I Have A Dream~

I Have A Dream~

On Monday, January 15 America celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the day America stops to think about this man and his dream.  “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal. 

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

This is just a tiny portion of MLK’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech given in 1963, the very year I was born.

I was thinking this week as we got back into teaching that each of us needs to have a dream, few of us can verbalize it as well as MLK did.  Bill Hybels calls it the Moment of Holy Discontent or that Popeye Moment, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!

That feeling that you can’t go on in life ignoring this injustice any longer, you MUST do something about it.

This week I was reminded again of my Holy Discontent.  Sitting around the table with young people in our Technical Training Program discussing their dreams for their businesses.  They have had to put work into this.  We aren’t just handing stuff out, they have to work for it.  First, they had to pass an entrance exam.  If they have challenges of reading and math, they have to change that by going to our reading and math classes until they can pass the entrance exam.  Then they spend at least 9 months with a trainer, it depends on what trade they are learning how long it takes for them to be able to either have their own welding shop, tailoring shop, panel beater business, catering, etc.

These young people have lost at least one parent, most have lost both parents, had limited education, and have no hope for their futures.  I know that in our American life, there seems to be HOPE somewhere.  We know we can come up with a way to make money, that opportunities are there for a person that wants it.  Here, it is different.  Education, books, creative thinking are limited.  Discouragement, death, and hunger are not.

In our Entrepreneurship classes this week it was such a privilege to discuss with these young people that are currently working with their craftsmen in their assorted trades about what they want their businesses to look like.  It was very special to be able to share our lessons on getting started in business and what sort of things you need to do and think about before starting a business.  95% of small businesses in Nigeria close within 5 years due to lack of planning and knowledge of record keeping.  One of my dreams is to be able to help as many young people as I can to be strong believers in themselves, their abilities, and that with God, they too can support themselves and their families.

It truly breaks my heart that children are the least supported people in our world.  They are taken advantage of, abused, and neglected.  I have a dream that I will do all I can to show God’s love and share His hope with the “least of these”.  I believe God loves children in a very special way, they are very near and dear to His heart. 

My thought for today is this:  How can you encourage or show His love to “the least of these” this week?  If you look through Jesus’ eyes you see so many different opportunities!


New Year Thoughts

New Year Thoughts

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  This is my daily prayer, and with this new year upon us, I have been thinking as I have had some reflection and planning time.  I also had something happen that you have to hear about!

Christmas Eve I went to take a sip from my Contigo water bottle and felt a very sharp sting on my tongue.  I spit out the water that was in my mouth and the stinging continued.  I grabbed the spider off of my tongue and threw it on the floor.  My brain kind of went through all kinds of scenarios.  Is this a poisonous spider?  In MN I know all the poisonous spiders, in Nigeria I don’t yet!  What do you do when a spider bites your tongue?  The internet had no help for that, apparently it doesn’t happen very often.  I swished Listerine around my mouth for a couple of minutes and put Tea Tree Oil on the bite and took a Benadryl.  My tongue continued to hurt.  I thought what should I do next?  I should probably tell Dan in case I die or something (sometimes I am dramatic).  I did, and he said, “What kind of spider is it, is it poisonous?”  He picked up the spider from the floor where I threw it and I started googling Nigerian spiders.  It turns out it was a yellow sac spider that likes to crawl into dark spaces (the tube of my water bottle) during the day and wander around at night looking for food.  The poison aspect of the spider ranged from very poisonous to annoying, but not poisonous.  I decided to believe the annoying but not poisonous information.  My tongue still has a little sore spot from the bite but no other ill effects, so I am thankful, so thankful for that!

After this incident, Dan and I were laughing because we do not know ANYONE else who has been bit on the tongue by a spider.  We also do not know anyone who is quite as inclined to strange and weird instances of extreme disaster as I am.  No one who has been shot in Nigeria on their first visit, no one who has fallen off of a zip line and lost their sense of smell and taste, no one who falls frequently and slips on nothing, no one (except our son Robert) who can fall up or down stairs every single time, and now no one who has been bit on the tongue by a spider.

If you don’t know me well, now you know a little bit more about me.  I’m kind of like an accident waiting to happen somedays.  BUT guess what?

I have a God who knows this, who made me JUST like this and loves me and wants me to serve Him.  Isn’t it amazing, friend!  All our God wants is us.  I am finally at a place in this life where He gets all of me.  I am not sure why He wants it, but I am here, and here to serve Him.  Don’t get me wrong, I am human and somedays just want to go to bed and never get up, or be selfish and scream, “I want my own way NOW”.  But God is helping me daily as I pray to be more like Jesus and that people will see Jesus not only in me, but through me as well.

My point for today is this:  If you are waiting to be “Perfect” before you give yourself to Jesus, He doesn’t want perfect, He wants YOU!  How much of you does He have?