Steve, willing to be open to the pruning process

Steve,
repeat team member and
 tree trimmer

Steve O. is a charter member of these trips. Been one of the four guys that has gone every year. He and Mo have been part of the Coed team since first formed... Yet this many years later, he's still learning and growing...

Some of you know I have this odd-shaped lemon tree in my backyard. And some of you know that my wife, Shirley is in Malawi with Pastor Ian. Since I will have or am having two weeks of time alone, I put together a whole laundry list of chores to accomplish around the house that I can do by myself. Like trimming the lemon tree.

I waited until after Monday, which is trash collection day for me. This way, I had a whole container I could fill up with discarded branches, twigs, and leaves.

After finishing, I reflected upon how ugly a tree looks after it is trimmed. Branches don't taper gracefully, but end abruptly. What branches still remain, that is.

I used a pruning saw for the larger branches and a set of sharp loppers for the smaller ones. It's a good thing trees don't have nerve endings.

But we do. And we need to be pruned at times. Jesus says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15: 1-2. Jesus is saying all branches are pruned. All of them. Those that bear fruit and those that don't. And we are the branches.

Jesus explain his parable in the following verses, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned." v. 5-6.

I am willing to bet that this process of pruning will be a part of the Katrina experience for most if not all of the team members. Including me.
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