“He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.'” Luke 10:2
As we traveled throughout Central America, we saw a lot of ministries and a lot of projects just getting started. I heard about many a dream in the service of the Lord. I had a lot of “good” ideas of my own about farms, schools, sanitariums, etc.
Psalm 127:1 comes to mind as I remember all the plans and projects. Everyone can have a “good” idea. However, “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” We must go to the blueprint and plan and follow each detail. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy have a blueprint for every aspect of life and for every type of project we can possibly attempt in God’s will.
The heart touched by the love of God naturally wants to be in His service. Sometimes we get so excited about helping others and serving God that we get into predicaments. Our prayer should be as was David’s in Psalm 119:26, 27, “I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. Make me to under¬stand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.”
We need to pour out our hearts to God, telling Him what “good” ideas we have for helping people, taking all the time we need to explain whatever we want. However, there has to be an interaction. We have to listen to what God wants us to do. The Holy Spirit will lead us if we ask. We will be guided to a thorough search of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. Our plans will be molded as the clay is in the potter’s hands.
Spanish Herald has a vision of how the work in Latin America should be done. It is based on much study of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy concerning “true education.” God tells us, “Students should be given a practical education in agriculture. This will be of inestimable value to many in their future work. The training to be obtained in felling trees and in tilling the soil, as well as in literary lines, is the education that our youth should seek to obtain. Agriculture will open resources for self-support… The cultivation of the land will bring a special blessing to the workers. We should so train the youth that they will love to engage in the cultivation of the soil.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 311.
This is one of hundreds (if not thousands) of references to the importance of agriculture in training our young people for service in God’s vineyard. This is why we try to facilitate farm-based schools, sanitariums, restaurants, etc.
Our goal is to have networks of ministries, all doing what they do best, based on agriculture. We envision self-supporting ministries with income from the sale of farm products.
An example would be separate family-run farms, restaurants, schools, sanitariums and radio stations. Each would be a tremendous learning experience for a student to learn an aspect of the Lord’s work. Each would help the others. The radio station would advertise the others. The farm would provide food for the others. The restaurant would have food provided by the farm and would also advertise for the other ministries. Each would be in charge of one aspect of the Lord’s work. Even several farms in one area would be okay. Each farm could grow a different type of produce, provid¬ing a variety of produce and educational experiences. Of course, each would be a witness to souls.
Traveling throughout Central America, we saw net¬working in various stages. Panama has a lot of potential. We saw several families with farms, doing medical missionary work and evangelism. What we saw was encouraging, but the potential was even more encouraging. We are now in the process of turning beautiful farmland into an agricultural-based school. It will take time and a lot of money, but the vision has started. They already have close to 100 orange trees and several mango, papaya, and banana trees. It is exciting just to think about it. All we need are a few good workers to make it a success. Please pray for the project. Maybe you would like to be involved in some way.
In Panama there is also at least one opportunity to purchase a small farm and start a work for the Master. It’s a beautiful location and near other Adventists with a similar vision.
Spanish Herald is not yet involved in Costa Rica. Although we only passed through on the bus, it seems to be a beautiful country. There is probably a lot of work being done there as well, but we know of only one or two ministries.
Nicaragua has been torn by war. The workers Spanish Herald sponsors there are used to practicing self-denial. They live on very little money and do a lot of hard work for our wonder-ful Lord. We met two families while there. The first, the Robles’, are Bible workers, who have opened their place for serving the sick, giving Bible studies, and holding wor¬ship. They live in Masaya, near Granada, but have been impressed to move into the country and are searching for a small farm near Matagalpa, a more mountainous region. It’s a beautiful area.
We also spent time with the Arauz family by Chinandega, near the Pacific coast. They are doing a tremendous work on a small farm and are very hard-working Bible workers and leaders in the church. Jose Arauz is a master farmer and will help the Robles family, once they get a farm. This flexibility is a blessing and illustrates the plan of networking. Nobody can know everything or be skilled at everything. That’s why it’s necessary for workers to cross the line and help other ministries. After all, God’s work in its truest form is actually only one body.
Honduras seems to have more ministries and opportunities than other Central American countries. After a long bus ride, we were picked up from La Ceiba by Noel Jimenez and his family, who run a radio station in Jutiapa, sponsored by Spanish Herald.
We spent about a week there, traveling to farms, churches, and an orphanage. Again, it was the potential for networking that excited me. As usual, it takes a vision and some hard-working, talented individuals or families. The Jimenez family is thinking of expanding to several radio stations throughout Honduras.
It is truly wonderful to share our time with fellow SDA Christians, who want to step out in faith, but are careful to search out the blueprint for how the work should be organized.
I have read several articles about Joe and Elsa Willis. We had the privilege of meeting them in Santa Barbara, Honduras at the restaurant they run – “La Canasta de Vida.” What a wonderful outreach to the community! Many people eat there, enjoying the wonderful food and Christian service.
We had the opportunity to visit their agriculture-based school and clinic. It’s a beautiful, well-organized outpost. The Willis’ really serve their community for their Master.
Near their school are two farms for sale. One, about ten acres, has an avocado orchard and probably the most beautiful house I have ever entered while in Central America. The other is perhaps a better location, but not as nice a house. It has a mango orchard and is about fifteen acres. I mention this, because I want to see the Lord’s work expand everywhere.
The last place we saw in Honduras has so much already, but lacks talented, dedicated workers. It is a school without teachers; a sanitarium without medical missionaries. As we walked the grounds, we could just taste the potential. The family handling the farm is doing a wonderful job. They are reaching out to the community also. But they are simply not enough people. The most important message I can share is that there are many opportunities for mission work in Central America. We need medical missionaries, teachers, farm managers and farm workers. We also need hard workers who are willing to follow directions. Most of all, we need people who are moved by the Holy Spirit: students of the Word and the Spirit of Prophecy, who are ever searching for the truth, but who have nailed down the pillars of our faith and cannot be moved. “He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.'” Luke 10:2.
May God help you decide how you can help in His field.
By Jeff Bell, Spanish Herald, PO Box 143 Dillard, OR 97496. www.spanishherald.org