Once upon a time I went to South Africa. I never I swear believed such a dream was possible. Sometime it still feels like a dream. But i did go! May 14, 2003. South Africa was actually a dream come true. Its the first time I realized I could hold God to His word, and see the outcome of a literal miracle.
This is an excerpt from the book Red Sea Situations. If you would like to hear my testimony of when I went to South Africa, click here for the entire story.
Initially, my intent was to go to visit, but God had another plan. He began to reveal to me this “God – given dream” that involved what I love to do: Lead and teach youth and families. He gave me a prayer to pray during this time, that challenged by belief system, and my paradigm of thinking. This prayer and declaration I began speaking over my dream – defied my every thought about the possibility of going on such a trip. Yet because I knew “God (was) able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all I could ever ask or think”… I trusted God over my own thoughts. (Eph 3:20) – I acquiesced. I yielded to his plan.
One of the most powerful words God gave me before I began this journey of traveling to Africa was: “Just praise Me for it, even if you don’t believe it.” As crazy as it sounded, I did. I did it for about a year and a half, in fact, and with the regular routine of brushing my teeth and combing my hair every morning, I would sing my little praise song for about two minutes.” “Thank you Lord for allowing me to go to South Africa.” Exactly one and a half years later, I met someone who because of my prayers of faith, and thanksgiving, offered me that very opportunity. The irony of this situation was: I didn’t initially believe it. I thought the dream was simply a figment of my imagination and a desire. Yet, the more I praised God, and offered up thanksgiving, the more I began to believe it was possible. In fact, I even began to have more dreams of what I saw myself doing there, and involved in! It became exciting! As simple as this sounds, it really wasn’t. It takes a lot of work to challenge your paradigm. Yet early on, I committed that whatever I would do in Africa, it would be for God to receive glory.
So you can imagine the opposition of the enemy in trying to prevent it. I had people ask me: “So how are you going to go to Africa?” “What are you going to do there?” I was always prepared and would have answers. Thusly, I spent time with God asking Him about his plan for my life while I would be there. I had others who were in leadership positions resist me – and try to distract me from the opportunity. Yet I held on to the dream. When I became discouraged, God seemed to send angels (people – and perhaps even some invisible angels) out of the “woodwork” to assist me! In fact at one point, I couldn’t even see how this trip would be paid for, and someone I didn’t know very well but was inspired by my story and I believe ‘sent by God’ as the key person who influenced my dreams. She quickly assisted me with a ‘campaign of sorts’ to raise money in time for my departure. Within one week’s time, a miracle happened. I had all the money I needed in order to go to South Africa. Obviously, I was shocked. This circumstance revealed to me just how powerful praise, thanksgiving and worship- combined with faith – effects our dreams.
There were several things by faith, I enacted to make this literal ‘dream’ come true. I truly believe our faith can cause miracles to occur. 1.) Obedience to God’s plan and declaring the impossible became my mode of operation. I believe sometimes God tests our obedience to see if we will blindly follow. Isa 42:19 says : “Who is blind but my servant, or deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is blind as my dedicated one, or blind as the servant of the LORD?” I read this for the first time in the Bible and was absolutely amazed that God calls the blind servant – “dedicated”. I thought to myself: “Wow… He really wants me blind and deaf… how does that benefit anything??” Yet then I remembered: It wasn’t about me, it was truly about Him. 2) Despite my fears, my reservations the challenges I faced – I risked of looking absolutely foolish. I allowed my faith in God to produce – follow through – and my reward was with me. It was like my “faith became the substance” needed to fuel and secure the dream. Hebrews 11:1 says : “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” KJV. The entire passage of scripture in Hebrews 11 gives testament to how the people of God were enabled by God’s power to see the impossible because they had an “open mind and heart change” to what God could do by His divine power. The most valuable lesson learned during this time of my life was: 3) God absolutely loves it when you express what you intend to do in faith, and brag on His ability to do it. (I would simply state what I wanted and that I believed with God’s help it would be possible.) It becomes a challenge then for God to produce it. I believe God loves to be challenged. I would be amiss to say I knew exactly how God worked that miracle in my life. All I know is, I kept believing. His word says in Hebrew 11:6 – “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God. He that comes to God must first believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”. God was extremely pleased with my faith. Thusly, I received a reward. This reward – changed my entire life and future.
Now, when God gives me an assignment, I don’t nearly doubt as much as I used to, because the dreams keep getting bigger and bigger! When God tells me speaks to my heart about something I seek like Abraham to be fully persuaded – and I trust in God’s sovereign leadership over my life. I am radically inspired to be obedient, follow through, and trust His complete intention in the process of aligning my faith with His plan. In fact, I am propelled forward because I have seen what having faith in God can do.
Written Sat Jan. 15, 2011.