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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dreams Aren't Just For Sleeping

 Many times I say things like, "...what I want to do." or "...what I feel God's called me to longterm." and "...my dream." without it ever occurring to me that people may not have been following me for very long and may not know what it is I'm talking about. So get ready for a pretty cool story, in my opinion, as I "fill you in" on what all this is.

Before I can really take you forward, I need to take you back a bit. When I was 15 years old I heard God call me to the mission field and with that came this idea that stuck in my head about me traveling the nations, singing (which I did not do at the time), playing the guitar (which I didn't own nor know how to play at the time) and speaking in front of thousands of people (which I also was not accustomed to). [Those of you who know me are either laughing or smiling at this point in the story.] Well something else happened on that trip that I would regret if I did not tell you because it at the core of who I am and what I do; God set me free, "ironically" during a missions camp in Ukraine themed "Svuabodney Palut" = "Free to Fly", I was set free from all the fear that had previously prohibited me from worshipping God the way I had always wanted to in my heart- through expression and through the arts. It would take me years before I realized that I was set free so that I might set others free.

Fast forward to the summer of 2009: I'm a college student in a Bible College getting my degree in missions when God starts to put all this stuff about human trafficking and slavery in my face and the guilt just keeps amounting. The heap of guilt and heaviness got so heavy that one night I collapsed on the floor weeping under the oppression of all the faces of the women and children I had neglected for so long. As I wept, I remembered back to that idea I had 4 years before and I almost felt relieved, seeing a way out from under this pile of guilt, and I said, "God this is not my mission field." Never have I felt the finger of God hit my soul nor heard His voice so strong as when He said, "It is now." My response was the only kind you can give under such circumstances, "Okay. I'm all in." 

So fast forward another year: God tells me that I was to finish Bible School and go on the mission field; next thing I know I'm in New Zealand on a Justice Discipleship Training School for 6 months. One day on our school our leaders rolled out a big sheet of paper and told us to write our dreams down. The idea I had since I was 15 was just the bread and here I was needing to write down the sandwich; so I wrote down the only thing I had, something I was too hesitant to transfer onto something that could be seen or touched, but God made me write it down any way and this is what came out: 

"Combine justice, music, art, and missions. Go live with people, learn their stories and their needs. Find out what specific need can be met to bring about change. Then return home and make music and art telling people's stories, raising awareness and selling it to raise funds to meet the need presented by the people. 100% of the profits go to meeting their needs. Then when their needs begin to be met, go back and help them tell their stories through the arts and turn that into something that can be sold; thus providing them with an income. But more than that it gives them pride, joy and dignity, as well as, working as a great tool for healing. My role would shift from being the story teller to the story facilitator." 

When I read what had just effortlessly fell out of me onto paper, I realized that God had taken an idea almost 5 years old and made it into a beautiful dream that highlighted my passions, identity, and dreams from the past; on that paper lied all my restored hopes and dreams. It didn't take much convincing or discussion to realize that my heart and this dream were already intimately connected. I looked at what I would need to learn, things I would need to do, and I made goals for the next 7 years to serve as a rough map to help motivate myself to make this happen. 

The first big step in that was coming here to Adelaide to help pioneer a music ministry, which has since evolved into a bigger and better step in the direction of my dream than it orginally looked to be. What's happening now is that I've been given full authority, by the leadership here, to pursue and develop this dream; that first step being using my songs to support already existing ministries. 

Busking for Change!

My first project is going to be helping to raise funds for an orphanage in Uganda that one of our staff here has been heavily involved in the making of. I have written a song and am doing research on how to market it and sell it effectively as well as legally how that all works. Thanks to my parents, they blessed me with a recording mic that I have been learning and experimenting with since I received it. All in all, what I'm telling you is that I'm doing it! It's not just an idea that is floating in my head or a dream in my heart; it's a dream that is transposing into my life. 

Another part of this is the art that I've been doing called, "30 Day Justice Drawing Challenge." This is something that I made after doing a 30 Day Drawing Challenge I found on the internet. Everyday has a different justice issue with a link that gives people a place to draw inspiration from and also grow in awareness about the issue. Mixed into the challenge are days where people have to draw concepts of justice like, "restoration, freedom, generosity, etc." in order to not weigh them down but to really challenge people to hope. The whole point of the Justice Drawing Challenge is to raise awareness for both the author and the audience. I've been doing this myself for the past week or so and I, myself, have been growing. 

Everytime I post a drawing about justice or write a song, I feel incredible. It is in this line of work that everything about me makes sense, that all my passions are in sync and my heart is truly at its best. This is just the beginning. The best is yet to come. Dreams aren't just for sleeping, they're for living.