July 1, 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Cast your bread upon the waters,
For you will find it after many days.
In the morning sow your seed,
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good.
The preceding passage in the concluding portion of Ecclesiastes has often been an encouragement to me. The value of this inspired advice was once again evident in some of the events that took place in June. I will share a bit that might also encourage you.
On Wednesday nights, I have Bible study with a young man named Samuel. We have studied through the Gospel according to John and are now in the letter to the Romans. This young engineer had not made a profession of faith though we have been studying the Bible together weekly for nearly a year. Because he comes straight from work we enjoy Judy’s good cooking each Wednesday evening before diving into the Bible. As we ate a couple of weeks ago, he mentioned how long we had been having the studies together and I did not quite see where the conversation was heading. However, at the end of our study that evening, he again said something similar and then added, “I was wondering when I could get baptized.” He then went on to share how he had always seen Christianity as do, do, do and that now he could see that it was a joy to live out what Christ has done for us. He has trusted Christ and will be baptized next Sunday.
In the middle of the month, the community choir that I sing in had a planned a retreat. I was not particularly interested in going because my worldview is so different from the other members of the choir. However, remembering that I joined this choir to make friends to whom I could witness of Christ, I signed up to go. Most of the members of this choir are atheists or agnostics. You could count on the fingers of one hand those who are religious and they know nothing about the Christ of the Scriptures. During this weekend, I was able to “sow the Good Seed” in several lengthy and in depth conversations. I do not know “which will prosper” but I will mention an event that happened the following week that underscores the importance of sowing.
As Judy and I were praying Wednesday morning following the above mentioned retreat, there was a knock at the front door. When I opened the front door a lady from the next block over was standing there with her two young boys. We met this lady at the annual neighborhood picnic a year ago. She immediately asked if we had Bible instruction for children. We had invited these two boys to our last “Vacation Bible Club” and they did not come. We often speak to this lady as we pass in front of her house walking. We pray for her and many of our other neighbors nearly every day by name. A school mate of the oldest boy informed him that God was still alive. He came home and told his mother who decided that they needed some instruction about God. However, she told us that she did not want them to be taught lies so she came to us. The two sons have been to Sunday school that last two weeks. Their mother told me that when they arrived home the first Sunday, they said, “We want to make sure and go back next Sunday.”
The mother expressed an interest in studying the Bible with Judy and I, along with her husband. Yesterday, we had this year’s neighborhood picnic and once again made new friends to whom we can witness. We had some good conversations about spiritual matters. One of the neighbors, who lives across the street from us, announced to several of us who were sitting together what a blessing it was to listen to our services from his house. He also mentioned how much better our Sunday School was than Catholic Catechism.
So, “let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9)
Sowing in France with your help,
John and Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France