A DREAM , AN ENCOUNTER, A CATALYST TO A MISSION OUTREACH

ON THE MOVE AGAIN 

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Although there has been  personal,  consistent  involvement in local ministerial outreach, it has been nine years since I was commissioned to lead a multi- national group of Christian workers to four Asian Countries  in September 2009  and to go solo to a Caribbean nation  in December 2009. It is nineteen years since I was called to a solo long- term outreach  also in an Asian nation. When three ruptured Cerebral  Aneurysms and Craniotomy prematurely ended  this engagement in November 2002, I thought the end to my Christian work, local and international had arrived, “But God….” He had a different plan to keep my desire to go into other lands alive and to provide opportunities.

The opportunity for another foreign service came in summer of 2017. From the beginning, it had the markings of being different from all previous Christian Outreaches in terms of challenges,  uncertainties and  “extraterrestrial interferences”

 It began in a dream while  vacationing in The Bronx, New York in summer of 2017.

 I dreamed of a young woman,  who resembled my younger daughter.  In the dream,  the gorgeous young woman seemed to  have recently given birth to the cutest  twin girls.  My daughter was expecting a girl.  I thought the dream was of my daughter, so I suggested  she verifies  the number of babies she was REALLY  expecting.  She totally ignored me.  

“Ouch!”

I thought;  “What  if she and her OBGYN were mistaken,  and she is carrying twins or more. 

Would I have a snug,  “I told you so  satisfied smile”, or would I be as supportive as before.   No one  but God knew. 

The reality was,  God was up to something.  He did another  of His amazing Orchestrations of human affairs  and caused the young woman of my dream and me to meet in a MCDONALD’S at the corner of East  232nd Street and White Plains Road in Bronx NY.  

   I was staying with  friends on East 232nd Street. She was staying with a relative  at East 230th Street and White Plains 

Road . She should have been staying in Brooklyn adjacent to her delivery hospital, but human changeableness made her move to the Bronx only two blocks from where I was staying.  AMAZING? 

What is the likelihood of dreaming of  complete strangers then meeting them personally  in a fast food restaurant from which I eat only the baked apple pie? Only  Father can take ALL the  circumstances of our human existence and  work them for good to those who love Him and whom He calls to fulfill His decrees. 

( Paraphrase on Romans 8: 28.)

Well, it happened!  This was no fluke, coincidence, accident or happenstance.   This was Father’s sovereignty at work. He invaded and carefully  orchestrated human affairs to fulfil His divinely pre -  ordained purposes. 

 For this young woman,  it was for her to find friends and servants in America during her maternity hiatus from her native land to have her twin girls SAFELY at Down State Hospital in Brooklyn,  New York, USA  instead of  in her native land Saint Lucia to Avoid MEDICAL complications.  

Saint Lucia?  Where is that?  Like many, even the American Airline’s 

Personnel, thought it was one of  the St. Thomas  Virgin islands. Well, they were all mistaken.  Saint Lucia is An Eastern Caribbean island..

From early geography  lessons in Jamaica  about the Caribbean, I learned the islands were divided into: “Greater Antilles; Lesser Antilles; the Windward and Leeward Islands.

Being one of the smaller Caribbean Island, Saint Lucia is in the Lesser  Antilles.

FYI Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto are in the Greater Antilles.

So, what was Father’s purpose for me in this scenario?

I sensed several, yet there are all part of one grand divine plan. First, it was a test in an my acceptance of  God’s Sovereignty to do whatever  pleases Him. 

Secondly,  Would I believe God uses various means include dreams and visions to communicate His will in this, “Post modern” era.

Thirdly,  am I  willing to  obey  the message He sends me.

The Meeting

One  late Saturday afternoon,  while returning from  visiting  someone in The Lady of Mercy Hospital in the Bronx, I reluctantly stopped in the MCDONALD’S I mentioned  earlier, to get one instead of the usual two apples pies. Armed with a single dollar, I approached the ordering line. There was a slight delay.  It became clear the person ahead of me was having some foreign currency issues. To help our, I gave the young woman my Dollar.  Another woman contributed.  These, “Random acts of  of kindness “ quickly resolved the issue.

When the young woman turned to thank us, we noticed she was an expectant mother.  Someone asked, “ What are you having? “

“ Twin girls “. She responded quietly. 

No bells or whistles sounded for me. Instead, there was a direct  nudge for me to pronounce a blessing on her and her unborn twin girls. I asked her  if I may. She responded  affirmatively. 

