Do you enjoy traveling? Do you have dreams to go somewhere special, but feel too much is holding you back? Do you have a heart that strongly desires to serve others?
Would you like to be encouraged by God was faithful in working in and through me? If you said “yes” to any of the above, keep reading…
I am always astonished by what each travel experience holds. I truly count them as a privilege and blessing from God. I wanted to share some of the highlights with you in case any of those three countries are places you dream of heading to. Also, I pray that one of these moments might speak to your heart my friend as you reflect on your purpose in life and the travel passions/dreams you might have. My dream of taking three weeks or more off from my businesses finally came to fruition after years of writing the dream down. I have deep gratitude for my amazing, team members who provided the support this dream needed to come to fruition.
Journey 1: Fiji Islands
After two days of traveling on 4 flights, a shuttle and boat I land at the Mission at Navatu Creek. I came as a short-term missionary with undefined assignments and a heart ready to serve the community of roughly 50 islanders who shared this Fijian island with me. I stayed at the free medical clinic who functioned in part due to medical professionals from around the globe who exchanged their family holidays to heal those in need, while truly showing one another the true essence of God’s love for each of us.
Fiji is a tropical paradise and a land enriched by its simplistic lifestyle. The locals keep it simple and focus on what matters most each day as they reach out to help each other with their daily needs. I was blessed by a worship service conducted in both Fijian and English. The climate I was surrounded by was one of immense faith, constant prayer and praise of God. It certainly serves as a challenge to so many other more developed nations such as America.
In terms of service, I spent my time in three main areas. I lead some prayer meetings with teaching, I helped the clinic’s office with some accounting system issues, and most of my week I spent being a part of the Hawthorne story. The Hawthorne family serves as a beautiful example of faith in action and living a life of deep purpose/meaning. They sold their ranch, properties, vehicles and other assets in their well-to-do Colorado life to move their young children and build a new home next to the clinic at the mission.
High building supply costs, costs for a work crew, and recovering from a cyclone all made this project become a year-long effort they never projected. Until it is done, they are living in an old clinic with no electric, killing rats daily, etc. I was honored to step in and learn a lot about construction and give them my time. Their dream is that their house will house missionaries that come to their island as an expansion effort of Navatu Creek. There will be more in my upcoming book (Running Down Your Dreams) via a personal interview. That story was never on my author radar screen, but I clearly felt led to led so I could be empowered and share their story with others.
For the adventurers, you might have enjoyed spear fishing with us as we hit a giant, blue octopus who bent our spear in anger. Perhaps doing some kayaking in their clear sea, while shark watching or some extreme rock climbing to caves where cannibals lived might have tripped your thrill trigger? If not, perhaps living off the earth and celebrating a Fijian lovo barbeque or climbing a coconut tree and hacking your drink down with a machete would do it?
Journey 2: Sydney, Austrailia
For the adventurers, we went on a wicked spelunking/caving excursion through the tight corridors of the Jenolan Caves. I also experienced spiritual journies like no other which included being prayed for and having instant healing on my ailing foot on the spot at Day Spring Church. God also led me to those who blessed me with powerful / unexpected love (both opportunities to give and receive) because of the openness of my heart that this journey created through rejuvenation and detachment from status quo in life.
Journey 3: Thailand
The final leg to my sojourn was through Bankok and the regions surrounding Phuket, Thailand. Much like Fiji, I was greatly impacted / encouraged by the love I felt through the servant heart’s of the locals who surrounded me on this journey. The beaches of Thailand certainly possessed beauty beyond the cultural beauty and hot springs I enjoyed at my host destination (The Hot Springs Beach). However, nothing was more beautiful that am encounter with a waitress named Nui (she is in the picture). With my healing at Day Spring Church fresh in my mind, God stretched my faith yet again!
The night prior, I felt that this woman had back problems, though like many people I did nothing with what I see/feel. The next day I felt led to ask her if she truly had back pain, and she boldly confirmed that truth. I asked her if I could pray for healing for her right then. Despite our language barriers, Steve and I prayed for her and she was miraculously healed on the spot after praying twice for her in response to this world of knowledge that God gave me. I was blown away to see how the Holy Spirit worked in response to the power of praying for healing in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ and believing that healing could occur right there. It certainly had nothing to do with anything Steve or I possessed. God honored our faith and showed his power and love through our faithful action towards Nui. He confirmed he is truly a living and active God in our daily lives. She was so blown away that she later bought me a coconut to drink as a gift. It was a very touching confirmation for me about what God did for her in response to prayer and faithfulness as we stepped out in faith to do what God put on my heart to do (despite any hesitations, doubts or fears I could have had). I can still remember her running to the shuttle as we left giving us a hug goodbye and affirming her back was still great days later!
For the adventurers, there is much to see within Asian culture. If you enjoy being pampered, or never had a genuine, thai massage I highly recommend it. We visited the movie site for one of the James Bond movies, did sea cave kayaking, fed/rode elephants, rode ATV’s, and watched acrobatic monkeys/elephants (all in one day) for what they called the James Bond Adventure. We also visited FantaSea in Phuket, which is basically like the Disney Land of Thailand. It was a fun for all ages cultural experience / theme park that I would highly recommend.
Well, if you stayed with me through all of this extended blog post, you might wonder where I was going with the title? As I reflect on Dorothy and her friends on her journey through the yellow brick road towards the Wizard of Oz, I fondly remember her talking about lions, and tigers and bears, oh my! The location, animals and destinations might all have been different, but the moral of the story and main purpose of this post is consistent. When you travel with passion, openness and faith, you might reach an incredible destination! For me, my heart is full of gratitude and joy because my yellow brick road ended with a deeper relationship with the wizard of more than mere Oz (God). My wizard my friends is the creator of all things. I am thankful to God for teaching me more about his Holy Spirit through the blessing of travel on this journey. The Holy Spirit truly is active and present in the lives of God’s sons and daughters this very day.