A recent devotional message based on a passage in Genesis 2:4-7 from a Missionary Nurse to West Africa told of her hardships and adjustments to a new culture, the desert heat and a bleak future. Yet she went on to tell how God breathed life and love into her and how bleakness turned into life and hope. She ended her thought with these words, “The Divine Artist who makes the desert fertile breathes new life into situations that seem hopeless, even now, even on this particular day.”

Gloria and I can identify with that missionary’s experience. Our first missionary assignment was in the far western corner of the State of Ceara, Brazil. We were the only Americans living in a city of 85,000. The only English we heard was in our home. The climate was arid and hot, vegetables were hard to come by, meat was tough even after being cooked in a pressure cooker. Everything had to be prepared from scratch. There were no convenience stores, no fast food restaurants, no telephone service outside of our valley area, no television to watch.

The work was hard, discouraging, and yes bleak. But in time, God brought life and hope to the area. We were pioneers in a desert but God used our ministry and today the work is thriving. Once despised and persecuted Protestants are now admired, respected and viewed as people of integrity with a message of hope.

Such is the power of the Gospel. Such is the fulfillment of God’s promise that His Word will not return unto Him void. Fellow Christians, we are on the winning side with a loving, powerful God who can work miracles. As the Missionary to West Africa so beautifully expressed it, “The Divine Artist who makes the desert fertile breathes new life into situations that seem hopeless, even now, even on this particular day.”

May it be so in your life and mine. May it be so at Crabtree Valley Baptist Church. Our Labor in the Lord is not in vain. He has the power to make the desert bloom.

In His Love,



Thought of the Week for: September 13