Several members of our OneLife team returned from a short-term missions trip to El Salvador. It was a great trip in many respects. However, there was a particular moment that I wanted to especially share with you all.
Standing Under Fruitfulness
Midway through our visit we travelled out to the newest church plant in Tapalhuaca. Previously we shared with you about how the Lord provided the funds to purchase a piece of property.
This great endeavor in a precious village perched up in the mountains near the coast. A location selected by the pastors and leaders of El Salvador to become the first OneLife base project in El Salvador. As a OneLife team member, it was an honor for me to have a small bit of a role in this kingdom business.
We arrived in the afternoon, and walked up onto the property covered in lush vegetation. Stood next to the ruin of an old house situated partially under the branches of a mature mango tree. We were a small group of thirteen in a loose circle of sorts. I looked around, taking in the scene and the surroundings. I felt the Lord speaking to my heart and mind. I knew that everyone in the circle had been through some tough stuff having faced real difficulties along the way, myself included. Most of the national group were pastoral leaders. They had gone toe to toe with extraordinary challenges, and tremendous losses in a short periods of time. Two young widows, two sets of grieving parents and two sorrowing children. My family are acquainted with the battlefield for souls. We may have looked like a broken down rag tag bunch. But everyone was still standing, looking and listening for the Lord. There were several paused moments of silence, not the awkward kind but the profound sort where you simply wait a moment reverently.
A breeze came through rustling the leaves. I was pondering over what the Lord was speaking to me when I heard Pastor Marielos say that the mango tree we were standing under gave a bumper crop last season and she was praying it would be abundantly fruitful
again this year. That doesn’t sound very profound when you’re discussing church vision and ministry plans but it is the simple stuff that hits home with me quite often. I looked up and felt the Lord nudge me with the thought “standing under fruitfulness”. I looked over at Marielos and her husband Vidal. They’ve lost two young daughters and one co-laborer. This couple have been through the valley of the shadow of death. Next to them were the mother and the young widow of their local co-worker. Their pain still fresh. They all continued pressing forward to reach people for Christ. Sowing seeds of the gospel through their pain and tears. Even now they still feel the sharp edge of loss and yet here they are.
can they see what I see? I can’t see for them, they have to see for themselves. Yet here we are looking up at a tree together waiting for fruitfulness. They will come rejoicing! It’s not easy to be pressed on every side, but not crushed… struck down but not destroyed. Thank God for His comfort. I felt small under that tree. I felt grace and hope under that tree. I felt the Lord nudge me again as I looked up into that tall widespread tree: what do you see? I saw the shelter of the Almighty, His comfort spreading out with millions of leaves of healing for the nations. I turned and asked what they saw. They looked pensively up in deep prayerful thought. I won’t share their words, that will be their story to tell one day. But that day the Lord was saying much like He did in Isaiah “forget the old things behold I am doing a new thing, will you not be aware.” Next I counseled them with these words, it’s time to re-evaluate, regroup, reorganize and relaunch. If it didn’t work out one way then try another, if you were rebuffed at the gates yesterday don’t give up, who knows but that today may be the day of breakthrough and the victory. Don’t give up. We’ve got to look up, listen up, write it down, cover it with prayer and move on it. I could tell they felt small just like I do and did that day. It’s okay, little Bethlehem Ephrathah (fruitful), God does incredible things out of no name places and people in part because they are small but most especially because He is great!
As a side note I got corrected by the Lord recently and I’ll pass this along in case the shoe fits anyone else. God is great and glorious… That’s why the scripture says. “do not think more highly of yourself than you ought.” God gives grace to the humble so be confident in the Lord but for your own sake and the rest of us please drop the cocky stuff. It’s been getting in the way of grace and love. God is the great one! I was so glad to be with that precious group of believers standing under fruitfulness that day. My soul was refreshed. There is mega-harvest of souls getting ready. Are we still standing before the Lord ready and waiting. Looking and listening for the great new things that our great God will do? Lift up your eyes and see that you too are standing under fruitfulness. Write it down, cover it with prayer and move on it.