The following is a first-hand account of my son Sam and his experience with a "small miracle" that happened on a mission trip when he was 15. Sam is now 29 and happily married Caitlin. A year and a half ago their first child Truman came along. Sam is now living in Los Angeles, but he and his family are on assignment in New Orleans for a few months working with the crew of Will Smith's latest Warner Brothers comedy film called Focus. Sam's prophetic gifting has been increasing significantly over the last few years and God is using him in some very cool ways to encourage whole varieties of people with words of knowledge and wisdom. This story refers to the days when his gift was just beginning to show itself. Sometimes when I speak about parenting I refer to a spiritual "branding" experience that can mark young teens with God's grace. It has to do with them stepping out of their comfort zone of home and family to share their faith cross-culturally. Michael
The summer before my freshman year in high school, I applied with the youth group to go on a mission trip to Juarez, Mexico. We were all very excited about the trip, and I had a mixture of excitement and nerves. I remember feeling the desire to hear God, and feel his presence before we went on the two-week trip. I remember being at church and looking at some pictures on a bulletin board of when others from the church had gone to Mexico before. I got really excited and as I looked closer at a group picture, a young Mexican boy wearing a red soccer shirt stood out to me. Suddenly, I heard the name “Alejandro” inside of my head, it freaked me out. I wondered if it was God and if I’d meet a boy named Alejandro… I ruled it out as I usually would, thinking that it was just my own mental creation. A day or two later, however, I was lying in my bed at night with my eyes closed. As I was trickling into sleep, I had a mental picture of a silhouette of a young Mexican boy. As the image became clear, I noticed that he had a red soccer shirt on. Again suddenly, I heard the name “Alejandro” inside of my head. I woke from my vision feeling all of this love and compassion for this boy that I didn’t even know. Regardless, I wanted to meet him. I wanted to share my heart with him. Of course I doubted the experience again, but just in case, I wrote it down in my little moleskin journal (which I still have by the way).
Life moved on in my 15-year-old world, and our team was eventually off to Colorado to train for the trip for a week and then down to Mexico for the second week. What an awesome experience! I remember feeling completely outside of my little world, and it was so much fun. I got to meet new people, share life with them, and hang out with my best friends in the mean time. I had pretty much given up on the whole “Alejandro” experience, and so had kept it to myself and “put it on the shelf”...as my parent’s would say. I thought that either way, I am having a great time and getting to experience all of this fun stuff. Towards the end of the week in Mexico, I started to wonder if I would ever meet “this” boy. In my heart, I wanted to, but I did not want to deal with the disappointment of thinking I had heard the Lord, but not actually having heard him. It seemed safer not to want it, but I couldn’t shake it. I still wanted it.
Our last day in the mission compound, a friend and I were sitting up on a boundary wall right next door to some local residences. We looked over into a back yard and noticed a young boy walking up to us. We motioned for him to come and talk to us. He climbed up a dirt mound so we could speak eye-to-eye. With the little Spanish I knew, I said hello and asked him how he was doing. I told him my name and then asked him his. He said, “Alejandro”… It took a second for me to realize what he said, and asked him again to clarify. He said, “Alejandro!” All of the sudden it registered. I looked at his shirt, and he was wearing a red, YMCA soccer shirt. I was blown away with awe and excitement. I didn’t know what to say, I couldn’t say much anyway. But all of this love filled my heart, so I read him a scripture in Spanish and gave him my sandals, it was the least that I could do. I wanted him to know that he had a destiny and purpose in life, but all I could ultimately share with him was eye contact. I don’t think I will ever forget his eyes. I still occasionally pray for him, that God would meet him wherever he is. I still don’t understand why God allowed that to happen for Alejandro. For all I know, we looked like goofy Americans. I know that God did allow that to happen for me. I really heard God, it was real I knew it and I couldn’t make it up! I spent the rest of that night worshiping God and pouring out my heart to him. He spoke to me, an unsure and insecure 15-year-old… I feel his pride and love even now as I reflect on the experience.
A VOICE OF HOPE
Michael Sullivant's Blog
I am a child of God, husband, father, grandfather, spiritual father, author, speaker and hope coach.