Summer is moving fast. Soon it will be harvest time for many summer fruits and vegetables.
A new friend has 40 acres of farmland. As we talked, I sensed the excitement of harvest time, from one who lives daily with the challenges of the fields. His eyes sparkled when he talked about having much-needed water for his crops this year.
There are fields of souls waiting to be harvested this summer. And California Southern Baptist Convention is blessed to have 43 summer missionaries working to help bring in California's harvest. These fine young men and women will serve in many ways, and their lives will impact many for Christ. They have brought "water for the fields."
After hearing about the deployment of these summer missionaries, I reflected back to 1961, 1962 and 1963 when I served as a Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) summer missionary in New York. At the time I was a student in Toronto, Canada and special dispensation was made to allow me to serve. I met Paul James, director of missions in New York, who welcomed me graciously and promptly put me to work teaching Vacation Bible School at Manhattan Baptist Church.
After VBS, I began visiting and witnessing in Brooklyn. After a few days, I was sent upstate to Newburgh where knocking on doors became my strategy for reaching the lost. "Cold-calling" was the evangelism method of the day for me. After a rather long week, finally a door opened. Explaining to the couple that I was there to help establish a home Bible study, they told me they had been praying for that very thing. A few weeks later, both the husband and wife were baptized.
My supervisor for the summer had a "move on" strategy for me. After a couple of weeks, I was sent to a migrant camp in the mountains. As the trucks unloaded, the men from the fields stared blankly at me. I began to shake their hands, ask about their families and do what I enjoy most - show concern and love. I announced that I was there to share a message from God. Sharing Christ was such a joy; I spoke on the forgiveness of God and His love. I will never forget the smiles, kind faces and warm expressions on their faces.
Summer missionaries are loving people, hard workers, enthusiastic and passionate. These young people are God's gifts to CSBC this summer. Love, support and treat them with the kindness of Christ. Only eternity will tell the lives that will be touched this summer because of their efforts.