Preparing the ground for harvest
by a short termer with Serve Asia in 2018
It is often said “it is more blessed to give than to receive”, and that’s exactly how I felt going on my short term mission trip. Having grown up hearing about the lives of missionaries who have gone before, I get worked up every-time I hear about the ways in which God worked through them, the lives they were able to impact, and the legacy they left behind. It’s both inspiring and humbling to think that maybe one day God can use me in the same way. I got really excited when the opportunity came and I was able to visit some of these legends on the field and experience first-hand what it’s like to be a missionary. Of course venturing into an unfamiliar environment made me feel uneasy, but at the same time, there was a sense of comfort knowing there were brothers and sisters in Christ waiting for me at the other end of the flight.
I always knew missionary work was a hard job, but I never knew it was going to be this hard. I’ve heard about sowing seeds and watering plants, but I didn’t know there was something that comes before all that known as removing the stones, or more precisely – removing the stumbling stones. In a place where there has been persecution, evangelism becomes increasingly difficult especially when you’re the new kid on the block because no one trusts you. It was a surprise to learn that it normally takes several years to build a relationship with someone, as you’ll first have to remove these stumbling stones – precepts and ideology the local people have about foreigners and Christianity. You’ll hardly see any fruits for the first three years, but these legends on the field persevere on fuelled by love.
Never before could I fully grasp what Christ meant when he said “your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” nor could I fully comprehend how He summarised the 10 commandments into “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself”, but there on the mission field I experienced the life giving power of this love. These missionaries came from all around the world, away from the comforts of their homes to a people group in a foreign land, that looks very different from themselves. Driven by their love for God and the people he created, they came and loved these people as themselves. People in the community do see something different in the lives of these missionaries, although it may be a slow process, but the ice does eventually start to melt. Maybe for some of these missionaries they won’t even see a single person come to Christ in their life time, but even so they go on, knowing that at the end of the day they have removed the stones for the people who would come after them to sow the seeds, water the plant, and eventually harvest the crop of this people group whom they have come to love.
Is there some ground that needs tilling in your neighbourhood? Perhaps you could start removing some of the stumbling stones in preparation for others who will come after you?