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By: Elisabeth Scheffel on: August 15, 2013
Story Type: Story    

Waiting for the Harvest

In Spain, a crisis exists. With almost five million people unemployed, the tensions between immigrants and native Spaniards overflow. People flood into Spain from North Africa, desperate for work, only to find the faucet just as dry as it was in their home country. In response to a crisis, people cling to what they know: olives.

As we drive past miles and miles of olive trees on every side, I ask my friends from Baeza about the harvest. Workers travel from all over Spain and parts of North Africa to harvest the olives. It serves as a valuable source of work and income.

The myriad olive trees remind me of Jesus’ words in John 4:35: “Lift up your eyes and see that the field is ripe for the harvest.” In some countries, thousands of people accept the Lord daily and dedicate their lives to Him. Here in Spain, it may take years for someone to make a decision to follow the Lord. In many ways, the spiritual harvest is similar to the olive harvest — the workers plant seeds of truth and trust that they will take root and grow in due time.

While in Baeza, I helped with two weeks of Vacation Bible School and I caught a glimpse of the spiritual harvest in Spain. Students learned Bible verses and sang songs about God’s friendship and provision. Occasionally, students forgot Bible verses, but they often remembered the songs and the message of hope found in Jesus Christ. While we weren’t sure if the seeds took root in the hearts of the children, we trusted that God was at work and that they had learned something about Him.

Two girls at Vacation Bible School were from a North African country. Their mother told us that she wanted her girls to choose their own religion, so she brought them to learn about the Bible with us. Several days after Vacation Bible School, they still remembered the songs that we sang. One song, taken from Matthew 6:25–33, spoke about how we do not have to worry about anything because God will take care of our needs. Their mom said the girls sang this song all the time around the house. She said that, since her family is suffering from the economic crisis, the song gives her hope that God will provide for her family. When she found out that the words of the song were straight from the word of God it encouraged her to read the Bible. Their family learned about the hope found in Jesus Christ. They did not make a decision to follow the Lord, but we trust that the seeds we planted will grow in due time.

There is renewed hope that the harvest is arriving in Spain. After ten years of conducting Vacation Bible School in a nearby town, our church in Ubeda has finally been able to start a youth group with some adolescents. At the first meeting, we had seven students show up. We had a lesson about the value of friendship, and the students participated. I am excited to see how God continues to grow this harvest. Until then, the workers plant seeds and wait.

Pray for the work being done in Spain, for the workers that are there, and for harvesters. 

Elisabeth Scheffel served as a summer intern in 2013, part of our EMERGE program.

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