I  pronounced, verbatim, Aaron’s Blessing from Numbers 6:24-26.  At the end, the blessed young woman thanked me then asked  if I were leaving. I told her I would leave after getting my order.  I curiously asked her why.

She responded; 

“ I would like to speak with you”.  

Still wondering  why, I waited for her. After getting our  orders, we left MCDONALD’S,  and she and I rounded the corner and stood  to the left of the entrance to  MacDonald on 232nd Street. .

What  on earth could this stranger want to say to me?   She spoke first.

“ I truly believe the blessing you just pronounced on me is from God.  It is the same blessing my family pronounce on each other at home  in Saint Lucia.”  She continued;  “Even our two and a half years old pronounces this blessing on us.  Wow! What was I to think?  I do not believe in coincidences.  As we continued our conversation,  found myself staring at her while the details of my dream swam to the surface of my mind as if confirming she was the, “Subject” of my dream, and she resembles  my younger daughter. 

When  I chuckled,  she became  curious,  so I told her of the dream.  An immediate transformation  occurred.  She seemed  to be comfortable with each other as complete strangers.  After telling me her foreign names are  Kashama Chigoji,  her husband is  Solomon and her son Sule Tsidkenue, and I told her my equally foreign sounding names are Marlegrecy N’Ovec,  we  started communicating like old acquaintances, or better still, we spoke like relatives.  She told of her Christian faith and that of her family. I told her of my relationship with Jesus. Soon, we revealed our reasons for being in the Bronx. Hers was fascinating : to  have  twin girls. Mine was a potpourri of visiting an expectant daughter;  seeing my three grands; editing a friend’s book and attending church services and exploring the very large prestigious  Wood Lawn  Cemetery  where many late celebrities are interred. A bit of the  macabre! 

I preferred Kashama’s reason  for being in the Bronx.  It was an exciting chapter on her parenting journey for her and her family.  In response to my questions, she told me of some of her needs for herself and the twin girls.  They were multiple and substantive.  I felt the need to pray, so right there at corner of East 232nd Street and White Plains Road with an audience of able bodied men looking on, we held hands, bowed our heads and prayed. My friend, who called at that moment,  joined us in praying per telephone. 

Kashama  accepted my invitation to attend Wake Eden Community Baptist Church with me the next  day.  They welcomed her cordially and  partnered with me in caring for while she stayed in the USA to have her babies.  This collaboration epitomizes true Christian Love and Service. 

For the purpose of this report,  I will hasten to say this dream, the  unexpected  MCDONALD’S rendezvous with Kashama are all a part of Father’s sovereignty at work.  He had to find people to care for Kashama, her unborn twin girls and her family including her accompanying  mother,  who told me her daughter Kashama resembles me. Imagine that!!!

Father also had to set the stage  for His next foreign  mission  for me.

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Saint Lucia would be the next destination.  A month after Kashama had her beautiful girls Estelle and Esther, she returned to  Castries,  Saint Lucia.  Her family invited me to visit and celebrate Father’s goodness to them.  This became  the catalyst for the short term mission with Youth With A Mission -Saint Lucia  (YWAM SL). 

The Chigojis recommended me to Mr. Guy (Ghee) & Mrs. Marilyn  Weka Fotso  the directors of YWAM.  They began the process of inviting me,  gathering references, one of which came from Pastor Lia Willetts. 

I was truly grateful for her recommendation.  An excerpt from my grateful response to her reads: “Dear Pastor Willets,  You blessed me greatly by submitting a reference on my behalf to Youth With A Mission  -  Saint Lucia.  I thank you. This opportunity to serve in Saint Lucia is also a great blessing. It will be my first official foreign service since my last in Asia in 2009. As you already know, the nature of my personal service in God’s Kingdom is evangelical. I have served locally,  nationally and internationally.  This includes  prison ministries in the Caribbean,  Asia and North America....”

The remainder of the letter dealt with the requirements to become a commissioned missionary under the auspices of the United Methodist’s Mission Board and questions about what level of support to expect from Christ United Methodist Church (CUMC) my local congregation.

Up to this point,  I was unaware that as a, “Methodist “  I should have first  approached the Methodist Mission Board.  My question about  the Methodist qualifying procedure for becoming a commissioned mission is yet to be answered. I need to complete reading the informational booklet that was attached to the, “Cease and desist memo”.

Like Kashama,  I believed this opportunity to serve in Saint Lucia, “Is from God”. 

