"For as the rain cometh
down, and the snow from
heaven, and returneth not
thither, but watereth the
earth, and maketh it bring
forth and bud, that it may
give seed to the sower, and
bread to the eater: So shall
my word be that goeth
forth out of my mouth: it
shall not return unto me
void, but it shall accomplish
that which I please, and it
shall prosper in the thing whereto
I sent it." (Isaiah 55:10-11)
od’s Word changes what it
touches. Sometimes it floods
with conviction and sweeps us along
to new places of revival. Often it
quietly soaks down into the soul,
enriching in secret, preparing the way
for new seasons, new harvests.
It was a privilege to share my
reflections on this passage in May,
2006 as the female speaker for the
senior class at Appalachian Bible
College. Over ten years later it has
been laid fresh on my heart as I leave
behind the familiar to begin a new
season of life.
By the time you read this article, my
husband and I, along with our three
children (and a fourth on the way),
will be replanting our family in South
Korea, serving as missionaries with
Word of Life. Over the last three years
we have been traveling around the
United States, raising support. It was
always a highlight to visit a fellow
ABC graduate. Walking together
through a season of study and seeking
God nurtured a bond that has only
grown deeper over the years.
Men and women faithfully serve their
families, churches, and communities,
speaking of their desire for gospel-
centered, God-glorifying lives. Tyson
and Bethany Hodge minister to youth
at a camp in Tennessee; Jamie and
Sara Stout serve at a church in Iowa
where Jamie is the pastor.
and Tiffany Korth have planted their
family in West Virginia to serve in
a worship pastor role, while Kevin
and Lori Brosius serve their church
in the same beautiful state, where
Kevin is Associate Pastor and US Army
Chaplain. Karisa Clark faithfully
invests her life into college ministry
at ABC. There are many more families
and graduates than I have space to
mention who pour out their lives
in selfless ways for the building of
Christ’s Church.
I remember the hours spent soaking
up truth and wisdom alongside these
friends in classes and chapel. We
shared meals together once again, not
in Hanmer Dining Hall, but around
a kitchen table. Hospitality in many
shapes refreshed us, reflecting Jesus’
own heart to welcome
us into God’s family.
Not one of these
individuals has escaped
the touch of sorrow or
struggle, but I could
sense that these trials
have only refined their
faith. It was a special
joy to observe that their
journeys, like my own,
have transitioned from
storing up to now pouring into
a new generation. The waters
of God’s Word are still seeping
down, nurturing new growth.
There is a popular idea
that an education must be
an investment yielding an
exponentially greater return in
financial security and status.
Yet life is too precious—its
value set by the price our
Savior was willing to pay—to
be traded and trivialized by
solely such a standard. None
of the alumni we interacted
with are wealthy in worldly terms,
but they demonstrated that their
treasure is in God’s eternal kingdom.
We saw generosity, kindness, grace
and love in abundance. Not all are in
paid ministry positions, but God is
giving these servants full and fruitful
ministry in thousands of ways that
touch eternity. These sowers have
seeds in their hands, ready for God’s
plan for a new harvest. The hungry
receive the Bread of Life in the gospel
lived out daily before their eyes. Our
Lord has sent His Word into our
hearts and it continues to prosper in
eternal ways. How many times did we
sing “The Prayer of ABC” in chapel?
Now it is reality: Sowing, reaping,
gath’ring fruit, together we’ll rejoice!
"And he that reapeth receiveth
wages, and gathereth fruit unto
life eternal: that both he that
soweth and he that reapeth may
rejoice together..."
(John 4:36)
Elsbeth Rodgers (née
Gaunnac) is a 2006 graduate
of Appalachian Bible College.
She met her husband, Jeremy,
while both were serving as
missionaries in Asia. You
can follow their new ministry
and growing family at