Nearly five years ago, ORU alumnus Stephen Guzman signed up for his first mission trip with the ORU Missions and Outreach Department. Guzman experienced an undulating journey as he prepared for his trip to the Philippines. It paid off, for his experience changed his life forever.
“If there was any trip where I saw flashes of God’s grace and glory it was in my freshman year going to the Philippines,” Guzman said.
For Guzman, the idea of a mission trip was completely new. He recalls going to the first meeting where Missions and Outreach Director Bobby Parks announced that everyone would send out fundraising letters.
“Initially when Bobby said that we were going to send out letters to people I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to send this out to my aunt, to my mom, to my uncle,’ and as I was writing letters I was like, ‘This isn’t going to work out, they’re not going to be able to send me anything,’” Guzman said.
He realized his family could not afford to donate to his trip.
“I never let that stop me because I always felt like it was possible and if I couldn’t do it then God could do it. I really believed in that,” Guzman said.
“When you seek God and you pray and fast, that’s when you see God and things start to change,” Guzman said. “The Lord starts to work on your behalf and he sees your intentionality with him. And that’s all I knew to do so I prayed and fasted the whole time I was fundraising.”
Guzman recalls meeting up with his team at the Prayer Tower. As they began to pray, Guzman fell asleep. That’s when the dreams began.
“I was at the Mabee Center on the main entrance row. There are seats to my right and seats to my left,” Guzman said. “And there’s a big, old angel beckoning me to one of the tunnels and he just looks like this big, glorious light.”
This dream became the beginning of God’s confirmation for Guzman to continue his journey to the Philippines.
Although this was the first of several dreams Guzman would experience leading up to his trip, at the time he didn’t think too much of it and continued to fundraise.
The 50 percent deadline was approaching and Guzman’s account held little weight to how much he needed.
“I probably had like $300 towards my account before the 50 percent deadline but I’ve had all these dreams. So it comes to the time and my missions leaders call me into Zoppelt.”
His heart prepared for his leaders to tell him the worst, Guzman walks in to meet his leaders avoiding glance. “Well, you made it,” his team leader said.
“Somebody donated that money and instantaneously I was back on the team. That moment,” Guzman said, “has always been a pillar of my faith walk. As soon as you think it’s impossible, you don’t know what God’s cooking.”
Guzman traveled to the Philippines to serve that summer and the following three summers with ORU Missions.