  Getting Ready For Mission To YWAM -Saint Lucia

  Armed with the  command of the, “Great Commission” ( Matthew 28: 19-20)  to, “Go” and with the assurance of the Holy Spirit’s perpetual  Presence, I began my preparations. Time was crucially short, but our Sovereign LORD was at the helm. 

CUMC MISSION’S COMMITTEE ACTION 

  • After discussing my call to serve in Saint Lucia with  Pastor Lia Willetts,  she advised me to contact  the President of the Mission Committee. 

  • I followed her advice. 

Since  the Mission  Committee was on a summer hiatus,  President Daphne Forrester had to call an emergency session  to determine how the committee would  support my solo, unendorsed short term mission.  The available committee members unanimously and graciously  voted to purchase the airline ticket for over $683. USD.  Pastor Lia Willetts generously added travelers’ insurance protection.   I am still deeply grateful for this wonderful BOOST to launch my short-term mission. They encouraged and energized me. Thanks again! !

With Father’s unmatched help,  I raised much of my remaining  $2,555.00 via spontaneous  contributions from one of the few recipients of my newsletter before  I had to stop  distributing  them.

The rest literally became history. This Christian Outreach was unlike any other I had undertaken. The limitations of time, lack of publicity within the Christian  Community; an uncanny feeling of aloneness,  bolstered my courage and resolve instead of derailing what I firmly believed was Father’s calling me to join Him in His work in Saint Lucia. 

  Satan’s attempt to discourage and disparage me  met the FERVENT PRAYERS  of my spiritual partners;  my unflinching faith and implicit trust in Jehovah Jihre’s ability to provide and His promise to, “Make all crooked  places straight”. He raised up three homeowners in Lehigh Acres to engage me in gardening and landscaping projects through which I realized the major part of my budget. 

A  brief “Gofundme” Campaign and  the generosity of friends accounted for most of what I  raised. I was confidently  content that all would be well. Again,  I am grateful to everyone, who contributed in any way to enable my Saint Lucian mission.  God bless you always. 

SCOPE OF THE WORK AT YWAM SL 

SCOPE OF THE WORK AT YWAM SAINT LUCIA

As was delineated in my “Newsletter Beautiful Feet”: Summer Edition, 2018,

My service  in Saint Lucia included,  but not limited to :

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  • Daily, pre- breakfast  devotional and deductive Bible Study  led by the directors. They assigned various times for me to lead

  • Kitchen duties:

  1. Prepared  various  vegan meals.

  2. Clean up kitchen after meals on various days.

  3. Bathroom Duties.  Cleaned as needed

  4. Helped with doing  laundry. 

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  • Assisted with Salvation Army  Soup Kitchen in Castries to feed street and homeless people 

  • Participated in street side Prayer Station in Castries.  I had several opportunities to interact with, pray for and counsel seekers as Father directed. 

  • Presented the gospel to a Father, who had His infant son with him. He asked for prayers and in the process  responded to God’s call to follow Him.

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  • Attended and contributed to the part time Discipleship Training School  (DTS ) On the

 YWAM ‘s base.

  • Organized and facilitated Parenting Survey (Copy attached) 

  • Conducted a  Workshop on “21st Century & Beyond Parenting”  at  the YWAM’S camp base on August 25th, 2018.

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  • Visited churches  for mobilization and intercessory prayers for international ministries and the nations on Wednesdays and Sundays. 

  • Individual Counseling

  • Individual Bible study  

  • Clerical : Entered in kind items donated to  YWAM by members of CUMC; the Lehigh Acres Community; Center, Amazing Grace Family Worship Center; Manager & staff and residents of Heron Pond Apartments and other Lehigh Acres residents  in a log.

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  • Entered distribution of these items made by YWAM to fire victims and back-  to -  schoolers.

  • Cataloged donated books in library system. 

  • GARDEN AND LANDSCAPING : The aims were :

1- To revive the floral garden beds by weeding, feeding  and fertilizing

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2- To reap and restore the subsistence crops plots  Eg. Pigeon peas, bananas and various kinds of peppers  tomatoes, scallions and cucumbers. 

3- To reap the mangoes and Guanabana (Sour Sop)  to prevent waste by the birds and squirrels. 

Climbing mango trees at 80 year. was more exhilarating than climbing in my youth although infinitely more  risky.  This old lady  likes, “Reckless abandonment for the benefit of Christ’s Kingdom. No alarm! We took the necessary precautions. 

The overall aim of the garden project is to help the YWAM – SL  ministry become  self sufficient by producing more of  the food they consume at YWAM - Saint Lucia .

