I am right in the middle of saying ‘Yes’ to a new adventure.
Steve and I often dialogue about this word ADVENTU RE and this year it has taken on a new sense of excitement as we say ‘Yes’ to God’s leading to move to Bendigo.
If I were to ask you to think of someone who epitomises the word ADVENTURER, I really am the last person you would think of. I know, I know…I don’t look anything like Bear Grills, but the difference really does go deeper than just our looks. There is absolutely nothing about my appearance, my passions, my personality, my interests or my preferences that would give you the idea that I am an ‘adventurer’. What you may not know about me, however, is that I was schooled by the best of the best in the art of adventure and the person who schooled me was my Dad.
In the lead up to Fathers Day, I’ve packed my suitcase and headed up to Queensland to visit my parents for the weekend and I really want to give him (and my mum) credit for trying really, really, really hard to help me love what he has always loved. When you first meet me there is nothing about my appearance or personhood that would give you any idea that I grew up in Congo, in the heart of Africa but I guess looks can be deceiving. I can actually do adventure and I can even do it well but I do not in any way define myself as an adventurer. Put me on the mission field and I would definitely surprise you…not because I love adventure but because my Dad.
When you meet my dad as a 74 year old, you may think that he is a sweet gentleman who loves to garden and take my mum out on dates, and enjoy deserts and a good coffee, help with the housework and has time for good chat but you don’t really know my Dad if this is all you see. It doesn’t take long, before that chat reveals a very different man : A man who has always said ‘yes’ to adventure’. Despite my Dad’s failure to get me to love camping, sleeping under the stars, climbing mountains and being ok with peeing behind a tree, there is something far better he has instilled into my character and I credit him and my mum for succeeding at one thing: he taught me, by his life and example, to say ‘yes’ to an adventure of faith. He has always lived a ‘yes to God’ type of life and I have come to believe it is in engrained in my spiritual DNA and I can not think of anything I would rather he have given me than that!
If you ever get a chance to listen to my Dad’s stories, you alwys come away wanting to know what it is God is asking you to do that is going to require a greater measure of faith and trust and sense of excitement about what you are willing to say ‘yes’ to.
This is just a glimpse of the man I call Dad. My Dad told me last night, that when he was just eleven, his family moved from Redcliffe to Ipswich, as his Dad was a church planter and felt God lead him to hand over the church he had planted and start again. He can remember choosing to make sure that at his new school, he would be unashamedly Christian. He earned the affectionate name of ‘Angel’ because he refused to share smutty jokes and normal rubbish that young boys get up to. As a teenager, my Dad was on a pathway to becoming an architect, when God interrupted his plans. While sitting in a meeting listening to a missionary share about his adventures in the Congo, God called him to give his life to adventure in Africa. He chose a pathway that would lead to teachers college. When all the guys around him were dating girls, my dad said ‘no’ to dating because he knew his wife would be saying ’yes’ to his call and it would require a pretty special person to say ‘yes’ to being the wife of an adventurer. When he met my mum, he found someone who loved God and desired to serve him with the same desire to say ‘yes’ to adventure as he did. He didn’t even date her nor did he wait around to get married. This meant my mum joined him in Africa and they were married there. When my dad headed to the Congo, the denomination my Dad was a part of was only supporting missionaries in Papua New Guinea, so Dad had to seek support from a different source, going instead with the Congo Evangelistic Mission (based out of Britain). A ‘NO’ from those who were dictating his destination in the naturthesis not mean a ‘no’ to what God was calling him to. It simply meant he had to be ok without their support. It was a good 9 years before they supported them financially.
Another example of my Dad saying ‘yes’ was learning to fly. When God spoke to him about becoming a pilot and initiating the ’Plane Project’, he returned to Australia to learn to fly and needed to buy a plane. As a missionary with little support this was impossible. My Dad said ‘yes’ to this adventure of faith. At the time, the Australian missions organisation which originally refused to support him had only just decided to help him, (nine years later) and he returned to Australia to build rapport with the churches that would support him while learning to fly. They refused to let him speak about the plane project and asked him not to share his vision about flying and purchasing a plane. God had challenged him to take a massive step of faith and purchase a plane and get his licence to fly but he was not allowed to talk about it. He had to trust God from week to week to provide the money for flying lessons. One night he had no money for the flying lesson scheduled the following day so decided to cancel it but someone turned up on his doorstep, that night, with the exact amount of money. This happened throughout the project. He can remember telling mum one night that he couldn’t keep going as it was too discouraging and a pastor rang him later that day out of the blue to ask him about the plane project and encourage him. This conversation was a turning point to not give up on this crazy adventure. Despite not being allowed to share about the plane during his itinerary around Australia, he raised the finance to purchase a plane and paid for and completed the hours needed to enable him to fly when he returned to Congo.
I grew up as a daughter of an adventurer, not just hearing my Dad talk about faith and obedience but living it and seeing God come through. As a little girl I watched this man work hard to gain enough hours up to fly an aeroplane. He didn’t just go and look at aeroplanes and admire them in catalogues. He had to put his faith into action, deal with frustration and discouragement, and experience God do the miraculous but it started with saying ‘yes’. I watched as a daughter of an adventurer, God bring in the resource to purchase a plane and I got to fly with my dad many times during our time in the Congo. On our return to Africa, we were flown by my Dad to school, instead of driving for days over rough terrain in the back of a truck. When you get to watch an adventurer say ’yes’ to new adventures it is not a difficult path to follow.
I love to listen to my Dad share stories about his adventures in Africa but also to what saying ’yes’ to an adventure of faith looks like in this season of his life. We can often equate saying ’yes ’to adventure with the big stuff and the global stories but what about when you need to find a place in a retirement village? What about when you need to sell your house to buy that place? He and mum have just moved into a Retirement Village and the transition of choosing where to live and see God open up a place for them reminds me of the core values of faith they have instilled in me. There is a real sense of beauty in what they have said ‘yes’ to in this season of their life and although the adventure looks very different, they still have the same way of experiencing God’s provision because they are willing to say ‘yes’ to the directives of heaven. The greatest beauty is that their heart for adventure is still about their heart and not about their physical capacity.
I would never call myself an adventurer but I am the daughter of one and will one day hear my own kids call me an adventurer not because I like climbing mountains but because I was willing to say ‘YES’ to God.