponded by email stood up and introduced us by name, and made a very cordial welcome specially for Gladys who had never been there before. Then many people come up to greet us and were very friendly. A few even made comments about Gladys being a Welsh name! It was nice to feel so well received, and also to see one of the other couples that AI had visited with last October. William Bowen, the brother who had introduced me, spoke to me afterwards and said that he is writing a history of Cilfowyr Chapel's 300 years that he plans to print and introduce next year at the 300th Anniversary Service they'll have. I was surprised and honored to have him ask me to contribute a couple of pages for his book, telling a little of what the Lord has shown me about the chapel.

In the afternoon I went walking out through the fields to spend some time alone and pray. Looking in the natural realm at the situation of the chapel and it's 20 elderly members, and trying to reconcile that reality with the things the Lord has shown me are to happen here was making my mind work overtime: How could it happen that revival would come here? How would it spread? Who would help that process? What exactly is to be my role? What about the fact I speak no Welsh? Those that I have shared the vision with have said that would it be wonderful if the Lord would move like that, but do that understand what it really means?

Then I recalled a scripture the Lord brought to mind during the service this morning. As I admired the construction and the massive beams that support the balcony in the chapel, I realized that those that built it did not build it to seat more than 500 people in vain. Then immediately I recalled how God's word never returns to Him void, and that He guided the hearts of the builders. So I looked up and read Isaiah 55, where it says,
"8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off."
And I was greatly encouraged by this word.

As I sat on a tuft of grass on a mound between two fields, the Lord also began to show me an area of my heart that had been contributing to my restless thoughts. There was in me a desire to be vindicated in the eyes of those that don't share my convictions about revival starting here, a desire to be able to prove that I really did hear correctly from the Lord about what He is going to do here. He brought me to truly repent of this attitude, and what a blessing to lay that whole concept aside. That would have only grown more burdensome with time as no visible evidence could be seen. This immediately gave me a new freedom to once again enter into a place of deep intercession for God's plan for Wales, without any personal interest or ambition involved. What a precious flow of God's overwhelming love towards these lovely but lost people.

From where I sat, I had the same view as I did a year ago sitting on the moss covered rock when the Lord first spoke to me about my coming here to pray, only from a slightly higher vantage point. Last week Alex brought to my attention that from that place one can clearly see the chapel in nearby Blannanerch where Evan Roberts was so powerfully moved on by the Holy Spirit one hundred years ago and was launched into his calling to bring about the mightiest revival Wales has ever seen. It seems purely coincidental, but I wonder...

Monday, April 28, 2003
Late last night and early this morning it was furiously windy and rained most of the night. The trailer where we are staying felt like it was going to blow over a few times! Oh that the Lord would so blow over this land with His mighty rushing wind of Pentecost!

The rain finally let up in the late morning and so we set off for the chapel. When we arrived, there was a gentleman who had come to visit a gravesite. When he came by the front of the chapel on his way out, I greeted him at the gate and asked him who he had come to visit. He replied his mother and father were both buried there. When I asked him if he believed he would see them again in heaven, he said he didn't believe so.

"When you close you eyes for the last time," he said, "that's it. It's all over." "Then don't you believe there's a heaven, or any afterlife?" I asked. "No, I don't believe there's anything at all when you're dead. Nobody's ever been there and back to tell us about it anyhow." "Well indeed there is," I answered, "Jesus himself. And told us all about both heaven and hell. Don't you believe the Gospel is true?" "When I was a child I did believe, but then I grew up and realized that it was just a bunch of black and white on paper, but that it was just stories."

I told him I was looking forward to meeting his parents one day, and seeing my own again in God's kingdom. And that anyone who put their trust in what Jesus did on the cross to save our souls from the punishment for sin would also be there.

His response was "How could there be a God who cares and loves us, and yet lets things go on like Iraq, or that allowed there to be such evil as Hitler, for example?"

I talked with him for a while more. I even told him how God was leading me to come and pray in this chapel for him, and his fellow Welshmen too. He was quite surprised to hear such things, but had a hardened heart and said he just couldn't believe any more. Before he drove away, I encouraged him read John 1-3 and ask God to speak to him if He is real. He seemed like he would like to believe, but was just did battered and embittered by life's harshness. I told him that the Lord was knocking at the door of his heart, and wanted to rekindle faith and hope in his life, but that he would have to open that door himself. I wonder if I'll ever see him again.

