Mission: Possible IV
“That same day Jesus left the house and sat down by the Sea of Galilee. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat. He sat in the boat while the entire crowd stood on the shore. Then he used stories as illustrations to tell them many things. He said, ‘Listen! A farmer went to plant seed. Some seeds were planted along the road, and birds came and devoured them.’” (Matthew 13:1-4)
I remember climbing up the small cattle tracks that meandered through fallow farm terraces on the original Mission: Possible in April 2008. Our goal was to sow the Seed to those who had “ears to hear.” We found a man and his young companion taking a rest. We sat down with them and talked about life, and also about Jesus. The man had been a Muslim since he was born and said that he couldn’t change.
“Listen to what the story about the farmer means. Someone hears the word about the kingdom but doesn't understand it. The evil one comes at once and snatches away what was planted in him. This is what the seed planted along the road illustrates.” (Matthew 13:18-19)
“Other seeds were planted on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The plants sprouted quickly because the soil wasn't deep. But when the sun came up, they were scorched. They withered because their roots weren't deep enough.” (Matthew 13:5-6)
We later found someone who welcomed the Gospel in his home. When I returned with another missionary a few months later, we found that the man’s life had been threatened because of Jesus. He told us he didn’t want Christ anymore. I pleaded with him and read this:
“The seed planted on rocky ground is the person who hears the word and accepts it at once with joy. Since he doesn't have any root, he lasts only a little while. When suffering or persecution comes along because of the word, he immediately falls from faith.” (Matthew 13:20-21)
“Other seeds were planted among thorn bushes, and the thorn bushes grew up and choked them.” (Matthew 13:7)
Later in 2008, I was able to organize a short-term mission team from another country for a visit. This had nothing to do with Climbing For Christ. These team members expressed their expectations for the trip when they said: “We paid a lot for this trip; we want to see some fruit.” They were excited to meet a young man who had aspirations to go to college, but couldn’t afford the tuition. The team asked him to believe in Christ and then gave him around 2,000 Yuan.
I asked our new local sister in Christ about this during our Mission: Possible II trip in January. She told me that the young man later bragged about how he had cheated the group to get some money by saying he had become a Christian.
“The seed planted among thorn bushes is another person who hears the word. But the worries of life and the deceitful pleasures of riches choke the word so that it can't produce anything.” (Matthew 13:22)
What’s next? Most people in the world plant in valleys, but some plant in the mountains. From Gentilhomme, Haiti to Kibungan, Philippines, people from Climbing For Christ are sowing seeds in the mountains. Ask them. It’s not easy work. That’s why Jesus says: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38, KJV)
Next year we go back to China to plant seeds in fallow ground. God calls us to preach His Kingdom. He has also opened up a wonderful opportunity for qualified Climbing For Christ members to pass on their coveted mountaineering skills to local mountain guides.
I remember talking about this year’s training with an experienced guide who was the only other member able to attend Mission: Possible II. He felt that in all his teaching experience he had never come across a situation like this. Most of the students he had in the past needed mountaineering training so they could begin going into the mountains safely and effectively. In China, the guides needed the training because they had already not only been taking themselves, but others up and down the mountain for years without the proper mountaineering skills. When we found out about the people who had died on the “easy” climb, we felt even more responsible to get them the best training possible. With limited resources and time we did our best. That’s why we’re going back. And that’s why we need you. If you are qualified to teach mountaineering, first-aid, search-and-rescue, and/or avalanche detection, please pray and consider helping us during the next training session in March of 2010!