I would like to tell the story of our travels in the Caribbean in 1980 because this story is about an amazing dream. Again, we were 'living by faith'. We shared the Gospel with the generally friendly people of Barbados. We were still young and quite innocent in our faith and expected God to do just about anything He had promised in His Holy Word! In our case this included supply, as that was an almost daily necessity!
All through history dreams have been pivotal, consequential and important to many nations and cultures. The Bible is full of stories and the importance of dreams! From Jacob’s dream of the ladder to heaven, to the Pharaoh’s dream which Joseph interpreted and the mighty prophetic dream of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar which Daniel interpreted, as far as the birth of Jesus Christ described in the Gospel of Matthew chapters one and two -- which contains three or four different dreams given by God to various people involved in the birth and protection of His Son.
Matthew 1:20 -- But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
Matthew 2:12 -- And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Matthew 2:13 -- And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
Matthew 2:19 -- But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
Matthew 2:22 -- But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
For myself, dreams have not played a huge part of my life, in that I don’t have many myself! But I do know many people who place great stock in them, and for whom they are either predictions, warnings or comfort for their lives!
In Barbados the Lord had graciously let us befriend a wonderful German lady who owned a popular German restaurant near the beach. She took a great liking to us in a godly way and invited us all to stay with her until the week before Christmas that year. So we stayed with her nearly 2 months in total. God bless her for her loving hospitality and kindness to His Children. We all got along sp endidly and she loved the children. Her family and friends were coming down from Germany just before Christmas which meant she was unable to host us later than the third week of December.
A few weeks before Christmas we wisely (we thought) started casting our eyes on possible places to stay, rental cottages, small guest houses etc. We made enquiries, we phoned, we visited, but there was literally 'no room in the Inn' for us. It seemed in our ignorance we had left things too late! Time passed. Days drew by and still no supply from the Lord or man! Oh dear! Things got serious as with only a few days to go and all our suitcases neatly packed up, nothing had happened!
Our kind host had been asking how things were going, and we, not wanting to worry her, assured her that 'we had somewhere' and that we would be fine. In fact, by faith, we had packed all our suitcases in the hallway and just retained a few sheets and pyjamas for the last night there.
It’s an amazing thing when you are a parent isn’t it, that your small children often have no idea of the stresses, heavy decisions and mind-bending trials of faith, financial problems and other vicissitudes of life!? For them, life is (or should be) just one great fun adventure with Mummy and Daddy and their friends and siblings! And that is just what it should be for them! May the Lord help you never to worry your children unnecessarily. No one will benefit from that.
1 Corinthians 13:10 -- But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
1 Corinthians 13:11 -- When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Finally, the evening before we were due to leave, still no door from God had opened. We were tempted to fear and to be in mental distress! But at the same time the Spirit was not allowing us to give way to despair. Only our fleshly minds were hindering us.
So in this situation, we did what we had always previously done, we prayed! After the children had gone to bed, my wife and I prayed desperately and long and fervently. Our great Jesus had never failed us before, why should he fail us now as we stood on the spiritual cliff of poverty and lack.
We then retired for the night. We felt we had done what we could; only God could help us now. We were serving Him as best as we knew how in our stumbling youthful fashion, but I must admit this was one of the toughest battles of faith I had had so far!
Now I have realised that when you get a fierce test, God is actually honouring you as well as trying to increase your faith, and in the long run, He will create a testimony that will inspire the faith of others who hear about it. Praise the Lord. And I am pleased to say, so it is with this desperate situation.
During the night my wife had a dream. She woke up. In the dream a man had come to her and given her a piece of paper with a number on it. I can’t remember the rest of it, as there were some more details, but my wife woke up and wrote the five or six digit number down on a piece of paper. ‘Here it is’, she said after waking me up and explaining it all, ‘but I don’t know what this number means’.
Probably it’s as clear to you as it was to me at the time that this number was in fact a phone number that God was giving us of someone right there on the island of Barbados! We were thrilled, ‘a phone number!’ we thought. It was now about six in the morning. What should we do? (my, we are really dumb!). We realised we had to phone that number. This presented some immediate problems to us, as I am sure you can imagine. The first was: does this phone number even exist? I think it was a five or six digit number then in December 1980.
If it did exist, and even if somebody did pick up the call, how do you go about telling that person that God had given their phone number to us, missionaries who lived with prayer and faith and had three children and absolutely no where to stay for the next three weeks? This is insane! No one in their right minds would do that or help someone they didn’t know, and that’s even if we did have the courage to pick up that phone and tell them in the first place!!
How exciting! How tremendous and how utterly stupid and irresponsible! How unplanned and how foolish can we get? Well, let me tell you, we can get a lot more ridiculous and since this time we have learned to be more conservative in our plans. At the same time we can say that this is truly ‘the wild freedom’ of living on the mountain with God, living on the edge of faith itself. The ‘cutting edge’ people like to call things today that are new and even risky. Well, those years of my young life were risky in the extreme and here was yet another episode.
