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Maggie’s Dreams — God’s Will

Maggie’s story by Joni Thurber

When youngsters dream, it’s not unusual for them to dream big. They fantasize about being a superhero with special powers that can transport telepathically or make vegetables they dislike disappear with the snap of a finger. Some dream of a wonderful profession: doctor, firefighter, veterinarian, or ballerina. Some dreams are more altruistic though, with a hope of rescuing others from pain and suffering. Mostly these dreams are more of an idea than an actual dream that awakens us with details that we remember 20 years later.

At age 31, Maggie Glenn recalls precise details of a dream she had when 8 years old. In Maggie’s dream, she is in a supermarket where she observes a woman with a man Maggie perceives to be the woman’s husband. The woman appears battered and a victim of her husband’s public verbal abuse. Maggie approaches the couple. The husband leaves and Maggie prays with the woman, leading her to salvation with Jesus.

It’s from that dream and others that a seed was planted in Maggie’s heart to evangelize. The clarity of those dreams and God’s gentle nudges brought Maggie to Beaverton Foursquare. It’s become a church home that is now providing her the opportunity to move to Turkey in October 2018, the very place Maggie once left firmly stating, “I hope never to return here.”

Maggie understood the power of God at an early age. Maggie and her twin sister suffered through ugly dreams in the middle of the night that shook their core when they were less than six years old. Her parents prayed over their children. They anointed their home with oil in the firm belief that God would protect their home and family from harm. Maggie depended on the security of her family’s devout commitment to God and their church.

Maggie loved to read and play with her twin sister during childhood. She liked school, although she didn’t attend public school because her mother homeschooled the children. It was also common for Maggie to evangelize, even to her younger brother. He disappointed Maggie when he once told her that Jesus lived in his heart, but so did Barney. When neighbors moved into the neighborhood, Maggie would ask her mom if they were saved.Shewas also determined that her grandparents go to heaven, so she asked them about their salvation.

Maggie was required to do a two-week field assignment in a foreign country. She chose Turkey... and had a strong, almost unnerving sense that God was going to ask her to return.

While it seemed that evangelizing was God’s path for Maggie, obstacles caused delays. When Maggie was 14 years old, divorce splintered the family. Family dynamics changed along with their financial status. Maggie’s mother, however, held firm in her faith. Her resolve sustained her family and Christ remained at the center of their home.

The family moved to a different church where they wedded themselves to this new faith community. The family was enticed by an opportunity to go to Slovakia on a mission. Maggie hesitated. Needing to raise $2,000 in support at the same time she became a teenage driver, she reasoned “if I can raise $2,000 for a mission, I can raise $2,000 for a car.” A youth pastor intervened, reassuring her that Slovakia was calling her name. When Maggie returned from Slovakia, she was rewarded with a car that someone donated to their family. More significantly, Maggie couldn’t deny the joy she’d discovered while working in Slovakia.

Maggie next attended Marylhurst University in Portland, majoring in photography. During that time she traveled twice more to Slovakia. The tug to pursue missionary work persisted. She decided to pursue her masters at a small school in Vermont, and also followed up on a friend’s suggestion: Look into joining the Peace Corps. She learned that it was possible to do her practicum as part of her Peace Corps work.

Peace Corps assignments are typically two years, with a three month training program. Maggie knew there would be hurdles to cross. First, she would have to be accepted and secondly, she’d have to cope with the fact that the organization wasn’t faith-based. The Peace Corps provides benefits that missionaries don’t usually receive. Maggie began to wonder if she was seeking to fulfill her own dreams or pursuing God’s will. Counseling from her pastors back home comforted her and she applied.

