Friday, December 6, 2013

By Joe Bumbulis, Minister to Students and Missions, Photos by Harvey Mayton

What do you dream? Dream for? Dream of? 

While Robert, Mary, Harvey, and I were in Ethiopia seeing the work being done by CBF's Water is Life International, the rest of the team have been busy in Kampala, Uganda.

Working at the Center of Refuge and Hope, Dorothy, Robbi, and Pancho have had their days filled. The most rewarding time has been getting to know and be with the youth who attend the center. All of the students are refugees who have fled worn torn countries like the south Sudan and Somalia. The youth gather every afternoon (some walking up to 45 minutes to get to the center) just to be together. Haryet, the youth program  manager, leads the youth in conversation about all sorts of topics. Haryet is adored by the youth. Anyone who watches her with them can see why.

A few nights ago, after a couple hours of teaching and conversation, the youth broke into two groups. The boys went with Pancho, the girls with Robbi and Dorothy. They were amazed at how incredibly open and vulnerable the youth were with one another. Pancho led a conversation with the boys about women's rights, especially in regards to abuse and rape. All of the boys concluded at the end of the conversation that rape is real and it should never happen. 

The girls gathered around Robbi and Dorothy and shared stories about what pushed them out of their country. Dorothy said it took everything in her to just not sit there and cry because of the stories, the violence, and the trauma these young people have already faced. The conversation turned toward talking about dreams. One young girl began, "I've never shared this with anyone except my best friend." Then she went on to tell the group about a dream she had about her mother. Dorothy learned later that the girl's mother had died a few months before. In this dream, the young girl's mother came to her and told her many things, most importantly that "I am with you." The girl shared that she had always carried guilt about the last moment she had with her mother. Nothing negative, but not special either.

Later, Dorothy was able to tell the girl that this dream was a gift. 

What is it that you dream? 

Whether in Ethiopia or Uganda or Austin, many of our human dreams are the same. We dream, wish, and hope for the best for our families. We dream about moments of loss and healing. We dream about our futures and open possibilities. 

God also has dreams. In the book of Revelation, the author allows us to peak into God's dreams for the world. A dream of a new creation, where there are no more tears, or violence, or missed moments with loved ones. 

Maybe mission is about living in such a way that God's dreams become our dreams. What if we all dreamed and hoped for reconciliation and love. We see this union of dream's in the great African leader Nelson Mandela who's life and dreams reflect God's own. 

This is why we are sent and why we go. As Jesus invites us, "Come and see," we are invited to see God's dreams in others. We are being transformed by dreaming those dreams that are truly a gift, given to us by God and others. 

What will you dream about tonight? A world made new? A relationship that needs healing?  

The invitation is open, "come and dream." And in dreaming, maybe the gift of new life and healing will come into our midst.




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