13 Jun The Lord of the Harvest
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.” John 4:34-36 (ESV)
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” John 9:37-38
Things have been booming as of late at the Sparrow Children’s Home and it is surreal to look back at how different things are from a year ago when we moved out here from language school. We have been building the new cabana houses and renovating existing ones (turning one into intern housing). We have seen a well dug, added a new driveway and gate, and built a chicken coop (I never thought I would be taking care of chickens!!). We have grown so much spiritually through weekly bible studies with the Bowmans and the men at Ministerio Vida, where we have also started a carpentry shop for the them to learn a skill and support themselves. My better half just doesn’t stop! Alishia continues to teach English at two different schools and the community, as well as leading Children’s church at our local church. Roxanne is teaching health classes and holding medical clinics for the kids at our local school, while Eric is directing all the teams and overseeing all of the ministry, building, and daily operations being done here. OH, and I almost forgot, we are doing all this while loving and taking care of nine (9!!) kids living here on the property, WE ALL STAY VERY BUSY.
God blessed us with this amazing property we call the Sparrow Missions Children’s Home to care for children in their time of need. We knew going into this venture that our focus would be to care for these children, but what we didn’t take into fully recognize was this focus would only be the start of our lives in Santiago. Outside the walls of our property, there are so many people around us with great needs, both physically and spiritually. Many who live on next to nothing and have great needs medically or physically. At the same time, most do not have a relationship with Christ. Outside of caring for the kids in our homes and intentionally raising them as disciples of Jesus Christ, all 4 of us (6 including the older Bowman girls) have taken a very vested interest in the community that surrounds us. I think we can all readily admit that life can be overwhelming at times trying to help as many as we can, the best we can, on top of raising kids, taking care of our marriages and ourselves.
My prayer, among many, the last few months was for God to send workers for the field. I remember constantly speaking with God just saying “Lord, there are so many here who need to know you and who are eager for you. There is so much to do!” I have been waiting, probably in the back of mind waiting for him to send help from the states, while all this time He has been bringing our brothers and sisters in Christ that are already here in Santiago to us!
Among those is a wonderful man named Marvin. He started working for us this last January and he takes care of our property. On top of that he started teaching Bible classes in our local school with others from our church, he is constantly there for those in need, and is the living embodiment of a servant of Christ. I look to him as a great friend, brother, and a wonderful example of a good, faithful Christian (Honduran) man for our boys. He has been a wonderful partner in ministry for us.
Late last year we joined a local Baptist church here in Santiago named Gosen, after Marvin invited us one Sunday. Alishia gives adult English classes there now and I am a part of the worship team. Back when the kids came to live with us in January, several women from the church came over to our house a few times to help Alishia learn how to cook more traditional Honduran meals for the kids. The church is truly acting as the hands and feet of Christ in our community and are always ready to help those in need. We love being able to help them with ministry in the community and they love to help us as well. It is a beautiful example of how the bride of Christ should work in unity. The pastor, Melvin, has done a wonderful job of teaching unity.
Speaking of partnership in ministry, I can’t leave out Pastor Oscar at Ministerio Vida in Tela, which is a rehabilitation center for men struggling with addiction. Eric and I started doing regular bible studies there in September and more recently, we have started woodworking classes as well. I am usually there at least twice a week and throughout my time there I have gained a great friend and brother in Oscar. He greatly appreciates what we do for the ministry and in return he and the men regularly help us with projects on the property. I am eager to see what our partnership will be like years down the line.
I have said all this to simply say God always answers our prayers and many times not like we thought He would. God has blessed all of us at the SMCH greatly through wonderful support, beautiful kids, abundant ministry opportunities, and amazing partners in ministry. I can’t even imagine where we would be today without Marvin, Oscar, or Iglesia Bautista Gosen (our church.) I am excited to see what God has in store for us over the next year, and how he will use us to work the fields for His harvest!
God Bless, Chris Weeks