In honor of my new Bible Study, ‘Written: Capturing + Cultivating the Blueprint of your Dream,’ launching on January 8th, I am hosting a guest blog series! Featuring a new dreamer every week, you will be inspired by their journeys of pressing into their dreams. This week, Sally Henien, a ministry leader in Buffalo, New York is sharing and her faith is contagious! Read a piece of her dream story and find rich encouragement.
Since I was a young girl, I had a desire to help those in need. Whether someone was hurting physically or emotionally, I was by their side. From a young age, I participated in several mission trips inside the United States and abroad to Asia and Africa. Deep down in my heart, I had a dream of making a difference in the world through the power of Christ, encouraging others, and providing people with hope for the future.
When I was 15 years old, our church youth group had a dream of providing fresh water to a small village in Ethiopia. After hearing stories and understanding the need for fresh water, we wanted to make a difference. Throughout the year, we joined together and raised enough money to fund 3 water wells! We had a goal in mind and worked together to make it happen. As a result, 7 of the students had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia to see the community we were directly impacting. Like a typical American teenager, I asked my parents if I could go to Ethiopia! (Ok, maybe not an average teenager request…) They saw my excitement and passion of serving others and allowed me to travel with the church team. I am so thankful that I had this opportunity because it changed my life. My eyes were opened to the needs of the world but more importantly, I experienced the presence of God in a new way. Although Ethiopia was a Third World country, the people were so rich. They were full of joy, love, and hope. Over the years, I have continued to follow my dreams by serving others around the world.
Missions is not limited to traveling overseas. While I believe there is something so special and unique in experiencing another culture, it is not the only way people can serve others. Currently, I am reaching the nations right in my own backyard as I minister to college students at the University at Buffalo through Campus Ambassadors. As the Director of Campus Ambassadors and the College Pastor at NorthGate Christian Community, I have the opportunity to evangelize and disciple students every day. Through this ministry, I have met people from India, Nepal, China, Korea, Pakistan, and beyond. It is amazing to see how God orchestrates our life experiences and passions together to help us reach and follow our dreams.
Upon returning to the United States from overseas mission trips, I did not fully understand how someone living in poverty could be filled with so much joy and hope. I began seeking after the source and discovered that joy and hope are not based on materialistic things; true hope and joy is only found in the Lord. As we change our perspective and focus on God, everything else changes. This is also true for us as we pursue our dreams. As we chase our dreams, we need to surrender our lives and plans to God and trust him with our future.
“When you surrender your vision and future into God’s hands and align them with His will, your life is a miracle waiting to happen. The cause of Christ will take your personal vision, your passions, dreams, and goals to levels you could never have imagined.” Brian Houston
I want to leave you with a few words of encouragement. We are all created by God with a desire and a purpose in life. Our purpose in life is to glorify God. He has equip us and believes in us. As you follow your dream, remember to keep your eyes on God and allow him to guide and direct your life. Spend time reading the Bible and surrounding yourself with a community of people who will lift you up. As Brian Houston writes, “Your life is a miracle waiting to happen.”
SALLY HENIEN is the College Pastor at NorthGate Christian Community and Director of Campus Ambassadors at SUNY Buffalo. She graduated from SUNY Buffalo 2013 with bachelors in Psychology and is currently in Seminary studying for my Masters Degree at Liberty University School of Divinity