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December 26, 2003
After a late start on the day, now
the usual occurrence when making the adjustment to a 6 hour time change,
I went by myself over to the chapel for a while. The caretaker's wife
greeted me and gave me the large key, and went in through the gate.
Immediately I noticed that the older side of the cemetery to the left
of the chapel was undergoing some major work. All the graves there
are well over 100 years old, and most of them were sinking into the
earth, or in varying degrees of tipping over or lying flat on the
ground. So they were now all being lined up side by side in neat rows,
raised up and set once again in an orderly fashion. AIthough the job
is only partially done, my impression was one of a restoration of
hope in the resurrection!
I let myself inside with a sense
of homecoming and expectancy. Everything inside was exactly the same
as when we left in May. I sat at the table beneath the pulpit, and
gazed about in wonder that once again here I was. That fact alone
was quite amazing indeed! And as my heart began to work into prayer
for God's will to be done, I soon came to an intense moment when I
cried out to the Lord, "How can I dare to believe all the things
that I have seen and heard from You about this place?" But then,
with an even deeper cry, "How can I not believe you, Lord? Here
I am. Do with me as You will here."
As I pray, I find myself frequently
breaking out into song. Maybe it's the residual influence here of
the Welsh people's love for singing. At one point I found myself whistling
a tune that I received when I was here last fall. Maybe I get some
words for it as well this time.
December 27, 2003
When I came to the chapel today,
I learned of the death of Neville George, one of the members whom
I had visited with on both previous visits. As I walked through the
cemetery looking for his grave I could not help but think of him and
so many others that have passed on before that have had a faith in
the Lord Jesus and their eyes set on eternal life, but not ever enjoyed
the lively hope that comes with a real and living relationship with
the Lord which gives us both joy and strength.
I got talking with an elderly
gentleman in the market today that turned out belong to a Baptist
chapel, but doesn't go any more. He expressed his sorrow over the
fact that so few people in general and youth in particular have no
thoughts for God or religion, and yet he seemed to hold on to some
hope himself. He mentioned all of the empty and lifeless chapels,
especially here in Southwest Wales, and even the great revival of
100 years ago. When I told him that I believe they will all be filled
again he said he wouldn't be totally surprised, because there is nothing
else that lasts more than a lifetime, and most things not even that
While I was singing and praying,
I found myself thinking about that conversation, and others I have
had with other people that seem to believe, yet seem relatively removed
from their faith, or Jesus in particular, the object of that faith.
As I considered visiting these people again, and trying to fan the
coals of their hope once again, the music of Be Thou My Vision came
to my lips, and I began to dwell on that first phrase.
"Be Thou my vision, Oh Lord
of my heart" has to be my priority during my time here. The main
focus then of this time is to be with Him. The fellowship of the Word
and the Holy Spirit are to be the main course. If He is my vision,
than I no longer need make plans and churn ideas of how to make things
happen. "in Him we live and move and have our being" means
that while we keep ourselves in Him, all other aspects of our time
and activities will be guided by Him. He will bring us into conversations
with those of His choosing and guide out steps each day according
to His word that says he orders each one!
In the afternoon as we drove into
Cardigan, Gladys said she was beginning to realize with that his is
going to be own town! This will be where we come for market, and other
necessities of making our home ion this area. When I saw a musician
that was baptized last spring, what joy I felt, even though I wasn't
able to catch his eye as I passed in the car. What a change will come
over this community as more and more of these lovely folks find themselves
caught up into the grace of God's loving them and giving them eyes
to see and ears to hear what only He can reveal to them.
BE THOU MY VISION
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
December 28, 2003
Early this Sunday morning, instead
of coming directly to the Chapel, I drove up to the top of the hill
where the Lord first spoke to me 4 1/2 years ago about revival coming
again to Wales. It was very windy, cloudy and very cold. I sat in
the car for a while and prayed as I surveyed the countryside, all
the farms and villages round about. I realized that of course these
are the people that will be first touched by the revival, and that
each of these homes and families will somehow find their way out there
when the move begins.
In a like manner last night while
we were at the local supermarket in Cardigan I observed all the people
catching up on the grocery shopping after two days of all businesses
being closed. These are the ones that Jesus gave his life for. And
these are the ones that we have come to pray for. Yes, I even scanned
each face and wondered how many of them I would see in the chapel
Bracing myself against the cold,
I got out of the car and walked towards the very top where the fences
come together, and could see a clearing in the east and glow of the
morning sun working its way upwards into the fierce cold. The wind
at my back came racing over the hilltop from the Irish Sea, almost
pushing me over at times, and yet before me the growing glory of the
morning sun filled the space between the horizon and the band of heavy
clouds a hands' width above it. As the cold bit into my back I could
pray clearly with the growing light for the coming revelation of the
glory of the Son of God into the coldness of heart that has kept this
land in its grip now for so many years.
Back in the chapel as I prayed for
annointing for this place, and those that will come here. also I prayed
for the pastor of this little flock as he shares this morning at another
chapel where he ministers each week. Then I received the words to
a song written by a young Welshman I met last spring, "A crown
of beauty, instead of ashes, is what You've given to me." That
must be our cry for this land, as the light of life breaks through
the coldness and fills this land once again with the knowledge of
the Lord of life.
I went back and picked of the family
at the cottage, and we went to church at the New Life Christian Centre,
the small spirit filled church where the Elsaessers have been going
to church for the last couple of years. It is also the church that
hosted the Welsh Prayer Leaders' Summit that we attended last spring,
when we received so very much encouragment by hearing the stories
of many others that had also been led to pray and intercede for revival
during recent years.
There were several other visitors
with us due to the holidays, and it was pleasant to have some people
besides the pastor and his wife come and greet us, remembering us
from our previous visit. That makes us begin to feel a bit more at
home here in the area. Doug, the pastor, invited to me share a bit
about why we were here, and so I took a few minutes and briefly described
how the Lord first showed me the vision of the coming revival in the
Spring of 1999, and then in the Spring of last year gave me a direct
call to come and pray here in the old Baptist chapel. I told them
how the Lord has been working in our hearts and confirming His call
in the two subsequent visits and also confirming through many different
sources about this coming great revival. They prayed for us afterwards,
and it was a real blessing to have people come along side and encourage
December 29, 2003
Only passed by the chapel briefly
to show the chapel to my son and his friends. It seemed strange to
be like a tourguide just passing through. I couldn't help but wonder
what they think about this whole thing. I imagine they'd only heard
little bits from Dicky, but they now at least had heard me share in
church yesterday the real reason of why we even come over to this
December 30, 2003
Today we packed the kids off to Ireland
for a couple of days. Before taking them to the ferry at Fishguard,
we went together to St. Davids, out on one of the southwestern tips
of Wales. This was a place of central importance in the history of
Wales, and the growth of the Church in Wales, of which David was the
founder. There are fascinating ruins of an old monastery and the seat
of government from a thousand years ago. There is also a huge old
church there, which we went inside of to have a look around. There
are the tombs of various old saints, and reputedly the bones of David
himself in one of the attached chapels.
The organist was practicing on their
newly installed 1.2 million dollar pipes organ, and the place was
filled with wonderful sounds. However as I sat meditating in a particular
spot, looking up at the huge framing of the roof, I couldn't help
but feel how this type of religious establishment served to remove
the everyday folk from any direct relationship with their Lord and
Saviour, and cause them to be dependant on a relatively sterile and
impersonal religious infrastructure. How distant from the relationship
that Jesus shared with His disciples, and the many "one another"
exhortations of Paul's letters.
Up to the chapel in the afternoon,
as I began to pray, this simple verse came to me.
Jesus, oh Jesus, please help me to
Help me not wonder and strain at
Teach me to trust in the fact that
To hear and obey you is my only need.
It seems so far from my possibilities
to cause something happen here, of course. But nothing being impossible
for God, we press on with enthusiasm, knowing with a growing surety
that all we need to do is follow His leading day by day.
Meditating on how we might encourage
the members of the chapel to pray, I realized that the Welsh love
to sing hymns, and this may be the key to start to pray with them,
through the familiar words of their favorite hymns.
