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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Seminè Pastè

 
 
 
The month of December has arrived and we have two pastor training seminars planned. Both are in the mountains of Peyi-Pouri.
We now have a team of four teachers and two translators:
  • Andrew Eversole: IFM field staff - Basic Christian Theology
  • Ric Gullman: Pastor of “Morning View Mennonite” in VA - Christian Leadership
  • Michael Martin: IFM field staff - Various topics
  • Emanuel Schrock: “River of Life Fellowship” in OH – Various topics
  • Wismith Joseph: Director of “Redeemed Vocational School” – Translator
  • James Augustine: National Bro. – Translator
This team of Brothers will be teaching both seminars, Dec. 17th-20th and Dec. 26th -29th
And so I ask for your prayers in these next two weeks:
· That God’s name and being would be glorified through our efforts.
· For health and safety for all participating and teaching.
· Wisdom as teachers articulate God’s word.
· For all the logistical details to run smoothly (meals, lodging,ect..)
· For good weather with no rain.
· Understanding and Comprehension between teachers and translator as they work together.
· The Holy Spirit’s work in the hearts of us all.

May God's name be magnified in all the earth.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012






Reason is the analytical evaluation of information, bringing a determination or judgment which dictates a course of action upon one of life’s many situations. Thus we say “I have my reasons” or “this is the reason why” somehow we are trying to bring explanation-or even loftier “understanding” into a purely analytical conclusion.

“Because” What could be a more cynical word in our vocabulary than this. When used in reference to the human heart. Man’s heart cannot be bullet pointed, outlined, sub-titled or summarized. It cannot be reasoned.  Its “desperately wicked who can know it.” Though its “thoughts and intents” can only be known by its creator it is the unseen source that inspires the created to love and fulfillment and also drives it too its own demise in this seemingly endless cycle of sin.

But what of grace? God’s natural propensity to redeem that which is broken back to perfect wholeness. That which is misused back to its intended purpose- too worship and adore HIM, the uncreated, holy one- Because He is. Only through the redeeming power of this Grace can the thoughts and intents of this heart begin to be understood and enable me to come to a course of action of lasting value. But this Grace is not subject to reason. In fact it defies reason in all its mortal sense and establishes an immortal benchmark of deity.  

O lord wash me in this grace. Redeem this heart back to its intended purpose.

“The heart has its reasons that reason does not understand” -Blaise Pascal-

Thursday, October 18, 2012

 
 
Some of you may know that the mission has a website well  new staff descriptions were being written and here is one written about me. Thought someone may get a laugh as I did. 
 
 
Shea Alexander is from deep in the sticks of VA from a little hick town so obscure its not even on the map! He adores his sister Emily who makes his favorite chocolate cake and his mother who gets up early to drink tea and write in her journal or type on her HP Compaq laptop. Shea loves strong drinks like kambucha and Malta H and he likes kefir- I think. He adores the mountains and goes there all the time. Sometimes we even tease him about having a girlfriend there because of the seemingly magnetic draw. But I personally believe its because he feels closer to God surrounded by the purple mountain majesties and the simple mountain people. I think he loves the hard physical hike, and the clean air and the hundreds of tiny gardens spread out over the mountains like a blanket. He comes back with sacks of beans and onions and coffee beans that he sorts and roasts. He loves coffee and will go to great lengths for a cup of good quality brew! Shea can think best when he is either in the mountains or working with wood; its like therapy to him. He makes really nice things out of wood but unfortunately he is often so busy with other stuff he can't do it as much as he'd like. Shea is very opinionated and enjoys nothing better than a lively debate! He gives advice and thought provoking ideas for free which is good because none of us have much money. Shea loves to play his guitar and sing worship songs. He reads when he has time and sporadically writes in his beautiful, leather journal. He likes to write but sometimes he doesn't write for as long as 3 weeks or months at a time and then he writes a lot again. I don't know what he writes about in his journal. Shea is talented in language; he learned kreyol fast and well. In fact he speaks it so well that he's even better than the Haitians and he can argue as fast and loud as anyone! If you heard him talking but didn't see his face you might not even know its a white person. He likes to get up way early in the morning before even the birds are awake and sometimes he doesn't go to bed at all. He loves to go jogging and too rip around at alarming speeds on his pink and white dirt bike!!
 
