By guest blogger Lindsay Osborne
Today, our team had the wonderful opportunity to help our Cambodian partners plant a mango tree orchard. Together, we were able to plant 110 mango trees on the Imparting Smiles property. The vision is for these trees to bring food and income to the children for years to come. As we worked, the rain started to downpour. We were absolutely drenched. But we kept working, full steam ahead, until all 110 trees were planted. It brought to mind so many of Jesus’ New Testament teachings on working with seeds and soil. This type of work is hard labor and takes great perseverance. We relied on our hands and teamwork to plant the trees, but ultimately we rely on faith that God will truly allow this orchard to grow and bless these children.
The best part of this day was that timely reminder: though we plant, God is the one who sees the greater picture and brings the best growth in his timing.
1 Corinthians 3 says, “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
This scripture was so true in our planting of the trees and it has been so true over the course of the last 7 years as our team has watched the Lord’s hand moving in Cambodia.
Over the last 7 years, our team has been able to witness different stages of growth in our Cambodian ministry partners and in their ministry. This became clear today when our dental and nursing teams were able to treat the orphans from Imparting Smiles. Both our dentists and our nurses commented that these kids are in the best medical condition they have seen thus far in our ministry here. The kids are even significantly healthier than they were this time last year. This is huge! Not because our team is coming once a year to treat them, but rather because the people who have their boots on the ground year round at Imparting Smiles are learning how to take better and better daily care of these beautiful children.
When we realized this, it immediately made us praise the Lord for his vision, his planting, and his growth. Kara Potts made the true comment that, “As Americans, our idea would have been to send young American missionaries to run this orphanage and take care of these children. But God knew that was not the best plan because he sees the bigger picture!”
Instead, two Cambodians who come from incredibly hard backgrounds have been able to rise up as leaders who have purpose and dignity in taking care of so many precious orphans day in and day out. Their daily work is making an eternal impact and it has changed the children’s lives, as well as their own. Only a sovereign, all powerful God could have seen them, known them, and placed them in this position to bring growth in their lives and the children’s lives.
It all comes back to the bigger picture that only God can see and only God can weave together. He is the one bringing growth and changing lives, here on earth and for eternity.
“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
If you feel stuck or confused or discouraged in your life, take heart. God sees the bigger plan for your life and he is weaving together the intricate details to bring the growth that only he can bring. We simply have to wait for his timing to see it all come together. You might be planting in the downpour today, but that means you will be standing in the orchard soon! By all means, keeping on planting. All glory be to God for the growth.