Is It Worth It to Be Seed Planters?
John Kunkle, Missionary, Texas/Mexico Border Ministries
The Call, January-March 2017
Here on the Texas/Mexico border, we think of ourselves as “seed planters.” Sometimes all we have is a few moments to plant the seeds of the gospel in a person’s heart. We are thankful for the sowers of God’s love whom He has provided to our field. In the past two years, the number of Texas/Mexico Border Ministries staff working with the Hispanic community in McAllen, Texas, has more than doubled. God is moving to reach this area in a fresh new way with the gospel message. Here are some of the challenges we face and stories of the harvest that God is giving us.
In order to plant the seeds of the gospel of Christ and see results for His kingdom:
1. The soil must be broken for planting. Betsy Tejeda, acting field director: “One of the most difficult barriers is trust. It takes time and a lot of effort to break down that barrier. Another challenge is how transient our neighbors tend to be. We have learned the turnover in our community is very high, so once trust is built, they often move away and we start all over. This has helped us be very intentional, though, in sharing the gospel when we have the opportunity. We’ve learned it may be the only chance we get. We have reached families with the gospel through both the soccer program and The Sparrow’s Nest. We try to share the gospel at each outreach, even if it’s extremely short. [My husband] Gerson and I sensed the Lord tell us that we are seed planters; He is the One who causes those seeds to grow. Our responsibility is to be obedient to share the gospel when the opportunity is there and pray that the seeds fall on good soil. God is the One who will make those seeds grow and grant a harvest.”
2. The soil must go deep. Joey Bocook, ministry partner: “The youth need a deeper understanding of who God is and what He wants for their lives. I believe it is necessary when teaching the churched youth that they understand that God loves them regardless of their faults or failures but also desires for them to strive to do their best and give Him 100 percent of their lives. I feel that all teachings to youth need to include a challenge to help them strive to be closer to Jesus.”
3. The soil must be cultivated. Esther Leininger, missionary disciple and former missionary kid from Bolivia: “Missionary kids struggle with the same question all young people have—Who am I? Finding that answer is very difficult without a Christian community to guide you. God used my parents [Tom and Karen Leininger, formerly with WGM’s Wings of Peace aviation ministry] and church community to help me find my identity in Christ; here at Taylor Christian School, I can help young people learn who they are in Christ, too.”
4. The soil must be fertilized and nurtured. Debbie McKelvey, missionary: “Currently, I counsel at a local church that has a counseling ministry and am able to refer people here for free marriage therapy. I want to be sensitive to every opportunity to share God’s hope in every situation. It is a joy to share God’s unconditional love to those who feel hopeless because of past sin. I am also blessed to share the healing power of Jesus with those who have been abused, abandoned, or betrayed. People need to know our Savior understands, because He suffered the same things we suffer, and it is by His stripes we are truly healed (Isaiah 53:5).”
Even though the task is not easy, we consider it of high priority to plant the seeds of God’s Word wherever He directs us. Is it worth it in the end when we see the harvest that God has brought to us? Indeed! We are harvesting the crops of many generations of “seed planters” who have come to the border before us, those faithful missionaries who so long ago said “yes” to the call of God.