Have you spent much time in the Jairus Place?
It feels as if Pete and I have spent this winter traveling in and out of the Jairus Place. Perhaps you are wondering exactly where and what the Jairus place is.
Simply put, the Jairus Place is a place of despair and death. It is where we must choose between two opposites–fear and faith.
To get the full picture, go back to Mark 5:21-43. When his young daughter is at the point of death, Jairus, a highly esteemed synagogue leader, leaves his daughter’s side and rushes off to find Jesus. As Jairus approaches Jesus, he humbles himself, bowing at the feet of Jesus like a common supplicant. “Please come to my home,” he begs. “My daughter is sick and close to death.” Jesus agrees to go with Jairus, but the huge crowd slows them down. When a woman who has been ill for twelve long years sneaks up on Jesus, touches the hem of his robe, and is healed, she causes an even greater delay. In the midst of all the delays, messengers arrive. “Don’t bother the Teacher anymore,” they advise Jairus. “Your daughter is already dead.”
His legs are too weak to hold him. If he doesn’t lean on the messengers of death he will drop to the ground. I can almost hear the thoughts stirring inside Jairus’ mind. If it wasn’t for all the people swarming around Jesus, if it wasn’t for the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, stealing my daughter’s miracle, my daughter would be alive. Now she is dead. There is no need for Jesus to follow me home.
Knowing his thoughts, Jesus interrupts. “Jairus, do not be afraid. Only believe.”
In that moment, Jairus has to choose between fear and faith. He chooses faith and leads Jesus to the bed of his dead daughter. With just one touch of Jesus’ hand, the little girl wakes from death, stands and walks around the room, fully alive.
Yes, the Jairus place is a place of despair and death. But it is also a place of growth and life. If we choose faith over fear, we step out of the Jairus Place with greater confidence and faith in Jesus Christ.
When have you found yourself in the Jairus Place?
Pete and I have found ourselves in that place quite often this winter. Honestly, because of cancellations and postponements due to the Coronavirus, we have at times felt almost pushed-aside by God. When we sought alternate venues to hand out walking sticks, we were denied because we are a “religious” organization.
We had many doubts. Had we heard God wrong? Maybe he did not call us to work with the Fellowship of Christian Farmers. Perhaps we are too old for ministry.
We decided to move ahead in faith and looked forward to the end of January and the first week of February when we would meet up with members of Christian Farmers from around the country for a service opportunity at Educational Concerns for Hunger (ECHO) where Pete would work with the construction crew building a roof to connect two sheds and I would work with the kitchen crew preparing meals.
What a blessing it was to attend church and go out to lunch with volunteers from around the nation who had come into town to work at ECHO.
The kitchen crew, under the leadership of Diana, made delicious meals for those working construction. I was part of this team and was amazed by Diana’s detailed planning.
Deb and Cathy sharing stories after a long day.
One of the greatest gifts of being part of the Fellowship of Christian Farmers is getting to know women who love and unselfishly serve the Lord.
Pete and Jess hard at work on a cold (yes, it does get cold here) Florida day. Jess and her husband were new friends and we looked forward to getting to know them during their week at ECHO.
Deb, long time ECHO volunteer and leader (along with her husband Ron) with the Fellowship of Christian Farmers comes from Indiana where she and her husband enjoy farming. Deb can do more work in an hour than anyone I know. Here she is in charge of the saw. Deb knows more than most men do about construction. She’s also an amazing cook and woman of great faith.
From morning to night, you could find John hard at work on the roof.
His humor kept every volunteer on their toes.
What a blessing John was to the group.
Pete and Ron talking about the week ahead. We had looked forward to this week for so long. Getting together with folks who share the same love for the Lord, worshipping, praying, sharing our journeys, we believe there are few greater joys on this earth. We’d missed out on so much since Coronavirus came to our shores. Cases of the virus were finally down in number and it looked like we were on the verge of normal…until two days into our week at ECHO...
We had just finished preparing the evening meal when a tickle made its way into my throat. Because I didn’t want to alarm anyone, I tried not to cough, but I could not stop. I don’t feel sick, I assured myself. It can’t be Covid. Not now.
