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Senior Pastor’s Column Recently I read an article that was written by George Wood, who is the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God here in the U.S. Here’s what he said: Several years ago I spoke at a Wycliffe Bible Translators retreat in Guatemala. At each meal various missionaries hosted me. I had lunch with a veteran missionary couple who were completing their years of service. From what had been told me, I knew that they had almost single-handedly translated the entire Bible into the language of the largest indigenous people group in Guatemala. The language had never been reduced to writing. So, this couple not only had the task of translating the Bible, but they also had to create the letters and sounds for the language, and then teach the people how to read and write the language so that they could read the Bible this couple had translated. I asked, “What was it like for you in the beginning, when you first came 30 years ago?” Tears welled up in the corner of their eyes. “Oh,” they said, “It was very difficult. We moved into a village so we could immerse ourselves in the language, but the witch doctor warned the people not to talk to us. Finally, at the end of two years we made our first friend in the village who would teach us the language.” I thought, “I don’t think I could have done that---two years in a

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primitive village without modern conveniences, no one talking to you or appreciating why you have come. That would be too hard an assignment for me.” They then told me what happened immediately after they made their first friend. A letter came from the new pastor of their home church, which provided their whole support (a practice we do not recommend in the Assemblies of God, as this story will illustrate). The pastor wrote, “Under my leadership we are making changes in our sup por t of missions. We want to put our money where the results are greatest, thus I’m writing all our m i s si on ar ie s and request you to answer this question, ‘How many souls did you win to Christ this last year?’ On the basis of your answer, we will appor tion our missionary dollars.” Tears again welled up in the eyes of these veteran missionaries. “What could we do? We wrote back and explained our situation and reported that, while we had not won any souls, we had just made our first friend.” The pastor cut off their support


entirely. They told me they were so discouraged they almost came home, but the Lord raised up others who heard of their plight. Thirty years had now gone by. Their work was done. The entire Bible was in the hands of this large indigenous people group. They said, “Now there are thousands of believers and scores of churches scattered all over the mountainsides and hillsides of Guatemala.” The pastor who cut off their support failed to recognize one of the key principles of Kingdom growth: You must sow if you want to reap. Reaping is far more dramatic than sowing. The farmer puts the seed into the ground. For awhile it is out of sight, buried, and manifests no visible results. That’s often how the work of God is and explains why we can become discouraged. We want to see visible results and see them quickly. I encourage you today to keep sowing. Hear the apostle Paul’s words: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) The “proper time” is really God’s time. It is most difficult in the season between sowing and reaping. We must not let discouragement or weariness blind us to the fact that God’s proper time is coming that brings a harvest---“thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times what was sown.” (Mark 4:20) Some of you have been planting seed for a long time, and you wonder if anything will ever come of it. Don’t give up! In God’s “proper time” that seed will take root, and you will see a harvest. That’s the law of the harvest.

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