The first lesson was on dreams - the dreams God has placed on your heart. Few people outside my family knew that one of the dreams nearest to my heart was missions. Scrapbooking that page was EASY.
I even wrote a little letter to include in my page - it was a letter to God. A prayer, really. And I, again, reminded God of this dream, one I feel He placed in my heart more than a dozen years ago.
That was back in the summer. Fast forward to November 22nd. Our church was having a newcomer's dinner. I had no reason to be there. I'm not a newcomer. I'm not a pastor or ministry leader. I'm not a member of the cooking team. But for some reason, that morning I offered my assistance for that night. I arrived at 3 p.m. since Brooke had to be there for the youth worship band practice. The other volunteers and I set up the tables pretty quickly, then we stood around talking, waiting for closer to the time of the dinner to bring in the food. Out of the blue, I told my pastor, in the middle of a bunch of people, "Pastor Jay, do you know what I want to do more than anything? I want to go on a missions trip..." A lady whom I had never met quietly says, "I'm going to Nicaragua in three weeks and there are two more spots for ladies. Come with me!" I started crying, as did most of the people around me. So many reasons why I couldn't go - I had just gone on vacation to Washington, DC and surely couldn't get more time off work - I didn't have a passport - and, most importantly, I didn't have the money. But the people around me assured me this was God - and that He would open all the doors.
The next day, my boss approved the time off, saying, "How can you miss this opportunity?" Two days later, we booked plane tickets, still not sure where the money would come from. The next day, all the money was there, a gift from my Heavenly Father, wrapped with a bow! Then the following week, my mother-in-law, my girls, and I drove to New Orleans and got my expedited passport. I was on my way to Nicaragua!
Our church had been collecting pajamas for needy children in our community, but they decided to send the first 100 pair (or as many as they had collected so far) to Nicaragua with me. Arriving one day before me were 107 pair of PJs, courtesy of Journey Church.
It took me about four hours to roll 90 pair of PJs and stuff them into one suitcase. The remaining 17 were in Judy's, Carl's, and my suitcases.
This dream I had dreamed for so long was becoming a reality. I knew when God placed this dream in my heart that my mission field for that time was in my home, raising my children, who were little at the time. But this dream, this desire had never waned over the years. Rather, with the help of Sonlight Curriculum, it probably strengthened. My girls and I would read about different countries and their needs, especially for the Gospel. We would pray for different people groups and cities and countries around the globe. I had gone in my prayers. I had gone in my heart. Now my feet and hands were going to go. God is so good.