WHO IS TRANSFORMING WHOM?
September 3, 1981: A sultry day in Manila.
A blast of heat as the ten dreamers step forth from the coolness of the plane. A bright day, but hazy. Was it the Manila pollution or the fog of the jet-lagged minds? Ten dreamers step forth to transform their world.
Who is transforming whom? A blur of customs and visa work, jitneys (local transportation), meeting new people, seeing strange sights, getting used to day being night and night being day. Finding a staging ground. Getting set up. Learning a strange, new, wonderful language. The wonder of discovery and the fear of discovering oneself.
DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES
The dreams were good. Noble dreams – starting new congregations of believers among the unreached. Dreams of strong churches – churches where there were none yet. Works in remote Ilokano villages – always the dream before them.
Sometimes the dreams seemed like nightmares. The dreamers lived through hardships, including disease – typhoid fever, malaria, amoebic dysentery. Worse by far was the rejection and mistrust, being misunderstood, grieving over many who rejected the good news of Jesus.
Why weren’t the Ilokanos more excited about the missionaries? About the Message? Why did they treat the ten dreamers like, well, dreamers? Sometimes things seemed terribly wrong. Where were the believers? It wasn’t supposed to be like that!
REMEMBER THE DREAM!
The years pass. The fruit comes slowly, but it does come, and it comes surely. God promised it would. But why does it have to take so much work, so much patience? How hardened the hearts of men can be! How bound by traditions of fear! The dreams don’t’ die, they don’t fade; they are renewed by the only One who could possibly change the hearts of men.
April 9, 1992: A beautiful day, hot as usual.
Read the sign – “Pagsanayan ti Naballigi a Biag.” Oops! Try English – “Victorious Life Training Center.” Ten years of dreams! Ten years of church-planting in rural areas. Works in more than ten villages. A regional training center. The School of Church Planting. Eternal things – souls saved. Ilokanos who love God. The presence of the Spirit.
A SPECIAL DAY!
Everyone knows that today is a very special day. You can feel it in the air. Just a little nervous. Something special…it’s a very wonderful moment.
The church elders meet to choose a new leader. These, too, are dreamers. Everyone is dreaming today. Today the work is being turned over – an Ilokano will become leader. Everyone knows it will bring change. They dream about this change – it’s going to be a good one. You can feel peace settle over the group.
Mil Baliton – a man of God – is chosen. He’s a dreamer, too, but he can’t talk about it just yet. He is too busy weeping, as everyone savors the special moment. A dream has come to pass!
THE ONLY WAY THE HUMAN DREAMS ARE TRANSFORMED INTO DIVINE DREAMS
The dreams of 1981 were good dreams. The Team, though, didn’t realize how much work God would have to do in them before they would be ready to bear the fruit He wanted to give. Some dreams were crushed. Maybe all the original dreams were crushed. The Master Potter ground them to powder so they could be reshaped into the kinds of dreams that bring forth eternal results. That’s not easy. It wasn’t then and it isn’t now. But it’s right. It’s the only way that human dreams can be transformed into divine dreams. It’s the only way that fruit can be borne for eternity.
God took His time to reshape the dreams and bring them to pass. That’s the way it is with God. He’s not in a hurry.
Mil Baliton has dreams for the future. God will sift these as well. DREAM – 100 churches. DREAM – a ministry team, a corps of Ilokano church planters. DREAM – a church planted in every village in Isabela province. DREAM – sending out Ilokano missionaries to other tribes and other nations. Dreams are being planted in God’s seedbed. One day the dreams will be transformed into eternal realities.
THE TEN DREAMERS MOVING ON TO DREAM NEW DREAMS!
What about the ten dreamers? Two remain. Eight have gone on to other ministries. A few others have come to take their places. Still more are needed. They’ll come with their dreams, and they’ll want to be effective.
Those who moved on moved to a new set of dreams – DREAM TO PLANT 100 MISSIONARY TRAINING SCHOOLS AROUND THE WORLD! To multiply the leaders and make disciples all around the world!
DREAMS AND ETERNAL THINGS
God gives us our dreams and make them come to fruition, if we only obey Him and be led by His Spirit.
How do dreams come to produce eternal things? Jesus told us how:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but it if dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if anyone serves me, the Father will honor him (John 12:24-26).
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