I went my whole 18 years growing up to a great church of 800 in central Indiana that feels very similar to Harvest. I then moved and went to a small church of 30 in college, which was a totally different experience. Except one summer when I ended up having an internship, so I packed up my dorm room and moved to Bend, Oregon for ten weeks.
This church did this crazy thing every summer where they brought on fifteen interns. They want to offer college-age young adults the opportunity to serve in five different areas of ministry. Some people did it for credit and some people did it to get away. The part strangest to me is that they found thirteen families in their congregation to host these fifteen interns. There were hosts of all sorts. Some had no kids, some had young kids, and some had grown kids. It was very diverse.
Through this strange thing that they did, I got to learn a ton about hospitality. I had never seen a community support people like this. Everyone had us over for dinner, gave us odd jobs while we were doing this unpaid internship, and celebrated our birthdays. This community in Bend made me start to realize what it looked like for the church to be amazingly hospitable. Attending and now working at Harvest has continued to teach me this lesson.
God loves hospitality, and Harvest was made in His image. When my husband and I moved to Oregon, I immediately felt loved. I won’t make a big fuss over naming names, but there are so many of you that made me feel incredibly welcome after moving thousands of miles away from my family.
This post isn’t just to tell you guys what a great job you are doing, but that’s where I will start. Harvest family, I love how you shake hands by the door. I love how you show new families over to our check-in desk. I love how you serve in coffee ministry in one way or another. I love how you make this building look beautiful, and also how you make it seem warm. I love that you sit next to people and greet in the auditorium. I love that we do pie calls, that we reassure parents of new children when we show them the classroom, and that we host small groups. I think that this warm, relational focus is the best way to do ministry. I have a large round of applause for my church family.
Next, keep going.
I read this awesome book called The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark. The gentleman is a sociologist, and he set out to figure out why the church spread so fast when it was j
ust an infant. Have you stopped to think recently about the history of it all? The church was basically just a crowd of people who followed Jesus around, probably 120 right after the crucifixion. Three hundred years later Stark estimates that there were over 6 million. His research leads him to believe that the church consistently grew by 40% per decade. Let that sink in. It’s insane. The government just stopped trying to fight it.
What led them to this sort of growth? This author goes through several factors, from fertility to class. What he proves, however, is that Christians were just different. They took care of people. When an epidemic swept through and everyone fled for their wellness, Christians stuck around and nursed people back to health. They shared amongst themselves what was needed. If someone had a lot, why wouldn’t they share? They were rare in that time in that they valued their children, they respected women, and they showed mercy. They didn’t run away when the difficulties of life came. They were hospitable and warm.
Of course, this also exists in Scripture. One of the first things we read about the early church in Acts comes from the second chapter and starts in verse 42. It’s going to sound familiar, because Small Groups Pastor Kyle Fox has been writing a lot about it too. In the NIV it reads,
“42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Christians ate together, they prayed together, they let themselves by awestruck by God together. They shared their possessions and gave to the poor. They continued to meet. They were glad and sincere towards each other. Through this, they gained favor with the people. Through this, God added to their group.
Keep this in mind. Growing in your warmth and hospitality not only builds up the body of Christ but it grows it. I’ll encourage you again, keep going. Be different. Be the best people. Be a great part of our Christian community and Harvest family, and be a great part of your neighborhood and work place. Throw a block party. Have a neighbor or another church family over for dinner. Comfort people at work when life gets them down, bring them a coffee the next morning. Offer your help with a daunting task. Hospitality, warmth, and caring attracts people. It draws them in. It adds to those who will be with us in heaven. Go and make disciples, and be hospitable.
Ready to get more connected to the community of Harvest? Sign up to become part of a small group! Groups start the week of September 10th-16th with the study “I AM” by James MacDonald. [Click here for more information]
Greetings from Kamketo, Kenya. This is Pastor Mike. Even though it’s the winter months here, it has been over 90 degrees everyday. It took us an extra 3 days to get out here to Kemketo from Kitale, but everything is going fine.
The ladies, Olivia, September, and my wife Jeanette, are learning the PoKot language and working on tile work in the Tierney’s house. They are also providing medical attention to the PoKot in nurse Kathy’s absence. She will be joining us in two more days. They have been distributing antibiotics and per
forming minor surgeries.
Michael VanDoren and myself are working hard on the house along with 20 PoKot people each day. I’ve never seen so many people stand in line to be able to work all day. The going rate is $2 per day. We are paying them $4 per day. They need the money badly to be able to buy corn, so we pay extra.
Our scorpion count is up to five and I have them all (alive) in a tupperware container. I don’t believe they are going to let us bring them home on the airplane. The PoKot people keep finding them and bringing me more for the container. The teacher here keeps picking them up. He says there is a special way to hold them. I’m not particularly interested in mastering his technique.
The new well that our church put in last month has been a huge success since the one in town is partially broken. There has been a constant line of people pumping water into large yellow 5-gallon jugs.
I preached Sunday with an interpreter. They seemed to like it. But I don’t think it was as good as when I was here in January because last time they gave me a chicken when I preached. Well, I still have two more Sundays…
We look forward to being back in two weeks and sharing some of the neat things that are going on!