This interchange gave Gladys and I a good platform from which to pray and intercede. There are countless people who have just turned their back on the love of God because the busyness and pains of life have made the things of God seem not real enough to them. How many hearts might still have a hidden flicker of hope that there is meaning and goodness to life? How our hearts yearn for them with the warmth of God's love and ready forgiveness and acceptance if they would only open the door to Him.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Today was a wonderful day at the chapel. I went by myself because Gladys needed to take care of some things and make ready for our trip to London tomorrow. When I got to the chapel, the caretaker and his wife Phyllis were busy cleaning up in the old Sunday school building. They are getting it ready to serve refreshments next Monday for the Hymn Festival. We began to talk, and for the first time I told them the whole story of how I first came to the chapel four years ago, and what he has been showing me, etc.

Then I told them about the vision the Lord gave me before coming over this time about the lines of people waiting to be baptized. I asked him if it would be alright if I could clean out the baptistery and the area around it to get it ready for use, really in a symbolic way, but also in case there is a need for it Monday. He was delighted at my offer of assistance, because he was going to have to do it himself before Monday, and was pinched for time. So he got me a big outdoor push broom, a shovel, and a gas powered weed eater, and let me loose. What a joy it was for me to find everything I needed for the job, and even more to be able to serve these lovely folks who have lived right here for that last 22 years. Again the Lord overwhelmed me with His love, a giving me the desire of my heart to be able to do this job.

It was much like cleaning out a very old and neglected burial site last October. Then, I found myself uncovering the evidence of the past hope of many trusting souls and their faith in God. But now I was getting ready for what I feel is surely a near future evidence of peoples' commitment to the lordship and mercy of God in Baptism. As I cut away the years of roots and earth that had crept over the stones around the baptistery, I could feel a growing sense of expectancy of seeing before my very eyes what the Lord showed my by his Spirit in early April. (see April 3rd entry) Whether anything will happen this Monday remains to be seen, but as I worked I could envision the hundreds of souls that have been baptized here over the years since this was built. And I was mindful that this step of physical effort was really an affirmation of my disposition to whatever it may be the Lord desires of us as His servants, and the things that ran through my heart as I worked were further confirmation to my spirit of things to come, my faith being strengthened through the work.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003
We drove into London this morning for the Alpha USA conference at Holy Trinity Brompton. This large traditional Anglican church was blessed and empowered by the Holy Spirit in the 1980's and has since become a loving, thriving and church-planting spirit filled community. A major contribution to the growth of the church has been the Alpha Course, a relationship-based non-confrontational ten week course which presents the basic truths of Christianity in a clear and engaging way. The product of vicar Sandy Millar and minister Nicky Gumble and their wonderful staff, and the years of developing and fine-tuning, and the covering of much prayer and the obvious guidance and annointing of the Holy Spirit, the Alpha Course has been a phenomenal blessing to the Body of Christ at large worldwide.

Alpha materials are currently available in forty languages and have been implemented in well over one hundred countries and thousands of churches. The course puts into the hands of church leaders a tool that seems to fling open the doors of evangelism in a way not seen before. It provides a very practical way for the members of any congregation to take an active role in reaching out to others with Good News of the Gospel. And it does it over in a way that is fun and inviting, giving people the opportunity each week to hear a talk on one of the 10 topics, to have dinner together at a small group table, to build meaningful relationships with others in their group as they explore together the big questions about the purpose of life that are common to all people. Throughout the course, and especially during a retreat to learn about the person and work of the Holy Spirit, many participants are born again into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

We have been teaching the Alpha Course in our church in New Orleans for about two years, and have seen many come to Christ and become members of our church. It has also been wonderful to see how many of the congregation have become activated in reaching out to others in a tangible way with God's love.

