He was a dreamer

by Stan Mitchell

When Nazi Germany lay in smoldering ruins, when thousands of German children faced hunger and cold, the churches of Christ were among the first on the scene with food and clothing, and a declaration of God’s message of mercy.

And he was there, too, feeding, clothing and healing the broken-hearted, because he was a dreamer.

When far away Nhowe Mission lost its personnel, he inspired two families to join him and preach the gospel in Southern Rhodesia, because he was a dreamer.

When he attained a PhD from the University of Michigan, and could have had his choice of lucrative positions in academia, he instead returned to war-torn Rhodesia to preach the gospel. He always had an idea; he was always dreaming a dream.

Not all of his dreams worked out. Men he trusted disappointed him. Not everyone saw his vision as clearly as he. Often they scoffed at his ideas. He made mistakes, even enemies. His body grew old. But never his ideas.

Elderly Germans today will never forget that when they expected vengeance, they were offered mercy. African Christians remember a multi-talented man who could teach them trades from plumbing, to carpentry, or Biblical languages.

Today a mission provides Christian education because he was a dreamer. About 5,000 meet there for an annual lectureship. They sing from a hymnbook in their language that he helped to write. When this great lectureship crowd gathers, for miles around in the farm compounds and beer halls, and at the bus stops, everyone knows that God’s people are worshiping together again.

We need dreamers. It is their ideas and faith in God that provides rich soil for the kingdom’s growth, for truly, “without a vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).

Roy V.Palmer grew old but his ideas never grew old. He was always certain that God’s people could accomplish what they set out to do, if the Lord was on their side.

“Then he dreamed another dream, and told it to his brothers, and said…” (Genesis 37:9, ESV).

Some call it dreaming. God calls it faith!

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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