The Way God Spoke.
While we have been on furlough it has been a great time of seeking God and having Him remind us of what He has called us to. Into the middle of this time I stumbled on a book about the life of Don Bosco, a Roman Catholic Priest who had a profound impact as he demonstrated Jesus’ love to children living in poverty. His legacy lives on today.
One of the many things that struck me about Don Bosco was that his life was interrupted by a vision from God when he was 9 years old. This vision set him on course to partner with God in seeing a huge number of impoverished children assisted around the world.
As I read, God began to remind me of the vision He gave me that started EHE in motion. He went to extreme measures to help me in my stubbornness and self absorption to get off of my duff and get in the game. I don’t share this vision much these days because of fear that it sounds too crazy to be true that God would speak like this…shame on me!
So, here’s the vision that God used 2 ½ years ago to break me out of a resistance to moving to the other side of the world to work among the poor and children who were very close to His heart. And, we pray that God brings this picture into a fuller reality in the seasons ahead.
As I was praying one day I started to see a picture playing about 1 foot in front of my eyes. It was almost hologram like – a picture that I had to look through in order to talk to others, crazy, huh? I knew exactly where I was in this picture – on a stretch of road in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the Gebriel neighborhood, in front of Milennium Hotel. The intensity of the vision is what caught me off guard, though. I could feel the breeze, smell the pollution, taste the dust in the air – it was about as multi-sensory as could be.
The strange thing was that the road was abandoned. There were no goats, no cars, no people…totally abandoned. And, here I was walking this road, dressed in clothing that I typically would not wear – out of my element. In this vision, that’s all I could see for the next 3 days as it played over and over. I would walk this section of road again and again. Since that’s all that was in the picture, I wasn’t ready to pack up and move, yet.
So, I prayed that God would give me more. He waited a bit before expanding it. Then about 4 days after the other vision stopped, it started up again in the same way. The same road, same smells, same dust, same desertion…and me in the same clothes starting to walk. But, then the picture changed drastically, as children started to stream into the picture.
These children were African, impoverished and hurting. Some had physical handicaps. Some were overcome with hopelessness. Some were malnourished. I knew that some were fatherless. Some were wearing clothes that were torn and tattered. They all had great and diverse needs.
And here I was in the middle of the crowd of children…just walking. I simply walked that stretch of road with them and as we walked together God started to touch them. By the time we walked 100 meters, the children fanned out and left, BUT they were leaving transformed. Full of hope, life, healed and whole – they ran off. Then, the picture started all over again with a new set of children who were hurting and broken. It was as if the first group had gone and told their friends who then came so that we could walk together.
The second chapter in this vision lasted for about 2 days – playing in front of my eyes like before – somewhat unsettling and getting under my skin. And, in the middle of that second chapter I became broken enough to say “Yes.”
I had tons of reasons to say “No” to going to Ethiopia. I was concerned about money, lack of practical skills and learning Amharic. I had stated my case against why I would not go, so God used some seemingly extreme measures to change my direction. I am glad He chose a vision rather than a whale!
God knew what He was up to long before I did. When we finally left for Ethiopia I was still trying to make it all fit and trying to step into the “known” as we went. More about that scenario in the coming week. Yet, along the way God redirected us and brought us to the place of where we get the privilege of walking with children and their families for a stretch and watching what God does in bringing about healing and wholeness in their lives.
We look forward to seeing this vision become an increasing reality for vulnerable children as we do our very simple part in walking this stretch with them.
Thank you for walking with us as we walk with them.