Sunday, May 4, 2003
We arrived late last night back in Wales, and after the congestion of a huge international city and the great high-intensity conference, it feels like we can now breathe again! After church at the New Life Christian Centre in Cardigan, we went to a nearby beach for a wonderful baptism. In these icy waters, three young teenagers as well as recently converted man left their old lives behind them in waves of the Irish Sea. Alex and Renie's daughter Jessica was among those baptized. It was a joyful time and other people at the small people saw a living witness of a happy celebration. Some even clapped and cheered with the church members as those baptized emerged from the water!

I was also invited by the pastor and his wife to participate in a prayer event to be held in the church here this coming Friday and Saturday. During the day Friday is a closed session for prayer and fellowship with key prayer leaders from around Wales and beyond. As you know, I've been trying to keep our activities here "undercover", but believe that the testimony of my experiences here can be encouraging and confirming to this particular group. I also feel that these brothers and sisters in the faith that have been sowing and watering in the Spirit for Wales, are the co-laborers that I have been praying for and will surely take part in the coming harvest. I believe this is a significant development and am excited about meeting them Friday!

Later in the afternoon after the baptism Gladys and I went to pray again at the chapel after 4 days away. It's a blessing to find that now this little chapel feels so familiar to us now. Even though it is just the Lord and us, I seem to be able to sense into the future the fullness of this place as people come and are deeply touched by their Maker.

Monday, May 5, 2003
Today was the Cilfowyr Hymn Festival. And as I wrote earlier today, I thought that people from all over South Wales would be coming, perhaps as many as 400. It is the annual tradition and the Welsh love of singing that will bring them into this place, and we can't help but wonder if there may be something more in store for them! We are expectant, and prepared for nothing and everything! Come Lord Jesus!

As it turned out, this was a collective meeting of eight different chapels from the area. But the chapel did look wonderfully full with at least 250 present! There was no outpouring of revival fire, but it was a wonderful experience and a more tangible foretaste of what's to come. There were three sessions of singing, 10:30, 2:00 and 6:30. The morning was a children's choir, and the afternoon and evening were both for adults.

We arrived a bit early, and already there was lots of activity. All the men of Cilfowyr were outside helping accommodate cars as they came in, trying to get them turned around in the nearly full little cark car at the bottom of the lane, and head them back up the lane to park on the sides of the newly paved road. I was reminded of last spring when I first came into the lane and the Lord told me He was getting ready for the crowds that would flood into this place. Now, here before my eyes I was seeing the first fruits what I had beheld in the spirit only a year ago.

After the morning session, tea and sandwiches were served in the old Sunday school, seating around forty or so at a time, and others coming in to take the places of those that were finished. Many people stayed for this, visiting over lunch or in the churchyard, while others took their children home or went elsewhere for lunch. My friend Irfon, with whom I visited last October, was at the door, and as he collected our 1 pound each, he encouraged us to stay and eat until we were full!

There was a fire going in the small chimney at the back of the room, and a bustle of activity. The ladies, including the 87 year old Beti Bowen of that memorable 1932 baptism, were all busy, some serving tea or sandwiches, some refilling plates with food and cakes, others washing dishes in large tubs of hot water in a makeshift scullery next to the fireplace, and everyone visiting along the way. They have obviously known each other for years so this annual get together was a welcome time of fun and fellowship.

Apparently some of the chapels have organized choirs, and on Sunday they and those members who wanted to met together all day to rehearse together at another chapel nearby. The balcony was used mostly for the choir members, and the ground floor for the rest. There was a dynamic director and several others who had obviously worked very hard in orchestrating this all, and the result was wonderful. The best singing and the biggest crowd was in the evening meeting. The power of the singing was really breathtaking. I was overwhelmed more than once by the beauty of the music and beautiful arrangements of voices with their responsive choruses, the message of those songs which I knew or could understand, and just the spirit of praise that was present. The chapel resounded as if filled with a heavenly choir and it was magnificent to behold.

On several occasions praying here, I've had glimpses this house filled to capacity and heard the glorious worship, and now I was seeing and hearing in the flesh the first fruits of what the Lord has shown me. As Paul says in Romans 8:23 "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?" So we were much encouraged by what took place yesterday, and take it as sort of a "promisory note" of what we confidently expect to see here in the future: the house of the Lord filled with praise and worship fully empowered by the Holy Spirit, indwelling and manifest in His people in Wales once again. And not just in this one chapel, but all the chapels and churches throughout the U.K. and beyond.

