Cargo of Dreams

I met an angel whose faith is contagious and whose presence is awe-inspiring. Angel Shahrestani is one of the most faith-filled “You Rock Moms” I’ve ever met. While serving as a Field Leader with MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers), I met Angel as she helped train Field Leaders and share her faith experiences.

Although Angel lives on the West Coast and I’m in SE Texas, I follow her on Facebook, stalking to see what faith adventure she’s on next. Angel helped start a Prison MOPS in her community, among several other ministries, but the one I interviewed her about is a ministry she’s co-founded named Cargo of Dreams. Here’s how the interview went:

Angel, Tell me briefly about your ministry.

Cargo of Dreams is a non-profit, faith-based organization dedicated to transforming impoverished communities worldwide by converting standard shipping containers into schools, shelter/housing – really anything that the mind can conceive to improve quality of life for another. We set the containers in a highly public here in the States–whether a church parking lot, university campus, commercial lot and then everyday people give of their time, talent, and treasure to build it out and complete the facility. Once completed, it feels like you are in a schoolroom or health clinic here. The converted containers have drywall, electrical, plumbing, fully functional kitchens, restrooms and more. It is not shipping a resource box filled with goods, it is shipping a completed building! The beauty is that the shipping containers can simply be shipped anywhere around the world. In addition, it is a mission project in one’s own backyard here – yet you are impacting others thousands of miles away in South Africa, Nepal, etc. For a better understanding – and to watch some of our archived videos go to www.CargoofDreams.org.

What stirs righteous anger in you?

-Complacency – as if being a follower of Jesus Christ is a passive spectator sport. True discipleship is an ongoing, engaged growth process.
-Injustice
-Watered-down doctrine/theology
-Hypocrisy

What brings you joy?

Truly my calling in ministry and relationship with Jesus. In my younger years I lived and operated in the “big lie” where I thought there were more pleasures found in sin than pleasures found in God. Simply isn’t true – God rocks!

Also, definitely my sons, and children in general bring great joy. Aren’t they great?!? Plus people, people, people – relationships matter.

In addition, nature, giggles, bare feet in grass or babbling brook, rope swings, swimming holes, flutterbys (should be their rightful name), holidays, fireworks, fields of flowers, couples kissing, newborn cry, a puppy’s paws, a kitten’s yawn, someone with hiccups, coffee with a dear friend, heart-to-heart talks…I could go on and on.

What are your spiritual gifts?

Communication gift is main – Prophecy/Teaching – Leadership/Administration – Pastor/Shepherding and Faith.

What past experiences, both good and bad, have shown you about your purpose in life?

Wow – to really answer this would take up pages, but there are a few things that I discovered through prayer and fasting that ultimately drive my decisions when doors of opportunity beckon. As a natural plate spinner, and a ministry consultant who likes to engage in multiple projects, plus a woman God clearly called to full-time vocational ministry in my mid-20’s, I found myself several years ago on a journey with the Lord to discover that answer, “Lord, what is it that you are truly calling me to do?” It was a time where there were nine doors of opportunity open in front of me simultaneously and I was prayerfully considering which ones (if any at all) He was asking me to walk through. Long story short, through that prayerful process of being still, silent, and seeking His will, I finally landed on a few things that I hang my hat and drive every decision; Ministry must be the bottom line – not money, not marketing, not my own ulterior motive, etc.
I want to run with people who WALK it, not just talk it. Spiritual maturity in partnerships (both parties) is key.

I am not willing to walk onto a field with a slingshot and stones without my BIG God. I dare not step onto a field that He has not called me to or, clearly, I will fail.

Lastly, I do not need my name known in the arenas and venues of this world, but you better believe I want my name known in the hallways of heaven. What does that look like? It was shortly after this time of prayer and fasting in 2006 that the Lord orchestrated an encounter between me and Mars van der Colff – who is now my ministry partner with Cargo of Dreams. Such a powerful time of vision, affirmations, and clear calling. Shortly thereafter, we co-founded Cargo of Dreams.

If you have a purpose statement or had to write one, what would it be?

Off the cuff but close to my heart: Out of the depth of my gratitude for grace, live a life abandoned, immersed in my passion and calling to bring Him glory, honor, praise, and expand His kingdom.

How can I pray for you, as you fulfill your purpose?

-Clarity and strength to see through God’s eyes.

-That he supply our every need.

-We are faithful and good stewards of that which He has entrusted us.

-Others grasp and join the mission.

-Holy Spirit’s anointing on us as we communicate and engage with other ministries, people groups, areas of need.

So there you can see, I met an Angel and she truly is a “You Rock Mom” who inspires others to make a difference in our world.

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