But a test the next day, revealed that I not only had the Coronavirus, I had type A flu. Pete also tested for the virus and his test came back positive. “What’s new?” Pete tried to introduce a spark of humor into our disappointment. “In fifty years of marriage, we have done almost everything together.”
Of course, our immediate concern was the volunteers we had been working with back at ECHO. We notified them immediately, then our family, neighbors, and church. Unfortunately, Deb and Ron both came down with the virus a couple weeks later.
Once again, we found ourselves in the Jairus Place.
Lord, you know we are prepared to devote the rest of our lives to you. Once again, it all seems dead. We are under quarantine. How can we share the gospel while we are locked inside an RV? The thoughts going through our minds were painful and deadly.
As time went on, we did get quite sick and ended up in the ER where we agreed to a two-hour IV containing a drug that had not yet been approved. It helped for about a week before we went back to coughing and feeling like we’d been run over by a herd of full-grown elephants. Folks joined us in prayer that we would be free of Covid by the time of the Swamp Cabbage Festival, Pete’s favorite event of the year.
Instead of going to the Swamp Cabbage Festival, we returned to the Jairus Place.
To say we were disappointed, is an understatement. In prayer, we reminded the Lord of all our efforts. Lord, you know we’ve been praying for this festival for months. We’ve prayed for the people who would come for a walking stick, that you would open their ears and eyes, preparing them to accept your free gift of salvation. We have cases of Bibles to give new believers. Are we ever going to be able to use them?
As I said, the Jairus Place is a place of growth. Jesus encouraged us to keep praying for the festival. Even though we couldn’t be there, He would be.
God was true to his promise.
Throngs of people came for a walking stick and stayed to listen to the gospel. During the festival ten souls were added to the kingdom.
Tom Keithly, FCFI Board of Directors Secretary and Gary Gagwin prayed with this precious young family.
Maria, an elderly woman, returned to the tent to request a new walking stick. She had gotten one the year before and uses it every day to get around.
Kathy Brown sharing with a mom and her sweet children. Praise God, they were receptive to the gospel.
Holly Keithly and her grandchildren, Amberlie and Jamie, helped. The children especially loved inviting people to come to the tent for a free walking stick. Who could say no to such precious faces? In all 700 walking sticks were handed out at the festival and ten folks came to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
A short week following the Swamp Cabbage Festival, Pete and I were ready to go. God knew the last few days of rest were what we needed to recover our strength for ministry. On March 4th, a full month after our diagnosis, we headed for Zolfa Springs, Florida and Pioneer Days, a four day event, that started with a wonderful dinner gathering with members of the Fellowship of Christian Farmers International hosted by Bill and Kathy Brown. After dinner, we returned to our motel to rest up.
We had no idea what God had planned for the next few days.
Pete is ready to hand out the first stick of the day. But handing out the first walking stick is not where the day begins. We first wash and disinfect the chairs and other items, set up the displays, and most important spend time in prayer for those who will stop by our tent and ourselves, that God will give us a heart for the people we meet and the words to speak to them.
Ron showed up every day. He shared the gospel and kept us well-supplied with walking sticks. God has many faithful servants. Ron and Deb plus so many others in the Fellowship are examples of people who live the words Jesus spoke in Mark 8:34-36. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
The greatest joy is praying with someone to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Nothing compares. Just like heaven is a free gift, something we cannot earn, deserve, or buy our way into, the privilege of praying with a new believer is a gift from God. The Holy Spirit calls the new believers, softens their hearts, and gives us the words to speak.
There were many things to spend money on as folks walked through the large festival–antiques, dishes, masks, yard decorations–but the most valuable item offered was offered absolutely free. The antiques would fall apart, the dishes break, the masks get dirty, and the yard decorations blow away, but the free gift of heaven, which is a saving relationship with Jesus, lasts for eternity.
The ground was dusty and dirty, turning to damp mud when the rain began to fall on Saturday. Each evening we left the festival with filthy feet and socks.
