Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Seed Plus Time Equals A Harvest

It is impossible to reap a harvest in the same season as which the seeds are sown.

Some seeds produce rather quickly.  Six weeks are long enough for some seeds to be transformed into edible vegetables.  Other seeds take six months or longer to mature and be ready for harvest.  However, venturing beyond the world of agriculture and into the world of vision and mission ... well, sometimes those who plant are never  privileged to see the result of their effort.

Yesterday morning, not long after spending time with my family on both sides of the world, a young African woman entered our compound and sat on our veranda.  She looked vaguely familiar, but I wasn't sure I knew her.

She quickly renewed my memory as she spoke in animated tones and terms ... moving back and forth from her chair to the tile on her knees ... alternating between laughter, hugs, tears, and passionate joy, as she expressed her gratitude.

Through a mostly forgotten effort, Christine's life had been touched and changed forever.

Years ago, Next Generation Ministries became connected with a small rural prison because some acquaintances had been lodged there. The condition of the prison was primitive to say the least.  It was without electricity and running water.  The cells had no beds, only concrete floors.  The inmates worked in the hot African sun six days a week with little concern from the government for proper nutrition or enough water to keep them hydrated.  Our NGM driver told us if he was ever put in such a place he would die because he was not capable of surviving such conditions.

Through the generosity, availability, and willingness of people coming from a small agricultural and manufacturing community in western Oklahoma, a relationship with Nyenga Prison began and it continues to this day. Electricity was installed. Blankets were purchased and donated for the inmates. Cups, plates, and bowls were purchased and donated.  Medical teams from the same area of Oklahoma came and provided free on-site medical clinics and treatment.  Sacks of rice and beans and even eggs were donated.  The resident hopelessness occupying the inmates vanished for several hours the day that food, the equivalent of an African Christmas, was provided and served by these same people. Bands performed concerts and smiles invaded faces that were empty upon the team's arrival.

Love was expressed in practical and caring ways. Forgotten inmates were valued and recognized as people with more potential than they could imagine.  Those who visited the prison in harmony with Next Generation made as much personal contact with the inmates as possible.

Christine was one of those inmates.  A single mother of five, she had become engaged in a physical fight with another woman and landed in this prison.  She was, in fact, scheduled to appear in court the next day.  A promise was made to come to the prison, with a vehicle the following day, and transport her to the courthouse so that she did not have to walk the five kilometers to appear.  The good news of God's grace was shared with her. She was even promised that God would have her case thrown out of court when she appeared.

Recently Christine had been told that the Hunters were back in Uganda.  She told herself she had to find a way to discover where we lived.  After nearly three years she came to our veranda.  She came simply to say, "Thank you."  She reminded us that 20,000 Ugandan shillings was given to her in addition to the love and good news shared with her that day back in the prison. She reported that, in fact, her case was thrown out of court the following day.  And, she is now prospering by selling clothes in a small shop in the village in which she was originally arrested.

Some sow, some water, but
GOD is the who makes it grow!
Some have wondered about the effectiveness ... financially and otherwise ... of people coming from developed nations for ten days or two weeks to poor and needy nations like Uganda. It is impossible to evaluate the total effectiveness of these efforts.  Only eternity will yield accurate evaluations.  But, to have a young, single mother of five, show up after THREE YEARS with uncontainable joy for what she received on a hopeless afternoon, in that forgotten prison, is enough for me.

Thank you Oklahoma Medical Team and other members who made your annual trek to Uganda to work with Next Generation Ministries ... to love the poor and needy of this nation.  Your contribution is not in vain.  Next Generation Ministries is so grateful for the financial resources donors contribute so that our staff and short term missionaries can provide a presence for the practical good news of the love of Jesus Christ for every human being.

Enjoy a bit of Christine's expression of her thankfulness from this video shot by Ezra, the NGM media guy and thank God for producing a significant harvest in Christine.  Mukama mulungi!  (God is good.)




4 comments:

  1. Beautiful! Thank you for your eloquent writing Paul, and for the video! Tearing up here...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's keep planting seeds, which is our part, and trusting God for His harvest.

      Delete
  2. What an amazing story!! So so good! !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment. I particularly love your last name!!

      Delete

Please share your comments here.