When the Holy Spirit birthed the church, we read that this “church” would be full of dreamers. Young and old alike would have dreams and visions. Heaven’s reality, both the already but also the not yet, would birth new creation, never-before-seen reality routinely. So, I wonder, where are the dreamers?
I heard about a dreamer in Nigeria. I wasn’t thinking about such things and so it caught me by surprise. I had just met Rosalind, the new Head-Mistress of Hope Academy, our childcare school, in Emi-Woro in Kogi State, Nigeria (see picture above). This school began three years ago when village leaders invited our missionaries, Phyllis and Jim Sortor, to start a school for the children of the area who otherwise had no chance for an education. It didn’t matter that it would be a Christian school, these Muslim leaders insisted. “If you build a school, we will send our children,” they promised! The school was built and the children came. Today, there are several hundred children attending this school, getting a quality education, learning about Jesus, with the firm support of the Muslim village leaders. And, that’s not all.
Shortly after the school began, a church was planted. Two years ago it had a handful of people. One year ago, 50 people worshiped there. Today there are 75. Out of the educational ministry, a new church was birthed. And from time to time, even some of those Muslim leaders will “hang around” and eavesdrop on the church’s gatherings. And, not even that is all.
Across the nearby Niger River, there are several villages where some Christ-followers are to be found. I have not heard how they became followers and how they came to be there. But they’ve heard about the Free Methodist church and have asked if someone will come across the river to lead and pastor them? And, not even that is all.
That is most of what I know right now, but I contend, “Not even that is all” because all that I have told you is a “dream-coming true.”
I was talking with the new Head-Mistress of the school. She expressed great joy to be Head-Mistress because she has known since child-hood that there would be a great school in the town of Emi-Woro. She had known this, years before the school began, because her uncle had a dream.
The uncle is a devout follower of Jesus. One day years ago he looked out across the land where both the school and church now are, and the Lord gave him a dream: One day there would be missionaries there, they will have a school for the region, and they will build a church. This was before any Christian mission came to the area, before any Free Methodist missionaries visited, before the Head-Mistress knew anything about any of it. All of it was a dream God gave.
This is what the Scriptures said would mark the new creation birthed at Pentecost called church. There would be dreams. Before any human hand did anything, and before any human foot went anywhere, God’s did. And, God shared the idea with a dreamer. In time the dreams materialize. And the story when told confirms what has happened and provides solid ground for the next chapters of the dream’s unfolding.
As I listened to Rosalind, the Head-Mistress, tell about her work at a place she had “seen” before there was anything to see, and sensed the joy of being part of something that she and we ultimately had done nothing to make possible, I thought of the church’s birthday story with its promise of the dreamers. I remembered Jesus’ word to the disciples that they were entering into and now could continue a mission that others started (John 4:38). I could see with new clarity that Jesus does build his church, that there are plans set, dreams a-birthing, and that dreams can be just as sure and real as the past we already know about.
So, I am wondering, where are the dreamers? What dreams has God given? Dreams about a city, about a people, about some situation, about someone’s life? Dreams about hope, about healing, about reconciliation, about freedom, about …