I used to work with farmers, and the fascinating thing about agriculture is that the sowing and the reaping are done by man, but the growing of the seed is out of our hands. For all of our food, we are dependent on a process that we cannot completely control or fully understand.
As I reflect on the first summer of ministry at Camp Forest Springs, I notice many parallels. We build the campfires, drive the buses, train the workers, teach the lessons, paddle hundreds of miles in canoes and engage in thousands of conversations with the people God brings us, but we are helpless when it comes to growing the seeds of faith that we have labored so hard to plant. Sometimes we see great things happening, as in the following camper comments:
I grew closer to Christ. We all grew closer to each other. Many of the people in our group experienced God moving in their lives in some way. We learned to serve like Christ. I learned that depending on others is a good and humbling experience.
Before the trip I had set the goal to use this trip to rest and recharge. I kinda meant physically, but God also used this trip to refill me with himself. I had not realized how much of God I was missing but He used this trip to show me His awesome Glory and make me want to seek after Him with all my heart.
I realized how much I really need to (see) the power of Jesus resurrection and be alive in that and dead to my sin.
Other times we see only a glimmer of hope:
I think I am more open to God
I am less of an atheist
I am starting to read the Bible.
And in the end we realize that we are entirely dependent on God’s work in the hearts of people. As JI Packer puts it in Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God: We must remember that the terms of our calling are that we should be faithful, not that we should be successful…We must learn to rest all our hopes of fruit in evangelism upon the omnipotent grace of God. For God does what man cannot do. God works by His Sprit through His Word in the hearts of sinful men to bring them to repentance and faith.
Would you pray with us for the hundreds of youth and adults that we served this summer? In many cases we have planted, but we must pray that those who need it will find an “Apollos” to water the seed, and for God to produce growth (I Cor. 3:6).
Dan & Laura...What’s next?? The busy retreat season!…