Jesus tells the parable of the sowers and the reapers. He tells of some workers preparing the ground, others planting the seed, and still others reaping the harvest. It seems that our experiences here have some of those qualities. We’ve been separated into two teams this week, and it seems that one team has consistently worked on the beginning of tasks of each build. While the other team has experienced the reaping of the harvest. On Tuesday, while Team Tim carried concrete blocks over a bridge 200 yards to the house, Team Jeff was blessed to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony officially turning the house over to the owner. Today, Team Tim started work on a new house hauling dirt for the new foundation. Team Jeff poured a layer of concrete to cap the walls that Team Tim built yesterday.
While our teams have had different experiences, we all recognize that we are here for the same goal: to spread the love of Jesus. In the evenings, we come together and celebrate each others victories during the day. We get to tell stories and laugh at everyone’s crazy days in Haiti. It isn’t a competition between us. Just as in the parable, we recognize that we are all sowers. Our work in Haiti will be complete this week, but the work of God goes on.
I once heard a pastor speaking about the story where Jesus speaks about planting good seed. For sake of brevity, the concept comes alive when you understand that the way farmers planted back in the days of the first disciples was backwards from how we do it today. Rather than plowing the field and then planting the seed, the farmers would scatter the seed and then the plow would come afterwards. This is God’s design for missions; some scatter seed, some reap the harvest, and some do both. I would say we fall into the last category, coming into Haiti and being met by open arms and warm hearts due to the impact the missionaries before us have had, we got to reap much of their harvest. However, the seeds that we planted in the lives of individuals on the worksites (although some fruit has been born) will not bear fruit until perhaps years after we have gone. It’s important to look at the Kingdom of God in this way because it gives you the right perspective, the fruit was never ours to witness, it was His all along and any bit we get to partake in is, simply, a blessing.
It is with a heavy heart that we have to inform our readers of the death of one of our team member’s mother. Zack Brewer’s mother, Terri Moore, was killed Thursday morning in an automobile accident. Zack and our team leader, Nathan Waggoner, are leaving Haiti Friday morning to return to Kentucky. Please pray for safety in travel, comfort in grieving, and peaceful hearts. This one’s for you, Zack.
Message from Zack:
It’s hard to imagine anything more surreal than being overseas, in a county so far removed from one’s own culture that I had forgotten bathrooms exist, and hearing news of a loved one—someone who has been with me my entire life—having passed away. The news from my father echoed in my head for, well, I don’t know how long, before I collapsed in a heap by the side of a truck in tears. I was immediately surrounded by my dozen or so teammates with whom I had traveled halfway across the hemisphere and was prayed over. Half-an-hour earlier, I was shoveling gravel into a bucket and serenading the nationals with “Hey Jude,” and now this.
I don’t tell the story like that to garner sympathy or to paint a morbid picture, but to say this: once I was encircled by my fellow workers and being prayed for, Haitians began to come out of their homes and take notice. They stared, probably not knowing exactly what it was they were looking at, but understanding the pain I was in. I’m sure there wasn’t a single person in the camp who hadn’t been devastated by the earthquake or poverty or anything else that happens in this crazy world. They saw my pain juxtaposed with the love of Jesus and the healing power of prayer—pain and love are universal, and I hope that everyone involved saw that they are not mutually exclusive. Today all twenty-something of us shared in the pain of losing Terri Moore. Little children laid hands on me and nationals stood silently in knowing grief and empathy. Following Christ means making sacrifices. Following Christ means loving and being loved. Following Christ means to be in pain. Had I not been in Haiti, where I know God has called me, things most assuredly would have turned out differently for my family. But, for one reason or another, that’s not what God had planned.
I can take solace in knowing that she is an infinitely better place than this world. I can take solace in knowing that from my Mom’s death, God will be given glory. I can take solace in knowing that the love of Christ is with me always, “even unto the end of the world.”