Growing up in rural Kansas you begin to understand that the farm life drives the culture. I didn’t grow up a farm girl, and believe me when I say I am not the one to talk to about details. What I do know though is that in Kansas you have to know about the harvest. It’s apart of the conversation. No matter your day job, you better understand when planting time is. You better know when harvest is, because most of the peoples lives are on hold while it happens. You better understand the long hours in the day, and the dynamics of being a farm wife, and a farm family. You better understand the pride that comes from a hards day work, the sweat, and the tears that happen before that flour is set happily inside your pantry.
Our family gets that, so here we are in Costa Rica— sitting in the middle of Central America. We haven’t got a clue where to start. We started language studies and yet still feel so far away from the people here. I know it’s only been a week, but we earn to have connections with people. Saturday we ventured out to take on a new understanding of harvest, not wheat harvest, not cotton, and not corn— coffee harvest. It’s harvest time here and there is a culture that is brewed on the very beans we Americans so often take for granted.
I wanted to take a few moments to share some things we learned, not that we are an expert and the ways that God spoke to me yesterday— reminding me He is here and He is always training us, equipping up for his work.
Did you know it takes 3 years to prepare a coffee plant for harvest?
The coffee plant actually spends the first year in the nursery becoming strong. Then the small plant is rooted in its home, but it’s not expected to produce. It takes two years in it’s new soil to be strong enough.
To me it was a beautiful reminder that our own discipleship and spiritual growth takes time. What a coincidence that our family spent one year in our home country growing during iteration, and that God will train us the next two years at missionary associates. I can take a deep breath and know that God is using this time to grow our roots deep, and our branches strong during this time. He is preparing, equipping us for the time ahead.
Did you know that although coffee beans look the same, there is subtle differences that create unique tastes?
It’s too easy to look at a coffee bean and think they all look the same, so they must all taste the same. Time, temperature, soil all effect the flavor incased in that very unique little fruit. Our culture, who we are, is defined by so many things. We often looks similar, but when we take time and breath in— we realize that we each are encased with our own sweet flavor developed with our own unique blends of time, temperature, and soil.
Did you know that coffee bean must be hand picked, one at a time?
Although many beans grow on a single branch, they don’t all ripen at the same time. A person must hand pick each brand, so that only the red ones are pulled. Too often in our culture we think that Jesus is a one size fits all. That if we just read, and preach to the masses everyone will get saved. We cast out our nets and see what we catch. Discipleship and reaching the lost requires us be coffee harvesters. It means we need to be intentional about how we approach our evangelism and never try and push (or pick) someone or something that is not yet ripe enough for the harvest.
I think I could go on and own about our time at the plantation. The stories I learned, the culture that is slowing revealing itself. It was worth investing in the time to understand this warm home brewed cup of coffee I am drinking this morning. It was worth seeing all the ways that God reveals himself. We will never fully understand people or the places that we travel, but we can try. We can immerse ourselves into this culture, build connections that make way for a conversation and those conversations that start to build relationships.
It’s harvest season here in Central America. Can you pray for the harvest?