Isn't Satire crazy!
 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mad dash to the Citadelle

The Citadelle is the largest fortress in the western hemesphere. It was built by Henry Christophe the king of the northern kingdom of Haiti after its independnce won by slave revolt.
 
Some of you may remember the post from two years ago when we toured the northern part of Haiti on bikes. Then the Citadelle was a two day trip. Well this time it was a one day dash, stopping only to drink and get gas we drove straight there and back. It was 12.5 hours of actual driving time in 19 waking hours spending 3.5 hours at the Citadelle itself.

Zopope wanted to go before school started and Hans was here helping with Eralus's school so with Austin we made a group of four with three bikes.
The Citadelle's aqua duct system


It was outfitted with 365 canons through it never saw battle.

It overlooks the north Atlantic shore and on a clear day you can just see the shore of Cuba some 90 miles away.
 Filled up with gas in Milot and took off for home. About dark we drove into a thunder storm and were battling mud and rain till we got to Hinche at 8:00pm. From there home was good asphalt.
After 430 kilometers we arrived home at 11:30pm.   

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A teacher, in more ways than one.



This photograph to many of you is meaningless. And even after I explain you will not be able to grasp the beginning of what it says to me. If I asked, most of you would say it’s a man talking on the phone, something that permeates our world today. But it’s more than that.
This is a photo of a man born in abject poverty in the rural mountains of Haiti. He worked his way through school and became a teacher where most of his people don’t know how to read. From teaching he turned to politics reaching out in every way possible to meet the needs of those he loves, those in need.
In this picture he is pacing in a 25 yard circle of cell service 5000’in the mountains 2.5 hours walk from the nearest road. No he’s not talking to his wife. He is on the job, the job site of a school he is building for the children of the least educated zones of his home and political jurisdiction. The framers are out of 2x4s, he’s calling for more. He’s rolling out the details for three different children to further education in the city, Children in no way related to him just in need. He’s talking to two different UN officials trying to find resources for his people hit by a hurricane the week before. Pacing amidst the noise of hammers and the clatter of tools as the roof of the school takes form so that one more child may have the chance he had. So no this man is not just talking on the phone, this man loves. This man has taught me to love in too many ways to write and his life points me back to Christ my lord, my savior, my friend.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Behold my hands




There he stands hoe in his hands, fresh turned earth beneath his feet.
Callused hands and whetherd face, seamed with scares from what seems like fate.
Praying for rain but not too much, wondering if he’s done enough.
Day is over night has come the songs of life have all been sung.
 Songs of suffering and of pain little ones crying, hunger reins.


Driving through a dark street last night, saw her standing by the side.
Scantly dressed under the light, waiting to be chosen for the night,
eyes of pain and heart so drear, Longing for love but finding fear.
Question of beauty in her soul, afraid to leave, where can she go?


Awake in the dark the suns gone down, the cold floors hard he dare get up.
The sound of what’s called love flows through the wall, He’s six years old, yes that’s all
The stillness broken the white car halts, shots ring out another man falls.
His mom cries herself to sleep, the dads been gone since he was conceived.


Betrayed by a friend life must be cheap, king of glory tried as a thief.
His back in ribbons, the blood flows free, collapsed exhausted, then came the tree.
Three spikes of iron driven deep, there wept His mother at His feet.
And when at last His voice did cry, they said surly the son of God just died.


Peace be unto you don’t fear is what He said when He appeared.
Behold my hands and my feet, it is myself come and see.
The King of glory feels your pain He know the suffering He’s seen the shame.
For all mankind He bleed, He died my Christ my Lord was crucified.

 

 






Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A man in need



Please pray for our midnight masked friend. Pray for his heart that it would be broken before God. His broken life of inner turmoil and unrest, fighting for an identity, a validity for life. Claiming to know Christ yet oppressed by the enemy not being able to experience the joy and fulfilment of worshiping our Creator.
Pray for us as we relate to him socially behind the mask of courtesy. That our actions, words and our thoughts would worship God and display His love to this man. That through our testimony he would receive God's grace to redeem his broken life.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

God needs men




God needs men to climb the mountains.

