Posts Tagged ‘harvest’

Harvest Sunday, by Emilee Munafo, Back2Back Nigeria Staff

December 17, 2009

A few weeks ago the ECWA church (Evangelical Church of West Africa) in the Kisayhip Village celebrated the Harvest Season with a special Harvest Sunday celebration. It was the Sunday following our American Thanksgiving holiday. As I walked up to the church doors, I could see buckets, sacks and trays that were full of grains lined up against the building. Each portion of grain represented a family’s hard season of planting, cultivating, protecting, watering, and harvesting. For many of them it is their way of living. Without this harvest they wouldn’t be able to provide for their family. I felt like I was back in Biblical times. Maybe I am too much of a city girl, but in our church we usually only bring forward our monetary gifts, and even then when we bring them, we bring them to a box, near the back wall at our own convenience.

In the Nigerian church, I have always noticed that the time for offering, whether with naira or with crops, is a time of worship. There is music playing, singing, dancing, even a little bit of shouting. It always makes me ask myself, am I giving my offerings to the Lord as an act of worship, or do I just do it out of obedience? It also made me think of what things I would be willing to bring as an offering, if I wasn’t told to bring money but something that represented my hard labor. Maybe my time, my home, or my desires for my family would be on that list. What about you?  What would you bring as an offering? I’ve been sorting out what God is teaching me through my Harvest Sunday experience – it’s been a few weeks and I am still thinking about it!

The slideshow below shows an outreach that we did after church on Harvest Sunday. Only the pastor knew what we had planned. We enjoyed passing out bags of goodies that included lotion, sugar for Christmas baking, spices, and noodle packets to those who faithfully come to church on Sunday.

Harvest Time, by Juan Porto, Back2Back Mexico Staff

October 12, 2009

Two years ago we moved into a new home, The Joseph House.  This is one of the Hope Program homes on the Back2Back Mexico campus.

There is a big walnut tree in the garden outside our house.  It was in very bad shape –  dry and unhealthy.  There were construction materials like cement, gravel, and dirt all around the tree.  We thought that it might not survive, but we decided to be patient.  That second year, we spent time watering it, caring for it, hoping that it would survive and grow stronger.  But that year there was a big plague that killed all of its leaves.

This year was different.  We tried to remove all the worms’ nests from the plague.  We hoped the tree would make it but time passed and still the tree was barren.  Finally, new leaves began to grow and soon the tree had an abundance of beautiful leaves, even more than before the plague.  It was much healthier and stronger than before. We were not expecting fruits, but one day as I was cutting the grass around the trunk, I discovered fruit on the ground and I saw chipmunks eating the nuts that had fallen.

In that moment, I thought about hope and how I see evidence of it all around me.

For Oscar, a Hope Program student who recently graduated from college, there were probably many people who dismissed him, underestimating his potential to rise above a difficult past, a childhood in a children’s home.  Even at times, I felt frustrated during my journey with him once he left the children’s home and entered Back2Back’s Hope Program.  But now, after completing the Hope Program, he has hope, skills, opportunities and the ability to live a better life and change the future.

It’s time to harvest the first fruits.  Sometimes in the beginning, the fruit is not abundant, but we must remember just that – that it is only the beginning.  There is more to come.  If we continue pursuing God faithfully and diligently, we will see a harvest.

Since we had nursed that tree back to health and watched it grow, we were overjoyed as we watched it blossom and finally produce a harvest.  My daughters and I were very excited to try the first nuts.  That first tiny piece of pecan was like a delicacy in my mouth. Although there was nothing inherent in that pecan that made it better than pecans from any other tree, we enjoyed it so much more because we had been participants in the process.

Now, Oscar has graduated from culinary school and secured a great job in an upscale restaurant in the city.  Oscar’s manager has shared that he plans to promote him to the position of head chef soon. He appreciates Oscar’s commitment to excellence and quality.  Celebrating Oscar’s success feels similar to the joy I found watching the walnut tree blossom and later discovering and tasting its first fruits.

Thank you God for your perfect timing.

Oscar and Angel, two Hope Program students, who recently graduated from culinary school

Oscar and Angel, two Hope Program students, who recently graduated from culinary school