December 31, 2003
Today I am 56 years old! I spent
the morning in the chapel and had a good time of praying and worshiping
and letting go of any preconceived notions of what to expect in this
place. Then in the afternoon we went over to the Elsaessers farm to
spend time together, and they gave me a wonderful birthday dinner
with homemade black forest cake and ice cream for dessert. And so
I get to start off 2004 with a bit more of a Welsh belly than last
January 1, 2004
What joy to my soul to be able to
start of this new year in a new land, the land where the Lord has
called us to come and lay down our lives for His sheep! And to be
so at home here in this chapel, where so many "impossible"
things are going to happen!
Before midnight we went to Fishguard
to pick up the kids coming in on the ferry from Ireland at 1:30 in
the morning. Having time enough, we drove out to the Strumble Head
Lighthouse flashing away with its powerful beacon. It's amazing how
such a strong light can go unobserved by so many people on land, being
so far out on a point. It mostly gets seen by folks on boats who are
paying attention. It's kind of like us, the church. God is giving
very clear signals of things to come to all those that are paying
attention, but there are many who are just "on the boat",
like so many passengers in these huge ferry boats, who are only concerned
in getting to their destination but are paying no little or no attention
to the course they're on.
Every 15 seconds or so all the sheep
we saw in the pastures close to the lighthouse would be swept over
by the very intense light, but they didn't seem to notice or be bothered
at all. They just kept munching away on the grass. Just like the lost
people of this world that don't know Jesus, who are oblivious to any
of God's existence and involvement in this world at all. They just
continue busily engaged in consuming whatever they can get, with no
real thought of their short stay on this earth. But not for much longer!
January 2, 2004
Today was such a nice and almost
clear day, Gladys and I drove up into the
Priscelli Mountains to have a look about and pray, and took the short
hike out to the top of "Foel Eryr" and enjoyed a spectacular
360 degree view. It was quite clear and we could see as far as the
Bristol Channel past Tenby, Skomer Island, Fishguard, the Cardigan
Bay and up the coastline of the Irish Sea towards North Wales. On
the next ridge over towards the West was a beautiful old farm that
caught my eye and heart like a magnet, and how I would have loved
to go spend some time there.
As I looked around over the countryside, there was a sense of longing
and wonderment at the fact that these many people will soon be stirred
out of the slumber of their spiritual lethargy by the coming move
January 3, 2004
I dropped Gladys off early in Newcastle
Emlyn to go shopping in Cardiff with Renie and her daughters, and
so got to spend several hours alone in the chapel. Then in the afternoon
I took the kids to do laundry at Alex's, and down to the scenic little
beach called Mwnt about two miles away.
That evening I called some friends
of Barbara Tonkin, one of the prayer leaders who we met here last
spring. She had recommended that we try and get in touch with them,
as they live close to where we are, and are very involved in prayer
for revival. They invited us out for tea for the
next afternoon, and that was definitely something to look forward
to. The more people we meet who are actively seeking the Lord for
an outpouring in Wales, the more encouraged and emboldened we find
ourselves to press into this calling we have received to just come
here and pray.
January 4, 2004
This morning I drove Dicky and his
friends to Carmarthen, supposed birthplace of the legendary Merlin,
to catch a train to London, where they will be the houseguests of
Omar and Kate Mendez. Omar was one of a group of young people with
Verbo in Guatemala who joined the crew of the ship Spirit ten years
ago. While in that ministry, he met and married British Kate nearly
two years ago, the same couple that hosted us last Spring when we
went into London for the Alpha USA Team Days Conference. So Dicky
and company will do sightseeing, and then Gladys and I will join them
this Friday. I can hardly believe that our time here is coming to
an end so quickly!
After church this morning, we were
invited for coffee to Charlie's house, the brother whose baptism we
attended last spring, and who I had seen in the street a few days
ago. He wasn't in church last Sunday, so I was very glad to see him
today, and we had a short but very pleasant visit with them and another
couple from the church. He is quite a gifted musician, and played
us a beautiful and moving song on his mandolin that the Lord had given
him recently. We agreed to get together later during the week, and
I look forward to that. With Gladys on guitar and I on harmonica I
think we shall have some fun worship together. Perhaps he is another
musician the Lord is lining up for us to work with in the coming harvest
This afternoon we went out
to Ffald y Brenin, Sheepfold of the King.