 God needs men to ford the streams.

Men with fire in their spirits.

Men with empires in their dreams.



Men who move like soldiers, marching.

Men of peace and men of war.

Men who live and die for Jesus.

As our fathers heretofore. 



Men with eyes like steel, and noble.

Men who speak the truth and die.

Men who walk within the furnace.

Ne’er complain nor ask Him why. 



These make fodder for the canon.

These make kindling for the flame.

Men who walk among life’s ashes.

Head erect and heart the same. 



Men who match the tracks of Jesus.

Men who pattern after Paul.

Men who hear the call of duty.

And respond by giving all. 



Men whose conscience can’t be purchased.

Friend indeed when your not there.

When the teeth of foes are gnashing.

You feel twice a millionaire. 



Let me be this man, oh let me.

Qualify from day to day.

Faltering flesh but not immortal.

Face like flint I’m on my way.


-Author unknown-

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Often as we walk through life were looking into a haze. Our sights are set on the things not yet seen, obscured from view by the noise and unknowns of life. But it’s only through our daily relationship with Christ that we can begin to understand where to step next. Sometimes we hear God’s voice or see His sandal prints in the dust. But more often than not it’s when His serenity floods our heart with confidence, when His transcendent peace puts our heart at ease from all our own wisdom and understanding and we step out completely vulnerable to God. This peace does not come to us through a frozen state of waiting and question but by worshiping our creator through faithfulness, obedience and trust.

                                                           **------------------------------------**


All the way my savior leads me; What have I to ask beside?

Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who through life has been my guide?

Heavenly peace divinest comfort, Here by faith in Him to dwell!

For I know what e’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well;

For I know what e’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Eyes


Eyes the lenses through which the purpose of life is realized. The dominate focused solely upon the incomprehensible nature of our uncreated father. The lesser fixed on the things at hand, that which currently occupies the expanse of the heart and mind. The near point of visual unity beginning its existence in worshiping that viewed by the dominate through the tangible reality of the lesser. This visual window creates the drive that pushes man to effectiveness and defines his application of reason. And it stretches to the uttermost expanses of our mortal comprehension, the far point of our human understanding.      

Yet these eyes transcend their spiritual roots in the soul and are embodied within spheres of flesh. Windows from the heart and soul of mans inner being, displaying both the inner turmoil of clouded understanding and the brilliant light of awestruck worship to the life giver of the soul, creator God, and Father.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

No backup plan


This week the word trust has been plaguing me. It has caused me to hold too question the essence of my personal integrity both past and future. But I have to reflect on the fact that my trust in the lord is just as much in question.
Trust does not just appear, it is formed, and it grows and is strengthened only through the exercise of it. Thus my trust in God is only made stronger as I allow that trust to be tried. Now trust coincides with an element of vulnerability. If I decide to drive my car across the country I trust it and thus am vulnerable to it as I do not have another one in tow if it were to break down.
Trust that is pure does not have a backup plan. It places full confidence in that which is being trusted. But how often do I say that I trust God yet devise a plan in case He doesn’t come through in the way or time that I would like Him to. I say that I trust God to provide for me but I have my backup plan in case I don’t get paid this week. Thus my trust is nullified by the absence of vulnerability. I really never trust Him because as soon as it gets uncomfortable I revert to my own plan. I never allow myself to slip from the precipice and fall free from my range of control to allow God to prove his faithfulness. Now I’m not talking about irresponsibility but I’m talking about living our life as to allow our creator to prove Himself faithful as whom He has says He is.       

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beauty


Beauty, all of mankind runs after it. People spend lifetimes trying to capture it on film. Breathe taking sunsets, gorgeous mountain, the heart rending face of a child, all of these things capture man’s heart. It drive people as a cruel master taking them anywhere, everywhere even places they wish they had never gone. Man is consumed with the search of beauty; physical, natural and super-natural.

When one sees a beautiful painting he searches the bottom for a signature; the mark of the artist. Beauty at some point came into existence thus it has a cause; a creator. The artist’s reasons for painting are twofold; to express their inner most being and to receive recognition for whom they are. Is the artist of beauty any different?

Men are made mad in search of a beautiful woman. A woman is held captive in the beautiful eyes of a child. And both alike will face nearing death while mounting mountains simply to behold the splendor that lies at its summit. But man has forgotten beauty is a signpost not a destination. We struggle to obtain that which cannot be had and are blind to the splendors of what will always be. Beauty is a manifestation of the glory and magnificence of God; nature part of His creativity, the human body created in His likeness. Yet man worships the created and seeks to no avail to consume it upon his lust, denying the creator of His due worship.        

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Only One World



One world; an ugly one, filled with war, disease, terrorism, sexual exploitation, hunger-I could fill the page, but that is the world. I have read my bible from cover to cover, and I have not found any mention of another one. In fact, the world in the bible seems to be basically the same as the one I live in.

The glorious news of the Gospel of course is that God came into this world in human flesh. He came in the person of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come to create a little world within a world; He came straight from His father in heaven to bring love, mercy, healing and forgiveness into this world.

To do that, He lived in this world-you know, the ugly one, the only one we have, the one full of prostitutes, criminals, soldiers, lepers, and crazy maniacs. He lived in a world of people with wild eyes and smelly bandages, people who if they moved next door, would definitely bring down the property values.

The world Jesus came into is the same world that He sends us into as His followers. He prayed, “My prayer is not that you take me out of the world but that you protect me from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”(John 17:15-18)

  But instead of going into world as we have been sent, we have created our own little world within a world within a world. It’s a world where “Christian” things are true, where everyone lives happily ever after, and, most importantly, where we can be safe from the “other” world—that big, scary one out there. Furthermore, the in our own little world has less to do with Jesus Christ that with locks, fences, money, and the “right” neighborhood.

It’s important to note that the born-again culture has been born and bred in this selected world within-a-world, and that’s why it finds itself so limited and so out of touch with people Christ came to save. We have done just what He told us not to do. We have put our light under the bushel of a safe Christian subculture.

But the most distressing problem with this little world we have created is that, through it, we plan to escape the ugliness of the other world. We are glad to be insulated and prefer to watch Christian news, listen to Christian music, and have only Christian friends. We get more excited about the number of Christians who are in our office that we do about the number of non-Christian who are there for us to love. The truth is, we don’t love non-Christians; we don’t even like them. They swear, they have different values, and they wear smelly bandages.

We like our little world. We feel safe here. But our little world is a fantasy. If you look hard enough, you’ll find as many crimes here as you do in the real world, they’re just more carefully concealed. The safety of this little fantasy world is a fantasy, too. Why? Because we really live in only one world, and it’s an ugly one.

Sooner or later the world is going to come crashing in on our little fantasy world-within-the-world. Sooner or later the thief is going to break into our house, the riot is going to spill over into our street, or the bomb is going to go off under our car. It’s inevitable. There’s no way to escape the danger of life in this hostile world because, after all, the world is our address.

We have to get beyond being shocked and horrified by what we see in the world and get on with walking into it with the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.

When we do, we will finally realize that safety has nothing to do with locks, that security has nothing to do with fences, that joy has nothing to do with the absence of pain, and that peace as nothing to do with comfort. We will no longer confuse the security of our subculture with the presence of Christ.

We will know the real Christ sustaining us in the real world, where He once sustained himself by doing the will of His Father. We will also hurt with the world, bleed for it, and cry over it just as Jesus did. We will be in danger and touch the unclean bandages.

The question is simple and straightforward: Are you in the world or are you escaping it? The issue is black and white. You are either walking into the world and into reality or you are walking away from it and into fantasy—because there is only one world and it’s an ugly one.



