By Thomas Bunting
“Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2).
“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest. Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).
“Beside those things that are with-out, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches” (2 Cor. 11:28).
“Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:7-8).
“But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted to you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us . . . As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children” (1 Thess. 2:7-11).
“But we brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored the more abundantly to see your face with great desire (1 Thess. 2:17).
“Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone” (1 Thess. 3:1.
“For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good re- membrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you” (1 Thess. 3:5-6).
My talent for writing is far too limited to convey to you what lies upon my heart. I want so much to convey to you the feelings I have in my heart for those who need to leave a foreign work and cannot find anyone to replace them. I desire to try to help you understand the anxiety and frustrations these are experiencing and the many tears they are shedding. The country and the people with whom they have worked for a number of years, have a special place in their hearts.
It isn’t just a question, “If you need to go home, then go!” It isn’t that simple! This work and the young Christians are so much a part of their life, that to leave them without any help is like leaving loved ones when they need you most. If you haven’t experienced this, then it is probably difficult for you to understand the feelings of these men and their families. They know the need! They know that this work must not be left on its own! They are the sole workers in their respective country, how can they leave it when there is no one to replace them? You talk about a “rock and a hard place” you probably can’t imagine the feeling unless you have been there.
Men, like Joe Rose and family in Bulgaria and Jay Horsley and family in Lithuania, have given years to establish and strengthen the young churches in their respective countries. They need to leave, but also realize that the work must not be left with-out workers! I can tell you that they are agonizing over this dilemma. Their hearts are bleeding as they see the time approaching and no volunteers have come forward.
In the words of Jesus, “Say not, There are yet four months . . . look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (Jn. 4:35). These men need to hear from someone now ! They are bearing the burden, not only of the day-to-day problems, but the “care of the churches” (2 Cor. 11:28).
These men, and others like them, know and understand the statements of the apostle Paul when he speaks of having “you in my heart” and “how greatly I long after you” (Phil. 1:7-8). Like Paul, they have cherished them as their children and exhorted and comforted them as a father. They would give their very own souls to the brethren because they are dear to them (1 Thess. 2:7-11). They may be taken from their presence, but “not in heart” (1 Thess. 2:17).
It is my understanding that Joe Rose and family are hoping to return to the States in December 1995, and Jay Horsley and family are returning to the States in May 1996. Will you not lighten their burdens by volunteering to carry on the fight in Bulgaria and Lithuania?
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: No. 20, p. 9
October 19, 1995