Getting My Hands Dirty in Cyprus
It was my wonderful privilege to spend a month in Cyprus at the Gateways Beyond community. I’m grateful to Pastor Rick, the elders, and the Wellspring family for allowing me this significant sabbatical. The primary focus and activity of Gateways Beyond at this time of year is an international training school for missions minded young adults. I was immediately welcomed, and so I immersed myself in their daily worship, their community life, and the friendship of the leaders and staff. Soon I found myself not only absorbing from them, but also ministering, mentoring, and even teaching.
The Land (as they refer to it) is another important part of the community. A number of years ago the leaders felt they needed to invest in the land of Cyprus, so they purchased a few acres complete with neglected olive trees and an overgrown vineyard. You may recall some of the stories that Jeff Collins shared with us last fall when he visited Wellspring. Since purchasing and working The Land, these novice farmers have experienced harvests that have been plentiful, even miraculous, with the produce being of the highest quality. I’ve visited other places in the world where the finger of God has touched the earth and brought forth a bounty. I knew I wanted to connect with The Land and the blessing they are experiencing through it as well.
It’s not harvest season, so I was limited in my involvement, but I took every opportunity I could to get my hands dirty from the soil of The Land. I weeded in the vineyard. I helped clean up from the pruning of the olive trees. I suited up and inspected the honey bee hives. I even cleaned up after the sheep! I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to touch a place the Lord was touching.
Just before leaving Cyprus, Pam and I were invited to a lunch with the founder and senior leaders. (Pam had joined me for my final week in Cyprus.) They proceeded to tell us about the vision for The Land, and dramatic dreams and prophecies for the future. Then they asked for our counsel. I asked them why they would ask us. We were just visitors passing through. They said that they saw our understanding of The Land, our higher perspective. They expressed a connection with us and invited us to agree, believe for, and seek the higher purposes for The Land and what the Lord was doing and wanted to do on and through it. It was a humbling and significant embrace.
Pam and I were able to respond in a wonderfully tangible way. I had been prompted weeks earlier to give them a poster of our “Now, Lord…Increase” banner (which hangs in our sanctuary.) Pam was able to get a poster-size copy and bring it with her when she came to visit. We had brought the poster with us to the lunch meeting, so we unveiled it to these senior leaders and declared it to be our commitment and the Lord’s purposes for The Land. Once again we experienced the deep joy of being used by the Lord as a channel for his blessing. This time it was in the foothills of Cyprus around a table under the canopy of an enormous sycamore tree. May his purposes for The Land come forth. Now, Lord…Increase! (Isaiah 9:7 )