Harder Family

Harder Family

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Vision in the Midst of a Pandemic

 Hebrews 10:23-25 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

In June, we traveled to Chicago for Wayne's MRI and a wedding. While we were in town, we stayed with our previous pastor and his family. So much had occurred in our lives between this trip and our previous trip in March, which was literally hours before the country started shutting down due to COVID. Not only had the pandemic hit, but our country was in the midst of racial turmoil. We know how much stress and anxiety all of these events created in our lives, but how much more in pastors? 

Think about all that a pastor normally has on his plate: write and deliver a sermon, serve his congregation's needs, minister to people in the community, etc. Add on the stress of deciding how to safely proceed with services and outreach in the midst of a pandemic: Should we just meet on-line, should we have small services, should we wear masks the entire time, how do we proceed with people having mixed feelings about it all, navigating how to create services that will still reach the congregation...the list goes on. I know I would not want to have been in a position where I would have to make decisions that might impact so many people's lives. COVID and racial tensions have created so much division in the church, and our pastors have had to navigate all of this while still trying to shepherd their flock. I know that there are pastors out there who are worn out and stretched thin. 

As I was sitting in church in Chicago reflecting on all of this, God laid a vision on my heart. The vision centered around a desire to see pastors have a place to refresh, renew, and revive their passion for the Lord at no cost to them. God not only put this concept on my heart, but He also gave me a vision of what the place would look like. I saw a quiet place in the country with rolling green hills, a pond, and space for a pastor and his family to just spend quality time together. This vision both excited and scared me. How would all of this work out? Did God really want us to step out of the boat again in a crazy step of faith? I presented the idea to Wayne and he wasn't so sure about it. We prayed together about this vision to see if it was really something God wanted us to do. Of course, I started looking at places that had the things that God had laid on my heart. We found one place that we thought may be the answer, but God shut that door. Later that day, I "accidentally" came across a piece of property. I quickly called Wayne over and said, "This is it! This is exactly what God had showed me." The property has a pond, a cute cottage, a barn, fruit trees, raised garden beds, and gorgeous views! With God's help and provision, we were able to move forward and buy the place.

Beautiful views from the cottage.

The name that God laid on my heart for this place is Beth Rapha Farm. I have loved studying the names of God over the years and Jehovah Rapha means the God who heals. Beth is the Hebrew word for house/home. So the full meaning of our organization will be the Home of Healing Farm. We want pastors to have a safe place to just rest and spend time alone with God and their families to find healing for their weary souls. 

So where are we at in the process? We are currently working on our website (anyone want to help? LOL), preparing the house for future guests, and trying to finish paperwork to make Beth Rapha Farm a non-profit. We are also in the last stages of kicking off a holiday fundraiser to help raise support (keep your eyes open the next week or so for fun ways you can help support us in bringing encouragement to pastors). 

We hope to have the website up and running in the next month or so. At that point, pastors can apply to come stay. Unfortunately, the cottage is only a one bedroom at this point, so we will be limited on how big of families we can house. We hope in the near future to either expand the little cottage to a two bedroom, or build an additional home that could house a larger family. Please pray for us as we embark on a new adventure. Life is never boring with God, if you are willing to step out of that boat with Him! www.bethraphafarm.org