Harvesters in Review
April 28, 2014 | Harvesters
By Jesse Newman
Matthew 9:38 (NIV)
“Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
CORE readers who regularly click and read the “Harvesters” article are used to seeing a picture and an article focused on one person or perhaps a family. After ten articles in this format, we are taking the opportunity to glance back at how the word “harvester” has meaning within the NICS/Oasis family and how it is lived out by the past CORE/Harvesters article subjects.
1. a person who harvests; reaper.
2. any of various farm machines for harvesting field crops.
A search for the root word “harvest” yields the following:
1. the gathering of crops.
2. the season when ripened crops are gathered.
3. a crop or yield of one growing season.
4. a supply of anything gathered at maturity and stored: a harvest of wheat.
5. to gather (a crop or the like); reap.
6. to gather the crop from: to harvest the fields.
7. to gain, win, acquire, or use (a prize, product, or result of any past act, process, plan, etc.).
8. to catch, take, or remove for use
The word harvester indicates an agrarian, or farming, lifestyle. Farming is a process that involves cultivating the soil, planting seeds, watering and fertilizing, and then harvesting plants. In the sense that NICS/Oasis staff members are considered harvesters or farmers, some of the same ideas come into view. NICS/Oasis staff are involved in the entire process (or cycle) of farming. In fact, one of our schools is really only able to “cultivate the soil” at this point. Some teachers may only serve with NICS/Oasis long enough to water or fertilize, while others who serve longer are able to see the harvest gathered one student or family at a time. Regardless of their respective roles, all NICS/Oasis staff members are a very important part of the “farming” and harvesting process.
There are different types of farmers including itinerant or migrant farmers, subsistent farmers, collective farmers, and even organic farmers. With regard to the length of their service with NICS/Oasis, some staff members might be considered migrant or itinerant harvesters since they serve with the agency for a few years and then move on to something else (and may never return to the organization). These workers can be seen in the examples of Dr. Joan Rodman, Tim Thompson, the Curt Andreassen family, and Wayne Kirkbride who are all highlighted in other Harvester articles over the past five years.
Other NICS/Oasis staff are “career” harvesters who continue to serve with the organization for many (in some cases over twenty) years. These career harvesters may work in one location for many harvest seasons (like the Brian Olling family that has served in Uijongbu, South Korea for 25 years), or they may serve in one field for a few seasons and then move to another network field. Examples of this are seen in the Ben Hale family (who have served at two member schools), the John Havill family (who have served at seven different locations either as single individuals or as a married couple), the Roots family (who served at seven different schools and at the Home Office twice), Kathy McKinney (served at four network schools), and, finally, Pete Simano (who has served in Bandung, Indonesia, first as a teacher and then as the school director, and now serves at the NICS Home Office as Vice-President for Leadership Development).
Farming is a seasonal occupation and different crops grow in different seasons, there are certain seasons/locations that dictate what can and cannot be grown, etc.). When you read each past Harvester’s personal story, there is one theme that consistently grows in each account: the influence that the Lord enabled each harvester to have in the lives of those entrusted to them. Just like a farmer lovingly tends his crops until the time of harvest, each NICS/Oasis teacher and administrator works diligently to make sure that each “plant” (student) is well-planted, well-watered and well-protected while they grow into the fruitful tree that God intends. Just as farmers must endure the elements, work long hours, and wait patiently for the crop to be ready for harvest, NICS/Oasis harvesters share in the rewarding process that yields fruit in the timing of the Master Gardener.
We are often reminded of the importance of the harvest at Thanksgiving time: thankfulness for God’s bountiful provision to us, thankfulness for His richest blessings poured out to each of His children, and thankfulness for the opportunity He gives us to be involved in His work in His harvest fields around the world. NICS/Oasis is truly thankful for each of the harvesters that He has called into service over the past 30 years. Whether they were/are itinerant temporary workers or career harvesters with the agency, it is His calling that they answer, it is His field in which they labor, and it is His harvest they are blessed to bring in. May we never forget that He is Lord of the Harvest, and we are called to be faithful workers no matter where or when He sends us into His harvest field.
“Bringing in the Sheaves”
Knowles Shaw and George A. Minor
Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.