But desperation and prayer had brought us to this point and we now had to pick up the phone and make the connection! As a man, I pulled rank, and decided unilaterally that since my wife had had the dream, then obviously God wanted my wife to make the call! Ha!
This was not only because I was afraid, but also because I knew my wife was a lot sweeter and nicer than I was, so I just felt she would do a better job of it, (as wives often do).
At 7 a.m we dialled the number!
The number existed! A man answered the phone! He was an older man in his 60’s I think. My wife started to talk about the weather and being on a visit to Barbados and she went round the bush a few times for a several minutes, while I was wringing my hands in the background, (as husbands often do), and praying that the man would not think we were totally ‘crackers’ and hang up the phone thus ‘screwing up’ our chances!
I grimaced to my wife to ‘get on with it’. Obviously my wife understandably was having a trial of faith to spit out all the truth of our situation. I prayed silently, she took a deep breath and said.... ‘Well... you may not believe this but........and she told the man the full story. Finally she said; ‘What do you think this all means? Can you help us?’
The phone went quiet a moment..... We waited. ‘No’, the man said, ‘I don’t think I can help you; you see, I live way over here way on the other side of the island with my wife in a small house, we just wouldn’t have room to house you, even if we wanted to. Mmm, but, wait a minute, my cousin is the President of the Bible College in Bridgetown (the capital). Let me call him and explain your situation and perhaps if he wants to help you, he can call you. I will pass your number on to him. I know many of his Bible students have gone away for Christmas and he probably has some rooms free.’
The phone call ended! What a lovely man, yet how scary, but the Lord had helped my wife take the plunge. The Lord had given the number, surely then something had to happen! God will not give us a bum deal. We waited holding our breath in this eleventh hour, or really one minute to midnight hour for us!
After about 30 minutes, the phone rang, I picked it up, it was the man’s cousin, the President of the Bible College. He was soooooooo enthusiastic! His enthusiasm inspired us.
He was in fact ‘over the moon’, that God Himself had given a dream to missionaries who were there on his island and he was supposed to be a part of it and fulfil the dream! He just couldn’t get over the feeling of ‘destiny’ and ‘Divine appointment’ and God speaking and doing something (which God was!)
The Pastor had ‘caught it’ from the Holy Spirit what a monumental miracle this was and this also increased his own faith that God loved him personally and had connected with him in a dream — just like Bible times! Praise God!
In his eyes it seems that this was the biggest personal miracle he had seen for some time and he classed it in the same frame as Moses crossing the red sea or something directly from the Acts of the Apostles! God bless this dear Pastor. His love and warmth carried us all to victory. ‘Where are you, he asked, ‘my driver and I will be over shortly. Do you have a lot of things?’
The second call ended! The first call we had sowed and the second The Lord had made us reap! My wife and I stood and hugged each other and thanked Jesus with great joy and tears. We could now wake the children and get them dressed! Shortly about this time dear Monika, our lovely host, woke up, and made coffee for us all. ‘Well, I shall be sad to see you go’, she exclaimed. ‘But I’m sure where you’re going will be nice. You did find somewhere to stay didn’t you?’ she queried.
About half an hour later the Pastor pulled up the driveway with another man. After warm introductions and hugs from people who had never met each other before, and lots of ‘ooohing and aahing’ and similar incredulous expressions from all of us, as well as introducing our children to them, and also dear Monika whom we thanked again profusely for all her love and patience to us, we loaded up their sensible pickup truck with our thirteen suitcases and other trifles and off we went, waving goodbye to dear precious Monika who we knew would reap the full blessings of God for her great hospitality.
Hebrews 6:10 -- For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Romans 12:13 -- Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
1 Timothy 3:2 -- A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Titus 1:8 -- But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
1 Peter 4:9 -- Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
There in Bridgetown, Barbados, we spent the next three weeks as guests, and we were treated like royalty by the lovely family of the pastor, and like his cousin on the phone had said, there were indeed several empty residential rooms in the college to which we were given full use of as well as breakfast and dinner each day. The Christmas day itself of 1980 we spent with the Pastor and his family after the church Christmas service, all of us continually being moved time and again what an enormous miracle had taken place in all our lives! We thank God for them and the very precious students who remained there. A time and a Christmas we will never forget!
Psalm 107:27 -- They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, an d are at their wits' end.
Psalm 107:28 -- Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
Psalm 107:29 -- He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Psalm 107:30 -- Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
Psalm 107:31 -- Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
Psalm 107:32 -- Let them exalt him also in the congregatio n of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
Psalm 107:33 -- He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground;
Psalm 107:34 -- A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.
Psalm 107:35 -- He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.
Psalm 107:36 -- And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation;
Psalm 107:37 -- And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fru its of increase.
Psalm 107:38 -- He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.
Psalm 107:39 -- Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.
Psalm 107:40 -- He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way.
Psalm 107:41 -- Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.
Psalm 107:42 -- The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all in iquity shall stop her mouth.
Psalm 107:43 -- Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.