“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” 1 Cor. 3:6-8
Today is one of the hottest days of the summer, and heat in New York City seems hotter still what with all the tall buildings and zillions of people. I confess I foolishly believed the life of a missionary and its accompanying trials is applicable only to those who get on airplanes and go to countries far, far away. Little did I know I was entering into a season of my life of a wildly challenging and utterly exhausting yet incredibly wonderful in the way of opportunities missionary life when I packed up my Bible, few belongings, dogs and their stuff and moved into New York City for the Lord and ministry.
If the truth be told, there are times I am so wiped out and so challenged by what I see and experience that I could easily pack up the car and dogs all over again and flee for somewhere easy, quiet, peaceful, comfortable, affordable, and filled with loved ones and a palatable lifestyle. But the Lord in His grace, goodness, and mercy gives me the wisdom and strength day by day to persevere in the place to which He has called me which for all intents and purposes is more than anything like a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.
I have never in my life witnessed the heights and depths of wickedness, of evil and darkness, of rebellion against God, of the unending graceless merciless practice of false religions, worship of false gods, and love of self and pleasure and money (all forecast in the Bible, mind you).
At the same time, I am blessed with meeting on a daily basis countless kind people, nice people, giving people, warm and friendly people, no matter their practices. Sometimes I see more kindness among the non-Christ followers than I do in professing Christians. Simultaneously, I see the fruits of sin-ridden lifestyles when I witness regularly drug use, exceeding anger in the public, drunkenness and debauchery, sexual immorality like you cannot even fathom, and greed, lust, money spending, love of self, and on and on beyond measure.
I have had more opportunities to share the Gospel, pass out Gospel tracts, pray for people, and minister to people in the past few months than in all my time in ministry, and for that I am thankful beyond measure. The opportunities are endless, and I feel like a kid in a candy store when I walk the streets because my greatest passion is Jesus and telling the world about Him. At the same time, given my exceeding exhaustion that comes and goes and threatens at times to never leave my side, there are times I want to hide as I walk the streets just to be able to get some breathing space, some rest, a break from it all.
The heat which I once so loved has taken its toll on me. I thank God I live indoors, and yet the poorly air conditioned little apartment filled with me and my sweet handicapped and senior rescued dogs who are limited in their ability to be outdoors in such heat can be tough. And their behavioral issues at times given the five of them and I have been in one room for almost a year and a half now can be taxing.
If it sounds like I am utterly worn out and in major need of prayer, it’s true! But that’s not the whole story. I am infinitely and indescribably thankful to the Lord for my salvation, for my forever relationship with Him, for the time He gives me to spend with Him and study His Word and be changed by Him, for my sweet beloved canine companions, for all the people I meet, for my health and daily shelter and food and money to pay bills, for my co-laborers who help prepare the booklets I write and publish, for all the writing He pours through me, and for the opportunity after opportunity to tell the world about Him.
I wish I could tell you most of the people with whom I speak are Christ followers. Most are not. I wish I could tell you most to whom I talk about the Lord have open hearts to hear and repent and follow Him. Most do not. But I know this is the day and age which we live.
And I have long since learned my job is not to force people to believe in Him. It’s to plant seeds of Truth of the Gospel and to minister to people by His Spirit through His Word and to trust the Holy Spirit to work on their hearts and to perhaps send other laborers in the future to water what He has used me to plant in them.
Ultimately, the increase should there be increase, and the fruit which they are to bear if they so do, that is in His hands. At the very least, I want to know I have humbly faithfully done my job before I walk on.
Please do pray for me. As much and as often as the Lord so leads you. Financial monthly sponsorship and donations are exceedingly appreciated, and encouragement is so very welcome.
Number one, however, always is prayer to God almighty for me, this ministry, my sweet dogs, and for all the people He desires to reach through my writing and ministry work.
Thank you for your love and prayers and donations.
In His indescribable love,