Mar 092016
 

Greetings from southeast Kansas once again!

“And He said to them, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.'” Matthew 17:20IMG_6312

Have you ever seen a mustard seed? There are many different kinds of mustard, and I haven’t done research to find exactly what kind of mustard Jesus would have been referring too, but I grow one variety that is a smaller plant than I would imagine Jesus was referring to and the seed is pretty small! Here are some mustard seeds next to one average sized dry black bean.

For part of my devotional time recently I was reading through the gospel of Matthew once again and this among a few other verses stuck out to me a fresh and new.

Also recently I was reading 1 John 3 in Spanish and the following verses have given me something to think on once again.

“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”

As we seek God, obey Him, learn to walk with Him, pray as Jesus taught us to pray,

“‘”Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.”‘” Matthew 6:10

and continue delighting ourselves in Him, in who He is (Psalm 37:4) He will transform our hearts more into His likeness. Our desires will be His desires, what He loves we will love and what we ask for in prayer will be what He desires to do for us.

Have you ever thought of how wise Jesus was/is? As I’ve been reading through Matthew it has been amazing to me to see once again how even the wisest of all the leaders and lawyers of the day could not stand up against the wisdom Jesus responded with time after time. Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and had a very intimate relationship with His Heavenly Father. Many times we read where He would go off alone to pray or would be praying all night despite having been worn out after being surrounded by people all day long.

We too have the promise that if we ask God for the wisdom we need, and believe He will give it, He will give us His perfect wisdom generously and without reproach. (James 1:5-8)

As I read Romans chapter 8 it is amazing to me, that even when my faith may not be the size of a mustard seed and I may not quite know how to pray, if I am seeking the Lord, His Holy Spirit mentioned in the above quoted 1 John 3:24 is interceding on my behalf according to the perfect will of my heavenly Father.

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27

Thank the Lord for His faithfulness, goodness, love, grace and mercy!

 

The Lord has been so good to me and has provided me with more opportunities and experiences than many people get in a lifetime. I have been blessed to meet so many wonderful friends and brothers and sisters in the Lord throughout the past year it is amazing. He has also allowed me the opportunity to learn the basic communication skills of Spanish (I still have a lot to learn but am so thankful for how far He has brought me) and to visit Mexico and Colombia throughout the past 14 months.

While my last update was written in Colombia I want to reiterate what a blessing it was for me to be there. My friend Anderson’s family was very generous, opening up their home to me and accepting me in as part of their family. Providing for all my basic day to day necessities and transportation, teaching me many things about the culture, language and traditions of that region and allowing me join them on family outings and trips out to Anderson’s grandfather’s small farm outside the city along the outskirts of another smaller town about an hour away from the house they blessed me in more ways than I can count.

The folks from the church in Bello (Colombia) were also very accepting, loving, considerate, helpful and kind to me. I can’t express what a blessing it was to be able to communicate with a people group, with brothers and sisters in Christ, that I never would have been able to communicate with before. The Lord has truly blessed me!

Even now since returning home there are several friends from RGBI (Rio Grande Bible Institute where I was studying Spanish last year) and Colombia to whom I’ve been writing… That in and of itself is a miracle as even after completing my program at RGBI I felt very inadequate to write in Spanish (I still do) and it was very difficult. Thankfully with the Lord’s help and the many hours of investment from some very special friends who have helped me, especially after coming home through e-mail correspondences, little by little the Lord has been helping me learn how to write a little better in Spanish as well. I still need to learn a lot more about writing in Spanish though!

After being back home for practically two months now I am amazed how many small opportunities here and there the Lord has blessed me with to be able to use my Spanish here in small town, rural southeast Kansas…it just goes to show how faithful He is.

Another huge upcoming blessing (and responsibility) is that there is a team of 9 students (friends) from RGBI coming up to help out with our church’s young Hispanic ministry outreach. They will be helping us with activities, evangelism, music and relationship building during the last half of Easter week! It will sure be good to work with some friends I haven’t gotten to see in a while and see what the Lord has in store! We are praying the Lord will help us to reach out into the community with the light of the gospel effectively during this time.

Not knowing exactly what the next step is that the Lord has for me I have been enjoying being back on the farm, doing a few things I know how to do a little better than learning a new language, and I still enjoy the work.

I left early enough last year I didn’t get the fruit trees pruned and by this year there were a few trees that were really needing it! After giving a few of them a major “hair cut” they look better. I enjoy the parallels of pruning and how it increases strength and yields in the trees in comparison to how God our heavenly Father “prunes” us in our lives (John 15:2) so that we too may produce more fruit…but that’s for another day.IMG_0994

It has been too warm for too long now! One of the apricot and two of the plum trees have been in full bloom. I would sure be thankful if we didn’t get any more really hard freezes here on out. We almost will certainly get some more cold weather before spring actually gets here so we’ll have to wait and see what the Lord works out!

The Lord also blessed me with a bunch of old straw to use as garden mulch for almost free plus some strawberries! What a blessing that was! A family farm had some older straw that they wanted to clean out of the barn, some of the bales being bent or broken but that didn’t matter to me. Lord willing we will have a good strawberry crop and I can pay them back a little for their generous offer of paying them a little and then exchanging some strawberries for the straw.

It has been exciting for me to get my hands back in the soil again and I’ve been planting the hoop house in preparation for spring! I’m not sure that I will be planting a summer garden though so haven’t started any of those types of plants.

IMG_6225 (1)What a blessing the rain has been! It was getting kind of dry on top but with the Lord sending us a good soaking rain, and some warm weather, things are really perking up and starting to change into vibrant green hues. It was a blessing for me to get a few potatoes, beets and white spring turnips planted just before it rained. Lord willing they should be coming up soon! Most of the big hoop house is now planted as well.

Since being home I have started cutting some wood again, but mainly just logs so they can cure and be ready for cutting into firewood next fall. I do still have some wood cured and ready to cut into firewood but the weather has been so nice I don’t think very many people are burning firewood now.

The Lord has also blessed me with a few odd jobs here and there which has been a blessing to help generate a little income until I get some clear direction in what the Lord would have me do as a next step. I got in on a new project I’d never done before which was kind of interesting. Some friends needed help erecting a small quonset hut so I got to see the process of how a smaller one of those goes together. It was quite an interesting learning experience!

Well, I have more things to do so better get going for now. Lord willing it won’t be quite such a long time before I write next!

May the Lord bless you each one.

Farmer Joshua