'And He said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crop by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.' Mark 4:26-29
It seems cliché at this point to say that 2020 has been a strange year. All are familiar with the global impact of COVID-19, and of the widespread issues of sickness, loneliness and isolation, and with financial woes associated with the crisis. Despite the obvious issues and pains, I am increasingly convinced that through it all, our King has been working!
We have seen it firsthand in our own ministry, as He has moved in a mighty way on behalf of us and our students, mobilizing resources and answering prayer in ways that go far beyond what we even could have asked or expected. Beyond our own limited reach, I've been given the privilege of being able to see what He is doing on a larger scale.
I recently spent a few days attending a virtual meeting about ministry in the country of Azerbaijan. That country has just come out of a brutal war with the neighboring country of Armenia. Azerbaijan was able to realize most of their strategic and symbolic goals in the war, and it is currently time of rejoicing over national victory, while also mourning the many lost.
The overwhelming sense that came from that meeting is that there is a radical shift in the spiritual climate after the war, and that a "second wave" revival is imminent in this secular-Muslim country. There was even a prediction that nationalist fervor, typically the enemy of the church, would be the vehicle for promoting the Azerbaijani church as a vital part of the national fabric of Azerbaijan, and that the Lord would use this time to grow and edify His bride in a major way.
What does matter is that doors that have been firmly closed are being flung wide open! Soil that has been hard and dry is being watered with the love of Christ
In the weeks since that meeting, we are seeing national churches distributing aid and proclaiming the love of Christ among their Muslim countrymen. Importantly, they are being received as countrymen by those who would have rejected them in the past. Moreover, the national government is making significant efforts to promote the multi-confessional nature of the country as part of the historic nature of Azerbaijan, and has even recruited local Pastors to represent the country in promotional videos. This is a massive shift from a government that has oppressed the church in the past. I also just finished reading an article from a national news site celebrating the significant Christian heritage of Azerbaijan.
Typically, skepticism might be in order. An experienced observer might recognize some of these things for the propaganda that they really are. In truth, this doesn't really matter. What does matter is that doors that have been firmly closed are being flung wide open! Soil that has been hard and dry is being watered with the love of Christ, both by proclamation and by demonstration! Hallelujah! The reader must understand that this represents a massive shift!
A new generation of laborers are being called to reap where they have not sown, but our King is also allowing those servants who have sown with tears for decades the joy of seeing the harvest! They are going forward in that strange mixture of power, boldness, and humility that is a hallmark of the King's servants. To them I say Rejoice! I say again, rejoice that you are able to be a part of this unique moment.
How can you be a part?
Pray that the national churches will operate in love and unity during this time
Ask the Lord to open the hearts of the Azerbaijanis
Pray that nationalism doesn't overshadow the love of Christ among Azeri believers.
Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers! Many missionaries have been brought home because of COVID, but are now limited by funding. Please pray that resources would be released and that doors would be opened!
Pray that the Holy Spirit would work in, through, and with both the national church and the foreign missionaries, causing them to be effective for His purpose
Would you consider sending?
The harvest has come! If you would like to help send a laborer at this crucial time, we have a partner who is approximately 95% funded and desperately needs YOUR help to reach their goal and to get back to the harvest in this crucial moment. If you would like to know how you can help, please reach out to us at:
or you can use our contact page at: