Love, Blood, Poverty, Africa
April 27th 2013
So last night I had this dream that consisted of 3 words and a place:
I felt a slight sense of desperation in the dream, but there wasn’t anything else I could tell you about it. A month ago I had another dream. In that dream, I was assessing African people to determine their likelihood of survival. A friend had developed a method of assessing people’s chances for survival and I was implementing it.
So this is where I talk about my struggle with God’s call on my life.
I’ve never seen myself as a missionary. Unlike most of my Christian friends, I’ve never wanted to go on a mission trip. I mean, I like traveling…on vacations. But traveling to a place like Africa and living in the bush and using a hole in the ground for a toilet has never been a big dream of mine. I wasn’t thinking about missions when we were offered a chance to teach in Australia. It just came at us out of the blue.
I like the fact that I can drive a few blocks and re-supply my refrigerator with Hershey bars and peanut butter. I like having a clean pool in my backyard. I like having a frozen custard stand within a few miles of my house. I like being able to buy wood at the convenience store and knowing I can light a fire at night just for the atmosphere. It makes nights on the patio with my wife more romantic.
Maybe I’m just too soft. Too comfortable.
I have this friend. (He was the guy in the second dream) For almost 20 years he’s been dreaming and scheming of a radical plan to improve the lives of people in Africa. It’s missions with a revolutionary twist. The plan he has is like nothing that’s ever been done before. This friend has proven his trustworthiness to me. I love working alongside of him. And now God seems to be calling me to work with him on this Africa project.
Why not someplace with frozen custard stands?
I’m sure some of you are wondering why I would consider saying ‘no thanks’ to something God asked me to do.
I know God. And I know that if I pass on the Africa project, there will be other opportunities for me. He has plenty of work that needs to be done. I’ve declined a few things He’s asked me to do in the past and it never slowed Him down for even a minute. Before I knew it, there was another opportunity on my doorstep. I’m not afraid to pass on opportunities from God – because that’s exactly what they are – opportunities. Not do-or-die commandments.
I used to think that finding out God’s will for my life was so hard that if I ever discovered even one thing He wanted me to do, I’d give up everything just to do it.
But that’s not really how Papa is. He’s a lot more like my earthly dad than I ever imagined.
I have 7 brothers. My dad always had work he needed us to do. Most of the jobs needed only one person, so he’d ask one of us to do it. If the first person he asked said no, he’d ask someone else until he found someone who said yes. That’s a lot like how our heavenly Father is. Sure, He’d like to recruit you to do certain jobs, but if you say no, someone else will probably say yes, and there will always be other jobs to do.
I have no idea where things will go from here. God seems to be recruiting me to this project. I imagine that one of the things I could do (if I signed on) is to recruit others. But before I can recruit others, I need to recruit myself. This is the kind of project that will take years to develop and put into action. It’ll have a major impact on the lives of anyone who gets involved. A half-hearted commitment to this project won’t cut it. If I’m in, I need to be all the way in. It’s no small thing.
But right now, I need to decide if it’s going to be my thing.