"Now He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for eating,
may He supply and multiply your seed, and increase the fruits of
your righteousness you being enriched in everything to all generosity,
which works out thanksgiving to God through us." ~ II Cor. 9:10-11
Happy Thanksgiving to our friends and family, near and far!
Autumn - I think I have mentioned this other years, but fall is my favorite time of year. Since I have always loved color and design, and even considered a fine art major in college, I have almost always had some sort of outlet for that part of me, even though I got a nursing degree instead. To name only a few examples, I have enjoyed making quilts for friends and family, making slipcovers, curtains and valances, sewing clothes, decorating, doing pastel portraits, doing some decorative painting, and painting to put color on just about every wall in our home. So when God displays His colors in nature I just love it. I like to think that my love for color and design and beauty is simply a reflection of God's love for the same, since He designed me, this world and everything and everyone in it. I also love how the crisp autumn air is stimulating and invigorating. And lastly, fall always ushers in a new school year, and as I was growing up this always meant new books, new things to learn, new friends, new clothes. This pattern continued in our campus ministry years since our ministry planning followed the academic campus school year; and because I homeschooled, fall always ushered in the newness of new curricula, new courses, new classes in our own home.
The funny thing is, fall was always depressing to one of my sons, Aaron. Even though he is an artist as well, because he always loved the freedom of summer and being outside, fall signaled to him cold weather, dying leaves, and back to the books. Ha! Every person is different for sure. But since this is my letter, I am going to pontificate a bit on the upside of fall and what it makes me think about.
Sowing Seeds, Reaping the Harvest - Autumn is the time for the final harvest before the bleak winter months. The harvest is dependent on what seed was sown, the care taken to nurture the plants, and the weather. We reap what we sow in more ways than agriculturally, though, and this God-ordained principle of sowing, nurture, weather and reaping applies to many things in life. I thought in this letter I would include my thoughts on a few of the different types of seeds we have sown this past year, including how we have sown with our bodies, minds and spirits. “May your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blamelessly at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thessalonians 5:23b) Our prayer is that the Lord continues to reap a harvest from our labors.
D.C. tourist reading "Monumental Words," our gospel flier about the words etched on the major monuments. View it online soon: GetEternalAnswers.org
SPIRIT - Sharing the Gospel Message
Gospel Fliers - One of the biggest ways we have sown gospel seeds this past year is through the distribution of thousands of our gospel fliers. Bernie has recently written two new fliers: one for the C&O Canal, and one for Washington, DC. Although we are not a tract-writing ministry per se, we have found that using our own event-specific gospel fliers in various settings has proven to be very well-received, as well as fairly easy for the families who accompany us to distribute as well. In this coming year, Bernie hopes to complete fliers about the PA, WV, VA & OH state flags, and a flier called something like 'Ghosts: Are They Real?' to use in Gettysburg where there are regular ghost tours. Aaron and I have also been working on a gospel flier that just contains the basics of the gospel message. We hope to have that completed before Christmas and, if we are able, we will be sending a copy with our next letter. As we sow these seeds of the gospel message in many different places, we are grateful that the God-factor causes many seeds to sprout and allows others to reap the harvest.
SPIRIT - Sharing HIStory
Friends from North Carolina brought a group of int'l students to D.C. where they learned about America's Christian heritage from Bernie.
Tours - Sometimes we plan tours and ask others to join us. Other times, people who know Bernie's communication skills and twin loves of history and of the Lord, ask him to lead a group tour. Every tour is a sowing experience; we are sowing the truth of how all of history really is "His story." And because it’s "His Story," historical gospel analogies are everywhere! Our pastor recently pointed out in a sermon that every topic and every conversation can become a gospel conversation. So as Bernie led many tours again this year, we are grateful to the Lord of the harvest, who allows for many conversations to lead to the truth of the Gospel message and to the eventual reaping of souls for his Kingdom.
SPIRIT - Parenting and Grandparenting
Josh & Kerin's 4th daughter,
Hannah, was born September 24th
Extended family and the sowing into the lives of little souls - As you can see from the family picture, Josh and Kerin's family continues to grow! We believe there is no better place to sow seeds and invest your life than into the lives of your own children (and grandchildren). As raising your children to the glory of God stays a priority, if they embrace the faith, the fruit of your labor is multiplied beyond the people you personally interact with and is expanded to your children's own circles, as well. So as you sow into your own home, the Lord can ultimately harvest in circles far beyond your home. We have enjoyed spending time with our sweet granddaughters and having that opportunity to invest in eternity. And Josh and Kerin do such an amazing job as parents, investing in that same way, full time!
BODY - Exercise and Food
Biking - Something Bernie and I have enjoyed this year is biking along the C&O Canal. We have started doing almost 8 miles three times a week. We often see folks up into their 70's biking, as well, so we think that this is something we can do to 'sow' to our health and hopefully reap more fitness and health as we continue to get older. And Bernie also sows with his own flier about the C&O Canal* as we bike along the trail, stopping to offer it to hikers along the way. * “The Three Great Eras of the C&O Canal: Life Lessons for Our Day, and Beyond” - Viewable soon online at GetEternalAnswers.org
Canning - Canning is a very concrete evidence of reaping and harvest. I am that glad in our fast-food, suburban world there are still a few agriculturally based things I am able to do that reflect this principle of the harvest. For the last few years, October has meant canning four bushels of apples to make about 70 quarts of apple sauce and about 10 pints of apple butter. Many thanks to Bernie's mom, who modeled it for me in the early years of my marriage, and to Kerin's Mom, who taught me how to do it!
MIND - Music
As is evident in my letters, we have also been sowing musical seeds in the past two years, which has been a fun new part of our lives. It is so exciting to see the interest and enthusiasm of the granddaughters for music! Abbi, at four, is pretty amazing at playing her own very nice-sounding, two-handed, fingered songs on the piano with such expression and focused attention. And little two-year-old Rachel is a maniac in her enthusiasm for playing the violin! We hope their interest will bear the fruit of a lifelong love for good music to the glory of God. We plan to take Abbi to her first full-length concert in January. Sarah has taken a few lessons on the violin, for fun, and so she can work with the girls and keep up with their enthusiasm.
YOU! - Thank you for the seeds you have sown in our lives! Another huge example of sowing and reaping is your investment in us through your prayers and your financial support! Our rocky economy has significantly affected ministries, and we are no exception; but we are extremely grateful for all of you who continue to faithfully contribute, enabling us to continue to minister! You are making a difference in our lives, as well as in the lives of all we touch. Thank you!
In Christ’s love,
Linda for the Bealls