The streetlights flutter about, spilling its pale light through the windows into the vehicle, as we make our steady journey through the night in the trusty ole’ GREEN pickup; Rambo. We are traveling to meet with farmers to document the process of planting rice. Of these fields, a portion of the harvest will support the ministry here at BCE. We were all excited. It was almost the end of the week and of course somewhat tired, but eager to meet the farmers and begin the process of telling their stories. As we traveled on, we suddenly jump into a conversation about our life journey that has led us to BCE, and how much we have grown at BCE- well for me at the time it was just two months. I recite my usual lines… “I’ve grown so much at BCE…” and restate my usual platitudes. It was not that it was completely monotonous or meaningless, but I questioned the precision of my answer. And as the tires and steady hum of the engines lead us through the night, piercing through the pitch of the Highway, I begin to ponder deeply, what have I learned? Have I really grown? What have I given that is of worth to God and this ministry in particular?
As we roll into Carmelita Bible Chapel for a quick pit stop for the night, Alex proudly proclaims “This is my home church! This is where I got baptized” We settled in and were greeted by smiles, waves, and handshakes into their weekly bible study. The pastor began discussing, as he is read out of Numbers, how a sacrificial animal should be presented before the altar. He explained: It should have no blemish, it should not be cripple and it should be the best we have to offer. Everyone in the bible study began to share their two cents on the topic. One person commented, “If we are going to give something good to God, It should hurt a little”.
Early in the morning, we pack all that we need back into ‘Rambo’ and head into the fields. As we made our way, we are greeted by several friendly faces, machinery, tractors, and by the soft twilight, sun hinting its way through the horizon. All eager to plant the rice and begin the work. We meet Mr. Peter Fehr Sr. who is happy to see us and even more ecstatic when we begin to share the reason for our visit. Several photographs and videos later, we stop for a moment of conversation and fellowship. We begin by discussing how Klaas Fehr and his brother Peter Fehr- a farmer who has been part of the harvest for Kids initiative- have decided to give the best of his harvest and give it to the ministry. He approaches me and Ozni with the following encouragement, “I just want to encourage you, I’m sure you have your time when you’re ‘eeehhh’,[Discouraged] and up again so[encouraged], just hold on to the little times and receive the blessing the Lord has for you. It’s so different from what you do and what I do right now. But it all goes to the same creator.” And so many times have we not questioned ourselves am I in the right place? Am I doing the right thing? Yet, this generous farmer who I have met for the first time assures me I am.
Maybe it’s not only him leading me on, not only him assuring me. Sometimes we wait for a grand voice, a great parting of the sky, and then miss the subtle reminders all around us. I told him that seeing what he is doing for the ministry and giving his best encourages me so much. And as I thought back on what the pastor had shared, it all began to coincide into one big lesson. And I asked, “What about the timing of placing your best foot forward?”. When is the best time? Klaas assured me, “…We lost like that section [rice field] last year so, financially we would say we are not really set now, with all this covid pandemic and hard stuff. [But,] Right now we are going to decide to do this. This is probably one of the hardest times, that’s when we deliberately decided to do it. If I’m going to wait when the time is right or circumstances align up., um, I don’t know when it will happen, so we said this by choice and we are going to trust the lord. And pull through”
Yes! So many times we have been watching from the sidelines. We keep on waiting for the world to change. Someone else needs to step up and take the charge or fund the mission we might say.
I’m sure we all have felt uncertain at times when we question our area of ministry or our contribution to the Kingdom. We regurgitate the same answers. “I’m good”, “I’ve grown”, “I’ve given so much” thinking this must be enough
Maybe you have, and that’s fine. But like the person at church said, “It has to hurt a little”. Like Klaas and his brother decided, today is the day we give our best regardless of the outcome and current circumstances. I believe these are the answers and ways of sacrifice we need to strive for if we want to see Belize change Belize. Only the best.