Harvest & Share - Reaching Your Neighbors

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

"Missionary families are needed to settle in the waste places. Let farmers, financiers, builders, and those who are skilled in various arts and crafts, go to neglected fields, to improve the land, to establish industries, to prepare humble homes for themselves, and to help their neighbors. The rough places of nature, the wild places, God has made attractive by placing beautiful things among the most unsightly. This is the work we are called to do. Even the desert places of the earth, where the outlook appears to be forbidding, may become as the garden of God. “In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, And the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 29:18, 19. MH 194.3-4

Many today, if imbued with the same spirit of self-sacrifice, could do a good work in a similar way. Let two or more start out together in evangelistic work. Let them visit the people, praying, singing, teaching, explaining the Scriptures, and ministering to the sick. Some can sustain themselves as canvassers; others, like the apostle, can labor at some handicraft or in other lines of effort. As they move forward in their work, realizing their helplessness, but humbly depending upon God, they gain a blessed experience. The Lord Jesus goes before them, and among the wealthy and the poor they find favor and help. MH 154.3

To reach the people, wherever they are, and whatever their position or condition, and to help them in every way possible—this is true ministry. By such effort you may win hearts and open a door of access to perishing souls. In all your work remember that you are bound up with Christ, a part of the great plan of redemption. The love of Christ, in a healing, life-giving current, is to flow through your life. As you seek to draw others within the circle of His love, let the purity of your language, the unselfishness of your service, the joyfulness of your demeanor, bear witness to the power of His grace. Give to the world so pure and righteous a representation of Him, that men shall behold Him in His beauty. MH 156,2-3

Christian farmers can do real missionary work in helping the poor to find homes on the land and in teaching them how to till the soil and make it productive. Teach them how to use the implements of agriculture, how to cultivate various crops, how to plant and care for orchards. MH 193.2

As a preacher's child, I lived in cities and apartment buildings without vegetable gardens. For me, sowing and harvesting were completely alien terms. It were my vacation stays with our grandmothers and also aunts and uncles who lived in the countryside which awakened a certain longing for nature in me. Brothers and sisters from our community with a garden gave us presents and often shared their harvest surplus. The wish started growing in me that one day when I am an adult, I want to have my own garden. God answered my prayers. First He taught me to taste and see that the Lord is good (Ps 34,8).

Just married, I lived again in an apartment building with a terrace on the roof. There I tried myself with being a radish gardener on a wooden walkway. I also learned and practiced in the garden of the kindergarten I worked at, which had vegetable patches. God called us to do literature evangelism and at the same time we settled in Carinthia, south of Austria, in our grandparents' house which had a garden. Finally the dream of growing our own vegetables became true. Through E.G. White's writings on parenting and nature parables and health we discovered a lot of helpful tips and realized that we were completely beginners in this area. Genesis 2, 8.15 comforted us. It was God's idea and he was our teacher in the garden. Psalms 71,17: „God, you have taught me from my youth, that is why I proclaim your miracles.“ When we arrived at Grandma's house, I managed about 40 square meters of garden together with her. Many things were new to me and it was very valuable to be able to ask Grandma at any time if I wanted to know something. There I could learn together with her as well as study how our neighbors do gardening and learn from them. I was often fascinated by the heavenly concept of seed and harvest and life in abundance. To harvest 10 from one potato or 1000ths apples from an apple core calculated over a period of years.

Grandma also liked to share products with her neighbors which created good friendships and a warm fellowship. So many were allowed to enjoy the blessings of God and there was always cause for discussion about the giver of all goods.

When the day came when my grandmother could no longer tend the garden, we were allowed to use it together with my cousins.

During this time the vegan restaurant Delicious was established in the city, which was also allowed to use part of the garden. Together we practiced cultivating and preserving. Salads, herbs, berries and vegetables for the salad bar and desserts were in great demand. God made us understand that we should give people from the city access to nature through workshops but also through „garden afternoons“. Working, harvesting, processing the harvest together - that has been a very close bond between us and some of the guests. 1 afternoon work for 2.5 hours for 1 free lunch. Many a guest liked that very much. Questions arose during the work that we could explain very well with parables. The restaurant team was helped by many helping hands picking what they processed and the people were fascinated by how ingenious God's creation is. At the end of each afternoon, the helpers also harvested for themselves or took wild herbs with them. In that way they gained a nice fellowship, experiences and some products from it.

The news of what we are doing spread in our neighborhood and we were allowed to invite for different seminars like horticultural courses or pruning classes where invited experts shared with us and our neighbors.