I had several conversations with different people throughout the day, and will take time later on to describe some of the things I learned about this place. I'm beginning to get a slight understanding of the Welsh culture, and look forward to getting to know more of these friendly but needy people. I heard from several that the attendance of this event has been decreasing each year, just like each individual chapel. and I could discern the unspoken plea of their hearts that God do something to rescue their "threatened species."

Tuesday, May 6, 2003
I'd like to clarify something I said in yesterday's journal. I wrote, "Now, here before my eyes I was seeing the first fruits what I had beheld in the spirit only a year ago."

What I did see yesterday was the chapel almost half full of people singing hymns. I believe that some were truly worshiping God, but most were just singing for the joy of singing, and some were there because they have always come. This was not the first fruits of God's outpouring that I see coming, but an annual traditional gathering.

The largest number I'd seen in the chapel up until now was around 30 last October a the special Harvest Thanksgiving meeting. In talking to people that attended, they said that like the chapels themselves, each year the crowd is a little less than the one before. It makes some of them wonder how long it will be before these gatherings too will cease. Besides the children in the morning, there were perhaps 2 or 3 people under 50 in the whole event, so there is plenty of evidence in the natural of a decline in progress. But that is just in the natural. What a blessing we can walk by faith and not by sight!

In the morning I was talking with two elderly gentlemen in the foyer of the chapel. They asked if we were on holiday, and I told them that we were actually on a mission, praying in this chapel. They commented on the shrinking chapels and blatant absence of young people, and I talked about my faith, the power of the Holy Spirit bringing the coming revival. One of them said that he was surprised to hear me talk so openly about the things of God. "We don't talk about those things together, it's really a very private matter for us." When I asked how could the most important matter in life be held in secret, he said he didn't know why it was so, but that it just was. He even asked me if I would be around and available to come visit his chapel. But then someone else approached and the subject changed.

This afternoon after praying inside the chapel, I wandered out into the cemetery and sat a while to pray and meditate on things I'd seen and heard. I found that my gaze rested on a large and fairly new tombstone, and realized that it was plot where both the husband and 19 year old daughter of little Beti Bowen, of the miraculous 1932 baptism, were buried. As I thought a moment on her sorrow, and then the hope she has in Christ of seeing her loved ones again, I began to wonder how God could begin to move here, and what I could possibly do.

In a sort of vision, I found myself in front of a hearth, and poking through the bed of cold ashes with a stick. There in one place I found a lump, and pushing away the ashes I found a coal that was still alive deep inside. That was Beti's hope and faith still hanging on, alone. But as I probed further with the stick, I found more embers, barely alight still. The Lord spoke to me and showed me that if I would just poke around in the ashes and find all the embers I could, and move them together, the breeze of His Spirit would come blow on them and rekindle the fire amongst them.

"Oh Lord, how can I do that?" I asked, and felt He showed me that He had already led me to speak to some of the ones that did still hold onto faith and hope, and that they just needed receive a bit of His love and His word. I realized that I was receiving the joyous assignment of seeking out these lonely embers and just loving them with God's love, and watering them with the word and prayer, praying with them and becoming their friend. If they could just be brought to a place of freedom to talk together about these things! Help us Lord!

Wednesday, May 7, 2003
Gladys and I visited today with Beti Bowen when we left the chapel, and had a nice visit with her. She told that yesterday she was so tired out after long day at the chapel, she didn't get out bed all day. She said with a laugh that her 88 years were beginning to show! But she was still aglow with contentment of having been involved in serving lunch and tea, being present for all three sessions of the hymn festival, and seeing her beloved old chapel filled with the beautiful praises of the many people that came.

As we talked, she shared again the details of her baptism, and how not even a quarter mile up the hill had rain fallen, but just around the chapel, and enough to fill the baptistery that had been drained by mean neighbors. She told us with joy and sorrow how every Sunday there was wonderful worship when the chapel was still full. The conversation then drifted to the current state of things, and how almost all the chapels are nearly empty or closed altogether. When I asked her how many other members of the chapel were true believers, she said she didn't know, and that she wondered sometimes if she were the only one. She told us that many people come only because they have always come, and it was a matter of fashion, of keeping up the appearance so others wouldn't say anything.

