Turning Visions into Reality A Story of Success

A Story of Success

Twenty years ago, a young pastor named Tom walked into my office at the North Pacific Union Conference where I was the youth director. In the next few minutes he articulated a vision. This in itself was not noteworthy. Lots of people have visions. "If you could just give us $50,000," they say, "we could do this and that..." and maybe they could. There is an old Japanese proverb that says, “Vision without action is a dry desert.” (I’ve met people with that malady.) But the proverb goes on, “Action without vision is a nightmare.”

Tom was different. He wasn’t just there to ask for dollars. He was there to enthusiastically cast a vision and act upon it. And there was a certain determination about him that exuded confidence and encouraged support. Enthusiasm is an old word, the root meaning of which is “being infused with spirit.” In his case, I believe it was infused with His Spirit.

Now, two decades later, that vision has become a viable reality with a track record of successfully helping 2,081 challenged kids know that God loves them and has a plan for their lives (see page 6).

I can only begin to imagine the amount of hard work, frustrations, faith and prayers that have made this venture successful. The full results will only be realized in heaven.

So to Tom Sanford, his staff members and each person who has supported Project PATCH as a volunteer or financial sponsor over the years, we offer congratulations for making this incredible vision a success.

A Challenge

To other readers who may have a dream that you believe God has given to you—a vision to do something great with eternal consequences—I challenge you, too, to step out in faith. What if Tom and his colleagues had ignored God’s call? Oswald Chambers, that great inspirational man of God, wrote, “It is easier to work for God without a vision and without a call because then you are not bothered by what He requires.”

Is God, by His Spirit, requiring you to transform your vision into a reality? If so, why not respond? God is still in the business of helping make visions become realities.

March 01, 2004 / Editorial

Jere Patzer is the North Pacific Union Conference president and writes from Vancouver, Washington.