Farmer Joshua

Jan 262015
 

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

Lately I have been reading some in Romans during my devotional time. As I have been reading it seems like the Lord has been pointing out how great a love He has, for you, for me and each one of us who He has created. God’s love for us will never be grasped in the fullest measure because He is an infinite God. However we are to seek after God and love Him by giving Him our lives. I was reminded while reading about Abraham who trusted God’s promises in faith, though he could not see in human terms how God could possibly do what He had promised.

As I have gone throughout the first week of language school now I am getting a little better grasp of how big of a task this is going to be. However long or short, difficult or easy the process may be in learning the Spanish language I know that God has placed me here at this time for a specific reason. Since God has placed me here I also know that He will provide for what I need to complete the task.

Has God asked you to do something far beyond what you can possibly do in human terms? Take heart! Trust and obey His leading for then He can use you and provide what you need to be able to complete the work He has asked you to do. All we need is to be willing vessels to be used by Him. Throughout the past week I have been thankful for being in a Christian environment to learn this new language.

Just today I was reminded of Hebrews 10:24-25 which says, “…and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

Throughout the past week the staff and students alike here as well as my family and friends from home have been helping to encourage me. Once again I am getting to experience first hand how important it really is to meet together with other believers and encourage one another to seek and trust in the Lord.

¡Hola! (Hello!)

This is farmer Joshua way out of his element in south Texas where the temperatures nearly never reach freezing, some orange, tangerine, grapefruit and avocado varieties are currently in production as well as many other cool season crops!

I have been in the Rio Grande Valley for about a week and a half now and it has been quite the experience. Dad and Mom brought me down. We stopped on the way down in Fort Worth to spend time with some really good friends whom we consider family. We were also able to spend a few hours enjoying the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. 

The next day we drove the remainder of the way down to the McAllen and stayed with some other really good friends, the Antoniuks (Aunt Donna and her family) whom we also consider family. Saturday we enjoyed Aunt Donna taking us around to a few different places in the area including a organic farmer’s market and a well known national wildlife refuge. We also moved most of my things into the dorm and I met my roommate, Leo, who is from Nicaragua.

We spent Saturday night with the Antoniuks but the next morning Dad and Mom took off early. Uncle Dan and Aunt Donna took me to their small group and service at church then lunch afterwards. Going back to the house we picked up the last of my things and they took me to the dorms.

While it is a big adjustment and stretch the Lord has blessed me with a wonderful roommate and all week as the Bible Institute students have been returning, they all have been very cordial. Many of the guys here in the dorm have offered to help me if I need help and cumulatively have spent hours helping me try to start speaking short sentences. The only problem is that it sometimes seems like my brain gets overloaded and has a memory dump!

Granted it is not the same as Mom’s home cooking but the cafeteria food is all you can eat which is a blessing. Eating in the cafeteria has proven to be very beneficial to me to help with conversation and simply to be immersed in a rapid fire dialog of Spanish all around me. Little by little I have been able to pick up a word here and there but it certainly seems slow some days!

My professors have also been very kind, patient and helpful to me. This coming week will be full blown classes. Last week being the first my professors helped us through some orientation and simple basics in the Spanish language which don’t always seem so “basic”! :-)

The Lord continues to bless.

This will be the last “farm update” from me but I plan to write occasionally on another blog. If you would like to follow what is going on down here go to: Off-Farm Adventures

Off-Farm Adventures

The last few weeks at home I was pushing hard to get obligations finished. While I did not get everything wrapped up on the farm like I wanted to, the Lord helped me get several areas cleaned up some. G-Jean has been out cleaning up a few weeds since I left.

Lord willing we are still planning to have you-pick strawberries this season. The cover crops we planted earlier this winter have done their job well. The areas planted with oats grew and winter killed so the ground is covered but can be worked sooner if it is wet than those areas which have a rich, lust green carpet of wheat planted.

I need to sign off for now. Thank you very much to each one who has been praying for and encouraging me. It has meant a lot to me throughout the past week to know there are people praying for me as I work toward learning this new language.

May the Lord bless you and your families.

Transplanted Farmer Joshua

Life Changing Events

 Farm News  Comments Off on Life Changing Events
Jan 042015
 

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“Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” Isaiah 6:8″How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’” Romans 10:14-15  

In his awe inspiring description of when he saw God, Isaiah says he realized how sinful, filthy, unholy and frail he was in the presence of an almighty, perfect and holy God. In the account a seraphim touches Isaiah’s lips with a burning coal from the alter and says his iniquity is removed from him and his sins are forgiven. In the same way when we confess our sins to God and accept Christ He “touches us” with His blood which He shed on the cross to pay the penalty of our sin (Romans 6:23) then we are purified of our sins (Romans 10:9 and 1 John 1:9) so that we can come to the throne of grace with a bold confidence. (Hebrews 4:16)What wonderful news it is to come to a place of surrender to the Lord after confessing we are wrong and He is holy and righteous. This good news of salvation through Jesus is something those who have accepted Him must share with others! Just prior to His ascension back into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father Jesus left instructed us to do this very thing. (Matthew 28:19-20)

The above quoted scripture in Romans 10 shows how necessary it is for us to be as Isaiah and say, “I am here Lord, send me to proclaim your good news”. Jesus told us how our own agendas must be set aside (Matthew 6:33) to do what He tells us to do.