As we got up to the top of the drive and parked the car, what a delight
it was to discover this was the very place that had so caught my eye
from the mountaintop two days ago. How the Lord continuously overwhelms
me with His goodness and very special care, granting the desires of
my heart without me even asking!
We were warmly received by Roy and Daphne Godwin, who have been here
as administrators for nearly five years, since the death of the founder.
They shared with us how this retreat center was built up out of an
old farm in the mid 1980's. The project grew up and was sustained
and surrounded by the supernatural workings of God since the very
beginning. And after telling a bit of its short history, they shared
their own stories of a few of the many amazing things the Lord has
done during their time there, and how through quite extraordinary
events and elements of timing, the Lord brought them out to this place.
Daphne had been present during the afternoon session of the prayer
leaders meeting we attended last spring, but missed hearing our story
of how we were called to Wales to pray. So it was a blessing to now
share our testimony with them and recall again the things the Lord
has done to bring us to this point, now my 5th time in Wales. We had
a wonderful time of fellowship, and were mutually encouraged by our
testimonies to continue to press into what the Lord is calling us
each to do here. Roy said he would love to come and pray with us in
the chapel during our next visit over here this coming April.
As in this meeting, it has been very exciting as we get to know
more people here to continually find an unspoken understanding that
we are all on the same Team. We see how the Lord is putting people
into so many places throughout this land, preparing the groundwork
for what is to come. As Roy showed us around the old farm, and the
large amount of work and finances to build it up such a welled equipped
meeting place, I couldn't fail to see it as one more of the Lord's
resources that is now in place. It became very clear to me that this
will be an important and strategic place for workers in the coming
harvest to meet and pray and receive instructions from our Commanding
January 5, 2004
After a brief visit this morning
with a friend in Cilgerran, we spend the rest of the morning praying
in chapel with Gladys. The only result of my attempts to get in touch
with some of the elders of the chapel today was a very short chat
with one who was leaving for Australia within the hour. I did manage
however to leave him a copy of my journal from last spring, as well
as a wonderful prophecy given to Catherine Brown about Wales being
sprinkled with golden dust word from heaven. He seemed glad to see
us and was interested in reading about it and sharing it with his
friends in Australia!
The rest of the afternoon was spent
in town, investigating practical aspects about moving here permanently.
A few visits to real estate and rental property agents gave us some
useful information. We shopped around for prices of the regular household
goods, appliances and the like, that we will need to set up a household.
We have also been plying several friends here with questions about
utility costs, etc.
Another area of we checked into is
that of learning Welsh. Being the first language of some many people
in this area, it seems very important to me that we take on learn
the language early on. Everyone here does speak English, but Welsh
is really the language of the heart. My 28 years of Spanish ministry
have shown me the importance of language. There are many people in
our church here in New Orleans that speak nearly perfect English,
but invariably prefer their native tongue when talking about spiritual
things and feelings that run deep. There are ongoing courses that
meet weekly, but of particular interest is an intensive month-long
summer session run by the University of Wales in Aberystwyth. That
may not be feasible for this year, but will surely be on our agenda
at some point.
At nightfall, we ran into our musician
friend Charlie on High Street (Main St. in most Welsh towns) and enjoyed
an informal dinner. Another musician friend had stopped by and we
had fun playing together. It turned out that Charlie had done some
writing as well, and so we read aloud some of our poems and things.
It was a delightful evening, and we ended with a sweet time of prayer
January 6, 2004 – Part
Early this morning I went to pray
in the chapel alone. As I frequently do, I went up in the pulpit to
pray, and my eyes were drawn to the large Bible in the lecturn opened
to Psalm 68, "Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered…"
As I read it aloud, the following verses took on a prophetic meaning
for what is to take place in Wales:
"9 Thou, O God, didst
send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance,
when it was weary.
10 Thy congregation hath dwelt therein:
thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.
11 The Lord gave the word: great
was the company of those that published it." and,
"16 Why leap ye, ye high
hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD
will dwell in it for ever.
17 The chariots of God are twenty
thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in
Sinai, in the holy place.
18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou
hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea,
for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.
19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily
loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah."
