Dear PMU Partner in the Gospel,
Greetings in the name of our blessed Savior. As I write, I’m finding myself thinking fondly of the many friends around the country and the world who pray for us here in Idaho. Your frequent correspondence encourages us; your faithful gifts sustain us; your fellowship when we are able to meet face-to-face refreshes us. And your prayers — your prayers accomplish the most of all as the Lord graciously answers them on our behalf.
The first cutting of the alfalfa fields around our home has just concluded, and now the farmers will look for good weather and fast growth to get in a second cutting in early Fall. Everyone with livestock around depends on the results of both cuttings, but the preferred feed is the second cutting. This is because there are less stalks (which have less nutritional value) in it. The first harvest had more time to grow, but it couldn’t be cut because of the weather. Therefore the plants are taller. The plants cut in the second harvest are not as tall, so the bales are mostly the leaves and blossoms. While there are usually fewer bales taken, it’s prime stuff, and the animals love it all winter long.
“But those later harvests, building upon the good foundation of the first, produce amazing results in people’s lives…”
When I think of planting the church here in Idaho, much like other church plants I’ve been a part of, I see a parallel to the alfalfa harvest. At the beginning, there can be dramatic growth, and there is much good accomplished, and many lives impacted. The blessings are many, and naturally there are challenges, too. Because a church plant is something new, people get excited and things seem to happen, often in a big way. It’s an essential step in the process, and a big part of the foundation for future work. Then come times of quiet, when nothing much seems to happen. But it is during those quieter times that the Lord is building up a new harvest of souls and growth. Usually, the second (or third, or fourth!) harvest is not as apparently dramatic as the first: after all, it’s not new anymore! But those later harvests, building upon the good foundation of the first, produce amazing results in people’s lives, even though it might not be as obvious. And, the later harvests are also a bit smaller many times, but the quality is wonderful.
I’ve seen this pattern many times. It has been working out that way here in Idaho, too. We began with a great group of people, and were able by God’s grace to build a testimony rapidly in the area that has been a blessing. Now, the people that are coming and staying are proving to be a wonderful “second harvest,” so to speak, that is more encouraging than I can express. Some important milestones have been reached this Spring, too, including my being called as the permanent pastor here and being able to discontinue our PMU church planting support funds. I’m excited to see what happens in the future with more harvests to come! By God’s grace, the quality will just keep going up, providing a testimony to the life saving and live sustaining gospel of Jesus Christ through the winters that always come in a fallen world.
You have been a part of this by your prayers and support in so many ways. God bless you! We thank you with all the gratitude we can muster (and that’s a lot!) for your faithfulness and partnership.
For the Kingdom,