“And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” Matthew 8:34-36

texas-rgbi2In view of this I will share a little of what I feel the Lord is leading me to do. If all goes as currently planned, this coming year will be much different for me and here around the farm than in years past. I feel like the Lord is leading me to go down to south Texas and attend a missionary language school to learn Spanish.

Due to the location of the school being only about 16 miles from the Mexico border, Spanish is the predominant language in the area. Lord willing I will be staying in the dorms with a student from the Spanish seminary also part of the campus. With these factors I will be almost totally immersed in the Spanish language. I have heard immersion is the best way to learn so we’ll see!

At this time I plan to leave mid January and return around mid December. The full array of produce will not be available on the farm as in years past this summer, but Lord willing we will have you-pick strawberries this spring!

rgbi-signI doubt there will be very many, if any, farm updates this coming year while I am away. However, if you would like to keep up with what is going on down in south Texas I plan to post periodic updates on a separate page on our mitchellfamilyfarm.us website. We have not designed the page yet, but Lord willing it will be up and going by the time I leave in January.

If you would like to ask me questions in regards to my plans please feel free to do so but I will not take further space here. For more information about the school you can visit their website at: www.riogrande.edu/en

Boredom is not a word to describe life on the farm any time of year! With a beautiful and overall mild beginning of the winter there has not been a lack of things to do. Our very late killing frost kept us busy harvesting outdoor crops until the end of October. Even without the hoop houses going there has seemed to be plenty of other projects popping up to fill the time.

End of season garden clean up is coming along well. All the trellises, fencing and posts are now taken down and stored for the winter. The only exception is that the 15 minute garden is taken down but not stored yet…I have to dig out another 15 minutes one day to get that job completed! It really has been a fun experiment this season which I would consider being a learning experience and success.

Tomato and pole bean vines along with the okra and pepper plants all still need to be cleaned up. Most of the irrigation drip tape is rolled up now with the exception of one small section remaining.

Our cover crop of oats grew beautifully until the early major drop in temperature (down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit!) during the November cold snap which killed most of them off. I had hoped to get a little more growth on them before they winter killed but thankfully they have created a pretty good cover over the soil. The wheat on the other hand has really slowed its growth but is a beautiful green brown tipped carpet! Lord willing the clover we planted at the same time as the wheat will take over next spring as the wheat dies back.

Many projects besides the garden have also been occupying my time. Once again the Lord has opened up the door for me to cut and sell firewood this winter. Due to the mild beginning of winter it has been beautiful cutting weather! When David and Jena got married (they are doing well!) Jena handed over the her natural horse hoof trimming clients to me so I have been trimming several horses in the area. Another project I’ve taken on part time is clearing timber from along a fence line for another gentleman so he can build a new fence. I probably will be working on that project until the time I leave.

Since I will be leaving soon there have been a lot of small and large clean up jobs I have been tackling and want to finish here on the farm prior to my departure in January. My desk, the mini mountain, has been leveled part way and rebuilt some again… Secretarial work is not my favorite thing to do. That’s ok though because the other part of the job (outside) compensates for it! My bedroom also has been a secondary storage area for garden supplies and seedling starting along with overflow storage from my desk… my goal is to have it all cleaned up so Mom can use it as a guest bedroom while I’m gone.

The south half of the brooder which has now become garden supply and equipment storage has been an ongoing on and off again project for a couple months now. You might be amazed how much stuff you can get in a little area when you give it a major PHD (piled higher and deeper). There are also a few minor structural repairs I’m working on as well.

wormsI hope to pull the top feeding area of the worm bins off soon where I have baited the earthworms to come up and eat so I can clean out all the worm castings in the bottom part and refill the bins with new material for them to sort through and munch on.

Like I said, never a lack of things to do around here so boredom shouldn’t be a problem. From time to time I stop and think how many ways the Lord has blessed me…with strength and health, to be able to stand up, walk, talk and work…so many blessings I take for granted far too often. He gives me breath and life for each new day and work to do for that day. All my needs are provided for by Him. God alone is worthy of all my praise.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;” Psalm 103::1-2

If I don’t write again before then may each of you and your families have a blessed Christmas and New Year!

Farmer Joshua