Somewhere between Zagreb and Budapest, where the farmers gather the fruits of another year’s sweat and tears, there stands a church in the midst of a ripe field. Every ear is straining toward the sun, the heart of each plant bursting in readiness for transition. And in the very midst of this lavish testimony of the farmer’s care, his blood, his sweat, his tears, there stands a church. She is empty now; though an earlier era found her full of laughter, and weddings, and the messy life of the community that reveled in the sanctuary of her arms. Does her lonely presence, her upright carriage against a darkening sky, only know the lament of an almost forgotten era or can she yet sing a new song?
In Dave and Betsy’s small, Croatian apartment, we chat about the unexpected popularity of the ministry, Qanah, their new forays into language and culture, and the amazingness of their children, JJ and Emma. As the pizza settles, our conversation turns to balancing family and ministry then to the financial needs that play an eternal sort of cat and mouse with compassion, and then to the relentlessly evident pursuit of God to build his church in new ways.
The community’s embrace of Qanah has taken everybody by surprise, receiving national media coverage and features in popular Croatian magazines. It seems that within a community that some might call post-modern, or closed to Protestants, or apathetic towards the Gospel, grace still speaks. When an impoverished mother can only pay a fraction of the second-hand prices to clothe her babies, grace gives in a way that preserves dignity and the heart sings.
Across Croatia and these great lands of Central and Southern Europe, we know that grace sings her melody. In homes that have been closed, in a continent where some have believed God no longer has a voice, the harvest is evident. The Church is here. She sings a new song with the ancient story of a farmer who lavishly sews his seed, of a gardener who painstakingly tends his field, of a shepherd who searches for his sheep.
But those of us familiar with the rhythms of harvest, those who have tasted the sweet flavors of her bounty, know that the harvest comes in when the community comes out. When all hands are at work, when all heads feel the scorch of the sun’s rays, when the ‘heave and the ho’ is borne by all arms. So, may we speak honestly and authentically? We need our community to come out and help us bring the harvest in.
Pray with us. Pray for us.
Ask us about financial needs. We really do not know how to tell you but across our field, there are an abundance of needs : for missionary families, for national families, for churches to be built and pastors educated, for bodies to be clothed and mouths to be fed, for souls to be redeemed. Please ask us.
Come and lend a hand.
Singing a new harvest song – Jay and Teanna