And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and… your old men (and women) shall dream dreams… Joel 2:28
Some people look at me and say, “Wow, that’s amazing, what you do in Africa!” Maybe it is. I don’t know. All I know is that I am compelled by God’s love to do what I am doing and to go where He has sent me. No matter how hard it gets or how others may seek to discourage me, I’m still compelled by God to follow the lead of His Spirit, no matter what! What other reason could there be for a woman my age, with the resources I have to plunge into the giant vortex of suffering Africa? After all, I have other choices that might make my life easier. I want to help you understand Africa better, so let me explain. You really can’t conceive of how difficult it is and how different it is from the West and even if you’ve been there to visit and have some idea of how difficult it is, it’s easy to forget. It’s easy because here in the West we have so much and that “so much” somehow helps us forget. I know. When I’m home for any length of time I begin to forget and long for the comforts I used to have; a home of my own, life with children and Grandchildren, fellowshipping with friends, Amazon and Publix, etc. But I can’t forget. God won’t let me.
As far as money goes, I know I’m not rich. I’m not even nearly rich. What I do know, however, is that I am rich in a different way. But to millions of people, the world over you and I are considered rich…really rich; with moolah, cash, money. Here’s why; we are Americans (or from the West). That should be enough said, but let me expound; I was born in a country with one of the most incredible infrastructures in the world, unlike where I minister in Ghana. I’m talking about clean water carried directly to our homes, on demand. Sewage pipes and garbage trucks move all our stuff away and then clean and recycle it, rather than raw sewage collecting ten feet from our front doors. We have instant heat and A/C on demand. We can throw our dirty clothes into a machine rather than washing them by hand in a dirty, parasite laden river. In America, we have hundreds of thousands of miles of smooth paved roads that allow us to go anywhere on bus, taxi or cars. We have more gigantic airports (over 13,000) than any other country in the world. We can walk into clean, corruption-free hospitals and be cared for, call the police when robbed and not have to pay a bribe in order to get help. We can get a job anywhere; it might be McDonald's, but if we want a job and want to work we are protected by laws that keep us from being abused or having to work in a “sweatshop” or as slave-labor. If you have a car you can drive to one of hundreds of thousands of churches dotted all across America and worship God without fear. And as a bonus, you won’t have to sit on a termite infested bench or in the dirt where deadly centipedes crawl near your baby while you worship God.
Sometimes, I do wonder, “Girl, why don’t you just settle down, get a nice job at Samaritans Purse, buy a house, and find a husband. I dream of those things, especially the house and someone to share this crazy life with. But then God interrupts my self-interest and interjects His dream, reminding me that I need to rely on Him and leave everything else with Him. And I must, once again, lay it all down at the cross. You see, God has invited me to co-labor with Him; I get to dream with God and this means that I am rich beyond comparison!
I don’t own a home or have a place to call my own, but I am so incredibly rich! My Income is less than $1,000 a month and after I pay the utilities on the ministry house in Ghana, buy some food, pay my car note and several credit cards, I have little money left, but never lack because I am rich. God has touched friends and family to provide a room and a bed for me and if it weren’t for these friends in Christ I might be considered homeless, but I’d still be wealthy. Since I was busy being a housewife and Mom for most of my adult life, I don’t have a retirement fund waiting for me. But I have wealth and I am privileged to walk by faith. Yes, I get to depend on the All-powerful, All-Knowing and Loving One for everything… and that is what it means to be truly rich! I am privileged to walk with God in His dream. It’s not always easy, especially as a single woman of nearly 60 years but I made a choice years ago to trust Him. Not that I’m insensitive; I do feel the cost. Jesus said,
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, -Luke 14:27-29
To follow Christ is amazing, but it’s also a life of sacrifice. I have chosen this life for the sake of Christ, His Kingdom and for those He wants me to love into His kingdom. The cross was a sacrifice for Jesus and it still is true for believers today. It’s hard to get this message across in a culture where we want most everything to be handed to us instantaneously or without any kind of sacrifice. When someone makes a sacrifice they intend to give up something, to endure and go without. Ask any Olympian or anyone who has mastered their craft what they sacrificed to win. When I am in Africa I miss my grandchildren and a comfortable bed. I miss A/C and hearing people speak English. I’m misunderstood, lonely and often forgotten. For me, these are some of the “costs” of sacrifice. But again, it’s not a walk in the park and believe me, my flesh knows how to scream, “Get me out of here!” I’m so glad that the Lord continues to whisper His loving dream to me again and again so I don’t forget and realize that I am truly rich... and happy to lay it all down at His feet. Dream with me.