Lance grew up on a farm, as did my mother. Both of us have a fundamental obsession with all things related to the harvest! Our call to serve the people of Southern Africa begins and ends with the harvest in mind.
The best way to conserve Southern Africa’s abundant harvest is to plant, nurture and partner with local churches until there is a healthy, thriving church within walking distance of every man, woman, boy and girl! During 2017 alone, more than 500 local Assemblies of God churches were planted, and we are on target to see 600 churches planted in 2018. Praise God!
Across Southern Africa, the harvest is pouring in at record speed as individuals, families and entire communities are being transformed by Jesus and his great love!
While we rejoice at the incredible harvest, our hearts break for the 200+ million African's who have never heard the Gospel. There is much work to do, time is short - and our task remains unfinished.
A few basic truths about the harvest stand out to me:
Seeds must be planted before they can ever produce a harvest.
In John 12:24, Jesus says, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
A harvest will never happen until we plant costly seeds of time, talent and treasure.
Growing mature, healthy plants requires a long-term investment of time, talent and treasure.
It is in the grit and the glory of everyday life that Christian love and servanthood are best developed. For this reason, new believers need to be nurtured in thriving local churches.
Heb 10: 24-25 "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Different crops require different harvesting techniques.
Paul said, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” I Cor 9: 22-23
For the sake of the gospel, missionaries across Southern Africa; learn new languages, adopt new cultures, eat different food, endure separation from family and friends, embrace endless transition as a “normal” part of conserving the harvest. If they didn't - the harvest would be incomplete.
The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few in Southern Africa.
My father-in-law, who raised crops for decades, would consider it to be the very definition of lunacy if someone were to: plant the seed, nurture, and care for crops as they grow, and then – lay off the work force so they can rest during harvest time.
During the harvest, farmers work as teams because the harvest is so abundant there’s no way one person could bring it in alone. Farmers work long hours, and maintain a laser focus on the ONE thing that matters most…the HARVEST.
In Luke 10:2, Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Notice how the harvest is promised - even guaranteed by the Father.
Good News for Southern Africa:
Many of you have been praying with us, that God would call missionaries to conserve Southern Africa’s ripe and abundant harvest. God is answering those prayers! In the past few months, 8 incredible new families have joined the team of Southern Africa missionaries. We still need at least 10 more missionaries to answer the Lord’s call to serve the people of Southern Africa. Thank you for praying! The harvest depends on it.
Some questions about the harvest I’ve been pondering:
What seed have I planted during the past 30 days?
In what ways could I focus more time, talent and treasure on the harvest?
What creative, and innovative approaches are available to help me do my part in conserving the harvest?
What am I willing to sacrifice to bring in the harvest?
What matters more to me than the harvest?