Looking Back to Look Forward

Recently as I was thumbing through back issues of our newsletters, so ably edited by a gifted young man named J. Lucarelli, who is an active board member of Harvesters International Missions, I was struck by five words: “We are going on well.”

The phrase was spoken by Pastor Julius Murgor, our field director in Africa. The words were addressed to the hundreds of prayer partners who support this ministry as it reaches out to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, and India.

In the following sentences of that article, Julius spoke of his family, but his words spoke to me in a different way.

I shake my head in disbelief when I realize it has been seven years since the world faced the Y2K scare on Dec. 31, 1999. I’m always amazed when my computer automatically adjusts to Daylight Savings Time, and my cell phone automatically adjusts to a change in the time zone as I’m traveling. Yet, billions of dollars were spent by business and industry to fix a little computer glitch that could have kept those adjustments from happening – the inability of computers to automatically change from a year in the 1900s to a year in the 2000s. This glitch potentially spelled disaster for financial institutions, electric power generating plants, and even phone companies.

For the better part of two years, that little computer “bug” had everyone’s undivided attention. The worst-case scenario never happened. So, here we are in another new year. As Julius said, “We are going on well.”

I shake my head in disbelief when I realize it has been nearly 10 years since my wife and I set up our tent camp in the bush, in East Pokot, where we remained for three months.

I learned a valuable lesson that first week on our extended mission trip, as we announced a church service to be held at 10 a.m. under a big tree next to a dry river bed, within shouting distance of our campsite. At the appointed hour, I was saddened because no one was there. But, by mid-day, about 500 men, women, and children had streamed out of the bush from all directions and gathered to hear about Jesus.

Their concept of time was different from ours, but their hearts were hungry to hear about the one Savior who came because God so loved the world. As Julius said, “We are going on well.”

I shake my head in disbelief when I realize it has been a dozen years since Harold Stevens called me on the phone and asked if I would consider joining the board. Never for a moment have I regretted my decision. I have been richly blessed.

And God has richly blessed Harvesters. He gets all the credit for putting men of like-mind and like-spirit together on a volunteer board of directors, men who have remained focused on our mission – encouraging and assisting national missionary initiatives in four specific foreign countries.

These men have become close friends who aren’t afraid to bear one another’s burdens. These are men whose hearts are stirred and are willing to act.

These are men who realize the task at hand. There is no time to sit still with all we have left to do. This is understood by the men God has called to serve on this board.

These are men who are willing to “go and do.” These are men who pay their travel and lodging expenses out of their own pockets. These are men who are always ready to respond, always ready to “give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (I Peter 3:15).”

The Harvesters ministry, I believe, is on the brink of achieving goals that we never dreamed possible 10 or 15 years ago. God knew all along where he would take us, and how we would get there, if we would only trust Him and allow Him to lead us.

In one of his newsletter articles, J. Lucarelli commented: “We thank God that He has a bigger vision for His kingdom than we do and that he enables us to share the well that never runs dry.”

We are moving forward because of a vision, a determination to carry out our spiritual mandate, and the faithful support – in prayers, finances, and words of encouragement – of hundreds of Harvesters partners.

Regrettably, many in the world today remain unaware of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Harvesters may not be able to change the world, but we can surely do our part. In the words of Pastor Julius, “We are going on well.” However, we can’t rest on our laurels. The field is ripe unto harvest.

What will we do with Jesus in 2007?