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trading harvest for Harvest.

har·vest

 [hahr-vist]


the season when ripened crops are gathered.
 


Coming from a small town in Ohio with lots of farms, the word ‘harvest’ always makes me think of all the crops being gathered. Harvest happens during autumn…my most favorite time of the year.  I love the cooler weather, wearing boots & scarves, the colors of the trees, corn, pumpkins, and especially college football Saturdays.

Needless to say, it’s been hard to be away from home during these last couple of months when all of my favorite things have been going on without me.

But I know that God is greater than all of those things and He brought me through a new kind of harvest this harvest season. It was not a harvest of crops; it was a harvest within myself and in those around me.

Something you’ll hear missionaries and ministers say is, “you don't change the people you minister to, the people you minister to change YOU.” And as I sit here before my last week of ministry wondering where the last 3 months went, I find that to be 100% true. I also find that it wasn’t in these huge, profound moments that made this trip so incredible; it was in the small, sweet moments with the amazing people God has surrounded me with on this trip.

For the first 2 months in Thailand, I was really struggling to want to be here. I had to really fight to have a desire to be on this trip. Don’t get me wrong, I never seriously considered going home because I KNEW that God wanted me here, but I didn’t love this country nor did I love being here.

But, in the fight, there were so many amazing moments where I saw God move in huge ways. I could go on for hours, but here are a few that will stay with me forever.
 

You all are always smiling at me. That’s one thing I’ve noticed about all the missionaries I’ve ever seen here, you’re always smiling. You may wake up in the morning and feel like crap and you come to Bangla and there are drunks all over and cockroaches running around your feet, but you always have a smile on your face.

— Isaac* bar promoter from the UK on Bangla.

 

I was Buddhist, but now I am Christian. And everything in my life changed. I’ve been working here for a long time. But now, I want to work for God.”

— Yang*, ping-pong show (strip show) promoter on Bangla whom I met at church. I then got to watch her eyes light up as I told her that I had a friend who could help her get a job where she could help a ministry that serves God and she eagerly wrote down her number saying, “your friend call me!”

 

Please come everyday when you’re here and pray for me.”

— Anita* who owns a tailor business on Bangla; she has met previous teams and other missionaries and is so hungry for people to pray for her. Her and her niece and nephew love & care for us so much and look forward to us praying with them everyday.

These are just 3 of those amazing moments that I’ll cherish forever from this trip. And though our team didn’t see any women come out of the bars, we are totally at peace knowing that Gods plan for us here has been fulfilled. I know that we can leave next weekend with complete confidence that we finished the race and finished strong. We tackled everything that God set before us. The changes that took place in our hearts are changes that will go home and will shine as a testimony to what God can do in a human heart.

Missing fall was so worth it. Pumpkins, corn, apple cider and an un-defeated season for the Ohio State Buckeyes are just so small in comparison to bringing Gods kingdom to such a dark place. 

* = name changed for their saftey. 
 

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