The teachers from our examination schools for homeschooling also wanted to come to visit with their classes. There were then obstacle courses in the garden and wild herb courses through to workshops in schools for healthy schools.

Newstart – the way God recommended to us

We were allowed to rediscover it ourselves and share it with the students in 8 stations. Instead of going jogging, the youngsters were allowed to dig up potatoes themselves in the garden and bring it to their homes.

The garden made this heavenly atmosphere possible with one another. There was space for everyone and everyone was allowed to grow, experience and learn according to their interests and abilities.

God also gave us the idea to support ADRA through our ADRA market in front of our house.

It looked like that: We had two days a week during September where we offered homemade bread rolls, fruit, vegetables and cakes at 6:00-8:00am. Anyone who wanted to have some could take it with them - donations were welcome.

For years this was a September custom that everyone longed for. This enabled us to explain to the neighbors what Jesus meant when He said: „Whatever you did to the least of my brethren, you did it for me.“

In our village, many opened up and we had very nice hours of fellowship and learned to complement each other more and more usefully as friends and not as strangers.

The leaders of senior dance groups invited themselves to our place and wanted to be cooked for in the countryside and go on a "herb discovery" trip. Our church school garden was also a nice place for the graduation party, where our neighbors could exchange with the children what they all had learned during the school year.

When we decided to go to the weekly market during the summer holidays, we were also very often inspired - to exemplify sharing. For example, we brought 5 l jugs of fresh spring water with us every Thursday and gave fresh water to every customer even if they didn't buy anything.

Unconditionally offered, we could share with people about God's offer in Rev 22.17: „Let those who are thirsty take the water of life freely.“

Then we read in the Ministry of Healing:

„We should feel it our special duty to work for those living in our neighborhood. Study how you can best help those who take no interest in religious things. As you visit your friends and neighbors, show an interest in their spiritual as well as in their temporal welfare. Speak to them of Christ as a sin-pardoning Saviour. Invite your neighbors to your home, and read with them from the precious Bible and from books that explain its truths. Invite them to unite with you in song and prayer. In these little gatherings, Christ Himself will be present, as He has promised, and hearts will be touched by His grace.“ MH 152.3

And so we asked specifically what help they needed. Believe it or not, how grateful many were for a visit at some evenings where we sang songs, read the Bible and shared our experiences and prayer requests.

Others were happy about shared musical talents in the neighbour's barn – there we had an ADRA concert and everyone could take part in it - either as an audience or as a performer.

Family garden afternoons were also brought to life in response to requests from mothers with children at the market. Every Tuesday at lunchtime, everyone who wanted came and we cooked and worked together all afternoon, sharing time, plants, knowledge, garden atmosphere and experiences. That welded us together so that family devotions were requested every second Friday evening. There we sang together for 30 minutes, each family alternately presented an animal from God's creation and a matching Bible verse. Simple and child-friendly prayer requests and keeping a prayer diary brought us all closer to each other but also to Jesus. (Although we didn't know each other beforehand and came from different churches)

When we shared our premises with others, it even happened that refugee women held an Afghanistan vegan cooking course for our neighbors or students from TGM (local Adventist mission school) offered bread-baking courses in English for English-speaking customers. Tieing wreaths of flowers together or potato goulash campaigns in the city also made it easy to share God's love in a practical way. The principle: The way God deals with me, the way I deal with you.

In closing I want to encourage each one of you with 2.Pet 1. Harvest what God would like to give you, then you will be amazed at how much He has prepared to share. He wants everyone to be helped and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Whether you invite people to share their skills with others or whether you train yourself to serve others - God shows you His works step by step, in which you can be blessed and be a blessing on the way.

Jesus says: „Come! And learn from me, for my yoke is gentle and my burden is light.“

The following books taught us a lot:

  • Christian Service by Ellen White

  • Ministry of Healing by Ellen White

  • Christ’s Object Lessons by Ellen White

  • Top life series (health books in German from the Adventist church)

  • Newstart folder by TGM (mission school)

  • DVDs with health lectures by DVG (German speaking Adventist health department)

  • Nicki in the land of health (children’s health books)

And much more...

Anita Spuller grew up as the oldest of 4 children in a family of preachers in Austria. As a kindergarten teacher, happily married to Andreas for 28 years, they trained their 4 sons Timon, Jakob, Amos and Johannes on a small farm (1.5 ha) near Klagenfurt. In addition, through homeschooling, they got to know God's ideas and his recommendations better and had great experiences trying out the various possibilities that God gave people to be inspired by their loving Savior and Creator. They currently live in the south-east of Carinthia (South of Austria) on a larger, secluded farm (7.5 ha) and raise 4 foster children.

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