Dawn J. Jackson asked:
Dear Jack,I am a 51 year old woman and need guidance in my direction of God's calling. In 1998 a dream came to me, God took my right hand and we flew across the heavens to southeastern Africa. There we landed in this village. The Lord asked me, "Tell Me what do you see?" It was dark and in the middle of the village was this huge bond fire. But as I looked around I was amazed how poverty-stricken this village was, and I answered, "Lord, all I can see is no running water, no toilets, no electricity, only huts. Then the Lord said to me, "No, look again and tell me what you see?" So I looked again but this time I saw black people circled around the bond fire, there I saw their hands lifted to the night sky and praising God in their language. I answered the Lord, "Father, I see joy and peace, they are smiling." Then the Lord said, "This is where my love is." Well, as soon as I wanted to turn and look at God and ask what this meant, well, I woke up. I realize God's love is not limited to one area, yet I have this inner pull to go to Africa, but I could be wrong. Yes I have prayed and seek to the meaning of this dream. Also, since this dream, children are drawn to me even parents have noticed and normally will tell me. I do not understand all of this and I need prayer and direction. I am changing jobs in child care and I have my basics in college,and I scored highest in social studies and psychology. Am I too old to go into missionary work? And if not, what would you advise? I also homeschooled my youngest son. Thank you for your advice. God bless you! Dawn Jackson.
Thanks, Dawn, for sharing your extraordinary experience with me. I’m sure you’ll not soon forget what you saw. Very precious.
I don’t believe I am have a spiritual gift of discerning the meaning of dreams, as Joseph did, but I’ll give you some of my reactions as I read your note.
" It is interesting to me that at first you were impressed with the poverty of the situation – comparing what you saw with what we Americans take for granted as being important. However, the Lord didn’t see the lack of these things as a problem. He saw the vitality of the worship of the people, and told you, “This is where my love is.” Beautiful.
" This is not to say that the things you would consider to be important for comfort are not important. I’m sure that the people there would one day appreciate being able to “upgrade” their standard of living, but the Lord looked beyond these elements. The Lord showed you that He desires worship from people who love Him.
" It is interesting that the dream gave you an “inner pull” to go to Africa. Why? What would you do there? You are interested in children. However, you didn’t see an orphanage that desperately needs help (though there are millions of AIDS orphans in Africa). At your age to organize a relationship to a mission (if they would accept you), raise support, get to Africa, and then begin the process of language learning and cultural adaptation would be very difficult. Very difficult. I am interested that the Lord didn’t say, “Who will go for us…” (to meet some need He might have pointed out) as He did to Isaiah. Nor, an African asking, “Come over to Africa and help us,” as the Macedonian did to Paul. Rather He showed you how people we might consider “very needy” in reality are blessing Him with their worship.
" The Lord has given you interest in children and they respond to you. There is much to do in your own context.
" My suggestions:
o Thank the Lord for the dream – for this vision that knowing the Lord and worshipping Him is more important than creature comforts. He may be calling you to grow in your own discipline of growing in worship, so that increasingly He would say of you, “This is where my love is.”
o Ask Him how He wants you to serve Him.
o Meanwhile, get involved in ministry at home that attracts you and enables you to use your gifts and experience.
o If you continue to feel the “pull” to Africa, get in contact with missions that work there – read about their ministries, pray for the needs that they mention, and perhaps even make a trip one day to see for yourself things you have been praying for.
o I have no idea what other “tugs” the Lord may send your way, but as you are sensitive and open to Him, He is well able to lead and guide you.
Your dream has blessed my heart. I trust it will bless others as well.