Plans are being made to acquire property for this sustainable development.  Research is on going to discover similar subsistence  projects and systems world wide and to emulate what works and to originate others. 

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ARRIVING IN SAINT LUCIA 

ARRIVING IN SAINT LUCIA 

Welcome at Hewanorra International Airport

Welcome at Hewanorra International Airport

 After a relatively smooth, non - stop 3 hours 17 minutes flight, we landed at the Hewanorra International Airport in Saint Lucia. The quick, uneventful  immigration clearance pleased me.  I waited moderately long for my luggage and escorts. I passed the wait chatting with people, including a young boy whom I blessed.   

The folks meeting spotted me easily with my predescribed, big, yellow hat. The legible  YWAM SAINT LUCIA  sign revealed the  co- directors Guy and Marilyn and their 7yr old son Asaph.

 I immediately felt as if I was back home in Jamaica. 

Here’s a brief description :

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  • The ride to the YWAM’s base was incredibly long, but it was delightfully scenic and breathtakenly beautiful. 

  • We stopped at  various  touristy lookouts to take photos against the backdrop of majestic mountains and intricately sculpt  and valleys.  

  • The, “Kid in me frolicked”.  I breathe in the spice saturated air,  and visually and auditorily devoured all the  beautiful sights and pleasant sounds.

  • The highlight of the ride the base was stopping at a,  “Streetside Bakery” for hot-out-of-the-oven bread. Besides  being delectable,  it transported me back in time to my Kingston Technical High School days in Kingston, Jamaica when a huge lunch time feature was standing in line for hot,  buttered,  hard – dough – bread from the bakery adjacent to my high school.  Reminiscing these experiences are deliciously comforting . 

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  • At the Street side Bakery, my playfulness and folly emerged again as I gave Asaph a, “Piggyback ride“   Thankfully,  he was light weight.  No ensuing problem! 

  • Upon arrival in Castries, the  Chigojis greeted me cordially.  In plain sight, I saw together  the, “Subjects” of my dream.  The twin girls were just the size and images as in the dream.  Their three plus years old brother Sule Tsidkenue resembled the boy in the photos Mr. Chigoji sent me. I saw  Kashama and her mother again after first meeting them in The Bronx, New York.  

  • The first few days after arriving in Saint Lucia were spent with the Chigojis. We celebrated the twin girls in a Dedication  Ceremony at The Wesleyan Church. They gave me an opportunity to testify of God’s flawless direction of my mission to YWAM - Saint Lucia. My testimony was well received. The pastor wove it into his sermon.

  • On August 20, 2018 I began my work at the YWAM’S camp base in Rodney Bay.  I lived on campus all week and returned to the Chigojis in Castries for R & R and church attendance  on the weekends.

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  • The ride to the YWAM’s base was incredibly long, but it was delightfully scenic and breathtakenly beautiful. 

  • We stopped at  various  touristy lookouts to take photos against the backdrop of majestic mountains and intricately sculpt  and valleys.  

  • The, “Kid in me frolicked”.  I breathe in the spice saturated air,  and visually and auditorily devoured all the  beautiful sights and pleasant sounds.

  • The highlight of the ride the base was stopping at a,  “Streetside Bakery” for hot-out-of-the-oven bread. Besides  being delectable,  it transported me back in time to my Kingston Technical High School days in Kingston, Jamaica when a huge lunch time feature was standing in line for hot,  buttered,  hard – dough – bread from the bakery adjacent to my high school.  Reminiscing these experiences are deliciously comforting . 

  • At the Street side Bakery, my playfulness and folly emerged again as I gave Asaph a, “Piggyback ride“   Thankfully,  he was light weight.  No ensuing problem! 

  • Upon arrival in Castries, the  Chigojis greeted me cordially.  In plain sight, I saw together  the, “Subjects” of my dream.  The twin girls were just the size and images as in the dream.  Their three plus years old brother Sule Tsidkenue resembled the boy in the photos Mr. Chigoji sent me. I saw  Kashama and her mother again after first meeting them in The Bronx, New York.  

  • The first few days after arriving in Saint Lucia were spent with the Chigojis. We celebrated the twin girls in a Dedication  Ceremony at The Wesleyan Church. They gave me an opportunity to testify of God’s flawless direction of my mission to YWAM - Saint Lucia. My testimony was well received. The pastor wove it into his sermon.

  • On August 20, 2018 I began my work at the YWAM’S camp base in Rodney Bay.  I lived on campus all week and returned to the Chigojis in Castries for R & R and church attendance  on the weekends.

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