The story of the Sower begins with Noel Diaz, who in 1984, founded a Catholic evangelization ministry called el Sembrador. Like Elijah the prophet, Noel as he was teaching and preaching a new evangelization, a personal encounter with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in the Hispanic community, heard “a tiny whispering sound,” 1 Kings 19:12 saying to him, “I want you to do the same work in English as well as Spanish.”
This was the voice of the Holy Spirit, speaking to Noel’s heart, asking Noel to continue to personally trust in God and to sacrifice more of his time, treasure, and talent to rescue souls in the name of Jesus Christ now in the English as well as Spanish community, from depression, violence, drugs, hate, illicit sex, jealousy, revenge, etc, through a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
As a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ, Noel heard and answered God’s call. On April 4th, 2008, in the chapel of St Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Azusa California, the Sower ministry was born, and the first praise and worship of Jesus Christ, through music, testimony, and preaching was enthusiastically received and proclaimed.
The first question many people ask about el Sembrador and the Sower is “What is it?” “What is different about the Sower than any other Catholic ministry?” “Why are so many thousands of Catholics attracted to el Sembrador and now the Sower?” The answer to all those questions can be found in an understanding of the beautiful and powerful Greek word, used by Mark the evangelist, when Jesus began proclaiming His Gospel, and that word is METANOIA.
“After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: This is the time of fulfillment. This kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, (which is the English translation of the Greek word metanoia) and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1: 14-15.
You see without a metanoia, a believer in Jesus Christ, is a believer of the lips/mind and not the heart/spirit. The problem with being a believer of the lips/mind is the story of every Sower in the ministry today. As Christians in the Catholic faith we grew up with knowledge of Jesus Christ, we did believe in Him, and we could recite prayers and creeds and confessions by heart, we got really good grades on our religion exams, we received all the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, we faithfully went to Mass on Sundays with our parents.
But something was missing. Something was wrong. We would say Mass is boring. We would try to get out of going to Mass anytime we could and the Sundays we did attend, our biggest joy was not the Word nor the Eucharist but going to breakfast after Mass, it was like let’s get out of here so we can eat. That was Sunday for us over and over again, year after year, until we were old enough to decide whether we want to go to Mass ourselves or not.
Why was Mass boring for us? How could we possibly walk into Church and walk out the same person even when received the true presence of Jesus Christ, the Body and Blood of the Father’s heavenly Lamb? Why was the Word of God not received with the same power and authority to rebuke satan and sin as it is in our lives today? Why? Because we never personally met our Savior. We never encountered Him. We lived for ourselves and not for Him. Because we never knew Jesus, every Sunday we would be spending an hour or more with a stranger, someone we never met or understood, so of course Mass is boring, anyone who spends week after week with a person they never met will be bored.
You see, we knew Jesus in the same way we knew George Washington was the first president of the United States. Jesus was a historical figure, who our parents, priest, catechists, and Church told us about but not someone we could ever really know and love. That was the problem. We believed in Jesus but because we never knew Him in a personal way, we lived a faith without His Spirit, and therefore without spiritual power, we lived our lives for ourselves, for the pleasures of the world. All that is over with. Praise God. That’s why the el Sembrador and the Sower is literally a world wide evangelization tool empowered by the Holy Spirit, because through the Word of God, in the power of the Holy Spirit, thousands upon thousand of men and women have experienced the personal love of Jesus Christ, they now know, love and serve Him, in a personal and intimate way.
A good question which believers often ask is, “How does a believer who has never experienced Jesus in a personal, living way, go about doing that?” Our encounter with Jesus, and receiving His Spirit in faith, is based on an authentic and total surrender of the self, just as Jesus did for us on the cross by dying for our sins. Yes, dying for our sins is a very personal act and in that act of pure love, Jesus shows us exactly what surrender of the self is, it is OTHER oriented, it’s no longer the I, me, mine, but serving others through and for Him. So the way to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is to encounter Him in the manner in which He calls us to in His Word, through a metanoia, an authentic surrender of the self, a giving of our lives to Him, where we no longer put anything or anyone above Jesus Christ.
