“This is the furthest I have ever been from Georgia.”
As our aircraft left the ground in Atlanta one of our Mission to Africa team members, Michael, made this personal revelation to me. Michael was a recent high school graduate who not only had never left Georgia before but also had never been on a plane before. Now he was a boarding a plane for a 16 hour flight halfway around the globe to South Africa.
Needless to say he was very excited. But this was only one small step in his journey. Six months of planning had preceded boarding this plane. But the journey really began with Michael’s decision to trust the Lord’s calling, join the Mission to Africa Team, and GO!
There are many great creatures around the globe that travel vast distances, but the wolverine travels amazing distances, especially for its size.
Wolverines, though only around 40 inches long, (bushy tail included) can travel amazing distances for their size.
Most wolverines travel about 18 miles each night. However, one adventurous wolverine was documented traveling over 500 miles in 42 days! Talk about venturing far from home!
Michael went through many days filled with frustration and uncertainty on his journey. He was concerned about raising the needed support, about what to pack, about how to handle cultural differences. All very legitimate concerns. But since God had placed this trip on Michael's heart, God taught him to trust that He was the LORD. Michael worked hard, learned that trust and obedience go hand in hand, and now finally was on his way. Michael’s step of faith blossomed into an adventure of service halfway around the world in South Africa.
Scripture demonstrates that God called people to go on some amazing yet seemingly overwhelming journeys.
Moses - finished speaking with a Burning Bush and then had to go free a million people.
When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied.Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”
Jonah - When called tried to flee from God by traveling to the other side of the known world. Away from God’s destination of Nineveh.
But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
Nehemiah - Approached the king to ask about rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem.
With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”
All through scripture God called people to do amazing things.
Did God call them and then sit back on His throne, did nothing and expected them to make Him happy? No! When God called them He gave them all they needed to get the job done. He did it then and He does it now!
As Christ followers, we are called to care for people around us. But as the world grows smaller through technology and easier travel, the Lord might be calling you to venture a little further from home.
A great aspect of Michael's story is that he was not alone. He was joined by his father and four other team members. Watch messages from our mission teams.
You too can take a step of faith and answer God’s call to serve far from home. By joining an international mission team, you could get outside yourself and venture far from home.
What will your response be when called? Will your response to the Lord’s call be like Jonah? Will you try to flee , but end up going anyway? Or will your response to the Lord’s call be like Moses? “HERE I AM LORD”.
Responding in Prayer
Gracious Heavenly Father thank you for loving and guiding me. I trust you but am afraid to step out on this Faith I have in you. You have called me to do your will and it seems terrifying at times. Lord please continue to encourage me with your love. Help me to understand that you have it all figured out and that you just want me to trust you. Forgive my fear of the unknown and substitute this fear with hope and confidence in you. Amen.