-          “Foundations of Christian Thought-

A hand out I received at Bible school

Monday, May 14, 2012

"The Anabaptists were conscious of being a people, the people of God; but the marks of that peoplehood came from their relationship with God. Ethnic lines never corresponded to nor reinforced lines of faith." 
"Because we are not first-generation people, we have neither the radical separateness of faith on the one hand nor the lack of ethnic separatness on the other hand which nurtured and made possible the Anabaptist vision and movement. This shift in the basis of our peoplehood, from being the people of God to becoming an ethnic group, is a problem for all Anabaptists both then and now."
"Part of our problem comes from a concern for the welfare and preservation of the church. No way can we be followers of Jesus Christ, at least as an Anabaptist understood what it means to be a follower, if our primary concern is for the welfare and preservation of any institution. If in the process of decision-making we qualify the radicalness of a step we might take by a concern for the survival of the church, we have left Jesus' way. Jesus' words about seeking to save our life and losing it apply just as much to the church as to the life of the individual disciple."

-Robert L. Ramseyer-
excerpts from: Anabaptism and Mission
                       by Wilbert Shenk.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Go ye therefore colonizing all nations making them to be just like you.



What is it about the church that it can’t preach the gospel without tying on all of its own trappings? It says it is presenting truth but in reality it is giving its application of the truth. There are missions that recruit girls to come and teach new national believers how to sew a cape dress and Mennonite covering. Whatever happened to the Holy Spirit? Can we not simply teach of a chaste spirit and modest heart? The church of today spends 80% of its time teaching the youth how to dress, what music to listen to and how to conduct themselves and the other 20% on salvation and the heart of God for mankind. The church sees today’s youth slipping away and so what do they do? They tighten the reins, they start pounding the standards harder. And completely miss the core of Christianity. Why do young people need to go to Bible school or instruction class to learn about justification and Christ’s call to the lost? Are not these to be taught from a little child up? The young people of today are being cheated out of real Christianity. Colonized into a culture or denomination rather than being set on fire with a passion for Christ. Church standards, catechisms and statements of faith are DEAD they do nothing for a lost soul. Only the living word of God can restore a broken life, grant freedom from sin and instill a passionate purpose for life. Jesus gave us three commands; Love God, Love others and teach HIS word. People talk about Buddhism and Hinduism but what about Mennonitism, Brethernism or German Baptistism? Where do you find your identity? Do you find it in your pious religious system? Or do you find it in the words of Jesus Christ?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Organization verses Organism

It’s fairly common I feel (at least for me) to hear
missionaries vent their discouragements of how their mission board does not see things the same way they do. Our world is full of disgruntled burned out missionaries that feel slighted or hurt by a mission organization. What we are facing here is a disconnect between the organism, the life, the vitality and the organization, the structure, the administration. Us field visionaries are full of experiences, dreams and opinions and when we are made accountable to the logical, efficiency and structure of a board of directors there is friction. This friction is created when decisions are made without full understanding and or one steps out of their realm of responsibility and into the realm of another; whether because of distrust or ignorance that depends upon the situation. You can break it down to two groups of people. The board of directors and the board of operations (or field staff); but what are the responsibilities of these two groups and do they over step their responsibilities? Do the Directors try to micro manage those on the field? Does the field not respect the Directors? Is there an umbrella vision that is the thrust of the missionary work? I’m asking questions, questions to make us think. One important key that is a common problem is that each member of the Board of Directors must have personal, practical experience on the given field and also that they have a respect and appreciation for the feelings and opinions of both the field staff and nationals. For us field staff; how are we keeping the Organism alive? Are we passing on the torch? A must for our ministry is that we work through the national leadership that is in place to meet their felt needs. Rather than work around them to try to meet what we perceive to be their needs. This will create ownership which will empower them to carry on the vision.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rules Verses Freedom

For all those that don't know I'm state side at Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute for their fifth term. Here's some of my homework; a discussion synopsis's.

