All Is Safely Gathered In . . .

I am a gardener, not a farmer, but I get that you have to wait for the harvest. It's a time of gathering after the season has ended.

In gospel work, we might not even be around for the harvest. That was true for the 2014 World Impact team to Italy, who served with College Church missionaries Marc and Ruth Brucato and national ministry and church leaders at English camps in Bologna, Italy.

Ester, a colleague of Marc and Ruth in Italy, sent this email about Rania, a young woman who lives in a foster care community for teenagers. Rania's journey of faith started in May before the team even arrived. Another girl in the foster care community had died from cancer, and Rania was angry and full of doubts about God. When she came to English camp last summer and heard the testimonies of faith from the World Impact team, Rania was deeply touched.

The school year began and Rania showed up for Sunday church services as well as prayer meeting on Tuesday nights. Ester knew God was working in her heart, but still hadn't heard from her.

Rania is on the left with Rachel, one of the World Impact team members.

Rania is on the left with Rachel, one of the World Impact team members.

Then Rania came to Ester's house for dinner. "We had an amazing conversation," emailed Ester. "When I asked her what was going on, she said that everything had changed after the English camp.

"She told me: 'At one point I just believed that all this was true and at the very moment I believed, I sensed it. Life was different, everything was different.' Rania went on about how Jesus is making sense of all her troubles in life, how he is teaching her to forgive those who hurt her, how she has found true friends and a family among us, how she wants to stop going out with all these guys and wait for the right one. I had a hard time finding words to comment because I was in absolute awe of the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in this girl!"

Ester ended her email with these amazing words, "I want to thank you for being part of this great work last summer. Our work for the gospel is never in vain, even when we don't hear such stories, but hearing them gives all our sweating, fatigue and anxieties a totally different taste. Let's glorify God for inviting us into this amazing redeeming work."