Spring planting is done and Indiana corn is knee-high. Kids out of school are splashing in the pool and hanging out in the park. The 4th of July fireworks went off. Here in the Midwest it definitely feels like it’s time to go camping, tour Gettysburg or see the Rockies.
Many Europeans are also preparing to leave their hot cities for several weeks in July or August. Russians like to send their kids to live with grandma and grandpa in rustic cabins where the main activity is reading or raising vegetables in a small garden plot.
But for our Polish friends near Wroclaw, July is prime time for the ministry of the gospel. Summer camps use Christian volunteers to teach English, play sports and hike in the forest. Dozens hear the gospel from counselors who love the Lord. Then 5000 young people attend the annual SLOT art festival on the grounds of a beautiful old monastery: 8 days for music, art, and current events to ferment with the gospel.
Then last week the sound of a stumble, a crack and a scream interrupted counselor training for 15 guests in the leader’s home. Julie tripped over a mattress and shattered her elbow against the wall. Hours later she awoke in a hospital bed with her arm suspended over her head in traction. Her X-rays are mostly promising – the broken bones and chips seem to be growing back together. But I doubt surgery and a cast were in her family’s plans for the summer.
We rarely get to know whether the personal pain we endure is part of the suffering we share with Christ for the sake of His final glory or is an echo of the groaning our entire planet is subject to until the Lord returns and restores creation. Until His return we pray for every effort to move the gospel out to the nations will find listening hearts. And we pray that these special servants can find special moments of rest that will restore their souls for the harvest that is ripening right now in Eurasia!