Friday, November 8, 2013

The farmer

Victoria and Gillett Doggett
Our life, like any of yours, has been a whirlwind of events since our last post. We continue to plow, plant, work and soften the ground, much like a farmer. It's easy to get critical, negative, lose sight, lose hope, give up. The temptation is always there. The comforts of our life in America seem to be calling out. But we never came to Kenya because we would be comfortable but because the God of heaven called us by name, our Jesus died for our sins and it is out of the love that Jesus once showed us that we received that call to go out and make disciples of all men, wherever He may take us. The call in America wasn't always easy just like here. Oh friends, but let me tell you, IT IS WORTH IT! It is beautiful and we are privileged and blessed beyond measure. We have spent the last three days on a missions retreat for Calvary Chapel Missionaries. We were privileged to have guest speakers Gillett and Victoria Doggett encourage us on the topic of unity. It fell on and refreshed our souls like a rush of cool spring water bursting through a dry land. As I sit in my room with dirty clothes from our trip still strewn about the house, I want to share with you some of the words that moved us.
Our Little Apple Tree
We studied how we, as Christians, as followers of Christ, are much like farmers. Now, I don't know much about farming, but since moving to Kenya and starting a little garden, I can imagine the intensity and the hard work of the life of a farmer. I can relate as a person who has watched the hard and exhausting work it takes to be in ministry. It doesn't stop. Ever. Much like a farmer we have to be purposeful and intentional with our time. We can't be lazy. A lazy farmer doesn't reap the rewards of a crop if he hasn't worked the ground. And as much as you work the ground, you don't see things happening right away. I know this to be true both in ministry and with a little apple and avocado tree we planted in our front yard. We planted the apple tree 2 years ago. It hasn't grown much. We planted it from something a bit bigger than a seedling. With the promise from the woman who sold us the plant that we'd see fruit in a year and a half we almost tore it out of the ground in a year. The leaves had died off on top, it looked pretty sad and it hadn't grown an inch. Just as we almost pulled that tree up we noticed life just on a little twig of a branch. A little bud. So we left it there, dug around it, put fresh, red, mineral-rich African soil around and waited. Well it's been two years and maybe that tree grew an inch. But a funny thing happened. Not only are there leaves on it, but an apple! It looks like the tree that Charlie Brown picked out at Christmas with a single ornament weighing the little tree down, but it's there. A healthy little tree. Not what we thought it would be at this stage but alas, there's fruit! That's what full time ministry feels like at times. We can forget about patience and perseverance. We learned we could have years of lost crops, uprooted and stolen crops, but we keep diligence.
We keep planting the seeds, even if we don't get to see the harvest. And oh friends, what Jesus said is true as well when he said, "The harvest is plenty yet the laborers are few." There is so much to be done in this wonderful country.  We need more light penetrating the darkness here. We need preachers, teachers of the word of God, we need people who will stay and disciple. We needs to be Christians who are sober, alert and to keep tilling the ground. Keep watering, keep pulling the weeds, keep pruning.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." - Galatians 6:9

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