I shared again with her how I believe the Lord wants to revive the chapels, and restore Christianity in Wales. And I talked about my experience yesterday by her family burial plot, and how I could see her faith, and the joy there would be in that heavenly reunion with all of our loved ones. She exclaimed that she too was positive of that future! And I told her I believed that there were surely others in the chapel that still held onto their faith.

I asked her if we could prayer for her and for the chapel before we left, so the three of us joined hands and asked the Lord's healing on her body, and His as well. The presence of the Lord was so sweet as we prayed. When we were done, I asked her how she felt when we were praying, and she said it was very special. Then I asked if she had ever prayed together with others like that before, to which she replied she never had.

When I next asked her if she would be willing to pray together with one or two others of the believers that we could find, she said that yes, she would like that. Then I explained how that prayer was like bringing together those coals, and that in this way God could begin to stir things back to life. She said she didn't know if she'd live long enough to see it, but I assured her she would indeed. As the oldest member of this little flock, and the only one still living that actually experienced a direct miracle, I saw how the Lord had led me to her first last October, directly to the hottest of these hidden embers.

Thursday, May 8, 2003
This morning we visited another one of the families I visited last fall, and got more insights into the life of the chapel as it had been, and is now. It was also apparent that these lovely people also love the Lord and are genuine in their faith, confirming in my heart that He indeed has shown me where these precious embers are hidden among the ashes, and from each other. The culture of these wonderful Welsh people has succumbed to the scheme of the enemy to divide and scatter. He has woven into the social fabric threads of shyness and fear and distrust, making these people incapable or unwilling to talk among themselves about what matters most in life. And that being so, how can two or three gather together in His name?

After a sandwich together with Gladys in a lush green hilltop pasture with a panoramic view of the gloriously beautiful surrounding area in the prime of springtime, we went to visit the minister of Cilfowyr and three other chapels. I wish I had the time to share the content of our wonderful time together. What joy to discover the heart of a wonderful servant of God. Gareth Morris, and his wife Jean, have lived together in the little village where she grew up for thirty years. I thought he had studied to be a pastor in his youth, and his busyness with school was because he was a teacher and was preparing exams. That had been his desire, but it wasn't the case at all. After his military service as a young man, he served on the police force for a time, and then worked until his retirement with an insurance firm. Their whole lives they had been very active in their local chapel, but once retired, he went to a nearby college and obtained his license as a minister, and began to work in first one chapel, and then another. He continues his studies to get a higher level degree, as well as trying to meet the needs of four small congregations in different villages round about, preparing sermons, ministering regularly at retirement homes, making house visits and conducting special services, etc.

We talked at some length about many things. He shared how so many times when he is preaching in the chapels, he looks at the vacant stares of the people and wonders what they must be thinking about. He's sure that if he were to ask afterwards what had be his key text , or even the general topic he was talking about, that very few if any would know the right answer. I said that sounded like a familiar situation not particular to Wales, and we had a good laugh in spite of ourselves!

We discussed problems of the vanishing chapels, the idea of revival, etc. etc. He said he thought the chapels would not like come back, but disappear entirely over time, due to the lack of people to sustain them financially, as they are old and need expensive maintenance to meet new safety codes, and many have been condemned by the authorities. He said he thought they would be replaced with small groups meeting in homes, but had no idea how the transition would come about. We talked as well about the problem of people being so unspoken about personal things and their faith, or lack of it. He said that if the Welsh had any fault at all, it would be their reticence, but he didn't believe they really had any, and we had another good laugh!

I shared with him the vision of gathering the embers together, and the importance of fellowship. When he asked me why people should go to church at all really, and if a person couldn't be a perfectly good Christian through prayer and reading the Word and doing good works. I pulled out my Bible and read from Hebrews 10:24-25 where Paul talks about considering (getting to know) and provoking one another to love and good works, and not forsaking the gatherings of the saints. What joy I felt when he asked me to wait a minute and then ran upstairs to fetch his Welsh Bible and look at the scriptures that he knew best, being a native Welsh speaker.. Apparently he had not yet seen that aspect before. Then I took him to 1 Corinthians 12 about being members of the body, needing one another. It was a very stimulating conversation and we really enjoying our time together.

