We started our journey to Minnesota towing a trailer filled with 1300 walking sticks and hearts exploding with heaven-high hopes of witnessing to at least that many folks at community festivals, flea markets and fairs this summer. We prayed about our journey and told God all about our plans to return to Florida without one remaining walking stick.
We are just about half way through the summer and still we have about 1000 walking sticks still filling the trailer.
In retrospect, I think God laughed and shook his head at us when we started out. I can almost hear him say, “Silly children, you think you are in control. I’m about to teach you a thing or two.”
I guess we’re not that much different than our great grandson Jesse. When his daddy and mommy purchased my sister and brother-in-law’s boat Jesse immediately proclaimed, “My boat.” And when Jesse and his daddy head out on the water, there’s no doubt in Jesse’s mind that he’s the captain, even though his daddy’s protective hands are always on him, still in control, and keeping them and all other boaters on the lake safe from harm.
While our trip to Minnesota offered many wonderful opportunities to share Jesus with others, once we arrived in Minnesota God seemed to say:
Flea markets, farmers markets, festivals, even Fourth of July fireworks were all cancelled due to Coronavirus.
The state was supposed to open up and everything, but the State Fair which is far too crowded for social distancing, go back to Summer normal, but as of this post, we are still waiting to see if August events will go on as promised or if they will be cancelled as well.
BUT THAT’S ONLY THE BEGINNING OF PLANS GONE AWRY!
Sandy’s 91 year old mom, who still lives on her own, took a fall at 4:00 on a Saturday morning, splitting her head open and fracturing her skull. We are so grateful that Sandy was spending the night and was there to call an ambulance. Instead of spending time in the hospital where Sandy’s mom would not only be in danger of Coronavirus but also cut off from family, she was able to return home the same day where Sandy’s sister, Diane, and Sandy were able to make sure she was well cared for.
ADDING TO PLANS GONE WRONG, THERE’S THE STORY OF PETE…
While at his sister Nancy’s, Pete took a nasty fall off the top of a ladder, tearing his rotator cuff 95-100%. He sees the surgeon later today, Wednesday, July 22, and is facing not only surgery but weeks of physical therapy as well.
The good news is that if our events had not been cancelled due to the virus, we would be facing the loss of hundreds of dollars in vendor fees because of Pete’s surgery and rehab, money from our faithful supporters that we could not afford to throw away.
We could be discouraged and ready to call it quits right about now.
*Here we are half way through the summer and we’ve not set our tent up at one event.
*The events we hope to work in August are not yet confirmed due to Coronavirus.
*Pete is facing surgery and is in pain.
***And to top things off, a mouse found its way into our RV. Sandy has already terrorized Bella once with an ear-shattering scream.
But God has taught us not to be discouraged or alarmed when things don’t go as we planned. They are going as God planned. And that’s what is important.
Instead of discouragement, we have learned to remain patient, knowing that the harvest belongs to God.
I am reminded of driving down country roads back in Florida, traveling to festivals where we’d spend the weekend handing out walking sticks and sharing the precious salvation message to hundreds in a weekend. We would drive for miles and miles passing orange groves on both sides of the road.
But the trees didn’t always look like the one in the picture. Years before, each tree was only a scattering of seeds. The seeds grew and soon there appeared branches and leaves, but still no fruit. The branches weren’t yet strong enough to bear fruit. I’m thankful the farmer didn’t look at the tree and say, “You worthless tree, you’re not bearing fruit. I’m not going to water you any more. In fact, I’m going to tell my laborers to chop you down.” No, the farmer continued to water and care for the tree until one day those beautiful white blossoms burst forth in the sweetest fragrance and not long after, the the tree was covered in tasty fruit.
And we are reminded that the fruit belongs to the owner of the field, not the laborers, just as every soul that comes to Christ belongs to him alone, not to any one laborer or labor organization, even The Fellowship of Christian Farmers.
Galatians 6:9 reminds us: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not give up.”
“If we do not give up.” That’s a mighty important IF.
That’s why we have not given up. We continue to hand out walking sticks, maybe not in the hundreds but one, two, three at a time, taking advantage of every opportunity the Lord gives. Despite Coronavirus, despite torn rotator cuffs, and irritations no larger that a mouse, we will not give up until God says it’s time to do so. Here’s just a few of the opportunities God has set before us:
- We’ve been able to share with many family members, handing out walking sticks to them and their neighbors and hearing stories of them sharing the sticks and message with others.
- Within 30 minutes of checking in at our camp ground, Pete had shared the Gospel with 16 campers and given them walking sticks.
- We have built a special relationship with our neighboring camper Owen, a personable teenager, and have been able to share the Gospel with him and continue to pray for the day he makes a decision to follow Jesus.
- We continue to search out open festivals, flea and farmer’s markets where we can set up our tent and hand out walking sticks, hopefully in August and early September.
“Whatever the LORD pleases, he does,
in the heavens and on the earth,
in the seas and all the deeps.
He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for
the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.”
If this summer has taught us anything, it is that God is the one in control. He is the one with the power and authority to make things happen, or to stop them from taking place. And his purpose is always for our good.
Sometimes his purpose is to prepare us and strengthen us for what is ahead.
Sometimes his purpose is to test us.
Sometimes his purpose is to train us.
The same is true in your life as well. You’re not steering the boat. God is. And that’s good news!
There are not words enough to express how grateful we are for your continued support, both financially and prayerfully through this time of coronavirus. Please continue to pray for us and possible upcoming events.
- For our neighbor Owen’s salvation.
- That we will have an impact on the lives of more campers and have opportunity to share Jesus with them.
- That God’s will be done as far as opening flea and farm markets and that we will have opportunity and funds to take advantage of every door God opens.
- That we will stay virus-free.
- That Pete’s surgery and rehab will be 100% successful and fast.
- The Sunbelt Festival in Georgia in October. Please pray that God would be preparing hearts even now to hear the Gospel.
- Upcoming events this winter and spring in Florida.
- RV and car will have no problems as we head back to Florida in September.
Thank you for partnering together with us with your prayers and financial support. All gifts are tax deductible. You may click on the Give page if God leads you to give to the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Farmers International. Please write Pete and Sandy Singer in the memo.
Blessings–Pete and Sandy