The dry season is upon us and the harvest is ready! This year the rains have been so abundant that we actually had three planting seasons. Amazing! I learn so much through the parables of the “living God” here in this place. The Lord speaks to me so much about the harvest. All around me there are always things growing. The children love this time of year because they have nonstop snacks. They just go to the cornfield and pick some corn and crowd the kitchen fires to place their cobs on the hot coals. They go to their sweet potato field and pick potatoes and make little fires and earthenware stoves and cook them. They pick peanuts from the ground and eat them raw. When the rains are here, it is not time for harvesting. During the rains we weed and tend and nurture. It is only when the dry season comes that the harvest is ready.
This speaks volumes to me about some of the dry seasons we find ourselves in. It is only in the dry seasons that we can mature into that fullness that God is growing us in. When the rains stop the plants go through their final process of growth and prepare themselves to bring forth a rich yield for the sower. Jesus was a mature man in age when he stepped into His ministry but it wasn’t until he went to the desert that he matured into the Holy Spirit life of testing and persevering. Elijah had to go to the desert place of maturing, relying solely on God to feed him and give him water. So when I see the earth turning brown and the dry hot winds come, I know that the harvest is being prepared. I have learned not to blame the enemy during these times. I know I am being prepared once again for God to harvest something out of me, for me to yield that rich good fruit. Yielding makes the harvest ready for the picking. Wow, such richness in God’s parables of life here.
The team of new Iris Harvest School graduates arrived here on Wednesday night and were greeted with smiling, laughing, singing faces in the dark of night as they drove thru the gates of our little haven. Our children sand them thru the gates and carried their bags and got them settled into their rooms. The next morning our visitors told us that they were so amazed at our kids waiting up for them and then how loving they were to them. Thursday night we worshipped together. It was supposed to be a typical youth teaching night but when we arrived at the Prayer Hut it began to rain! No reason for rain but it came so I began to play “rain” worship songs and everyone went wild in praise. We just continued this way for an hour and when I stopped the music to try to teach, this spirit of joy broke out on our kids like never before. I have never seen that many kids gets so wrecked by the joy of the Lord. We were laughing so much and it just kept going. So, as the “ipod” worship leader I followed the move of the Spirit and played “fill me up God” songs!
This took us into another two hours of worship. Then when I tried to quit again, the kids started to dance and sing their local Sudanese songs and we literally raised a cloud of dust and sweat and ran the batteries dry in our flashlights! As we were walking back down to our houses the team kept saying that they had never experienced worship like this in their lives. They were in shock I think by the zeal of our kids. Even the next morning they kept talking about it. I love the zeal of our kids! It invigorates me and heaven really did open for us that night. We all got so wrecked by Daddy’s love for us.
Last night we went to the police station for outreach. The police commissioner literally asked us to come and show the Jesus film to his troops and to minister to them. December is the hardest month for them because the crime is so bad. Just last night our cook’s house got robbed. They stole all her clothes and Christmas presents that she bought for her grandkids. I gave her a good amount of money to go and buy more and told her to keep them here on our compound. I felt so bad for her because she spent all her pay on their presents. So we went to show the film to the police and they were so receptive to us. We had a “fire tunnel” prayer line at the end and had all of them walk thru while 16 missionaries and 10 of our kids laid hands on them and spoke life into them.
The commissioner said he would like us to come on Christmas to pray for his troops. Then our friend Daniel, the SPLA chaplain, was there and we ended up sending six missionaries to three of his churches this morning to preach. One of the churches was the wounded warriors church and we have agreed to come to their community to bring Jesus and His healing touch to their beaten and battered bodies. In the midst of al this ministry we are still preparing for Christmas and blessing our neighbors around us and planning a youth conference for this coming week. A whole lot going on for sure.