I took the opportunity the Alpha course and how that could be a great tool. He had heard of it just by name, but knew nothing of it, so I explained the format of the meetings and the strength it had of building small group relationships based on trust and an earnestness to know more about Jesus. I will mail him information and hope that he can try it in one of the more active chapels where he ministers.

Sadly we ran out of time as he had another pending engagement in his busy schedule, but we shared a wonderful time of prayer together. First he prayed in Welsh, and then did a recap in English for our benefit. I was tempted to pray in Spanish, but instead said we do our way now, and so the four if us joined hands and we prayed a blessing on them and their family, their ministry and chapels, and for God to bring revival indeed to Wales once again.

Friday, May 9, 2003
It is amazing and encouraging to watch how the Lord is orchestrating so many things. Today was the meeting for Welsh prayer leaders in Cardigan at the small church where we have visited a few times with Alex and Renie. I must admit I was a bit apprehensive about the meeting, but that feeling evaporated instantly when we walked in. The only people I knew were the pastor and his wife and a few members of the church we'd seen before. A very interesting detail was that the second person that greeted me was Carl Brettle, who turned out to be one of the event's principal organizers, mentioned in my April 21 entry below.

I first ran across his name on the internet last August, and sent him an email when I was looking for information about the denomination of the chapel. I learned that he was being used of the Lord in coordinating a large prayer movement for Wales, and that he was in touch with many people in prayer for revival for Wales. I didn't tell him about my experiences relating to the chapel, but I did keep his contact information.

I told him I had hoped to meet with him while I was here, but he didn't answer me until yesterday. He explained he had been out of the country and was going to be busy until after May 21st and asked if I would still be around. I had an idea he might be at the meeting today, and so it was. I recognized him from pictures I'd seen, and so greeted him by name and introduced myself. It seemed like we were already friends, and just happened to be meeting for the first time!

There were about 40 people at the meeting, and it started with a time of wonderful worship. Then Carl had people come up to the front and introduced them, and had each one tell what the Lord had been doing in their prayer groups. It was such an encouragement to us to hear each testimony. One of the first, Dudley, had been clearly called by God to start studying about past revivals in Wales, and then the Lord told him to move back to Wales and start praying for revival, and get others involved as well. Over the last 5 or 6 years, he had seen the Lord anoint these grass roots networks of prayors and bring hundreds of people into concerted weekly prayer meetings. The next was Frances, an American sister that had been called to organize prayer thirty years ago first at home in the USA, and since then she has been used by the Lord in many places abroad as well. Something she said struck a chord with me in relation to my experiences, and I could tell that she saw I had really connected with that. When we chatted later, she told me that God had called me like Elijah, when he confronted the prophets of Baal, to come and make a stand against the spirits of religiosity and tradition that have come against Wales.

Then came Barbara, a petite little housewife that had a hard time believing that God went to use her. She was instructed by the Holy Spirit to start to intercede for revival, and then began meeting with some other believers to pray together. Then the Lord told her to organize a meeting and invite believers from all over central Wales to a day-long outdoor prayer meeting. She didn't know many people, but the Lord kept after her about and she got contact information of churches and began to promote the meeting in her home town of called Bulith Wells. When the Lord told her to hire tents for six hundred people, she was doubtful but obedient. It turned out that over three thousand people showed up to pray for revival in Wales!

Just before we stopped for lunch, Carl asked me to come up and tell everyone what we were doing there. I started by saying that I had thought I might be a little crazy until I heard their stories, but now I knew I was really OK after all. So I began with the first time four years ago that we came to Wales to work on the Elsaessers project, and how the Lord spoke to me about a new great revival that was coming for Wales, Then I shared how last year He spoke to me again directly about coming to pray at the chapel, and the series of events that led up to our being here now. It was such a joy for us to suddenly find ourselves surrounded with like-minded wonderful saints whom had also been sovereignly called to work and pray for revival. Here we were, now surrounded by the fellow laborers I had been anxious about.

