During the sail I read a book, along with a group of nurses, called Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick. The book was about daring to ask God for the impossible. I don’t know what you believe or what you may have believed as you were growing up and developing your view of the world, but this concept of asking God for impossible things wasn’t far from what I’d been taught and believe myself. As I sit and think about it, I can think of countless situations over my lifetime where the impossible happened. (If you’d like to know, feel free to email me!)
As I read the book I was challenged for the number of seemingly impossible things that I could think of to pray for friends, but nothing for myself. The idea is to pray not for what we want, but for what we believe God wants for us. Something involving His vision for our lives, based on His promises for us. The author, Steven, writes about the day his life was ruined when he found the vision for his life while reading a book. His dream seemed like an impossible one, but he knew that God had given it to him. He has spent the following years, fighting for it and praying for the sun to stand still to see it become a reality.
As the ship sailed into Pointe Noire, Congo, Don Stephens, the founder of Mercy Ships was standing on the dock with his wife, Deyon, watching the ship sail in. More than 35 years ago Don was given this vision for a hospital ship to be sailing around giving free surgical care to those who need it most and to do it in the name of Jesus, loving and serving the people as Jesus did. He spoke to us, the Africa Mercy crew, on Thursday night about the journey of this impossible dream becoming a reality. I have read it before in his book, Ships of Mercy, but after the freshness of Steven Furtick’s book in my mind, I have thought about how amazing it really is. Can you imagine, dreaming up something as crazy as a huge hospital ship sailing around Western Africa, giving free surgical care to people? And then how does one go about making that happen? He had to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to even begin shopping for a ship, let alone all the costs to follow the initial one. But he knew that God had clearly spoken to him and he pushed to see this impossible dream become a reality. It would have truly brought me to my knees to see the M/V Africa Mercy sailing out of the haze into the harbour of Pointe Noire, seeing the vision that once seemed so impossible was now so real and tangible.
While reading the book Sun Stand Still I had to sit and actually think, have I dreamed up dreams that are impossible to achieve without God? I barely know where my life is headed, except that I want to follow wherever it is that God leads me. So if you asked me if I have a vision for my life, I’d give you a pretty vague answer, but I know more than anything that I want to stay exactly where God wants to me to be, because that is the place that I feel fulfilled. With God's inspiration I have begun to dream impossible dreams. Do you have any?
This coming week is our patient selection day or screening day as we have previously called it. (Read about other screening days here, here and here.) It is a day full of impossible dreams becoming a reality for those we can treat. For the third outreach I will be Team Leader at the History Station where I, along with my co-leader, will have 18 nurses and 18 day crew to translate to lead as we take the selected patient’s observations and small medical history before they move on to see the specialty surgeon. It is a huge day full of so much emotion and probably my favourite day of the whole outreach as we get to meet the patients that we will see, treat and love over the coming 10 months. My heart will be filled and emptied all on the same day as I see the incredible need in the country but also the hope and impossible dreams that we can be a part of seeing become a reality.
Will you join me in praying for this day? Pray for those who need impossible dreams of healing to see them fulfilled.
|Me and my co-leader for this year's screening. Photo taken screening Togo 2012|