I also noticed a page marker at Nehemiah
6, and read how his determination to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
was challenged repeatedly. I found great encouragement there to press
on in this calling the Lord has issued to us, to come and pray here
for the coming revival. I have been challenged many times already
in pursuing this direction. In my own mind, doubts and misgivings
do crop up from time to time. I consider the cost of leaving our kids
behind, our church friends, etc. And even some concerned friends have
intimated that I am making a mistake by abandoning the "security"
I have here. "What will you do in a few years if nothing happens?
You'll have no job to come back to!"
My only recourse is to say like Paul,
"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless
I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded
that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against
that day." (2 Timothy 1:12)
January 6, 2004 Part
At mid-morning Pastor Gareth
Morris of Cilfowyr Chapel came by our cottage in Cilgerran. I told
him that I was more certain than ever about the coming revival, and
that the chapel was going play a significant role in it. I could only
speculate about what that might be like, but I said that it would
bring some very big changes to how the little group currently
functions. In our meeting last Spring (in my journal of May 8th),
he had shared with us that if there were to be any awakening at all,
it would more likely to come through small meetings in individual
homes. So he had less of an idea than myself how something might start
in the chapel itself.
I shared how in my spirit I clearly
see meetings there every night, with the chapel filled to capacity.
But again, how that comes into being after one small monthly service
will have to wait to be understood. I told him that we were now sure
of our direction to make a permanent move to Wales, and that I wanted
to place myself at his disposition and to serve him in any way possible,
visiting people, organizing small home prayer groups, or whatever.
I also assured him that I have no pretense of becoming the pastor
of the chapel, but only want to pray and serve as the Lord leads.
When I asked him if it might be possible
to share with the congregation about things the Lord has shown me,
he informed me that according to the Baptist Association, only those
men that have been licensed by them can take the pulpit to preach.
He said that I would have to obtain some sort of provision through
the association. Which also brought up the subject of the language.
So it may be more than Welsh that I'll be studying once we get situated
I took the opportunity to share about
the Jesus Movement of the 1970's. I told him how God had moved
spontaneously to bring thousands of young people like myself into
the Kingdom, and how an informal grass-roots type of leadership was
raised up to meet the needs. And how out of this revival movement,
there were wonderful servants and leaders, many with very large churches,
still fruitful today, as well as an abundance of new worship music
for the churches, and the proliferation of Christian music outside
of the church, other creative arts.
We could have spent much more time
talking, but he had another engagement and had to leave. So I gave
him a great book called The Ten Greatest Revivals, and a cassette
of Duncan Campbell talking about his involvement in the Hebrides Revival
of 1948 in the Scottish Isles. I told him we would be back in April
and we agreed to meet and talk some more then, and hopefully include
some of the deacons of the chapel.
January 6, 2004 Part
After my meeting with Gareth
Morris, we drove out to Ffald y Brenin, the retreat center we visited
Sunday, for the first monthly prayer meeting of the new year. There
were about 30 people gathered and visiting together for lunch after
the morning sessions, and so we joined them with our own packed lunch.
Afterwards, everyone moved back into the small meeting area where
we sang a few songs and then listened to a brother share a brief teaching
and exhortation about prayer. From there we were led in prayer by
one, and then another, as the Spirit led, and there was a wonderful
harmony of intercession and travail.
After a while I stood up to stretch,
and turned to the windows to enjoy a wonderful view of the valley
and hills behind to the west. There was the hilltop where we had stood
just a few days before when this place first caught my eye. As I stood
there praying and watching, in the spirit I suddenly saw a movement
in the dip between that hilltop and the next one to the left. As I
watched, there came flowing over the brow of the hills a great river,
which tumbled and poured down into the valley below. It didn't bend
trees or move or damage anything, but began to gently and quickly
spread out over the valley floor, covering to the left and right fields,
woodlands and farms, then reaching farther to houses and villages
in the distance. As I continued to look on, the water began to rise
more and more as the river kept pouring in from the mountaintop, and
the presence of God filled everything in a wonderful and glorious
ocean in the knowledge of His love. Revival was here in full force!
I immediately shared this vision
with those present as a prayer, in anguish and longing, yet in hope
and triumph. Their prayers are effectual, the fulfillment is sure,
and as we wait upon the Lord and walk in obedience to His leading,
I know we will with our own eyes in real time see the unfolding of
what these lovely and faithful saints have been seeking for these
many years of praying together.