I quote here what I wrote last Sunday, "I also feel that these brothers and sisters in the faith that have been sowing and watering in the Spirit for Wales, are the co-laborers that I have been praying for and will surely take part in the coming harvest. I believe this is a significant development and am excited about meeting them Friday!" I had no idea just how significant it would be! I wish a had time to tell you more of the testimonies we heard.

After lunch, a couple more people shared, and the rest of the time was left for each group or individual to be prayed over by the others. When Carl told me that someone had a word for us and the whole group, and said they wanted pray for us last, I knew something was up! As we prayed for each person we felt such a love and connection with them, it was really a very rich time in the spirit. When it was our turn, petite Barbara asked us to kneel, and with her hand on my shoulder, began to prophetically exhort the others. She said how amazing yet confronting it was for God to have brought us from so far away to shed His tears for the lost and hardened people of Wales. "How many of us," she said, "have given ourselves to be broken and weep and stand in the gap for our country as this man?" I melted into God's love and heart cry for Wales as she spoke, and it was one of the deepest moments of conviction and confirmation yet of God's plans for us here in Wales.

They then prayed for us, several giving us words of blessing and affirmation. The doors of Wales were opened to us and we were welcomed and received and embraced by the very people God has been raising up during the last several years in preparation for the coming revival. It was a glorious moment for us to now instantly find ourselves part of a large networked team. Any doubts I had about my having heard God correctly were gone, and our calling to Wales is clearer than ever. The Lord also gave words to Gladys on her role with me here, and how the Lord will use us in many places in Wales. That was a real and clear answer to my prayer here a year ago when I told the Lord early on that He would have to do the work in Gladys' heart. So now we are solidly together in this amazing adventure in faith for God's plan for revival in Wales.

Saturday, May 10, 2003
Well, it is amazing how things have been working out day by day. About two weeks ago I began thinking about driving up into North Wales at the end of our time here, just to have a look at the rest of the country. Not only did I want to have a look at the incredible natural beauty we've heard so much about, and pictures I seen, but also to try and get a feel of what the spiritual atmosphere is like. We've heard that not only is the spoken Welsh different, but that the people of the region are of a somewhat distinct cultural makeup.

We had tentatively decided to leave Saturday morning, but I must confess I was having second thoughts about missing the Saturday meetings and praying for the last time at the chapel. But Friday night after the evening meeting was over, while we were hanging around talking with Carl Brettle and Steve Houghton, the organizer of Prayer Week, Steve asked us if we had plans for Sunday night. When I told him that we were going to have a look around North Wales, his face lit up and he asked where we were going to be staying. He had wanted to invite us to the big Sunday night meeting at his church for the first day of Prayer Week! So not only did I get a confirmation about our driving up through the North, when I told him I didn't know where we would be staying, he said he'd provide a hotel room for us!

So Saturday morning we headed north along the western coast, enjoying the different views of the rolling farmlands and scenes of the Irish Sea to our left. It was a beautiful clear day as we looked northwards over the water, and we could see where Wales branches out westward and we could distinguish the shapes of mountains in the distance. After about an hour the landscape began to change. The hills were now growing higher and there were large sections of tall evergreen and hardwood forests. The changes in the terrain grew more pronounced, and as we followed the road north, it climbed ever upwards. Green hills gave way to foothills and then real mountains. Even the many hedgerows were no longer live hedge as in the South, but here they were stone walls running along the roadside and up onto the mountains, dividing field from rocky field. There were sheep everywhere now, and hardly any more cultivated fields.

The winding road brought us breathtaking new views, now the mountains were bare above the treeline, and stark in comparison to the lush green that was yet only an hour behind us. Gone were the white cottages and tile rooves of the villages as grey and tan stone become the predominant building material, and slate roofing was evedrywhere. And with reason, for the mountains themselves were pure slate. I remember one town stood out across a valley because everything was a dark grey slate - even the large cemetery was filled with slate gravestones. And in a yard of another little town where we stopped, there were even slate fenceposts strung with rusty old barbed wire.

