These small words “What if” can lead you down two different paths. The negative path leads to worry and anxiety. What if I have cancer? What if we can’t pay the bills? What if? Nevertheless, God! He is always the answer to that What if.
However, there is a positive side to the “What if?” question. What if you dared to dream!
Take Maggie Doyne. At age 19 she and a friend decided to backpack for a year before attending college. While visiting Nepal, a young girl caught Maggie’s eye. She discovered that for just $10 this young girl could buy a uniform and go to school. So Maggie gave her the money and the little girl was able to go to school. But Maggie didn’t stop there. She asked herself, “What if I supplied other girls with school money?” Maggie wired home for her babysitting savings of $5000 and helped quite a few others go to school. But Maggie’s ‘What if” didn’t stop there. What if I could give these young refugee girls a place to live? What if I could help them learn to read? After all, it only took a little more money. Maggie went back home to New Jersey and dog-walked, baby sat, held garage sales, bake sales and raised $60,000. Back to Nepal with her new fortune she began to help others go to school. By the age of 24 Maggie was officially “Mama” to about 40 young girls, living in the orphanage that she built and helping teach in the school she established. Now at age 28 Maggie is still dreaming of more schools, feeding programs and loving her girls. You can read her story at BlinkNow.
Ever heard of Jiggers in Africa? These fleas bury into the feet of shoeless children and lay eggs. As the larvae mature, the children’s feet become full of sores and very painful, even preventing them from walking and playing. But what if they had shoes? A young suburban homemaker asked herself that question and began to dream. What if she created a pattern for closed toed shoes. What if she asked her friends to cut out shoes in her own home and send them to Africa? From that simple idea “Sole Hope” shoe cutting parties began. The idea was simple. Order pizza, invite a few friends and cut out dozens of shoes from old blue jeans. Send the patterns to established missions in Africa along with small donations and children can have shoes. This not only provides shoes for the children, but jobs for the shoemakers in Uganda. Can we say WIN/WIN! Asher Collie’s pattern is now used at shoe cutting parties all over the world. Today Sole Hope provides jobs and shoes in Uganda by the thousands. In fact, just recently my own church had a delightful evening together cutting out shoes for African children. SoleHope
But the dream doesn’t always have to involve such big ideas. Just look around you. What is your passion? What do you enjoy or like to do? Do you like blue birds? My friend, Donald Jones does. So he put up a blue bird box. And another. And another. And another. First he put them in his yard, and the blue birds came. But what if he put them up along side his own county road? What if he put them on several county roads? What if he could get a few others involved and put them on their county roads? What if he could get other counties involved and put them in adjacent counties? Before he was finished the Sunshine blue bird trail was conceived, born and completed, one box at a time. Did he start out to put boxes along major roads all over North Miss? No. He simply loved blue birds and put up one blue bird box. But he dared to dream ‘what if?’
One day, as my daughter was driving through Jackson on her way for children’s ballet classes one of her girls ask “Mom, what can we do to help these people who are begging for food?” It seemed like a problem too big for her and she was one busy lady as the mom of four home schoolers. She had heard about bags for the homeless. What if? Now they have small brown bags they keep in the car filled with sanitary wipes, soap, a $5.00 McDonalds gift card, some protein bars, a bottle of water and a small note that says ‘someone cares’. They hand these to the people they see as they drive through Jackson on their way to ballet classes. Simple. Easy. One family. One bag at the time.
Let’s begin to ask ourselves that question. “What if?” Let’s dare to dream. Let’s do one small thing. It could bring joy to someone who needs to see a blue bird. It could give hope to a desperate soul and change a life. Or it might just transform a village.