This summer has been unusual in that it’s rained almost every day in June and July. One afternoon in June, it poured 4 inches in less than an hour, which led to flash flooding and part of our road being swept away. A new bridge is still under construction. As a result of the excessive rain, I’ve not been unable to weed the garden and I’ve lost the battle. It reminded me of a time in my childhood when the weeds almost overtook our tobacco crop because of wet weather. Losing the cash crop to weeds was not an option. We called this task, “chopping out tobacco.”
I remember those long, never-ending rows, filled with thick grass, almost choking the plants. Mama and Daddy both had full-time jobs, plus garden and farm work, so chopping out tobacco usually fell to me and my three siblings. But on this occasion, the weeds were so fierce it took all of us. Daddy sang as he worked. If one of us got to the end of our row fist, we’d help the next person until everyone finished together and started a new row together.
Daddy would say, “Just keep your head down, don’t give up, and before you know it, you’ll be at the end of your hard row to hoe.” And he was right. There are seasons in life when we all have a “hard row to hoe.” I’ve learned that this is the best time pray. One favorite passage in the Bible comes from Paul, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.
Lately, I feel as though I’ve had a hard row to hoe. I’ve suffered a minor health issue, signed a contract to write ten devotions with a deadline, had over three-hundred children registered in our summer reading program, and I’m planning a mission trip in a few weeks. With the latest coup in Istanbul, terror attacks in France and Germany, I’ve lost more than one night’s sleep. For a brief instant, I considered cancelling my trip to Africa, but as I prayed about whether to stay or go, a song from my childhood Bible School days played in my head, “Onward Christian Soldiers.” I whined to God. But I don’t want to be a soldier.
Then I remembered Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.” Luke 22:42-43. What if Jesus had said, “No” to what God asked of him? None of us would have hope. Surely I can live in difficult conditions for a week. After all, He suffered and died on the cross to redeem me.
Please keep our missionary families, the national believers and my Africa team in your prayers. We will be travelling to a remote area, camping where temperatures might reach 120 degrees during the day with a low of 90 at night. We’ll be teaching a Bible School for children. These same children might someday be asked to join the terrorists. I believe the best weapon against terrorism is the love of Jesus. We’ll also be training national believers how to evangelize. I feel strongly that the window is closing and someday in the near future, we will not be able to travel to this remote area. But if we teach the national believers how to become fishers of men, then God’s kingdom will continue to grow without the American missionaries’ support. Please pray that they will not grow weary. Pray for the missionary families in Niger and the national believers. They are the ones who truly have a hard row to hoe. The national believers are often persecuted, and rejected by their family and friends. Many of the Songhai who we will be seeking have never heard the name of Jesus. Thank God for the missionaries who have left family, friends and the comfort of an easy life to share the ‘Good News.’ Pray that they do not grow weary. We are simply going to support their efforts. I know in due season, God will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Thank you for your prayers and support. #africanmissions