Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bringing in the (big and little) sheaves…

Bringing in the sheaves… 

We shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves.

Many of us have sung this hymn over and over again, but…

Is it true? Yes, it has proved true many, many times.

A time for planting,
A time for cultivating and
Finally a time for harvest. 
 How the farmer eagerly awaits the day when he will bring in the harvest – the sheaves.

Our work as soul-winners is so much like that of the farmer. We cooperate with God in planting His Word (the seeds) in the hearts of His people and then seek to help that seed spring up and bear fruit. And there is nothing more exciting or rewarding than to see the “harvest” – the baptism!

Here at PAFCOE, we recently experienced a “harvest” of souls in the baptism that ended our evangelistic meetings on October 5. The four weeks of meetings culminated with the 39 precious souls who gave their hearts to Jesus through the step of baptism.

A few days before the baptism as our students were visiting with the candidates and making sure they understood the Adventist message, one student said:

"God is really leading His children to the light if they are truthfully and wholeheartedly seeking it. I was assigned to clear a 60 year old lady who was faithfully attending the evangelistic meetings every night. She told me how God has been working in her life to lead her to the truth. There were a lot of denominations who were inviting her to join their church, but for 20 years, she kept on refusing them. She said when she started attending our evangelistic meetings, there was this kind of “force” that was continually urging her to attend the seminar every night. She was so thankful to attend the meeting and to learn about God’s end-time message.”

Another story came from another candidate who told it to one of our students:

“I was so inspired to hear the story of one of the ladies I was clearing for baptism. She was a Catholic, but had an Adventist boyfriend. Ever before the evangelistic meeting, she was already searching out the doctrines of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. And she began to apply it to her life, even before she was baptized! This was especially true when it came to Sabbath-keeping. Despite the fact that she might lose her stable job, she was willing to follow Jesus. She made the commitment that day to never work on Sabbath again and was so happy to be baptized and follow Jesus!”

And there were many other stories – stories that were not even told to anyone and written only in the pages of heaven. Someday we will get to look at the books of heaven and see what means God used to bring someone else to Him in ways that we never realized. What an exciting time that will be!

Remember those street children the students were picking up night after night for the children’s program? Yes, those children were also taught about baptism, God’s true church and the importance of following the truths God had revealed to them. It was so amazing to see the change that was taking place in their hearts. They were being changed by Jesus’ power and by His Word!

One of our students said this:

“I really see God’s love when I met all those street children in their homes. Even if the place was so crowded and you might think that there is no good person in that place, it’s not true.  I’ve met there lots of good children and they are so receptive and excited to attend our children’s program! I can testify because of God’s great love, those children are being changed!”

He added:

“I was so inspired by one child that was coming to the children’s meetings every night! When we came to get the children for the meeting, we saw they were having worship in their home and they told us it was every morning and evening. I can really see that the seed that has been implanted in the hearts of the children is gradually germinating and I was so inspired to see what God did! Many people have seen the change that is taking place in the lives of those children!

When we made an appeal for those who wanted to get baptized, around 25 responded! Yes, most of those 25 were those street children!

As we visited with each child and sought to prepare those old enough for the step of baptism, we explained what it means to follow Jesus all the way and give your heart to Him. All of these street children came from non-SDA homes and it would be a challenge to stand up faithful for what they had learned from God’s Word. We reminded them that they must ask permission from their parents before getting baptized since they were still young and still living at home.

Many went home that night and asked their parents for permission. Some of our students went along to help the children ask permission and one student said:

“I learned today that it is not that hard to ask permission from the parents for the child that wants to get baptized. I thought it was so hard somehow! Maybe sometimes it is hard. But I do believe that it is because the Holy Spirit was working on the parent’s hearts that they gave their permission.”

Many of the parents gave their permission and blessing, but some did not. One boy said, “I don’t care what my parents say. God wants me to follow Him and get baptized and I will do it whether my parents agree with it or not.” He told some of his friends whose parents also had not given permission and because of his inspiring example, some of the other friends said, “Well, I guess if he’s not afraid of his parents and is brave enough to follow Jesus, I’ll do it, too.”

Our students and staff and the newly baptized children.

And sure enough, several of the children went ahead with getting baptized, even though their parents didn’t approve of it. As I watched that 15 or so children go down into the baptistery and bury their old lives, my heart was touched that God really can change even the wild street children into little “missionaries” for Him!

Yes, God still changes lives, today! And being a part of it is so fulfilling and rewarding!

Bringing in the sheaves…

Yes, we shall come rejoicing bringing in the (big and little) sheaves!

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”