After the meeting was over, we met
some more of the folks in attendance, and exchanged contact information
with a few that wanted to keep in touch. Then Gladys and I went for
a walk up into the fields above to look about some and take in the
views of the Welsh highlands. We slogged our way up through a very
wet area, I recalled Roy telling us how this place was as dry as dry
could be when they first began praying for a breakthrough to dispel
the spiritual darkness five years earlier And then how with a release
that had come in the Spirit, this mountain began to flow once again
with an abundance of water as confirming an answer to their prayers.
January 6, 2004 Part
This evening we were invited to dinner
with Doug & Janice, pastors of the New Life Christian Centre where
we have been attending Sunday services here in Cardigan. Over a delicious
home-made British dinner, we had the first real opportunity to get
to know them personally. Until now, we had just been acquainted through
meetings that we've attended. I guess they knew a bit more about me
because last Spring at the Prayer Leaders Summit I had shared my testimony
of how the Lord has shown me about the coming revival and then how
He called us here to pray in the Cilfowyr Chapel. But now we had the
opportunity to listen to their testimony, and how the Lord had led
them here to Cardigan after having been on the mission field in Albania.
Taking our coffee into the living
room, we shared more about how the Lord is moving in general. And
we spoke more specifically how He is leading us to make our home here.
They gave us a good deal of practical information, and very kindly
offered us any assistance they possibly could to help us make the
transition in Wales when the time comes. How wonderful it was to be
made to feel so welcomed, and received into the body of workers the
Lord is putting into position in preparation for what is to come.
After awhile a young lady who is
staying in their home, accompanied by her mother, joined us. Upon
being introduced, I learned that they knew who we were, and have been
coming to Wales to pray in the old chapel. When I asked how they knew,
they said they had been given a copy of one of my journals from a
previous visit, and read through it with enthusiasm! Her husband had
recently retired as the pastor of another Welsh Baptist chapel close
by Cilfowyr, and I had actually met him the week before.
We had been visiting one of families
who had we visited in last spring, and who was very recently widowed.
While there, the pastor, a friend of the family, happened to drop
by, and we were introduced. He said that he knew who I was, which
made me quite curious. I was very interested to talk with him, however
he was unable to stay for more than just a greeting. For some reason
I had felt a kindred spirit with him and was sorry that he had to
leave so soon. When I asked our friend how he might have known who
I was, she said that she had told him briefly as she brought him into
the house. But now I realized the real reason was that he had even
read some my journals! Now my "cover" was blown for sure!
During our previous times here, I have been trying to keep as invisible
as possible, not wanting to alarm anyone in any way. So I wondered
what this might mean.
It turned out that these two ladies
were very much interested in our being here, and they are praying
also for revival in Wales. And as they were curious about how we got
connected here from such a far away place as New Orleans, I told them
our whole. They were visibly receptive and excited to hear how we
have gotten this far, and shared with some enthusiasm about how they
have been praying, along with many others, for a genuine move of God
that will bring restoration to an all but disappeared church in Wales.
This chance meeting, which I recognize to be divinely orchestrated
by the Lord, was of great encouragement to us, and confirmed yet another
time more that our calling is to move to this place and simply be
obedient to God's leading.
January 8, 2004
This morning in the chapel I began
by reading aloud the suggested text for the Caleb Prayer Initiative
for Wales. "1st paragraph." When I got to the
part where it says "whole communities were transformed and nations
were touched." I was swept up into the same glorious promise
the Lord has shown me about this coming revival, and wept tears of
joy at the prospect of seeing it with my own eyes.
Moments later my eyes were
drawn to the bold text under the title on the article "Send the
Fire Again" in this month's January issue of Charisma Magazine.
It says, "A century after revival touched the world through
the tiny nation of Wales, God is stirring faith for another visitation."
Again my tears flowed as I realized that God has given to me this
very kind of faith, and that is the only reason I am here again for
a 5th visit to this nation, and spending time praying in
this chapel that will celebrate this spring its 300th year
of existence. "Oh Lord, how wonderful you are!"
