One Sows and Another Reaps

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Harry Watkins

Harry Watkins, the first missionary to the Fulbe

For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’  I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor.  Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor. – John 4:37-38

Sitting in our worship service the other week, one of the believers told us that she had been out sharing the Gospel and had come across someone who was interested in studying God’s Word with us.  She gave me his phone number, and I called him immediately.  We spoke briefly, and he confirmed his interest.  Later that week, another believer and I went to visit him.  We traveled into a neighborhood in town where I had never been before.  After stopping to ask directions, we found our way to his tailor shop.  He was there working at his sewing machine.  He was an old man with white hair of about seventy years of age.

He greeted us warmly, and we spent some time talking with him.  In the course of the conversation, he shared with us how his first exposure to the Gospel had been as a child when he encountered Harry Watkins, the very first missionary to the Fulbe in Guinea.  He recalled fondly how he would sneak away from his home to listen to Watkins speak.  He remembered that Watkins would give him candy from time to time.  Before long, the old tailor went back into his shop and came back holding a worn book in his hand.  It was a copy of one of the very first translations of God’s Word into Pular.  Published in 1965, the book contained the books of Matthew through Romans.  He had lovingly held onto this book throughout the years.  As we took our leave, we invited him to attend our worship service the following Sunday.  He accepted our invitation, and the following Sunday, we picked him up and brought him to worship with us.

What an honor it is to enter into the labor of those faithful missionaries who sowed the Gospel so faithfully many years before our arrival.  Even today, their labor is bearing fruit.

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  • Joyce Campbell

    That story of the elderly man who knew Watkins when he was young was so encouraging! I wonder if he knew any of the missionaries that have lived in Kola over the years since then. It’s so good to read your letters and we pray for you that God’s Word and Spirit will work in Kola!

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