Here we are…SUMMER AGAIN! The dog days of summer are upon us. Slowly, slowly, I think we are getting back to normal. But, that said, we’re also in the slower activities of summer. Schools out! Family vacations begin. Activities slow and the temperature rises. Thankfully though, our Wednesday Night Live is back on and hopefully we’ll be gathering once again for food and fellowship!
Since we’ve hit the slow days of summer, I wanted to share a story with you that was shared with me recently. I think we can all agree that as followers of Christ, sometimes it feels like we’re “treading water.” It’s so easy to feel like nobody responds to our invites to attend church with us. No one is interested in our offers to lead them to Christ. It seems that the seeds we’re trying to sow fall on rocky, hard ground.
I’m reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 3:6-9 about our seed sowings. “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. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.”
So many times, we feel that our efforts to spread the gospel are for naught. But why should we be surprised when evidently Paul, at times, felt the same as us?
But, after you read this, I believe you will agree with me that, even though many times our efforts seem fruitless, God is still moving and working in lives. Frankly, if this doesn’t build a fire under us, our wood is wet!
But here’s the catch! I’m going to share only half the story this month, and I’ll share the rest of the story next month. Where we end the story this month, will reflect the way we feel many times about our own efforts- dejected, sad, discouraged, and so on. But hang onto your hats. Next month, we’ll learn once again that God really knows what He is doing!
THOSE WHO SOW IN TEARS
In 1921 David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa, to what was then called the Belgian Congo. This missionary couple met up with the Ericksons, another young Scandinavian couple, and the four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much devotion and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to set out from the main mission station to take the gospel to the village of N’dolera, a remote area.
This was a huge step of faith. There, they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The two couples opted to build their own mud huts half a mile up the slope.
They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. Their only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea Flood—a tiny woman only four feet, eight inches tall—decided that if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. And she succeeded!
Meanwhile, malaria struck one member of the little missionary band after another. In time, the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering and left to return to the central mission station. David and Svea Flood remained near N’dolera to carry on alone.
Then, Svea found herself pregnant in the middle of the primitive wilderness. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina. The delivery was exhausting. Svea Flood was already weak from bouts of malaria so the birthing process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She died only 17 days after Aina was born.
Something snapped inside David Flood at that moment. He dug a crude grave, buried his 27-year-old wife, and then went back down the mountain with his children to the mission station.
Giving baby Aina to the Ericksons, he snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life!” With that, he headed for the port, rejecting not only his calling, but God Himself.
(To be continued in the July Newsletter)