The topic discussed was in reference to Rules verses Freedom
in relation to church structure and authority. Does Church leadership have
authority to establish rules to govern within a congregation or group of
congregations? Is it extra biblical? And do these principles violate our
“Freedoms” in Christ?I personally think that great care should be taken in this area so as not to quench the guiding principles of the Christian life. Rules stem from principles that are laid out for us by Christ in the New Testament. In the time of the Jews they had the law and then they built a system of rules around the Law. The rules were not “sin” but they bread generations of hypocrites by taking the focus away from the personal relationship with God, and putting it on the rules. In using the word freedom the meaning is twofold. First in Christ we have freedom from sin. But the meaning inferred here is freedom from a binding system that is hindering one from serving God according the principles of Christ. Thus we must ask ourselves, does our rules rob biblical principles of their vitality by taking people’s attention away from the heart of God and turning it to a mortal religious system. Thus in all instances we must look introspectively to see the fruit of these rules. Do they direct one into a closer more intimate relationship with God or do they merely improve one’s personal piety? Are they put in place to fulfill God’s will for man or to preserve biblical convictions? We must also consider the fact that there is a difference between convictions and standards. Convictions are spiritual truths based off of the principles of Christ. Whereas standards are personal guidelines to keep ones flesh in check so as not to violate his/her convictions. These “standards” should be based off of both ones personal weaknesses and the principles of one’s culture, so as not to fall personally and also not to offend a brother. Thus there are standards that apply to one personally and standards that affect a group or society.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Raw Existence



The other day someone gave me a Dove Chocolate. I was appreciative and promptly opened it to find this written inside; Sleep in late tomorrow. I stopped, reread it and came to boil inside. Why? I asked; should I lie in bed when I have the privilege and ability to not. I was not sick or under rested. So why should I let the current of the desires of this physical body pull me along when I have the choice to swim forward? Why should I merely exist when I can thrive? The man of today no longer looks at what can be attained but what can be indulged in. anyone can cast themselves to the wind and whim of desire yet only one of strength can chose to gain, to press on to a new level.
A tree that is not pollinated will never produce. Though it soaks in the rain, draws on the soil and basks in the sun it never fulfils its purpose. Are we not the same? Though we take part of all the joys and pleasures of this world all is yet vanity if we do not experience it in the fullness of purpose. God did not create us to exist. But to be pollinated through His love and forgiveness In order that we could produce in the fullness of His will. So why do we (Christians) allow ourselves to simply continue being in raw existence? Have we not been enabled to produce, to press on and fight the fight; to run the race?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Feelings"




So how do you feel about….? How often do you hear this question? It’s not “want do you think?” But “What do you feel?” Our country has rapidly become a feeling based society. We go to church when we feel like it, we eat when we feel like it, and we love our wife only when we feel like it. Fact seems to no longer hold validity in our minds. We don’t care if we need to eat or if what we eat is good for our body we just do what feels good.
I’m sure glad Christ didn’t operate in these perimeters. He sure didn’t feel like being crucified (He actually asked to get out of it). I think if we did a lot less feeling and a bit more thinking then a lot of the problems we deal with today would never arrive. Teenage pregnancies would be almost nonexistent if someone would do some thinking before they do some feeling. Love is not a feeling, but a decision and attribute of the heart despite its physical surroundings. Godly character never started with feelings but with discipline of the mind. Great accomplishment were never felt but were the will of the mind to succeed over the contrary feelings of the body. If the mind and soul of man is to see a vision made reality then the imprisoning limitations of our feelings have to be filtered through our end goal. Not our destiny determined by the whim of what feels good now.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Jesus loves you fat"

This is the front of a business card sized tract that was being handed out by some newly arrived visitors (missionaries) here in Haiti. It has been printed in Haitian kreyòl with the intended meaning of saying "Jesus loves you very much" but in actuality it says "Jesus loves you fat".
The reverse side of the card is even more embarrassing, quoting Romans 10:9 its deplorable grammar and mixed French explains how, "If we believe in our hearts that God gave Jesus a pay raise when He rose from the dead we will be saved".


~
I hope this makes you think about the importance of being prepared when taking the gospel across cultural and language barriers. Not that it should scare anyone from that work but it should motivate us to apply ourselves not only scholarly but in all practical aspects as well.


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Just imagine for a minute a missionary coming into a people group of overweight people worshiping obesity because they think it will draw them closer to God. Kind of absurd? That's how fragile the word of God is in our ignorant hands. May we ever seek His wisdom and may we daily pray for those of us who are actively working to reach an "Unreached" people with the story of God's great love. And may we never look in disdain upon those who labor many seemingly "unfruitful" years in the field before presenting God's truth.