Last year on the campus of our school there was a beautiful, ancient gardenia bush that bloomed and bloomed for the pleasure of all who would pass by it. It was about the size of a VW bug… the old kind. I loved that bush. I know what it takes to keep a bush like that alive and blooming. I’ve had three of them in my past gardening history. They are spoiled, temperamental plants. I currently feed mine coffee grounds every few weeks… it likes coffee.
But one day I came to school and was horrified to see that the old gardenia bush was under attack. Every single leaf had a huge bite taken out of it. During the night, leaf cutter ants had demolished the ancient bush. The gardener pruned it hard, but it could not be saved. I mourned the day that they cut the bush down completely.
One of my first purchases when we moved to Costa Rica was to buy a pair of books about the Birds and Plants of Costa Rica. Yes, I’m kind of a nerd like that. I like to know the names of things. Back home in Minnesota I have a huge Encyclopedia of Gardening, 900 pages worth! I spent many a winter day reading about the Ph of soils and the light requirements of various plants. I just really like plants.
If I were to compare myself to a flower, I would say that I’m not a gardenia, a rose, or a jasmine. I’m a dandelion. I have read that dandelions are not native to America, though they seem quite happy in Minnesota lawns. I read that one of the first governors of Minnesota had a wife who heard about dandelion salads being in vogue in Europe. So she imported the stylish “flower” to cultivate in her kitchen garden. Little did she realize that she would single handedly blanket the state with the yellow weeds which are the bane of every weekend gardener’s existence.
I am a dandelion. I’m not saying I’m a weed to be hated. I’m saying I’m common, ordinary, and imported. Being a missionary, I am not native to my soil here in Costa Rica. But my plan is to reproduce our ministry prolifically. We are in University ministry. We hope to blanket the country with students who will reach out to other students who will reach out to other students… on and on. This is the goal of every missionary- spiritual reproduction.
I don’t want what I do to be so fragile and finicky that it is easily destroyed by an army of pests. I don’t want what I plant to be beautiful but high maintenance. I want the wind of the Holy Spirit to carry the hardy seeds of our ministry to distant soils. I want University Campuses to become the natural environment for Christian small groups and Bible studies to spring up every where. I want Christian university students to be so numerous that they are no longer rare. I want us to be common. I am called to be a dandelion.
Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/cameliatwu/3839938475/”>CameliaTWU</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com/Flowers/”>Foter.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-SA</a>
Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/vincealongi/2537227873/”>Vince Alongi</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com/Flowers/”>Foter.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>
Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/a6u571n/3131321415/”>aguscr</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>