Sowing for a Harvest
I love Deuteronomy 8 where God not only tells us why we go through deserts in our lives -- to humble and test us, to know what's in our hearts -- but He also reminds us how when we come out of the desert and He has prospered us in every way, that we are not to forget Him.
God gives us the ability to produce wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) and gives us a vivid parable of the farmer to show us how this happens and why in 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15. First of all, we must remember God is our Sournce -- He supplies the very seed we plant. We must be careful not to eat our seed in times of need. The seed must be planted at the right time, in good soil, to produce a crop for bread, and to provice more seed for the enxt crop. God blesses us so we can bless others, not so we can feed our own greed.
In the Ugandan churches and TV there is a prevalence of false teaching about faith and riches, and corruption abounds in the church as in the nation. Benny Hinn was recently in Kampala and said that snakes have been allowed to invade the Ugandan church. When our temporary church/school building collapsed in a violent storm in late January, I felt I should begin teaching our small congregation about Christian stewardship. But then I had to make an unexpected flight to the USA because my granddaughter Laura Baily had passed away, and I was gone for two months. When I returned, I resumed the teaching, and last Sunday, completed it.
I had challenged the congregation to sow seed into a building fund, in addition to giving their tithes, to see what God would do for us. This is a big step of faith -- God tells us in Malachi 3: 10 to test Him in our giving -- because our church is in such a poor community, in one of the world's poorest nations. The Ugandan per capita income is slightly above $1 a day, and in our rural, agricultural area, it's even less. So how can we build a church? By sowing seed!
WE PRAYED - on Sunday we had the congregation lay hands on a site layout for the church's 4 acres. This plan had been drawn up at no cost by an engineer that pastor David had led to Jesus in prison last August. On the layout are designs for church, parsonage, school, playground, and income-generating projects (see web site revision soon to come). We asked God to make it all possible.
WE PRAYED - for the deep poverty that has settled over uganda in recent months largely due to erratic spring rains and inflation, affecting all of us personally, and the church and school.
WE PRAYED - for the completion of the sale of Pastor David's worn out pickup truck. The plan has been to use the money to rebuild our building. There had been up to 5 buyers, but many things seemed to be interfering with the culmination of the sale.
After church, it was found that our very first building fund offering had been given, in addition to the usual tithes and offerings. It was 450 shillings (27 cents). A simple 2x4 board will cost about $2 and a bag of cement about $10. But as I held those 5 little coins in my hand, I looked at them and thought of what tiny things seeds are to bring such big harvests. Before everyone left, a lady approached Pastor David and said she had 5,000 shillings ($3) at home she wanted to give him for the building fund -- a 10-fold increase of what had already come in! We decided later ot sow these tiny seeds into buying nails, a beginning of what would hold our building together... good soil!
MONDAY - the pickup sold without a quibble. The desired price was paid in full, cash on the spot.
TUESDAY - New life Academy brought in the largest amount of school fees in one day in the 2 1/2 year history of our school. Not only did this relieve some financial pressures, but it was a huge encouragement.
David went to a builder with a Muslim friend, Ssalongo where he was able to buy poles for the church, much stronger than the previous ones, for a mere 25% of the cost. Ssalongo said he would discount the price of using his pickup to haul them, but then found out they were too big and heavy for his pickup. So David hired a bigger truck, and Ssalongo volunteered his labor free of charge, to assist with the work.
SATURDAY - will be a work day. Church members are already turning up to help as they can, but on Saturday they will be making bricks to be used as we make the building into a permanent structure.
SUNDAY - we plan to worship in the new building, and whatever remains to be done,will be finished next week.
Last week even prior to these tangible signs of God's blessings, I had found myself waking up in the night with songs of praise running through my heart. I had a sense of excitement that God was about to do something wonderful, to answer our prayers. By day the lord directs His love, at night His song is with me -- a prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42:8