This fruit-bearing thing is becoming a constant theme in my life.
So this morning, we went to the Iglesia Biblica Bautista de Gracia in Huaraz, and we had invited two of our friends who live in Huaraz to join us. Nancy is a lady that we had met in the plaza in Recuay one morning, and she and her three beautiful children came - AND - one of the fifth grade teachers in Recuay (the one whose birthday party we went to, actually) and her husband came, too! This may not seem like a big deal to you who are reading, but for us, this is really the first sign of INTEREST in adults around here! So PRAISE THE LORD! We went out to lunch with them afterward, and getting to talk to Lina (the teacher) and her husband and seeing the passion in their faces when they talked about the Word of God and how they felt about church this morning - oh. It was beautiful.
During the service, Matt, an American guy from Minnesota who just happens to be married to Pastor Cristian´s sister-in-law and who works with the hispanic ministry at John Piper´s church, came and brought the message... and if you´ve ever heard John Piper speak or read his books and felt as mind blown as I did, you can imagine that same feeling but in a foreign language. Yeah. Amazing. He spoke about Jesus´ parable of the sower - where the seed fell on different types of soil that mirrors our own hearts. And as we dug into the Word, I was hit with the fact that we have seen every type of soil in Recuay this summer...
We´ve seen people who have rejected the Word, whose eyes have not been opened yet by the Holy Spirit, whose hearts are still darkened... and I was burdened to PRAY for them... that the Lord would open their eyes and bring light into their hearts. (Also struck by the amazing Spanish phrase ¨dar la luz¨- literally, ¨to give the light,¨ it´s a phrase that means to give birth, and think of it in the spiritual sense - that when we are born again, we are given light...)
We have seen people (and especially kids) who accept the Word with much joy but have no root, no foundation in the Word, and when difficult times come, tribulations and trials will discourage them and cause them to fall away... and I was burdened to PRAY for them as well... to share with them how the Word of God is our foundation, how Christ is our satisfactions... to teach them how to study the Word... and to pray that they will not only study and hear the Word, but that they will OBEY and put it into action...
We have seen others who accept the Word but whose lives are too easy, who feel as though they don´t really need the Lord, who are distracted by other things in the world... and who fail to bear fruit. This is probably something that is more common in our own lives as American Christians but still is prevalent here in Peru... and what a burden this has been today in my own life. Praying that we as a team and the believers we have met here would be single-minded, wholehearted, and focused on the Lord that they may bear fruit.
And praise the Lord, even today, we have seen people who hear and understand the Word, who accept it with gladness and seek to follow Him with their whole lives, who have been transformed.
So I´m full of praise today for the seeds that have been planted here in Recuay... the seed that is the Gospel... the story that says that the holy and perfect God of the universe loved us, sinners, hopelessly separated from Him by our own sin, and provided a way for us to know Him. That´s beautiful.
This is my prayer in the harvest, when favor and providence flow. I know I´m filled to be emptied again. The seed I´ve received I will sow.