The First Wales Support Team Brings Good Reports! April, 1999
1. Our first goal was to put a roof on the "Pottery Shed."
Here below it is completed, the amazing product of the two brothers
at the right, Zack and Tim, who are both Welshmen from the area and showed us
what progress really means! The same slates that came off the building were
put back on a new wooden structure built inside the old brick, which will then
be finished up to the roof and tied in to the new building, so preserving the
original look of the place.
Alex and Renie Elsaesser are standing in the doorway, with Jim Boutcher, Joe Schrater and Windy Mauldin to their left and Tony Tuck to the right.
2. Below is a look at the "conservatory" with most of the wood quite rotten, and the roofing weighted down with amazing hi-tech wind resistors. In the foreground is another incidental project that turned into a pretty hefty job: a drainage ditch to stop the torrents of water that race down the drive in front of the main house during the all too frequent rains, none of which we saw by God's grace!
Here's a closer view of the "incidental" project, being entered into ambitiously by a brother from the church in Birmingham, which Alex and Renie established together with Harry and Sandy Hewat in 1980.
We managed to salvage almost all the the original glass from
the conservatory and replaced all the woodwork, though duplicating the level
of craftsmanship of the original work was a daunting challenge. We had to settle
for more practical tactics, but were able to leave it with a beautiful new roof
in place and at least part of the original glass reinstalled. Here is the resident
Elsaesser clan with Gladys Funnell smiling
through new "glass-less" windows. We had perfect weather for the whole
two weeks, and the Lord withheld the rain until we had the roof completed. Thank
you Jesus for your grace!!
3. The barn was the kind of project that could have taken much more time, but a few vital supports that had rotted out were replaced, and the cows were overjoyed at their new sense of security. No doubt Strawberry's milk production has skyrocketed since we improved their domain! >Dick Funnell was elated to spend time in such great company, and enjoy fragrant reveries of yesteryear in Harford County's dairy barns.
Another project that wound up taking the best part of the time there for Joe Schrater of Eureka and Vancouver fame, and Windy Mauldin from Nicaragua, was doing the "pointing" on the north face of Alex and Renie's house. All the old crumbly mortar between the stones had to be removed with small pick hammers, and then fresh mortar be carefully applied to each joint. A real meditation on being joined together as lively stones by Christ's love for each member of his body!
While in Wales, Gladys Funnell takes quite literally the commandment
of preaching the Good News to every creature.
After a series of dramatic conversions, her new disciples become those instant "super babes", showing incredible tenacity at sticking as close as possible to the older brothers to learn their every move. This kind of intimacy enables trainees to learn how the others even think.
Some folks, however, took things a different way. Tony had an experience with some converted crabs that ..... well, you get the picture!
Well, we had real fun, as you can see. And most of all, we were truly blessed
to be part of something much greater than what we could see with our natural
eyes. God's hand is on this project, as it is on the heartbeat of Wales itself,
and we know that in some way our efforts are a real and worthwhile contribution
to what He is doing in this beautiful part of the world. The Welsh people are
so warm and friendly, we couldn't help but believe that there is a special place
in God's heart for these people that had a taste of His love in a supernatural
way in the early part of this waning century. We all bore witness to "something"
astir in the Spirit that will re-ignite revival in this land.
We also could feel that the Lord has a very special design for the the sensitive nature of this project to reach out to families with "special needs" children, and that as it moves towards the fulfillment of the Elsaesser's vision, the surrounding community will grow proud to have such a tender outreach nestled among it's green rolling hills.