On Christmas Eve of 2003, a friend gave us two Christmas gifts. They were alpaca sweaters from Peru. She proceeded to tell us that in 1993, ten years prior, she did a missions trip to Peru. While she was there, the Lord spoke to her and told her to buy these two sweaters and to wait until He told her who to give them to and when. She waited ten years. The Lord spoke and told her to give them to us Bill and Lena Shrader.
As I stared at my sweater, our friend said, “There’s a message from God in those sweaters.”
I said, “What is it?”
She said, “That’s for you to find out.” (Note: never trust a prophet who does your homework for you. When the going gets tough, you need to know you got your orders from God.)
I took up the challenge and took my sweater to our bedroom, where I do my morning devotions. I would lay the sweater out on the bed and kneel with my forehead on the sweater. I cried out, “God, what’s the message?!” I cried that out, over and over.
In the second month, I changed the prayer to, “If you want us to go to Peru, just say the word. IF you want us to go to Peru, just say the word.”
By the time we reached the third month, my heart had started to change. After 20 years of working with college students, my heart was starting to change. In the third month, I took the word “if” off of my prayers and started praying, “Just say the word.”
By the fourth month, God had spoken so dramatically that I knew I was in disobedience praying about it anymore. The time for prayer had past. It was time for action. I picked up my sweater and said, “Father, I’m going to Peru!” But there was still some fear in my heart, so I added, “And if this turns out to be a big mistake, you’re going to have to stop me.” Even as I said it, I knew it was no mistake.
P.S. People ask us if the sweaters fit. The answer is a resounding Yes.