This year Thanksgiving means a little more to all of us here in the Sutherlin and Pogue families. We are hugging each other a little closer and holding hands a little tighter as we say our prayers around the Thanksgiving table. That’s because the day after Thanksgiving this year, we’ll all be starting the next leg of an adventure that has taken our life by storm this year.
In February my mother called me in tears. “I’ve had a vision,” she said, “and I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m either going crazy, or God really means to do this thing.”
I know we rarely talk about visions anymore, and its nearly impossible to convince another that a vision was real and true. That’s exactly why she came to me trembling, afraid. Was this real? Was it really happening? Had she imagined it? Was it just something she really wanted to be true? In the end, we decided to pray. We got down on our knees in her office and prayed fervently to the Lord, tears dripping onto the carpet as we begged him to show us truth and help us obey.
That “thing” turned out to be very real, and as the weeks went by we became more and more convinced that God had begun a good work and he meant to see it come to fruition. I watched as my mother began to walk closer and closer with God, and I marvelled at how he was changing her. She spent hours in prayer, filled an entire notebook with journal notes and scribbled scriptures, and every moment that felt scary or uncertain had her pulling out her Bible for more time with God. She was a woman filled with an intense desire to know and follow God’s will. By the first of March, she was fully convinced the Lord had indeed given her a vision and she held fast to the belief that it would be fulfilled.
That vision was a 12 bedroom chateau in France, bought for less than $200,000, and dedicated to serving missionaries who needed a safe refuge for respite and restoration. She believed it would all happen by the end of the year…and it has. On November 28th we’ll close on the chateau and begin our ministry to the workers in the field, offering them a place of refuge where they may be restored and renewed, strengthened for the work the Lord has for them in his kingdom.
God has always been one to keep his promises. I believe God made a promise to my mother that day in February, and she dared to believe he meant it. By faith, we knelt to ask him for clarity. By faith, we took those first steps toward obedience. By faith, we began to share the vision with others, trusting God to share truth with those who would need to see it. And by faith, we’ve walked with God through this year, laying down our plans in order to take up the plans of God. I know that this walk of faith will be the first steps in a long journey with our king who has set his heart on protecting and providing for those who have given up everything to serve him. We feel honored and richly blessed to join him in this beautiful work. What a joy it is to serve those who have so faithfully ministered to the lost and lonely of this world. We can hardly wait for the day when we can throw the doors open wide on the chateau and welcome in those who are battle weary and ready for rest. Our Lord will bind up their wounds, restore their strength, and empower them to return to the battle so that more souls may be saved before the end of days. This is the good and holy work he has called us to in France, and we know he will be faithful in leading us forward. After all, he’s a God who keeps his promises.