We hope that with the series “The Harvesters,” you will be introduced to many different followers of Jesus who are striving to make disciples of Jesus out in the world; whether you’re in the military, a missionary, a scientist, a stay-at-home parent or anything else under the sun. Check out the full series here and may you be encouraged to do likewise in your own “fields of harvest.”
TELL US WHO YOU ARE AND WHERE YOU’RE LABORING IN THE HARVEST?
After 23 years as full-time staff with the Navigators, 12 of which were in Florida, we recently made a huge move to the Washington DC Metro area. I began working full-time for a government agency, and Anna took over the part-time Navigator role.
This shift means we’re reaching people in the government, military members on joint base Anacostia and Boling (JBAB), and helping the national prayer breakfast people with another study. We are also reaching women in our neighborhood and a few men who are working with a couple of men who are doing inner-city ministry.
TELL US HOW THIS CAME ABOUT? IS THERE A STORY THERE?
A longtime friend of mine (Bill) asked me to come work for him in DC. Since we were empty-nesters, we prayed and felt like God was leading us to move to DC after being in Florida for 12 years working with a military & cross-fitters. We prayed very specifically and God answered. So we followed His call that He gave us from Jeremiah 29. “Go into the city and seek the welfare of the city, and in its welfare, you will find your welfare.”
So in January 2019 we moved to DC.
WHAT TYPE OF PEOPLE ARE YOU REACHING FOR JESUS?
We’re reaching out to all sorts of people: Non-Christians in the hopes of bringing them into the Kingdom. Young Christians, training them to walk with Jesus. Mature Christians, to teach them to labor effectively. And those already laboring to help them better reach the lost by adapting their ministry styles to match their current life situations, work situations, and ministry locations. We are also helping the people we left in Fort Walton Beach, FL. to continue the work we started there together.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN YOUR HARVEST PLACE?
The hardest thing for me has been going back to a full-time job while continuing to do full-time ministry as a volunteer.
I’ve not worked at a normal job for 20+ years. And moving into the workplace has been very challenging for me. I also work in a very political environment, and that has been a very big challenge as well.
For Anna, her biggest challenge has been that we do not have a built-in gathering place where we meet people. When we were in Fort Walton Beach we were doing ministry out of a local CrossFit gym. Because CrossFit already has a strong community element, it was easy to reach out to new people because people came into that gathering area.
But CrossFit is super expensive here, so we did not go back to the CrossFit gym. And our new gym does not act as a very good gathering place to meet people so we are having harder times trying to find ways to meet people in their natural spheres of influence.
It doesn’t help that building community is harder to do in DC. It can be a very isolating community. There are 400,000 people that come into the city every day and then leave back to their respective cities. And many of the people who live in DC work a lot of hours, all making it very difficult to create community.
WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT BRINGING JESUS TO PEOPLE IN EVERYDAY PLACES?
We have been pleasantly surprised how simple it is to build relationships with people that are vastly different from us- ideologically, politically or religiously, by building friendships, then asking them to meet for coffee, to find common ground.
We have also found that people with very little religious background or spiritual background have often been willing to spend time in the scripture reading the Gospel of John with us. And most of the people who read the Gospel of John with us, eventually come into the kingdom. And that if we are able to bring people into the scripture, they find Jesus. I rarely try to win any debate with anyone anymore. I just tried to befriend them, invite them to read the gospel and look at Jesus’s life. And God does the rest.
WHAT HAS ENCOURAGED YOU THE MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK (IN THE HARVEST)?
We feel like God is really worked on our character a lot here, but He has not left our side.
Even when things seem bleak, with all that is going on around us, our walk with God has kept us going. He is leading, He is always protecting and is truly our rock when the storms are raging. We’ve also been encouraged by friends coming to visit us. Seeing disciples continue to labor in the harvest fields years after we invested in them is greatly encouraging and super exciting to see.
And we’re eager to see what God will do here, in this new adventure.
DO YOU DO CHURCH IN THE HARVEST? HOW DOES THAT LOOK DIFFERENT/THE SAME AS WHAT WE TRADITIONALLY SEE AS CHURCH TODAY?
Currently, we are Skyping back to Fort Walton Beach with our home group that we had there. We have not gathered a group of believers or searchers here yet, that can easily gather together weekly. We are fairly spread out throughout the city. We are still trying to sort through what church will look like for us here.
There is the option of some traditional churches, but we haven’t gone down that road yet.