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“Stepping Out of the Boat” by Beth Birkenfeld

“Stepping Out of the Boat” by Beth Birkenfeld

“Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out His hand
But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again, “Boy, you’ll never win-you’ll never win!”
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
The voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth…”
~Casting Crowns, Voice of Truth

I remember learning that song 17 years ago; it’s a song that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Why? Because that song set the background music for a video of my first mission trip, a trip to Nicaragua that my husband and 3 of our 4 little ones experienced with our first church-family. There are snapshots in my mind that I will never forget…

–The armed soldiers outside the airport doors, guns at hand

–One of my kids’ fingers getting squeezed into the hinges of those same unforgivingly heavy doors

–The bathrooms we used at the “stores” we stopped at along the way -I remember attendants outside of the bathroom stalls who would hand you a measured amount of toilet paper to take in with you…yes, really. Nicaragua is a very poor country

–The seemingly endless bus ride to the mission house, hours and hours, as we left the bustling main city of Managua behind us and drove, drove, far into the tropical inland city of Nueva Guinea

We arrived at night. I remember that. Darkness, except for when we were driving through a “city”; we would not recognize them as cities, but in the countryside of Nicaragua, that’s what they were. And after our first group meeting the next afternoon, as we all – maybe 15 to 20 of us – sat in that circle, I remember sharing that I regretted coming… I no longer wanted to be there, even though I had been so excited to come on this trip. I sat right there in that circle and cried…and there were 9 days ahead of me that I didn’t know how I was gonna get through.

And then God stepped in. And over those next nine days He brought to fruition what had been, all along, some of the God-given desires of my heart…

–A desire to interact with people in cultures outside of my own…learning to speak “heart language” where spoken language is ineffective

–An opportunity to discover, and use, the gifts and talents that God blessed me with for His purposes and glory

–Time set apart, away from the busyness of my day-to-day, to focus solely on Him, His Voice, His Leading, His mission

–Strength in my own walk from spending quality, concentrated time with other believers, and the joy it gave me to encourage those who were there serving long term

–The indescribable blessing of seeing someone pray to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior- and to know that, solely by God’s grace and goodness, I was allowed to be a part of it. 

This October, that opportunity presents itself again, here at CCF, as we begin planning for an adult mission trip to Hamtramck, MI!  We’ll spend the week encouraging and working alongside Daniel and Kathy Schneider. Hopefully you’ve heard their names mentioned, as they are one of the several Global Partners we support. They are also the family (with their 3 small children) that our high school age students have gone to serve for the last few years, their most current trip being this June.  In October we will be helping Daniel break down and prepare his suburban gardens for the winter, as well as serving this precious family in other ways throughout the week! Part of the planning–actually, a BIG part of the planning–is to get the word out about this opportunity, that the Lord would begin to stir the hearts of those He is calling to go. So I ask, how about you? Is God moving your heart as you read this? Have you thought about “stepping out of your comfort zone” to go deeper, further in your walk with Him? Think about it! Pray about it! Look for the sign-up sheet soon–you will see my name at the top of the list, because I am not missing this opportunity to bless and to be blessed! Step out of your boat and join me! I promise you, based on the truth of God’s Word, He will show up!!  

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20b NLT   

“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25 NLT