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Joel’s Dream

Four years ago, Joel Vasquez had a dream. He wasn’t much of a night dreamer, and this one woke him straight up out of bed so that he woke his wife, Trinidad, from a very sound sleep.

“What’s wrong?” she asked after she had found the light switch.

“I had a dream,” Joel answered. “It was a loud dream where a voice shouted out to me.”

“What did it say,” Trinidad really just wanted to go back to sleep, but now she was actually a little bit interested in Joel’s dream.

“The man in my dream said that he’s going to build a church on the vacant lot across from our house. And it’s going to be God’s true church!”

“You’re crazy, Joel.” Trinidad said. “Go back to sleep.”

A Message

And he did, almost forgetting the dream until six months later when he was attending meetings in another city. During one of the sessions, a man from Argentina stood up and asked if there was someone in the audience named Joel Vasquez. Joel stood and said, “That’s me, I think.”

“I have a message for you,” the man said. “God has told me to tell you that He is going to build a church in the vacant lot across from your house. And it’s going to be God’s true church.”

Joel was so surprised that he could hardly wait to tell his wife, Trinidad. But when he told her that the man had said the same thing that he’d heard in the dream six months ago, she was angry and called him “Loco.”

A whole year went by, and Joel almost forgot the dream. Then one night, Joel had the dream again, but this time it was different.

“Joel,” the voice said. “Save the vacant lot for me. I need it so I can build my true church there.”

He didn’t wake Trinidad to tell her the dream. But in the morning, he went to find out who owned the vacant lot across the street. When he found the owner, he told him the story of the two dreams and the man from Argentina.

The landowner laughed but finally allowed Joel to rent the land and build a fence around it to “save the vacant lot for God’s true church.”

Joel put up the fence and waited to see what God would do. He waited almost a year, but no one would even talk to him about the vacant lot or the church.

A Knock at the Door

Then one evening, a strange man knocked on his door.

“Hello, my name is Nelson,” the visitor said, “and I am the leader of a small group of Seventh-day Adventists in the community. We’ve outgrown the place where we’ve been meeting and would like to talk with you about purchasing the vacant lot across the street so we can build a church there. It will be God’s true church!”

Joel almost fainted with excitement. But then he asked Nelson two questions.

“Do you believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Creator?”

“Yes, definitely,” Nelson answered.

“Would you be willing to study the Bible with my family so we can learn about your church?”

“Yes, definitely,” Nelson answered.

Joel called Trinidad to meet Nelson. After listening, she laughed out loud and said they were both crazy.

Building a Dream

The next day Joel helped Nelson purchase the vacant lot. Then he helped the church members clear all the rubbish out of the lot. When Nelson began giving Bible studies in Joel’s house, Trinidad refused to come – but she listened through the kitchen door, sometimes even following along in her Bible.

Just a few months ago (more than four years after Joel’s first dream), a group of Maranatha volunteers from the United States came to Joel’s town and built a church on the vacant lot. Nelson helped the volunteers. Joel helped the volunteers. And Joel’s children and grandchildren helped the volunteers.

And so did Joel’s wife, Trinidad.


When the church baptistry was finished, she stood beside it and said, “I have decided that this baptistry is like the front door to Heaven. I want to be baptized in it with my husband Joel and with all 22 of our family members.”

Then she cried. But they were happy tears.

Four years is a long time for God to give Joel dreams about the vacant lot and His church. But God is like that. He will do whatever it takes to find people like Joel, Trinidad, Nelson, Billy, and Margaret, and each of us right here!

God wants to make friends so that we can all come through the front door to Heaven.

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Dick Duerksen writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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About Dick Duerksen

Dick Duerksen

writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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