We stayed that night in very old hotel not far from Mt. Snowden, the centerpiece of Snowdonia National Park and the U.K.'s highest peak at 3800 feet.

Sunday, May 11, 2003
Early next morning I drove out to the visitor center near the base of Mt. Snowden, and went for a hike to see how big it really was. It was mostly cloudy andwindy with intermittent showers, so I never got a clear view of the top, but along with its neighboring peaks it towered above most of the surrounding areas. I did get as far as a large lake which collects the the pure water from the melting glaciers high above me, and sends its supply to the coastal area below through a large pipe that traces its way across the hills and down the valley.

After a big breakfast, we left the hotel and went back past the base of Mt. Snowden and started the drive down the main valley directly towards the visible coastline. About ten miles down was a huge old slate quarry, that had left the mountain to the north of us stripped of most of the useful slate through both surface cutting and deep mining. Now abandoned, the roads and huge ramps used to get the product down the mountain and the mountains of unusable pieces of slate were impressive to see. In the nearby town was a steam cog railway built in 1910 that ran a steep and winding trail up to the top of Mt. Snowden. We had arrived just in time and so we bought tickets and climbed aboard. It was an exciting one hour ride to the top, with wonderful views to either side. There was also an 8 mile footpath to the summit that run nearby the track, and we were amazed to see how many people come out to make the climb. It is apparently a national attraction. They started out in shorts and t-shirts, but by the time they made it near the top all but the hardiest climbers were now bundled in parkas and gloves and long pants! And as we got closer to the top, the clouds closed in and we couldn't see anything. We we got off the train at the summit station, the wind was raging and it was below freezing outside.

After a hot cup of coffee, we went outside into the biting cold, and made our way to a large stone cairn built at the summit, and climbed up the stairs to the very top. The wind was blowing so hard we had to hold onto each other and the handrails thoughtfully provided. Occasional breaks in the clouds provided brief but spectacular views in different directions. First we could see the coast and the beaches very clearly below us, and when that window closed in we could see another glimpse off towards the east , and then to the north. The other tall peaks nearby also faded in and out of view as the clouds raced along driven by the freezing wind. Unprepared for such an onslaught of cold, we retreated to the crowded warmth of the station, and were very glad we could ride down again in the comfort of the train.

As we rode down the mountain again, I began to reflect on what has been happening during our stay here in Wales. Just as we could only see very limited views from the mountain's peak, so it has been in regards to the coming move of the Lord over this country. During the time we've been here this trip and on my previous visits, the things the Lord has shown me are little more than tiny glimpses of what lies ahead. And now having heard others' stories first hand at Friday's meeting, still other small views of God's coming visitation have become visible, and the bits and pieces all clearly point to a glorious event to take place here. I have heard stories of the incredible views from the top of Mt. Snowden on one of the infrequent clear days, and can behold in my mind's eye what a sight it must be. And in a similar fashion I can perceive in my spirit a foretaste of what this next sovereign outpouring of the Spirit of the Living God will bring to this country and far beyond!

After our mountain adventure, we made our way to Colwyn Bay on the north coast of Wales and found the Princes Drive Baptist Church without much difficulty. Shortly after our arrival, Carl and Steve appeared, and got us settled into the hotel room. After a short rest we headed off for the opening meeting of Prayer Week. What a joyous crowd of people filled that old Baptist church! There was a sense of expectancy and excitement as over 300 people come in, many from other churches around North Wales. After a very animated welcome by Steve, one of the elders of the church, he introduced Godfrey Birtill who was to lead worship that night. Godfrey has a prophetic annointing for wonderful intercessory worship, and the church spontaneously exploded into a level of praise and celebration that I have seldom seen in recent times. As one song led into the next, Godfrey would stop and have us enter into a time of specific prayer for different areas. And many songs themselves were a very deep crying out for our youth, our nations, and revival. What power and love were borne into the heavenly realms that evening, as God's purposes were accomplished through the travail of prayer and intensity of spiritual victory and worship.

I'm reminded of the beautiful and moving singing at the hymn festival at Cilfowyr Chapel just last Monday, and yet the depth and power of this night's worship and prayer is what my heart knows we will see there also in due time. And not only there but across Wales and around the globe!
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