“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
This verse has been on my mind recently because of our fantastic summer at the Dezna Outreach Centre. Specifically, with the number of children and young people, over 250, who have come and enjoyed camps there, having fun with games, hiking and much more but also hearing about God and how He loves them, many for the first time!
It is brilliant to see that there is the interest in the Camps, and we hope and pray this will continue! But I believe that this is a prime example of how in Romania the fields are ripe for harvest. When Jesus said this to His disciples, he was using it as a metaphor for people being ready to, and needing, to hear about God and the furthering of His Kingdom. This is the case in Romania today.
I say this not just because of the Dezna Camps but if we take a few examples from across the projects in Romania, we can see it. In the last two years there has been the transformation in Rapa which has included the start of the new church and the two baptismal services in the community. The people of Rapa realised they needed God to be the focus of their lives and have put that into action. But if you look at the country as a whole, there are thousands of communities like Rapa that are in desperate poverty, both materially and spiritually, and need to hear about God!
Likewise, in Tileagd we had a baptismal service last year at which there were local Romanians, people from the Tileagd Gypsy community and Florentina – our friend from the Homeless Container Village – all of whom were baptised to show publicly that they had accepted God into their lives.
The last example I will give here is also in the Tileagd Church, where each Sunday a large, and growing group of residents from the Assisted Living Facility come and join in the worship. Some of them weren’t interested in coming when they first arrived at TAL (Tileagd Assisted Living), but through encouragement of fellow residents, our staff and our Mission trip guests, they have started to dig deeper and show interest in attending church.
I could list many, many more examples here, but that would take up too much time because there is a problem. In Matthew we read this: ‘Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.”’ (Matthew 9:37-38)
“The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few.” There are so many people in Romania who need to hear about God, both within Smiles projects now and people who we will work with in the future. But we need more people to help draw alongside them, get to know them and tell them how much God loves them!
Now I have to say at this point, that I do not want to denigrate the huge amount of work and effort that people have put into the work in Romania up to this point. The staff of Smiles and the Mission trip guests we welcome each year, all work tirelessly to care for people and show God’s love in practical ways as well as talking with people about it. But there is always more to be done.
At Smiles, we don’t work to our plan for the projects, we don’t set out to help just one or two groups of people. We work to God’s plan and that means that we often don’t know what is to be done next. Kevin has said in some of his Mission Trip evening meetings that at one-point – Dezna did not seem like the right idea, it was too much to take on. But not for God … and we must always be brave and faithful.
God planned that the Dezna Outreach Centre would become the newest project in Smile’s and He planned for people to help make it happen, with hard work, generous financial support and lots of prayers. But His plans never stop, he is calling young people to it to hear about Himself.
Similarly, God has plans for all the projects. So, please do what Matthew says, “pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.” God knows who they are, and perhaps they know who they are too?
We are all part of God’s plan and He will tell us, in some way, how we fit in. If He is telling you that you are part of His plan for the future work in Romania, please come and find out specifically how. Sharing with people about God is always a varied challenge. We can’t tell a child in Tileagd or Rapa about Him in the same way as we would a resident at JFL! It needs a different approach and often different people to do it because we believe at Smiles that we need to get to know people and gain their trust and then share with them more meaningfully.
Could you do that? With a child or young person, an elderly resident or someone else in one of our projects? Please come to Romania and find out!
Next year within Smiles, we have our regular dates for mission trips, which you can find in the Mission Trips section of our website, but also our new Special Weeks which are for specific groups of people. Young families, Students, Youth Workers and people who can help with Construction Work all have these opportunities to consider.
Finally, I am always eager to help provide more information about the opportunities, the work, the history of Smiles and how God has provided for and blessed us. I am currently in the UK until the September 17th and then will also be here in November, January, February and March. If you would like to hear more through a presentation, or just a personal chat, then please get in touch with me, my contact details are below, and I will happily help in any way I can.
I will end by asking you pray about whether you can be one of the labourers that God plans to help bring in His harvest and bring people into His Kingdom?
Thank you and may God bless you all,
UK Development Ambassador
The Smiles Foundation