Prior to beginning a Peace Corps assignment, for her Masters in Intercultural Communications, Maggie was required to do a two-week field assignment in a foreign country. She chose Turkey. This was Maggie’s first experience in a conservative Muslim country, and it was without the support of her Christian friends or family. While in Turkey she felt as if the city was cloaked in a shadow, absent of any light. In contrast, others in her group were mesmerized by the country. One day the students were talking about the city, enthusiastic about the energy and their experiences. More than one said they would like to return. Speaking to a friend, Maggie firmly said “I hope never to return.” In that moment she heard the Holy Spirit speak to her, almost audibly: “Don’t be so quick to dismiss this place, Maggie.” She had a strong, almost unnerving sense that God was going to ask her to return. She tucked that sensation away, almost hoping she was wrong about what she knew to be true.

Several weeks after returning from Turkey, Maggie received her Peace Corps package with her assignment: WELCOME TO AZERBAIJAN. The Peace Corps was sending her to a country just east of Turkey! Azerbaijan, once part of the Soviet Union, is somewhat Turkey’s religious cousin. The Islam faith is practiced on a less conservative basis than in most of the Middle East. Azerbaijan and Turkey are considered to be secular Muslim countries. Maggie accepted her assignment with an open mind and heart, but she was confused and wondered “What is God doing and what am I doing?”

Maggie was assigned the position of a Youth Development Facilitator working with kids. Work was fulfilling, but outside of work difficulties emerged. Culture shock was jolting and there was discomfort within the host family. The family appeared to consider her an opportunity to supplement their income. Plus, domestic violence made each day unsettling. Maggie clung to Jesus and was learning what it meant to depend fully on him.

It was at this home that Maggie had another dream. In it, the call for prayer sounded. Maggie stepped out of her house to see people running toward the mosque. She could see that it was on fire and at the top of her lungs she pleaded that they turn around or they would die. She yelled loudly but the people ignored her efforts, except for one woman who stopped to listen, but then insisted that she had to continue, because she had to pray. Maggie awoke from her dream realizing it was an allegory: Without Jesus, all paths lead to death. This dream served as confirmation that Jesus was asking that Maggie minister to Muslims.

Thankfully, Maggie soon moved to another host family. Now she was finding fulfillment and building new friendships as the secular Muslim people embraced her. She shared confidences and used God’s Word to guide friends, providing answers to sensitive topics. The local community was feeling like home. She made long lasting friendships and life was becoming comfortable in Azerbaijan.

Then came the unexpected. Maggie received notification from the Peace Corps that due to unforeseen circumstances her assignment was going to come to an abrupt end. She was devastated. She wasn’t prepared to leave and hadn’t yet prepared for a job at home.

Soon, she had another dream. In this one she was interviewed for an overseas community development job. Comfort replaced worry and she left Azerbaijan knowing that better things lay ahead. However, the adjustment back home in Hillsboro evolved into a struggle. She wasn’t finding a job easily. Maggie was discouraged and questioned the authenticity of the dream, and set aside the calling for missions in her life.

Eventually, a job overseeing the after school program at Barnes Elementary opened up and Maggie was hired. Beaverton Foursquare partners with Barnes Elementary and Maggie connected with some of the B4 volunteers. She was touched by them and began coming to church, soon making it her home. She signed up for Rooted and as part of the experience, her relationship with God came alive again. He reminded her of the calling he had placed in her life and the dreams she had tucked away. Maggie shared her dreams with her Rooted leader, who connected Maggie with Missions Pastor Mark Nicklas.

Pastor Mark facilitated Maggie’s dream, and with joy and enthusiasm, she is returning to the very place she vowed never to return: Turkey. She’ll return to serve Muslims, the people that God asked her to serve in a dream.

Recently Maggie was speaking to a church member who asked about her journey and why she wanted to live abroad. As the woman spoke, a familiar sensation swept over Maggie. In that moment, the Holy Spirit reminded her that these questions were the same questions that had been asked of her in the dream that had comforted her, just prior to departing Azerbaijan.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” No longer does Maggie wonder if she is pursuing her dreams or fulfilling God’s will. She’s confident that she’s fulfilling the good works God prepared in advance for her to do. Maggie’s dreams are God’s will.

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