Standing in worship, with the resounding rhythm of hand-struck drums and the swell of our conclave of voices singing, I opened my eyes to look out through the metal storefront door into the street outside. Across the uneven dirt road that runs immediately at the entrance of the church a few children looked on, watching us sing, hearing us worship. One by one some began to dance and others began to walk toward the open doorway.
Each week I look out into the lostness of this world and I see these children that come closer and closer to the Kingdom. I pray the Spirit would speak into their small frames the truth of His love and the power of His redemption. I pray for a generation of men, women and children who will go out from here to the cities, villages and nations. I pray, like I have prayed for so many years, for a generation of Pauls.
As we stood there in worship I remembered a conversation with the Lord while we were celebrating one Sunday morning at Chapel Springs Church. Elise was pregnant with our second child and we didn’t know whether we were having a boy or a girl. So I asked the Lord. As I prayed I felt the Lord ask me to give up my dream of having a son, and if I was willing He would give us a thousand sons. I spoke with Elise and we gave the Lord our dream for His. That morning He gave a life-long promise and a few months later He gave us Ava Grace (which means “the voice of Grace”).
And there I stood, on this isthmus of Africa, with our sweet daughter by my side, reciting a prayer for a generation of Pauls and recalling a promise of 1000. And for the first time in half a decade the two connected. The two flowed together instantly as if this small chapel was the confluence of where these two great dreams meet.
But who are we in the grandeur of this vision, this confluence of dreams? Who are we who stand in prayer for a generation of men, women and children who will go from the nations with apostolic zeal and fervor to the nations? Who are we who fall on our faces in worship to the glory of Jesus Christ, the Saving Sovereign, the Eternal? We are not Paul. We are Ananias. We have the privilege of being the nameless ones who, led by the Holy Spirit, lay hands on His chosen apostles and bring them into the fellowship of believers. We are humbled that we get to be the first ones to call them brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for standing with us, creating space to grow a movement to see 1000 sons, a generation of Pauls, for an increasingly redeemed and transformed Africa.