I have been pondering the privilege of being present in this place at this time. The Bible does not tire of the analogy of the world as a field. Pictures of soils, seeds, vineyards, thorns, vermin and harvest abound. Many a missionary has termed their work as planting seeds or watering sprouts. This morning an old woman from the church asked me how “her people” were doing. She then proceeded to list off numerous missionaries and their families who have left. “How is the one doing who first shared the gospel with me? And the one who gave me the proclaimer (so I can listen to the word of God in my own language)? And the one who visited me and prayed with me? How are my people in America?!” It was a poignant picture of how artfully God brought the right people suited to each stage in the ministry in Karamoja – and how different those people are! He is the one who initiated the work and carried it through to each new stage of development.
I would compare the present work less to the sower and more to the boy in the field beating the drum and singing to chase away the birds and monkeys who steal the harvest as it nears maturity. It’s coming! It’s close! It appears to be full, plump heads. A few have already been plucked, the first fruits of a generation-long growing season. A few more days. A few more rains. A little more sun, and it will be here. May the harvest multiply a hundredfold!
Before the service this morning, the translators, preacher, and Pastor Julius gathered to pray behind the pulpit. Truly a team of men working together to spread God’s word in His church and beyond. A man the mission sponsors to attend Knox School of Theology in Mbale led the service. Another man who was sponsored through school by the mission, exhorted the sermon from Amos 3. “There is no fellowship without friendship. Are you really friends with God?!” Two others translated. I do my best not to look behind our middle-row seats during the service, but was pleased this morning at the end to see the pews full. Three Sunday school classes followed the service: one for women, one for men and one for children. These are ministries driven by the local church’s hunger for the word and desire to share it. I give thanks for the people the Lord is raising up from this place to carry the work forward. I gladly beat the drum to warn them when we see temptations approaching – watch out! Our songs ring with the clanging of God’s armor and strange heavenly weapons – put it on! All our efforts draw extra energy from a profound gratitude to be witnesses to this stage in the ministry in Karamoja. Pray that our efforts to chase away the harvest robbers will be done humbly, faithfully, and wisely. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to gather up His people!