Almost twenty years ago Dee Dee and I started dreaming about travels we would be doing as a couple during our marriage. We would share with each other different places from all around the world and most of the places were different except for one place, Scotland. Being a Galloway whose family came to the United States in the late 1700’s from Scotland, we have documented history of a Galloway dying in Scotland around 1100 in Edinburgh. We also discovered early in our marriage that the Dee River ran through the region of Galloway in Scotland. Dee Dee started making the statement that one day she would stand on the Dee River in Galloway and take a picture. After many children and lots of financial losses through the years it seemed we would never see this event ever happen in our lifetime. This did not stop Dee Dee from saying that one day she was going to take a picture on the Dee River in Galloway. After becoming missionaries in Bulgaria I never imagined that Dee Dee’s dream would ever come true. Then by a miracle, from a grant to attend a minister’s conference in Birmingham, England, Dee Dee got to experience her dream. I now recall that she keep saying I’m going to have my picture taken on the Dee river in Galloway and I started picturing her standing beside the river taking a picture. When I snapped the picture this week of her at the river, God did it better than I had imagined, Dee Dee was standing the Dee bridge on top of the Dee River in Galloway.So what is this simple lesson, Hebrews 11:1now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I want to focus on the word hope, without hope, faith could not be the substance. Hope is the ability to imagine or visualize something in your mind, like the picture of Dee Dee standing by the Dee River. After years of confessing and believing, with hope, this dream finally came true. It did not just happen, it was first hoped for, then a picture was formed in her mind twenty years ago, and then God did more than we could have imagined. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Ps. 37:4
We just spent a week with the Christ Community Church mission team in Kyustendil, Bulgaria. I think it would be impossible to describe all that happened in such a short period of time. I could start with the two Sunday services we attended or the 160 Roma children that learned Bible lessons, sports and songs for five days. I could describe working with the orphans, elderly or street evangelism, but I want to talk about is the uniqueness of our God. I am reminded of the scripture:
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NCV)
22 The Lord's love never ends;
His mercies never stop.
23 They are new every morning;
Lord, Your loyalty is great.
Definition of New
1. Having been made or come into being only a short time ago; recent: 2. Still fresh 3. Not previously experiencedor encountered; novel or unfamiliar:
I wanted to share about how God surprised us this week, which was new or not previously experienced. We laughed about how these surprises brought us encouragement and even joked how we (Chance and Dee Dee) had arranged all these strange consequences. I thought of the movie “Funny Farm” when Andy (Chevy Chase) and Elizabeth Farmer had compensated the town in order to sell their house. As a prospective buyer looked out the window of Andy’s house he said, “Que the deer!” and the deer ran across the yard in order to impress the buyers. We, as a team, could never have arranged all the unique experiences God had in store for our group. I know by now you want to know what happened, so here we go:
1. One member of the group was baptized in a cold river on Mt. Osogovo during our end of the week picnic.
2. A shepherd walked up with his sheep during this picnic and explained about his sheep and goats.
3. A missionary from South Africa came and gave his testimony about his daughter and their work with orphans in Bulgaria.
4. The Pastors of a church in Kyustendil came by and delivered ice cream for the mission team.
5. A local pastor’s wife gave a testimony about Bulgarian churches during Communist times.
6. A former Bulgarian solider testified about Communist times and how the church was tested.
7. We got to experience the Roman baths.
8. How God moved on the hearts of the Roma people while we were praying during street evangelism.
9. Americans singing “How He Loves” to the Roma during street evangelism.
10. While in Sofiia on our last day, a Bulgarian always showed up right on time to show us around town which was not scheduled AT ALL.
11.Washing the feet of the Roma that served us lunch all week was more than words can express.
We as a grouped cried…. And… cried during all the happenings during this week. We are thankful for God’s love and grace during this trip and we know that without organization you cannot have the power of the Holy Spirit. Even if the same group came next year and we planned things exactly the same, because of God’s uniqueness or new mercies it would be completely different. I am reminded as a member of the Body of Jesus Christ we desire the same, but we need to embrace His unique new mercies everyday and experience His love and grace.
Daniel Chance Galloway