20 million dreams

What would you do if you won 20 million dollars? Oddly, it was this question that started us on our journey to resign from our jobs and head overseas. It’s funny what God can use to prompt you.

The question of $20M came up again in our household recently. The idea of winning that much money actually makes me sick. Who on earth would need that excessive amount when there are children dying in war, families being ripped apart by false promises of a better life and drought crippling whole nations?

However, if for some reason I did win $20 million, I would call together a group of like-minded individuals and dream away the week with ideas about how to invest into people. We would turn those dreams into reality, not by rushing into things, but wisely researching and establishing meaningful and sustainable businesses and programs. I would call Sarah Starrenburg, Adam James, all of our siblings and their wives/partners, Will and Laura (by Skype of course), Ben and Amy, Rian and Sally, The Hannaway Clan, Mike and Karen (more Skype time) and… ok, ok, that’s already a lot of people!

I would:

  • Open a store in inner Brisbane stocking only ethical, eco-friendly and sustainable fashion and beauty products
  • Build a house for my family with spare rooms and living areas to provide a sanctuary for tired families, missionaries or anyone needing a Selah (with an extra car for them to use)
  • Do something in Africa around eye health
  • Establish ‘something’ with (not for) the homeless in our city
  • Do something to empower our beautiful Indigenous people
  • Create and empower already existing support-networks for refugees
  • Look at some of the worst areas for human trafficking and empower the locals to stop the cycle
  • Fund couples looking to adopt
  • Support foster children and families in some way
  • Bless local school Chaplains and youth workers
  • Get along side and support the many wonderful and best-practice not-for-profit organisations that are already up and running
  • Take my whole family over to Rio for the Olympics and work with a group like Exodus Cry or Save the Children
  • Fund all sorts of small business ideas and local enterprises

And that’s just me, in the last five minutes… I might need more than $20M 😉

The question of $20 million might sound fun and silly, but for the Greenwoods it seems to push us into action. It reveals what we are passionate about and what God is stirring. It is a little scary really because last time we lightheartedly pondered this question, God followed it up with a “Is money really all that’s stopping you?”

“Oh dear” I hear myself think. You may recall an earlier post about rest; the main idea was that we were in a season of rest until we could dream again. Oh dear… haha.

I personally love the season Tim and I are in. We have the space to process, hear, learn, grow and it’s thrilling and stretching all at the same time. Almost every day we are sharing ideas and discussing the deeper issues of life, love and identity. Amidst the sleepless nights, grumpy Mummy moments, baby talk, Lego building and housework, God is continuing to move. We feel a stirring again. However, I have to warn you, it’s not the typical type of ‘stirring’ we expect from Christians. Although we can have big and grand dreams, those are not the end game. For us, success is not measured by what other people see us doing. It’s the little choices, conversations and relationships that we invest into every day that matter. Our 20 million dollar dreams start with our every-day, ordinary lives and how we choose to live them.

Love Jess xxoo

Hangs in Da Nang by Tim

There was a good reason (in fact many reasons) that we ended up in Vietnam.

After some time in Ho Chi Mihn City we landed in the city of Da Nang. We went there to learn from the team at AOG World Relief, an NGO that was established in 1996. As soon as we met the Paul and Deb Hilton, the country co-ordinators, they gave us their time and welcomed us as part of the team. We felt right at home straight away and enjoyed our month-long visit there.

Here’s a blurb from their website describing who they are:

AOG World Relief Vietnam is a non-government organisation (NGO) that exists to partner with whole communities throughout Vietnam for the purpose of seeing them empowered to not only participate in, but also ultimately determine and sustain their own development. Through a process of Community Consultations, Training & relationship building with our team, communities identify their most felt needs and they themselves develop action plans which centre on mobilising their own assets and resources.

AOGWR do this incredible work throughout a number of regions in Vietnam. While we were there we were able to participate in different projects and opportunities the team were undertaking. Our previous time in Brazil and some of Thailand had mainly focused around observing intervention methods of sex-trafficking. Now it was time to get up close and personal with some great prevention practices.

Here’s a snap-shot of some of the parts of our time n Da Nang:

The beautiful city

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Visits to village communities to see some of their work

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Life skills in a school in one of the communities

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We met with different team members to learn how they operate both professionally and personally. Learning how families live in a cross cultural setting has been a great experience.

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We made lots of new friends

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While we were in Da Nang we were also able to explore the city and emerse ourselves in the culture. As we had one month there it was great to meet locals and see how Da Nang operates.

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In between all of that we got to have some nice coffee 🙂

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This was yet another incredible experience for our family and we gleaned many things from the wonderful people we did life with for a short time. Thanks Paul & Deb, Kelvin and Bek, Bruce and Marion and the whole amazing team at AOGWR! You guys are amazing and we learnt so much from each of you.

Tim & Jess