travelling on the big boat

So support raising has been….well…slow.

BUT we are VERY thankful to those who have partnered with us so far and praise the Lord for family and friends who support us and pray for us.

In our own minds and according to our plans, we had hoped to be further along than we are at this point. I was talking to God about it and telling Him how it was a bit discouraging because our hearts are already onto the next step in our journey but physically we are \”stuck\” here.

That\’s when it hit me:
God doesn\’t want us on the speed boat.

Let me explain. When we were in Brazil, we were on a huge, three level boat with a capacity for over 500 people. It was very big….
and very slow.

To travel from on end of the river to the other, going downstream, in high-water season (when all the odds are in your favor), it can take an excess of 5 days. Upriver in low water season can be 7 or 8 days at best!

Along the way are stops–both planned and spontaneous. Of course you have your ports that are mapped out and you can pretty well count on stopping there at some point on the journey. People get on and people get off. Barrels are unloaded and others replace them.

Some stops however are completely unplanned for.

We don\’t always know WHY we are stopping. At one point on the boat, we were randomly stopped by the federal police for a drug search. We floated in the middle of the river, circling with the flow for a good three hours while they searched from bag to bag, only to leave empty handed (well, they did find a \”little weed\” in an Argentine\’s bag but apparently that is acceptable??).

That was not on the schedule.

And we don\’t always know WHAT we are waiting for. One night on our trip downriver, around 2:00 in the morning, we stopped on the bank of the river. We knew it wasn\’t a planned stop because it wasn\’t an actual port. We watched as some barrels were unloaded and a few people got off, replaced by a few who joined us. We were there probably no more than 20 minutes but it was still a delay to our trip.

That was not on the schedule.

However, the advantage of this big, slow boat is there is plenty of time to rest. With 5 days (or more) and nothing but beautiful scenery and wildlife surrounding you, you find yourself relaxing in your hammock as you swing from side to side (bumping into the random people who have crowded next to you of course). Watching people. Reading books. Talking to God.

While it\’s an enjoyable experience for the roaming traveler, it\’s certainly not going to work out too well for a person with a schedule to follow. If you\’ve got a time line, you might as well throw it away.

Of course there are some much faster boats. Some can get you downriver in just a couple of days or from one port to the next in a matter of hours. Pay enough money and sacrifice your own personal space and you can be where you want to be, when you want to be there. The down side is, your packed like sardines with a bunch of people you don\’t know, little room to move much less enjoy the ride and the beauty that surrounds you. But you get where you\’re going, right?

I think this is much like our own \”journey to the field\”.

Our preference is a direct shot, no stops, no unexpected delays. We \”know\” where we want to be and \”where\” God wants us so we want to take the quickest route we can and fly past those \”inconveniences\” so we can \”do God\’s will for our lives\”.

Why is it then we often find ourselves docked on the side of river…. waiting… and waiting. And sometimes we don\’t know why or what we are waiting for and we look around and we question. We ask \”God, why am I here when I could be there serving You? Don\’t You see what a waste of time this is?? Don\’t you see what I could be doing for You??\”

But all along He\’s right on schedule.

He\’s asking us to relax. To take in the journey and enjoy the scenery. Look around and watch the sunset. Rest in our \”hammocks\” as He orchestrates the details of our trip–including those \”unexpected\” delays.

Let Him work.

Dive into His Word.

Share with those on the same boat.

Enjoy the scenery.

Having said all of that, I\’ll count this is a lesson learned. With God\’s help, I\’ll be more like I was on that Amazon River– basking in the beauty of God\’s creation and looking for opportunities to draw closer to Him and share with others where I am now.

The fact of the matter is, it\’s ok to look ahead and be excited about what God has. Even on that big boat there were moments of anxiousness, when we were ready to \”be somewhere\” despite our incredible surroundings. But our focus should be the here and now. Like Paul says in Philippians 4:

11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. They mean the world to us!

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