The Ark

How far will you go?

Fri May 28th, 2004

St Louis Gateway Arch

I was in the back of a big car – not the sort of car I have parked in my drive, but something distinctly American. I looked out the window and saw a very distinctive view – an open railway crossing – no barriers, just a load of dirt and a clear sight of the skyline. I got out of the car and met with some guys in a room. The atmosphere was formal. I thought I was being interviewed. These men spoke with American accents. We hit a lull in the talking – it made me uncomfortable. To break the silence I said "So this is Mississippi?". The men looked at me like I was mad and one of them responded "No. this is Missouri, but we are near the Mississippi!".

I woke up with a start

I woke up with a start, this strange dream clear in my mind. A few times before I had dreams that I believed were from God. This one seemed bizarre to say the least, and left me with questions. I woke up knowing I had to go to this place in my dream, but I didn't know where it was. As usual when I don't know something I turned the computer on. On this occasion I looked at a world map and tried to find Missouri and Mississippi. I had the school boy knowledge that the Mississippi was one of the biggest rivers in the world, and that Missouri was an American state, but I hadn't a clue where they were. My computerised map told me that the Mississippi ran down one side of Missouri. I looked but the names of the cities meant nothing. Three years before, I had gone on a trip to the States because of something that God had said to me. There he had told me to build an Ark – I was still trying to work out what that meant for me, and how to build that Ark. Perhaps this dream was a link to the Ark, and perhaps I would learn something on this next American trip.

This dream haunted me for weeks, until one night, when at the request of a friend I turned on my TV so they could see a documentary on genetically modified crops. As the show started, the cameras showed the exact scene that I saw out of the car window in my dream. I was lost for words – I pointed at the screen and tried to say something but gobbledegook came out. This scene wasn't like my dream – IT WAS MY DREAM! The scene was suddenly complemented by subtitles "St Louis, Missouri, Home of Monsanto Chemicals".

At last I knew where to go.

Thinking about "build an Ark" and "St Louis" I fed these phrases together into a search engine. The response came back "The St Louis arch – come and see our exhibition of how we built the Arch". Little had I known that there was a 635 foot arch in St Louis, and a permanent memorial to westward expansion underneath, with an exhibit about building the arch. This seemed to me like something worth going to see. So I booked my flight! Before I set off, when praying I heard God say to me "Go to the church named after the arch". I arrived in St Louis and went to see the arch. I went up in the lift and studied the exhibits too. I also looked in the yellow pages for any church that mentioned "arch" in its name – there wasn't one! Only when I studied the exhibit did I realise that the arch wasn't called the St Louis arch, but the Gateway Arch. As you can guess there was a Gateway church in the phone book, so I went there.

What do you say to a man who has just been told his child has cancer?

The pastor stood up and said "Today's subject is 'what do you say to a man who has just been told his child has cancer?'" Suddenly I knew why I was there. I stood up and introduced myself as an 'expert witness'. There I explained to a big crowd of people that God is good, and that cancer doesn't come from him. I also talked about my journey with Rocky. The response was very positive and at once I knew why I had travelled across an ocean to a place where I had no friends or even acquaintances. After church one of the leaders took me out for lunch. As I sat in his car we went over the railway line I had dreamed of and seen on the TV. The vision had worked out and I was pleased. The last few days of my trip I learned quite a few things about building an arch- all of which could be translated into building an Ark.

Bizarre isn't the word!

It is a bit bizarre going on trips like this, but I believe it is important for me to be obedient. I also know that I couldn't have gone anywhere else in the world that day and found someone that was asking a question that I had the answer to. What I have learned and what I am learning I put into building the Ark. Part of the exhibit at St Louis deals with Lewis & Clark, two great explorers who crossed the Mississippi at St Louis and went westwards. This took courage and determination, but America would not be what it is to day without these men. Unless I go where God directs and do what is in his heart for me, then I will miss out on adventures and never fulfil his calling on my life. Most of my adventures do not involve travel - but the adventure everyday of listening to God, walking with him and doing what he says is not to be missed. Listen to God, dream and obey - it's an exciting life.