One of the joys of serving in the Texas District, specifically in Area B, North Texas is that I get the privilege of helping networks (totaling 6 as of this writing) and churches and ministries identify new church workers for the work of the ministry. This includes church planters, evangelists, deaconesses, and everyday missionaries. This is an incredible joy!
As long as I can remember, growing up as a son of an LCMS Hispanic pastor, and having the privilege of going through the Lutheran School system from grade school to Seminary, is that it seems that this prayer has always been on the lips of God’s people.
“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38 ESV
This has been the prayer, “that the Lord of the harvest would send out laborers into his harvest.” What a courageous and dependent prayer. It is a prayer I have prayed and heard the church pray for as long as I can remember.
And God has answered, and he continues to answer. And it is just like God to answer it in a way we may not have expected. God has answered and provided in a way that we may have not expected. And yet this should be expected at least in some part because when we pray, we pray according to His will and not our own. In fact, I find myself sometimes humorously saying after an answered prayer that didn’t look like I thought it would, “I should have been more specific.”
Yet the truth remains that God is answering this prayer through the many workers that the Spirit is leading to the LCMS that come from various ethnic backgrounds and various countries speaking various languages. God has answered by sending workers to the LCMS doorsteps and through the doors of our LCMS churches.
One of many examples is in Dallas Texas. Pastor Brian Weaver of Peace Lutheran Hurst has experienced the joy of this prayer being answered. He and his congregation celebrated with Vicar Sammy Roberts in the chartering of Grace Divine a worshiping community on the campus of Peace Hurst on August 28th, 2022. Vicar Sammy Roberts shared, “We at Grace Divine are very grateful and thankful to God for establishing this great partnership in the gospel because we know that God has chosen this time and season to bring us together as partners to share the gospel around the world.”
What a joy it is to be the church today and to be a part of seeing God answer an ongoing courageous prayer! Let us continue to earnestly pray knowing we serve a God who hears and answers prayer.
By Rev. Ben Gonzales, M.Div.
Area B Mission Strategist