This year, with the help of a retired couple across the street, Cindi and I planted our very first garden, turning a dream into reality. Khun Yay (Grandma) and Khun Taa (Grandpa), are avid gardeners and frequently give us fresh produce or tell us about different herbs or flowers. For the past several years, we have built a relationship with Grandma and Grandpa, and Grandma has begun coming to church with us and doing personal devotions at home. One day, after Grandma brought us some fruit, I told her of our desire to plant a garden. We then walked around to my tiny front yard to find the best place to start. Before she left, she told me that she would get some seeds from her son and help us plant. A few days later, she and her husband, both over 80 years of age, came to our house with hoes, seeds, mulch, and a will to work. After about 30 minutes of group labor, our first garden was planted, and we have been enjoying the fruits of it for several months.
Jesus taught many spiritual lessons clothed in garden imagery. In Mark 4:26-28, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a man casting seed upon the soil and eventually seeing the results. Mission work is much like that. We plant the seed of God’s Word in the soil of humanity’s heart (1 Peter 1:23). Often, we sow with no apparent result and question if our efforts are making a difference. Grandma was the first person I met in my village almost seven years ago. We have built a friendship, had spiritual talks, and I have invited her to church events in the past, but with no fruit. But then, one day she showed up at our door and said that she wanted to start coming to church with us!
As I reflect on our project over the past decade, I cannot help but be amazed at the growth I see. Many seeds have been planted, many prayers prayed, many dreams dreamed, and now I can see fruit. The new church and school buildings will be completed this summer. Two of our young men just finished their first year of theology studies at the Adventist University in Thailand and plan to become pastors! Our head elder has grown in His walk with the Lord, become very active in ministry, and now wants to study online to become a pastor. Last year, we did not have any new baptisms, but nine people now want to prepare for baptism! When I think about this progress, I am humbled and in awe of what the Master Gardener is doing in His garden.
We know the full harvest is yet to come, but the seeds you have sown through your pennies and prayers are producing a harvest we are grateful to see. Thank you for helping us to plant God’s garden in Khon Kaen, Thailand. Let us continue gardening together!