I scanned the table, trying to read the expressions on each face.
I tried to read my own heart, too.
The visitor at our meeting had just told us that what we were trying to do is impossible. It would never happen. Nothing like that had ever been done here. It’s just “too hard”.
He began to offer up “easier” alternatives. Maybe we could have a day program to feed the kids and offer activities as alternatives to drugs and pre-marital sex, two things that are quickly dominating this small town and contributing to the crime and teen pregnancy rate.
Rosa was almost expression-less. Was she discouraged? Did her dream of twenty years just die?
Aurilene was searching, asking leading questions, trying to find a loophole that would give us hope that this thing could really come to pass. But she kept calling it “their” desire, referring to me and Richard.
‘No,’ I thought. ‘I never wanted this. God gave us this.’
In fact, we had fought against the very idea. It was never even on our radar to facilitate a children’s home. We knew, after our short experience with the government here in Brazil, that it would be a series of nightmares to try to pull off something like that. We had said, ‘This can’t be for us.”
But God had said, “Yes. I AM is telling you yes.”
So we [reluctantly] said ‘yes’… and our hearts began to change. That was over a year ago now.
We began to learn the stories, see the faces of these children with no hope. We met our daughter. We learned of Rosa’s heart to give, love, serve, with nothing but Jesus to guide her.
And here we sat, like so many other times in our life, with someone saying, “Ain’t gonna happen, y’all.”
Before this meeting had started I felt something in my Spirit saying, “You need to pray. This meeting won’t be like the last.”
Our last [and first] meeting had been one of excitement and dream sharing and we all left ready to conquer the world.
But this one, the Spirit said, would be different. Pray.
So I did. Not as much as I should have because I thought, “What could be so bad?”
And here it was. Our dream was being challenged. So while our well-intentioned friend spoke of the rules and difficulty of such an undertaking, I began to pray, “Lord give us the faith we need. Lord, give us the wisdom that comes from You. Lord, may we see you and not the challenges in front of us.
God, don’t let us doubt in the dark what you so clearly revealed in the light.”
After about an hour and a half of ‘what-ifs’ and ‘how abouts’, we got the light we were searching for, a new direction that gave us hope. Our guest left shortly thereafter and our meeting continued.
That’s when I probed a little at the heart of Rosa.
“What do you think, Rosa? You’ve been quiet.”
She paused. And that familiar, knowing smile came to her face and she said, “I’ve waited twenty years for this. I’m sure not giving it all up now.”
I relaxed a little. And felt the conviction. This never was “my” dream, yet just when the opposition started to present itself, I was ready to throw in the towel. And here I sat across the table from a woman who has, for twenty years, raised children who are not her own. She took in her husband’s love child and raised him as her own. She feeds and clothes and bathes street kids when everyone around her condemns her, saying she should just worry about her own three biological children. After all, she doesn’t have the means. Just the other day her power was cut off.
“I have Jesus,” she once told me. “Therefore, I have all I need.”
So she has waited and pursued and trusted that one day, God would bring to fruition this dream He has put in her heart.
Since that meeting about a week a half ago, God has given us new leads.
Pray for us. Pray for this home. We know God is in this. We also know that the challenges are real. But God is just as interested in growing our faith in Him and making us more like Him through this process as He is in reaching the lost and broken in this little town.
Because it is all for Him and through Him and by Him that any of these things will happen.
And that is all for His glory.