I have been confined to my bed for the last few days with a respiratory infection. Although I really dislike having to stay home in bed, these days have given me time to reflect. One of my reflections has been to look back over the last year and review some of its events. A year ago, I was making final preparations for a September 2014 mission trip to Cambodia. It was going to be my second trip to Cambodia. Our original purpose was to build a biogas digester at Teen Challenge Cambodia.
Along the way, our team had the opportunity to conduct a nutrition outreach to a community of people who lived alongside an abandoned train track.
Even though it was not in our original mission, what we saw and experienced in Cambodia opened up new possibilities and opportunities to make a difference in the lives of people who were without means to free themselves from poverty. One of our team members, Lacy Beach, decided to stay in Cambodia to help with opening a school for the kids who live in this neighborhood. Lacy ended up staying the entire 2014-2015 school year assisting Cambodian Care Ministries open not only one school, but two.
The first school was opened was opened in the Tuolpongroo neighborhood on the other side of town after literally being built by the children who wanted to attend. (Read about this amazing story by clicking this link: Building Their Own School)
During our second visit to Cambodia in 2014, we were able to participate in the opening day ceremonies at this first Light of Future School.
Looking forward to the upcoming August 2015 Cambodia Mission Trip, I am taking these reflections and asking myself this question: “How did this dream of making a difference in Cambodia transform into reality?”. So far, this is what I have decided. In order to turn a dream into a reality, I have to be willing to:
Release the known A dream is an idea or vision that includes people, places, and experiences that are not currently part of my reality. If I confine myself to what I know, I can never get to my dream. I have to be willing and fearless enough to let go of some of the things I know and am comfortable with to expand my life to include new people, places, and experiences.
Choose to sacrifice Bringing a dream into reality requires a sacrifice of time, money, and hard work. This is difficult because the sacrifice precedes visible results. So the sacrifice itself requires a leap of faith.
Embrace impossibilities Dreams may include ideas that seem impossible in the natural world or in the culture we live in or in the place we want our dream to grow. Nevertheless, here is what Jesus said about impossible situations:
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27 NIV)
When I feel like I am in an impossible situation, I meditate on Jesus’ words and push forward. And I don’t say this lightly. To push forward is often very, very challenging, requiring motivation, intention, and resilience.
Acknowledge outcomes Whether I label the results of my efforts and sacrifice good or bad, I must take a hard look at the outcomes. Regardless, the outcome is always progress towards making the dream a reality. I can celebrate the successes and look for ways to make improvements where improvements are needed.
Repeat A dream isn’t going to become a reality overnight. I may have to go through many iterations, hypothesis, task lists, disappointments, and “do-overs” before the reality begins to emerge. I have to be commit to not quit.
Is there a dream in your heart that you desire to become a reality?
By the way, did I mention that I have a brand, new granddaughter? Mia Lucille Freeman was born on June 15, 2015.
She joins her brother Noah (shown here with his Auntie Vanessa).
They are two dreams that are now realities!
(photo credits: Linda Freeman, Lacy Beach, Koy Chiim)