Metanoia, which literally means a “change of mind,” is translated repentance because that is the outcome of an authentic surrender of the self, an encounter with Jesus Christ. In our metanoia we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, our minds are finally open to the truth that the enemy had us trapped in his world of selfishness, sex, alcohol, money, jealousy, false power, and the rest of his mess. When our minds turn to Jesus, He removes the enemies veil (2 Cor 3:16) and the enemies masks come off. For the first time, we recognize that our greed, lust, and lies did have spiritual consequences and we turn to the only place and person we can go for forgiveness, and in repentance we cry out to Jesus for His mercy, love, and Spirit. Believe this, when you cry out to Jesus He will be there for you.
So metanoia is a radical change of lifestyle, where we reject and rebuke every darkness that was once dominated our minds and hearts. We now live with a new Spirit, the Holy Spirit. The spiritual gifts bestowed upon us in our Baptism, the gifts that lay dormant for so many years are now awakened and used by God for our personal sanctification and for the salvation of others. Yes, this happens to every believer who gives their life to Jesus, who has a metanoia, they receive gifts of the Spirit and God now uses them as instruments of salvation, to rescue those who are still bound and trapped by the enemies masks of lies, hate, violence, addictions, envy, adultery, and porn.
This is our story. It is real. It is personal. It happening in thousand of lives all over the world, everyday of the week. It is Spirit filled and testified to by every person who has joined us as we proclaim to the entire world salvation in the name of Jesus Christ only. As we proclaim the truth that each and every one of us has a spiritual enemy who hates and lies to us all the time and the only way we can win the battle against this enemy is through faith in Jesus Christ, a faith which Jesus teaches begins with metanoia. Yes, my brothers and sisters, the victory over satan has already been won by the Blood of the Father’s Lamb Jesus Christ, surrender your life to Him, live for Him only, serve Him in others, receive the Holy Spirit and live the life that Jesus has planned for you before you were in your mothers womb.
One final question that is poignant and important is: “I have been Catholic all my life, I go to Church, try to live a good life, but I want to know Jesus in the way the Sowers testify to, I gave my life to Jesus Christ when I read this, how will I know if I had a metanoia?” This is a great question. First of all you will be able to answer in the affirmative to St.Paul’s question in Acts 19:2. The next key is this. A metanoia is visible. Your friends, family, and co-workers WILL notice a change in you. Yes, the interior spiritual change that takes place when we give our lives to Jesus will only be authentic when it is visible to the world.
What this means is this. In the same way that St. Paul tells the Catholic Church in Galatia that the gifts of satan are obvious, meaning they are visible to the world, we can see them, “hatred, jealousy, selfishness, envy, orgies.” Galatians 5:21 After a metanoia, as St. Paul continues to reveal to the Galatians, a new you appears, the “New Creation” is visible to the world, “In CONTRAST the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, self-control.” Galatians 5:22 So the answer is this: the person who has a metanoia, and everyone around them, will see and experience a spiritual change: humility instead of pride, patience rather than anger, forgiveness not revenge, self control and not trash talking friends and family and co-workers.
So, if your life is no longer all about you, if there are new and more important things on your mind and heart like: finding ways to serve others even in the smallest ways like with a hello or a smile, praising Jesus at all times even in your struggles, failures, and sufferings for His Blood and blessings, looking for ways to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for your life, studying and praying and being obedient to the Word, being able to forgive those who offend you, teaching your children about a God of love and not a God of punishment, sharing your testimony with others, being overwhelmed at being able to receive the Body and Blood of your Savior, then praise be the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, you have had a metanoia, and please, in all sincerity, please come say hello to us on Friday nights at St. Frances of Rome, we would love to fellowship with you because now we walk in the same Spirit, THE HOLY SPIRIT. AMEN TO THE BLOOD OF THE FATHER’S LAMB, JESUS CHRIST.
Grace and Peace,
The Sower Ministry