Discovering Your Mission Field
Part 1: Getting Out Of The boat
Matthew 14:22-33 (NIV)- Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
If you’ve attended worship services here at FUMC | Downtown Bentonville, you’ve most likely heard a sermon based on the phrase “getting out of the boat” based on Matthew 14:22-23. Even if you have not, you will soon understand what the term means to me. In this blog post I will share the great lesson that I learned by facing my fears, embracing the adventure and taking the plunge to listen to Jesus’ calling.
My entire life has been centered on the United Methodist Church and I have loved it through and through. I was a leader through my youth days and accepted a call to youth ministry in 2009. Some would think that was the ‘getting out of the boat part’, but being a leader and living a vocation of ministry was a natural extension of my life. My leap of faith came in 2012, when I was asked to ‘get out of the boat.’
In 2012, I was leading a co-operative youth ministry program for three different churches in Hot Springs Village. Dr. Walter Smith was the Sr. Pastor for one of the churches I was working with. Pastor Walter called and asked if I would be interested in attending a Haiti mission trip in early 2013. You see, one of the youth I was leading had signed up to attend and it only made sense for me to go as well. I was interested, but then again I wasn’t.
You see, I’m not a fan of the outdoors. I don’t enjoy camping. I prefer air conditioning and all the amenities of living indoors. I also had very little “extra” cash to spend on big trips. Somehow Pastor Walter smoothly made the trip “my idea” and before I knew it I was applying for a passport.
We landed in Pignon, Haiti in February 2013, on a runway that resembled more of a pasture (considering goats were running from the plane) than an airport. I stepped off the DC-3 into my future home away from home.
From that first breath of hot Haitian air – I was hooked. We loaded into the back of a truck and drove to our dorm. I saw ladies carrying baskets, water buckets and food on their heads. I saw children, wearing no pants, playing with an old tire and a stick. I saw slightly older children riding mules loaded with jugs of gasoline to town. I saw motorcycles with entire families riding on them, on their way home from school. We soon drove over a bridge where below I saw women doing laundry, dishes, and bathing in the river. The sights, the sounds, the smells – it was a lot to take in.
From the roof of our dorm – you could see the entire city – the view was breathtaking. At night the generators would turn off and the night sky would go black.It was almost impossible to keep track of all the shooting stars. I would wake before the sun rose to the sounds of the man living near our dorm, sweeping dirt from the front of his hut. Other days, I would wake to the melodies sung by the Choir next door as they rehearsed.
Our group worked hard. We worked with orphans, visited schools and distributed supplies. We built doors and repaired screens. I experienced the beauty of the Haitian countryside. Many wonderful things happened on my first trip yet, I was caught off guard by my own abilities.
You see, I have always struggled with foreign language. I barely passed French in high school and Spanish in college was such a disaster I thought I wouldn’t make it through another semester. But, here in this country, where there were no Haitian Creole classes for foreigners to be found – I quickly adapted. I listened. I picked up on phrases, and immersed myself in learning.
My first trip to Haiti was when I first ‘got out of the boat,’ and only through my faith did I overcome my aversion to the outdoors. Then, God blessed me with a small gift of language. My heart swells with happiness when I reminisce on this home away from home that I love. I am grateful that Youth Ministry has prepared me for my mission field and the ability to connect with teens and their families.
God has prepared us for more than our minds can imagine. Yet, it is up to us to get out of the boat and hold faith. Even in circumstances that seem beyond our capabilities. If you continue to walk with faith you will not fall.
I hope you will join me for part 2 of my blog post. There I will share how God continued to unfold the country of Haiti as an additional mission field in my life and the reason I return year after year.
Brooke Crumpler, Youth Director