The scripture which says that "faith
without works is dead" then came to mind, and I realized what
great joy is mine that a major part of my work is to come here and
worship and pray and bask in the presence of God. What a priviledge!
What sheer delight! Even through the times of groaning and real anguish
with what Paul calls birth pains, how glorious is the hope we have
in Jesus Christ.
So again I burst out in a song of
joy, with a melody that just popped into my head, and then added the
words of the Caleb Prayer to the music:
O High King of heaven,
Have mercy on our land.
Revive Your Church.
Send the Holy Spirit
For the sake of the children.
May your Kingdom come to our nation.
In Jesus mighty name. Amen.
(The Caleb Prayer Initiative: www.ffald-y-brenin.co.uk)
As I finished singing this, the sun
broke out through the rainclouds of the past days as if to confirm
that He indeed is hearing this prayer now going heavenwards daily
throughout Wales and in many places around the globe. He is in the
process of bringing it about as I write these very words. Further
evidence of this is the simple fact that I am even here praying this
morning, just one more drop of rain among the many storms and showers.
Last night when I was here I took
note of the three large windows on the east side of the chapel that
were leaking. And now from my vantage point at the uppermost back
seat of the balcony, I realized how significant it is that the rain
is actually leaking in. It is as if the work of the Holy Spirit is
beginning to gradually make its way into the church again, bringing
life and vitality once again into a long tradition of faith, just
as the Caleb Prayer crys out for revival.
As I study the windows, I note that
the very tall lower sections have been replaced with modern double-paned
windows, but because the top arched section did not leak, nor would
be easily replaced because of the scrolled woodwork, they were left
in place. Where the old wood section joins the new vinyl framing is
where the water comes inside, pushed through the cracks by the forceful
winds. In the same way that the new high-tech windows successfully
keep out the pelting rain, the modern structuralism of organized religion
seems to seal out the organic workings of the Holy Spirit. But the
old and artfully made wooden upper part is like the ancient and simple
essence of the living church through the work of the Spirit. There
are some leaks developing, and life is coming back into Christ's church.
January 9, 2004
Today we drove back in towards London.
We went by to drop off some things that the Elsaessers had lent us,
and to say goodbye. Their friendship, support and encouragement have
been of inestimable value to us in this whole Welsh adventure the
Lord has us on. And it was their initial response to the Lord's direction
in moving to Wales from Birmingham, England that got us here in the
As they paid the price of obedience
and uprooted their lives and family to move out here to an obscure
part of this tiny nation in pursuit of a vision the Lord had given
them, they broke ground for us as well. It was then through the work
teams that came to help in the long and tedious process of restoring
these old stone farm buildings and converting them into living spaces
for a retreat center that we got involved, and our first taste of
what the Lord is preparing to do in this land.
Now, as the prospect of our making
a permanent move here grows closer, it is made so much easier, especially
for Gladys, by the warmth of a special friendship that goes back so
many years. It's hard to believe that over 30 years ago Alex and Renie
and myself started out together on a path to follow Jesus' invitation
to discipleship on very special piece of earth near Mendocino, California
called "The Lord's Land". In the company of hundreds and
thousands of other young people swept up into the Jesus Movement in
the early 1970's, we were carried along by Gods' grace and call to
take the power of the Gospel into foreign lands. After our intital
few years of working side by side at Maranatha Pottery Works, our
paths took a different route.
I went off to Guatemala in 1976 following
a remarkable vision of an earthquake's terrible devastation, and there
found my Welsh-named Gladys. And in 1980 the Elsaessers moved to the
U.K. to make disciples in that nation, and traced out a path that
would eventually take them to Wales. And now our extraordinary calling
here brings us together again in this dry and thirsty land where the
signs and sounds of coming revival are throbbing just below of surface.
Just as when we were here last spring,
we have found still other people who have sovereignly been called
to Wales. Each one has a different story of how they found themselves
brought here, for not the clearest of reasons other than that God
had told them to come – a vague but definite leading, a job offer,
etc. After hearing one story after another along this line, we feel
that our experience is just one more part of the whole picture here.
And that has given us an almost immediate and gratifying bond of purpose
with each of them. We share in a wonderful anticipation of what the
Lord has in store for this place, and the simple recognition that
it is all about Jesus and His being glorified in all the earth.
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