The landscape was ever changing on the road from Lima to the Yanesha people. Paved city scenes replaced by colossal mountains. Barren rock walls gradually concealed in twisting vines and towering trees. Amongst the jungle, fertile coffee fields encircled our final destination.
City. Mountains. Vines. Fields. Watching the passing countryside, God taught us the parable of the Sower. Path. Rock. Thorns. Soil.
Saturday morning, several people assembled to work on a community project–sifting through a plot of land to create fertilizer. Hours later, all the workers gathered for lunch. Wheel barrels emptied. Shovels set aside. Packed clumps, rocks, and roots sifted apart. Fresh soil piled high. The perfect backdrop for sharing the parable of the Sower.
“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13: 3-8 (ESV)
For most the parable was merely surface level—a relevant story. Some were curious. People from afar were there to help, even without vested interest in the final product. They were grateful for our aid, but unsure of the message. A few wore deep expressions, further sifting the parable within.
“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23 (ESV)
When asked what they enjoyed about the parable, comments centered on how the good soil produced an abundance of fruit. How you have to be a good person in order to prosper. This brought the perfect opportunity to explain the inside-out gospel Mercy Hill has been studying the last few weeks. Salvation is not works-based. Silence filled the air. Only the sound of birds flitting in and out of the trees. It is hard to know how the seeds of the gospel fell.
Together we shall pray for the Yanesha. May this commission us to continue to sow seeds in Peru. To go into the harvest whether in your backyard or throughout the world.
“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38 (ESV)
Photography: Sarah Foster