Trusting His Plans for Our Lives
When I was a child my hopes and dreams were much simpler then they are now. They consisted of a new bike, going ice skating, watching a movie, going camping or having a warm chocolate chip cookie. My earthly parents would be the ones to allow these dreams to come true. Especially if they were things that were good for me, or that they knew I needed and would not misuse. Sometimes I had to work for the things I wanted in life, and other times they were given to me simply out of love.
My dreams today are much bigger, more complex and not only about me. My Heavenly Father is the one that will bring them to fruition in His time. If they are good for me, for others, if I need them, if I will not misuse them. Sometimes I have to work to bring these dreams to fruition, sometimes He gives them simply out of love.
As most of you know I run a non profit organization named Village to Village. We are moving into our fifth year of loving others both locally and internationally; whether they are seen as the unfortunate, the forgotten or the lonely, ultimately they are still all His children. When we first started this journey I was told the first three years will be the hardest. That statement was incorrect for us, because year four has been full of doubt, wondering, dreaming, crying, believing and praying like I have never prayed before.
God is teaching me to trust Him regardless. To lean on Him by faith and not by sight. I have heard all my life that He has gone before us, He will make a way and we have to wait at times on Him. I'm not the waiting kind, it's painful for me to sit back and wait. I am a do-er and when I can't get things done, I feel like I have let others down and I have let God down.
May of last year we celebrated our 3rd year Anniversary with Village to Village, then everything changed. We lost our largest donor, the Pastor that was my youth leader, the man who dedicated my daughter and the friend who began these non profit prayers with me had left and I would be leaving my part time job and going into full time work and part time pay for Village to Village. The doubting started taking over.
My journal from the past year looks like a roller coaster. There were so many ups and down it would make you dizzy trying to see which way life was going. I began praying bold prayers and talking with our board about what changes we needed to make. Village to Village believes in getting villages and communities to the place of self-sufficiency. We never want to simply hand money out because we know that does not bring change to their lives. We want people to be healthy, learn skills, receive training and began to do life on their own. So why would we not want our ministry to do the same.
Losing our largest donor was the one thing that helped us realize we may need to run our non-profit different. I am not a well versed speaker, I do fundraising but it's not easy for me. My passion is being with people, loving on them, training them, watching them grow, not continually asking for funds for our day to day needs. I can talk all day long about funding water filtration systems, building ovens and sponsoring children, this is the easy part for all of us. We can put a face to our funds.
So we decided to take a step of faith and begin a Capital Campaign that included our dream space.
Or maybe my dream space because our board members are still working through what they believe is the right location. Summer of 2019 I found what I thought was exactly what we needed. It was very old, had a vintage feel, had the most amazing huge windows and would not only be a very sweet venue but could house our offices and warehouse. A friend and I literally circled it, walking around it as we prayed out loud for God's will. I had no idea what this might look like, but I knew we had to pray. A realtor met me there to look at it, we talked with builders to see if it was even possible to renovate and then two weeks from that prayer walk it was torn down! Not sure my prayers have ever been that clearly answered in that amount of time.
Within a month I found an old home, renovated, ready to move into and it checked everything off our box that we needed. Office space, warehouse space, Tea House space, Airbnb space and it could house small venues. It has the most amazing view of the mountains our area has to offer. We have walked around this place seven times now over the last several months praying over it. It has not been torn down so that's a start.
I have gone from praying over this location physically and mentally, to fasting over it, to thanking God for giving it to us. That is the boldest thing I have ever done but at the time I so strongly felt that is was ours I had to praise Him for it.
I have done my homework to see if a business would work there and it's already zoned for that. I've talked with banks and investors to see what we would need to do to make this work. I have people interested in starting a Tea House in the space. My husband and I currently own/operate an Airbnb so we understand what it takes to make one work.
But our time has not yet come. We do not have the funds to put a downpayment on the property at this time so we have ask if they would rent it to us for a year so we could start the businesses to be able to look at purchasing the following year. They declined. We have ask if they would be willing to finance it for us. They again declined.
I am thankful that God works everything in His timing, not ours. Because if I had things my way and in my timing it would have been in the midst of a pandemic with a mortgage to pay and no way to bring in funds.
This season of the unknown has brought people into our lives that we would have never met had we not been in the midst of a capital campaign. People that believe in us, pray for us and some days push us to keep going.
On our last trip to Moldova during the first day we woke up to the news that President Trump was closing our borders. Because of God's goodness we were able to get out of Moldova within 24 hours of airports and borders being closed. Our team walked away with the most amazing sense of peace the entire time we were there, especially during a time of panic for the world. We were able to still minister to others, make plans for summer camp, train an after school team and love on our family there. They embraced us when our country seemed to be in so much chaos. We were fortunate to get home safe, self-quarantine ourselves, are all well and very thankful to be home with our families.
Our days are now very long and we are not able to resume our lives like the way we are accustomed too. Though this time I am learning that I have to trust Him more, I can not live in doubt of who He is or what He can do. He is God. He created us for a purpose, all of us. Even though I can't see how my dream for Village to Village will turn out I can't wait for a year down the road to share with you what He has done. Because I trust that He has gone before us and has already made a way.
He is the one after all that gives us many of our dreams. I have not wanted to share this publicly because it feels so personal but we all have dreams and if our dreams are His dreams we need to move toward them. We are no different then Noah, David or Esther, we just happen live in a different time. What if our stories and faith bring others closer to God years from now? All because we believed that God would do what He said.
The property is still up for sale. I don't know if it will be ours or someone else's someday but I know He will continue to use Village to Village because we are the church, no building necessary.