One of the things that our clients truly look forward to is the chance to get off the streets and out of the city for the day. A few weeks ago, we took a group of guys down to La Libertad to fish off the pier. They watched the fishermen come in and out with their catch, they ate some seafood, and they tried fishing themselves. They loved it!
Fishing is not for the impatient. It takes time, and there are no guarantees. If the fish aren’t biting, a fisherman could stand on that pier all day long gazing into the blue water and waiting for something to grab hold of the bait.
The truth is, that our work sometimes feels like a long day of fishing. There are no guarantees and it is a process, sometimes seemingly without end. There is much waiting and gazing and wondering if anything we are putting out there will “catch.”
The kind of fishing that we are doing is it exactly what was happening that day at the pier. It is investing time with people and genuinely getting to know them, hear their stories, and celebrate their successes…however small they may seem. It is in the simple encouragement, the pat on the back, the praying for, and the cheering on.
When Jesus talked about His followers being “fishers of men” I think He was talking about this work. This waiting, this investing, this building into lives and hoping that there will be something to celebrate at the end of the day.
We thank God that there are moments to celebrate along the way. In our group of fishermen, there were many things to celebrate. One young man is sleeping off the streets when he can because of the money he is earning making cards, another is now renting a room because he made enough money in the bakery, others can feed their families because they work in the food co-op, and there are groups of men and women gathering each Friday to pour over God’s Word together and to talk about the change it can help to bring.
These small steps forward are worth big cheers. That day at the pier, our guys only did catch one fish. But they celebrated it. They all took turns holding it, they rallied around it and they held it high.