The above quote is something my father in law often will tell those of us in my family when we need to be reminded how to handle things when they are not going as expected.
At the end of June a group from Harvest headed down south to Tecate, Mexico to work on building a house for a member of Pablo Martinez’s church (Pablo is one of the pastors we support on Harvest’s missions committee).
Ed Barker and Luke Scherler were the first to leave driving the van with the trailer of supplies and our team’s luggage. The majority of the rest of our team was to fly out the following morning where we would meet the guys in San Diego and together would cross the border to Mexico and head to Tecate. By late afternoon the van had over heated twice and Ed and Luke were stranded in Red Bluff, California, where the temperature was 115 degrees. Thankfully, Carol Barker was able to drive a truck from Portland to meet the guys in Red Bluff. She arrived around midnight and then they left the van and continued on in the truck. They drove all night to meet up with the rest of us in San Diego. Yeah! Unfortunately, the truck would not be able to transport all 12 of our team members so a rental van was needed. After 2 hours of phone calls we were able to find a van that was just the right size for our need and could be driven into Mexico. “Thank you, Lord!”
The start of the building of the house had a couple of issues ☹ When the foundation was built the plans were flipped so that the bathroom could be on the left side of the house instead of the right. That took some time for Ed (our master building planner, supervisor) to decide how we would start are project. After a few hiccups on the first day everything seemed to be coming together. Whew!
The weather while we were in Tecate was extremely hot for us Oregonians. Anywhere between 100-105 for the first 4 days of our trip. This made working very difficult. With no complaining (that was audible) the team was able to change our wake up times to 6 am to try and get as much work accomplished during the cooler time of the day. By the end of our week the majority of the house had been built. With just some interior items needing to be done (sheet-rock, insulation, etc.). Thankfully, with help from Mountainview Christian Church and members of Pablo’s church those things are getting taken care of.
Proverbs 16:9 says . . .
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Many of us on the team had moments of frustration or concerns about our abilities. But coming to the job site everyday and seeing Armando, Rebecca and their children helped everything come in to focus. We were there for them! But even beyond that we were there to serve to Lord!
To me that’s what mission trips are about. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, sometimes we’re uncomfortable, but God is always there walking us through, helping us through the different obstacles we encounter. I learn more about Him and my faith grows the more I serve others, especially others that are unlike me.
Ed and I are hoping to lead another mission trip to Tecate next year. Pray and ask the Lord if this would be a part of His plan for you?
Pictured Left to Right (Ann McFarlane, Ed Barker, Rebecca, Steve and Joel Katz, Seth Scherler, Luke Scherler, Senny Scherler, Isaac Martinez, Madison Christensen, Shanaya Nelson, Mirela Nelson, Teresa Scherler, Pablo Martinez, and Cliff Nelson)
Harvest team members in bold.
**As I write this I ask for you to be in prayer for Armando he is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday, August 15th to have the 3 tumors removed from his brain. His recovery time away from home will be at least a month and during that time Rebecca his wife will be staying with him and had to quit her job.
Please pray for Armando’s full recovery
Please pray for their children while Armando and Rebecca are away (Grandparents will be staying with the children)
Pray for a job for Rebecca once they return home. She is the main financial contributor to their family.
Pray for Armando, Rebecca and their children that their faith will be strengthen.
Guest Post by Theresa Scherler
(pictured with husband Luke)
Our team left Monday for Africa! Flights through Seattle, Dubai, and Nairobi. The 7 hour drive to Kitale was terrible last night. Torrential rain and potholes. It seemed like 10,000 guys on motorcycles, sheep, donkeys, oh, and one zebra, were all on the “freeway.”
They carry everything here by motorcycle. My two favorites that I saw weaving in and out of traffic was a motorcycle that had a full 6’ coffin on the back sideways, and the second was another motorcycle that had a full 6’ sofa on it sideways that had a lady sleeping on half of it…and had groceries on the other half! I will try and take some pictures of the things people put on the back of their motorcycles to send you.
We are in the very third world city of Kitale. Glad to be here. We spent the day shopping for building materials for the mission house and medicine for the PoKot people. Penicillin is very cheap here, it averages out to be about $1 per series of doses for one person.
Because of the elections here, it’s pretty unstable. A lot of the grocery stores don’t have basic supplies and people have not been at work. We are not sure why. Looks like we will be eating a lot of rice. Meat, eggs, and bread are very scarce. Don’t feel too bad, I still have a jumbo bag of candy bars from Dubai…
It’s not really that bad, we still have lots of food, just not the things we were planning on being able to purchase.
We are loading up a semi-truck full of supplies and we will be heading north 5 hours on the worst unpaved road you’ve seen into the bush where the Tierney Mission is located. Kathy Tierney will be joining us next Friday.
We will give you more news in the next couple of days.
Be sure to keep us in your prayers!
Mike & Jeanette Halstead, Michael VanDoren, September Price, Olivia Lowe
To learn more about Tierney Christian Mission, [Click Here].