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Dry seasons….painful but needful

 

Can anything good from DRY SEASONS weather-wise and ministry-wise?  SSMF missionary Pastor Craig Linquist shares what has convinced him of the value of dry seasons.  He lives and serves with his wife Loren, in Entebbe, Uganda. 

Two months ago, I was on the porch of my house, feeling the warm, dry wind, and observing the effects of the dry season which had set in.

The grass had browned, the flowers had faded, and I had pruned most of the shrubs, hedges, and flowers back so that they could better cope with the lack of water and force their roots to go deeper in search of moisture.

All of this done so that the dry season, severe as it was, did not kill them .

None the less, everything looked a little droopy.

The whole garden seemed to be crying with one parched voice… “Thirsty!”

I had added manure, mulched the beds and weeded so that when the rains did come, the plants would be able to take advantage of the fertile soil and grow healthy.

Since that time, the blessed rain has come, and the whole garden is alive with life and color.

–The gloss has returned to the leaves of the trees.

–Birds and bees are busy moving around from flower to flower in search of nectar.

The garden is the picture of abundance and joy!

As I was observing this, I realized it is a picture of the seasons the ministry here has recently gone through.

As a church, we have had a long wet season.

For the past 9 years we have seen the Lord provide in amazing ways.

We have seen growth in people and in ministries which has certainly been a blessing to the community and city.

There was a problem, however, that we knew we would have to deal with–the reality that much of the ministry has been dependent upon foreign donations.

To be honest, as a ministry, we have been unhealthily dependent on our foreign support, and I knew that if that aid was cut, it would have a devastating effect on us.

Sustainability has been something we have talked about a lot over the past few years, but we had not made much headway in doing something about it.

A number of circumstances converged in the last two months of 2014 that began what has been a very “dry season” in the church.

On top of incurring a huge loss through theft in the month of November, we were informed by our primary donor in December that, due to financial problems, our funding would be cut by more than forty percent effective in the new year.

All of this came as a surprise, a heartbreak, and is difficult on many counts.

For sure it has not been an easy time.

But as bitter as the pill was, it came with a deeper assurance that all this was from the hand of God.

It was a surprise for us, but not to our Father, and it was all for the ultimate good of the ministry.

I felt very strongly that we were not to make appeals for the lost money or for the projected shortfalls, but rather to:

–Endure the dry season.

–Trust the Lord for provision.

–Cut out those ministries which were unnecessary.

–Prune back ministries that were unsustainably large.

–And push our roots deeper into the Word of God.

Having done this, when the next rain comes, there will be new growth, but we will be able to maintain the growth and we will be in a better position to cope with future dry seasons.

So Dry season is good.

Physically it kills disease and mold, spiritually it purifies attitudes, motivations, and sin that we have tolerated, and it causes our roots to grow deeper, our faith becomes stronger and more well founded.

It may take time to show, but there is growth going on in our hearts and in our ministry which will eventually produce a beautiful and bountiful fruit in seasons to come!

We will continue to do the necessary tilling and fertilizing and mulching in our lives in this season, so that when the rains come, and they will, we will be a fruitful planting of the Lord

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