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Planting seeds with a smile

Or a sandwich, tea, or hot cup of cocoa.

The latter appears to be the most popular as I join the Hidden Treasures ministry one Monday evening, to love on those people we often call homeless but are so much more than that.

Colorful. Sensitive. Wonderfully different, a special kind of funny, and often eager for connection with those who would but take the time to see the hidden treasure of their hearts beneath the protective layers.

Hidden Treasures is a YWAM Amsterdam ministry serving and building lasting relationships with people who need a helping hand, and, as we all do, Jesus.

As I speak with Ymkje, who is currently leading the initiative for this ministry, I get a wonderful new perspective on evangelism that reaffirms the Fathers heart for us; love is patient. (1 Cor 13:4)

Evangelism often provokes a sense of discomfort in us, but approaching strangers on the streets or having a PhD in apologetics are not the only ways to plant seeds for the Kingdom. In Ymkje's words: we plant seeds with a smile, a kind word, and a cup of tea.

In other words; relationally.

‘This is the Lord’s ministry’ she tells me, when I ask her why she is serving sandwiches and coffee, often with hardly any chance of telling them about the Good News. How do we give people what (Who) they truly need, when they are so often closed off to this conversation, or when their immediate needs overshadows their eternal needs?


Of course. How easy it can be to fall into the trap of thinking it’s up to us, when really there is only one who saves; Jesus. What we do behind closed doors, in this case in the Tabernacle, another one of YWAM’s ministries, is where the real ‘work’ takes place.

‘Father, I want to meet these people not just in the streets - I want to meet them in the streets of your Kingdom!’ When we lay our heart bare before our Father and faithfully fulfil His ministry for us, He gets the chance to show us how faithful and good He is. Even when it doesn’t always immediately appear to be that way….

Ymkje recounts how for two years it seemed as though nothing grand was happening. No mountains moved, no souls saved. Until one day fruits began to show from a most unexpected place. Let’s call him Joe.

When Ymkje met Joe, he wouldn’t even share his name. Highly suspicious of all these do-gooders, he didn’t want much to do with them apart from the hot cocoa.

But in coming alongside the Father’s heart for the lost, Ymkje was able to show Joe what consistency and faithfulness looks like. We love, because he loved us first. He loves not because we deserve it, but because of who He is. And that kind of faithfulness really melts away our walls. And, plants seeds that sometimes were not even aware of…

Today, Joe is not yet off the streets, but he is no longer spiritually homeless. After more than a year and a half of ‘nothing is happening’, Joe is ready to get baptised! With God’s grace he has been off alcohol and drugs for three months, and started studying the Bible from his phone.

And these days, it’s Joe who asks all the questions ;)

With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.

Mark 4:30

Brothers and sisters don’t be discouraged and keep planting those seeds prayerfully! God is always at work, even when we can’t see it or feel it. His Kingdom starts as a seed and may take a long time to be cultivated, but we can trust God to His part as the gardener (John 15:1)

It may be ‘only one person’, but let’s not forget that all the angels in heaven rejoice over one lost soul finding his way home (Luke 15:10)

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