PLANTING SEEDS. (June 22, 2015)

when eighty-five high-school students and leaders give a spring break to travel to a third-world country to tell people about Jesus, we fully anticipate that our worlds will be rocked. each time our high-school ministry has traveled to nicaragua, God has moved through each team member, and has done things only He could do. but sometimes life change starts with planting a seed.

the flags is a stretch of land covered with people who are struggling to provide for their family’s basic needs. the hernandez family is no exception. at six and nine years old, ashley and kiara were a little bit timid when five americans showed up at their door. they explained that their parents typically leave them home alone, while they go out in search of work and food, but it was hard to get much more out of them. that is, until they heard the word “Jesus”. instantly, their faces lit up. they knew him. they loved Him. you could see it in their eyes.

after praying with the girls, we added their names to the list of families who would be receiving a food bag on the final day of the trip. however, when friday rolled around, a man opened the door. there was a stark contrast between his expression and the one’s his daughters had given just a few days before. you could see the hurt and confusion in his eyes.

when asked if he and his wife attended church with their girls, they were slightly embarrassed to admit that they didn’t. why? ‘no one invites us. to be honest, no one has ever even explained to me what it means to be a christian.’

we told them that God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. we explained that because of His sacrifice, we could spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord by repenting and believing. it seemed to go in one ear and out the other… until they were given a food bag.

the tears fell almost instantly. it was evident that this simple gift changed everything. ‘now I know that it is God who sent you,” he explained. “I’m out of work for the week. just this morning, I went out to try to find food for my family to eat. I could only provide scraps, but now I have enough to feed them for a couple of days!’

our translator, jimmy, reminded us all of matthew 6: 25-26

‘that is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life– whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? look at the birds. they don’t plant harvest or store food in barns, for your Heavenly Father feeds them. and aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?’

and for the first time, seeds seemed significant. the measly grains don’t look like much at first, but without them, birds wouldn’t survive. God uses seeds to meet an immediate, physical need. and just as He provides seeds for the birds, He provides seeds for us. we just have to decide what to do with them.

‘Jesus also said, ‘the Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. the earth produces the crops on its own. first a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally, the grain ripens. and as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickles, for the harvest time has come.’ Mark 4:26-29

the food bag was a seed that day. although denis and yvette didn’t pray to receive Christ, God was still at work. the seed was planted and it was evident that God was stirring in their hearts.  we do not understand how it will happen, but we trust that God will bring about a harvest!

just like a farmer can’t force a crop to grow, an evangelist can’t force anyone to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. what we can do is plant seeds, pray for harvest, and leave the results up to the Lord.