A Child’s Dream

by Apr 11, 2022Best of Times, Missions


I’m not sure we give enough credence to the sincerity and power of a child’s faith in Christ and where it can lead them.  There’s a reason Jesus said to His disciples, 

“I want little children to come to me, so never interfere with them when they want to come, for heaven’s kingdom realm is composed of beloved ones like these.”

My goal today is to love Jesus as much as I did when I was a little girl.  My relationship with Him then was so life-giving; it was the driving force of almost all I did.  And there was nothing pretentious about it.  

Back then, stories I heard from missionaries when they visited our church drew me to Him most.  Unlike many, who often groaned (at least inwardly) about having to sit through a week of a “Missionary Conference”, I couldn’t wait to hear what they had to say.  Their stories amazed me.  The answers to their prayer and the miracles they experienced on a regular basis made me covet their lifestyle and their life-mission.  So much so, that by the time I was about to enter 4th grade, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life.

Some 10 or so years later, my first missions experience confirmed that desire in my heart.  At age 19, I went on a summer missions trip to Liberia, West Africa, to ‘serve’ at a radio station/ hospital called ELWA.  By ‘serve’ I mean, dusting old bookshelves, helping missionaries with the many routine, mundane things that needed to be done which they just didn’t have time for.  But that didn’t matter.  Lying in bed each night, 100 feet from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the rhythm of the waves lulling me to sleep, I knew that I knew that this is what God had in store for me for the rest of my life, and that it would be in Africa.  No where else tugged at my heart like Africa. 

Three years later, I found my ‘ticket’ to Africa in the form of a husband. (Don’t gasp!  That’s not the reason I married him! 😊)  Born of American parents but raised as a missionary kid in Johannesburg, South Africa, he was more African than American, a good thing as far as I was concerned.  However, when drafted by the South African army, he had no intention of enlisting.  He fled the country with no desire to ever return.  That presented a problem.

So, for 10 years I put my missionary to Africa dream on the shelf and pursued other, less inspiring options. (FYI, they weren’t as bad as the option Sarah pursued while waiting ‘patiently’ for God to fulfill her dream of having a son.)  Then, in God’s perfect timing (and years of softening my husband’s heart about going back to Africa), which included getting my husband fired ‘for no reason’ from his job at the time, we found ourselves on a plane with a two-year and a nine-year old, headed to a turbulent country that was on the verge of many challenging changes.