Another American legend passed away this last week. Pete Seeger was a folk musician, and was influential as a songwriter in social causes and political activism. He wrote a song adapted from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV), which became a folk-rock hit recorded by the Byrds in 1965.
I remember both versions of the song. I was in high school then and identified with the social causes of that era.
Recently, this same verse became relevant for my wife and I.
Susan and I have asked God for wisdom for the past two years regarding the ministry we've overseen since 1991—Rainbow Village Ministries. In the months prior to our travel this past December, God began to give us some clear direction.
We saw a decline in the number of babies and children we cared for at Rainbow for several years. We also saw a decline in financial support, so we made appropriate adjustments.
Over the years, we've learned the need for discernment in our walk of faith. One of the ongoing lessons is learning to let go of things. We do what we can, as long as we believe we're in step with God's direction, but when change comes we need to trust Him and let go.
So, prior to our flight this December we knew a big change would come for our ministry in the Philippines. It was then that the Lord gave us Ecclesiastes 3:1—
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven (Eccl. 3:1 NKJV)
We realized the season for Rainbow's ministry was coming to an end and its purpose was fulfilled.
Original vision and purpose
The original vision for RVM was caring for abandoned babies and children. Along the way, God added to that vision with the care and restoration of abused girls.
Is there still a need in this area? Yes, but resources exist now that were not available even ten years ago. Community awareness and networking is encouraged rather than residential programs. There are more viable and available resources than when we started in 1991.
Some have asked us, "But can't something be done to keep the ministry going?" Sure. But why try to keep something going beyond its season and purpose? It's the Lord's ministry, not ours. This is a lesson we learned long ago, so now it's time to let go.
A reunion and celebration
A few weeks ago, we announced a reunion and celebration will be held at Rainbow's compound the weekend of June 20-22. The reunion is something we've wanted to do for several years. The celebration is for the ministry that's taken place for 23 years. We want to finish well in everything, even when it's time to let go.
We have been blessed with a ministry that has touched the lives of hundreds of people, not just in the Philippines, but throughout the world. We refer to this as our extended Rainbow family.
In Philippine culture, family is important. Our staff became family to us, along with their families. After breaking the news to our staff, one of them said to us, "You are the only mama and papa I have known." As much as this may tear at our hearts, it also fills them with joy.
Children from Rainbow have been placed in families around the world. We've seen several of these children all grown up and yet remembering Rainbow as part of their heritage. It's been our privilege to be involved in their lives, and we look forward to seeing those who can make it to the reunion.
Each year has its seasons. All life contains cycles, ebbs and flows, ups and downs, and as Solomon said, "...there's nothing new under the sun" (Eccl. 1:9). Nothing endures forever in this life and in this world.
When we enter eternity, there will be no more thought of what is past, nor concern about what is to come. Until then, we embrace the inevitable seasons and cycles of life. Otherwise, we try to hold on to what must be released.
And so, it is time for us to celebrate, remember, and let go.
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven (Eccl. 3:1 NKJV)
A right time to hold on and another to let go (Eccl 1:9b MSG)