I have been told by others that I'm a “dreamer”. I’m not always sure if that is a positive or a negative. But, here are some of my thoughts as I was flying from Argentina to Paraguay earlier this year.
I like to dream; especially on planes. When I’m on a plane my mind often begins to drift off and dreams begin to form just like the clouds. At first, my dreams are vague and not well formed. But soon, they begin to take shape and I begin to “see” them more clearly. Almost all of my dreams have a beginning. They start with “What if …”. And, they have an ending “… so His name will be known”. You probably are thinking “that’s not much of a dream”; and you would be right. But, what makes these dreams significant is "the blank" in the middle of the two phrases. I want "the blanks" in my dreams to be filled in by God. His blanks are always better than mine. And, they tend to be much bigger than mine. In fact, they are often outrageous and humanly impossible to complete. But, that’s what makes them so exciting.
So, what am I dreaming right now? Well, here it is. Yesterday, my wife Michelle and I, along with two of our church planting ministry friends in Argentina, Eduardo Buldain and Juan Rameriz, met with Maria Gloria Penayo and her husband Nicanor Duarte at their new home in Buenos Aires. Maria Gloria, the former First Lady of Paraguay, became a friend of Michelle’s last year when they spoke together at a women’s conference in Paraguay. Nicanor, a former president of Paraguay for two terms, is now Paraguay’s Ambassador to Argentina. Maria Gloria and Michelle have developed a deep friendship and love for each other in a short period of time. As we began talking, it was so encouraging to see how Maria Gloria has already started a women’s Bible study in her new home.
After a few minutes of catching up, I asked Maria Gloria a question that was burning in my heart; “So, why do you believe God brought you and your husband here to Argentina?” Maria Gloria responded honestly by saying, “I don’t know yet but, I have prayed to Him to use me for whatever He desires.” This is exactly what God wants … an open and submissive heart to serve Him. I can think of no better mission statement for an ambassador of Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:20.
As background, Argentina has a large population of Paraguayans who have come to Argentina to seek work. They are hard workers and will work for less pay than others. The reported number of Paraguayans living in Argentina varies. I have heard numbers between 800,000 to over 2 million. With only 6.5 million Paraguayans living in Paraguay today, regardless of the exact number, the percentage of Paraguayans living in Argentina is very high. And, most of the Paraguayans are living in the very poor barrios of La Mantanza located on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. This is an area where no one wants to go as it is a poor, crime ridden and dangerous place. In some barrios, you dare not enter without a local resident inviting and escorting you. But, this is the area where God has called Eduardo Buldain and others to plant churches for Him. To date, they have planted 16 Missionary Bible Churches in these barrios and have a vision to plant nearly 100 in the next 20 years. Maria Gloria and her husband, who are both followers of Jesus Christ, listened as we spoke about the plight of the Paraguayans and others living in La Mantanza. I could see Gloria’s eyes begin to tear up and her heart break for the people in these barrios. These people are Paraguayan’s … her people, but more than that, they are God’s children and she has a heart for the lost.
So as I am flying, my “What if’s” begin to form.
“What if … God wanted to use Maria Gloria and Nicanor to reach 200,000 Paraguayans in La Mantanza …”.
“What if … God used Maria Gloria to begin a movement in La Mantanza among the women and children …”. “
What if … La Mantanza became a beacon shining His light to all of Argentina …”.
So many “what if’s”. But, I am now passing over the Parana River signaling that we are in Paraguay air space and will soon be landing. So, what’s in store for us in our next 10 days in Paraguay? What dreams does God have for us? They are beginning to form and I will share more later, but here is a hint.
What if … God were to use Su Refugio to reach the mothers and the children who were born in jail as a result of their mothers being incarcerated … so that His name will be known?
These are some of "the blanks" in my dreams. What’s are "the blanks" in the dreams that God has given you? He has BIG dreams for you. You know that, right? Jeremiah 29:11
Will you pray for "the blanks" God has placed on my heart?
Send me "your blanks" and I will pray for them also.