When I think about what went on Saturday night at Pioneer Days, I realize Satan must have been angry. On Saturday I had witnessed to two witches, one bearing a satanic tattoo and the other wearing a shirt with satanic symbols. Neither accepted Jesus, but they did listen to the entire gospel presentation. Satan knew many souls had been snatched from his grip that day, souls that would never again belong to him. And there was still a day left of the festival. I don’t know if it was the enemy’s doing or just an act of nature, but on Saturday evening, a strong wind blew through the Festival. When we arrived on Sunday morning, this is what we found:
Tables and chairs overturned, literature and walking sticks scattered, tent poles bent. What an awful mess!
Pete and I hurried to clean up the mess before people started coming by for their free walking sticks. “We don’t have to stay long today, do we?” I knew that Sunday was the slowest day of a festival. In fact, we had never even stayed open at the Pioneer Days on a Sunday. Besides, I was already tired and didn’t want to stand around with nothing to do.
But before we even finished picking up the mess, people started coming and they never stopped until late in the afternoon. We grouped people that were not even related together to hear the gospel. There wasn’t time for lunch or a break. Ron, who had not planned on coming in, felt he might be needed and to our surprise, showed up. If he hadn’t, we would have run out of walking sticks. Pete and I were humbled. We were used to lead more folks to Jesus that day than all the others combined.
In all, over one hundred souls were added to the kingdom and an entire case of Bibles was given away to new believers who did not own a Bible of their own.
These were the Bibles you, our supporters, purchased. Inside each Bible we wrote the name of a supporter and their favorite verse. We also included their name and the date of their decision to receive the free gift of salvation.
There are so many stories to share. A man and woman plus the woman’s two young children all prayed for salvation. After they prayed, with tears in his eyes, the man put his arm around the woman. “We’re getting married next weekend,” he said. What a way to start a marriage!
Pete was speaking with three high school students. When he told them that everyone sins, the girls all looked at each other as if they shared a secret. All three prayed for salvation.
A lady stopped by and with tears in her eyes, told us that her dad had died this year. When she was going through his things, she found the walking stick. The stick reminded her that her dad, a man who loved Jesus, was in heaven. For her it was a treasure she would always hold dear.
After a group of four teens prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior, I asked them if they owned a Bible. None of them did. Each young lady was thrilled to receive her own Bible. When I was writing one girl’s name in her Bible, she asked me to write the names of her father, mother, and siblings because she wanted them to know Jesus too.
We are grateful that when we doubted, Jesus took us to the Jairus Place. If he had not, our desire to serve Him might be weakened. Instead, it lives and our faith is stronger.
When you find yourself in the Jairus Place, never choose fear. Choose the wonderful gift of faith. When you do, the dead things in your life, the lost hopes and failed dreams, will come to life.
Thank you so much to all of you who support us with your prayers and gifts. You make this ministry possible. Every story we share, every soul that is saved is due to your faithfulness. If you would like to support the ministry with a financial gift, please check out the giving page or contact us. All gifts are tax deductible. If you support us by check, please write “Pete and Sandy Singer” in the memo. Thank you!
- Pray that the people who prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior at Swamp Cabbage Festival and Pioneer Days will grow in Christ and find a good church home.
- Please pray for upcoming events, that God will prepare the hearts of those we speak with and prepare our hearts as we share.
- Please pray for open venues this spring and this summer as we travel to Minnesota.
- Please pray for continued support as we travel to more events. Taking into consideration rising gas prices, motel and camp ground prices, food, and gifts for the children, expenses are on the rise. We thank God for his faithful provision.
- Please pray for workers willing to join us as we share the good news.
- Please pray that we will be able to purchase additional Bibles. We will soon need more large print, Spanish, and Children’s Bibles.
- Open hearts.
- Our health and the health of all who serve with the Fellowship of Christian Farmers.
- The upcoming FCFI conference in New York this summer. Pray for all who will be sharing, including us.
Thank you again for your faithful support. We love you all!
In His Mighty Grip,
Pete and Sandy Singer