The Risk of Not Risking

Dear Friends,

Greetings in the Lord. As you read this letter we will be on Gospel Expeditions in the Southern countries of Africa (South Africa, Botswana and Namibia). We know and believe the Lord will guide our steps and make every day a great opportunity to share the message of life and salvation in Him. It is only through your prayers and support that we can reach the those who do not know Him and we are so thankful that you are with us every step of the way. Please pray for great contacts, clear paths and safety as we travel in Southern Africa through the Kalahari desert, the Skeleton Coast, Kaokoland and the Okavango Delta. We will need your prayers and support more than ever and we ask that if Travel the Road has been a blessing to you, please partner with us in your tithes and offerings so we can be a blessing to many more. Together we are accomplishing much!

This month, we would like to share a message called — The Risk of Not Risking.

Comfort is an alluring offer. Comfort and security can give us the things we are taught to want, but ultimately comfort holds us back from becoming or doing anything great. Risk is the only way we achieve our dreams, calling or any memorable feat in life. Risk goes hand and hand with faith, for without risking anything, your faith would not be coupled with action and thus, dead. Life is filled with risk, but the greatest risk of all is never taking a risk. In our society today we are taught from a young age to avoid any risk whatsoever. With each passing generation we become more pampered, coddled, and fearful, all while being told, taking any risk is something to be feared. Today’s generation wants more, yet they are unwilling to risk anything to get it. However, history proves to us, it is the risk-takers who shape the world. Think for a moment of any Biblical character that God operated through. Were they risk-takers? David vs Goliath, Noah and the ark, Moses leading the Israelites out Egypt, Joshua and the conquest, the Apostle Paul on his missionary journeys, etc... All of these great figures faced extreme risk to follow their faith. Risk that flirted with death, yet they conquered because they believed in God. You can too, but you must step out in faith and take a risk on God.

Risks Unaware: In our society we are told to follow plans. Don't deviate, just follow the plan. Yet, by not questioning the system, we take risks unaware. For example, look at the current economic risk millions of students undertake to attend college without clearly defined goals. Many 18-years olds are clueless as to what their life's work will be, and for good reason, they are only 18! Regardless, they will enroll in expensive colleges, go for a major, spend more time socialising than studying, then change their mind and go for a different major, all while racking up extreme amounts of debt. According to a national study, the average debt for a graduating student is $35,000. Additionally, these graduating students will enter the workforce and only find that menial jobs are available, thus, creating a debt imbalance and forcing many to move back home to seek help from their parents as their debts make it untenable to live self-sufficiently. This is not to say college is bad or not needed, but it should give pause to students to define their goals sooner rather than later, or risk wasting a lot of money and becoming a slave to the system. Once you are in debt, you are owned by someone. We give this example because, many times, we are asked the question by prospective missionaries about how to finance missions. In our opinion, accumulating $35,000 in school loans, is a much larger risk than raising support for a missionary journey for 3-6 months and being debt free. Plus, if one was to decide to come back after 3-6 months on the mission field, they could then take the decision to enter college and go for the exact degree they were previously considering, all while only risking 3-6 months of their time. With this perspective the risk of missions is far less than most people think. Beyond missions, it is a good rule to consider the risk you are taking the next time you are contemplating any large purchase (Home, car, phones, etc.) or long contract that is tied to finances. You will do better in life to consider what you are indebting yourself to, rather than making an unaware risk that will cost you later.

Risk for your Calling: When you have faith, risk isn’t risk at all, because you know, that you know, in your spirit. It might seem like risk to the world, but it is not to you. Many people are so fearful to take a risk on their calling that they live their entire life in the comfort of the status quo. This is one way to live, but you will ultimately cap your future because you will always be beholden to someone else who makes the rules and sets your path. If you think about any person, throughout history or currently, that you admire for their creativity, entrepreneurial skills, business acumen, inventions or ministry, they are all people who took risks. These same risk-takers were also told at one point or another, that their ideas or calling wouldn’t amount to much, yet they persevered. For example, Moses had a stutter, Jesus was scoffed at because he was from Nazareth, Paul was mercilessly persecuted, but all these continued on in faith. Trials and hardships follow those who risk, but he who is faithful in little will be faithful in much. Many modern day ministries have similar origin stories of small beginnings and perseverance, for example, Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM missions, had a life-changing vision while on an outreach in the Bahamas. In this vision, he saw waves of young people crashing on the shores of every continent bringing the gospel to all nations. Loren knew that mobilizing these youth was to be his life’s work and he set himself to accomplishing what God had shown him. He struggled along the way, but always persevered. Through the years, YWAM has become one of the world’s largest missions organizations and has reached millions of unreached around the world. Beyond ministries, even people of the world who took risks and thought differently have origin stories that tell a similar tale. Steve Jobs created Apple computers out of a garage and today Apple is the highest valued company in the world. The motto of Apple even speaks to this risk-taking attitude — Think Different. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, wrote his business plan on a cross-country journey from New York to Seattle in 1994 and today Amazon is one of the largest retailers in the world. Amazon, coincidentally,  also initially started out of a garage. Sam Walton, with capital of $25,000 that he borrowed from his father along with the $5,000 that he saved from the army, bought a Ben Franklin variety store which he expanded into the retailer giant Walmart. Beethoven wrote and conducted the Ninth Symphony while he was deaf. Martin Luther, a humble priest, challenged the core of Catholicism and paved the way for reform. The common theme of each of these pioneers was that, no matter the odds, they were going to risk it and create or do something special.

We, as Christians, know that we are designed for a purpose. One of the greatest tragedies a person could do in life is to never take a risk to accomplish their true purpose. If you have a plan or a vision in your heart for ministry — risk it and begin. If God has given you an invention — risk it and create it. If you have a plan for a business — risk it and start it up. Life is too short to not take a risk. Be bold and remember when you have faith — taking a risk is not a risk at all.    

Back in 1998, God planted the beginnings of Travel the Road in our hearts when we were 19 and 23 years old. We started our first missionary journey by selling the few items we owned and self-funding our first round the world one-year journey on $7,000. Since those beginning years it feels like we have lived many lifetimes. God has since taken us to over 113 countries to preach the Gospel to those who have never heard. We have produced 53 episodes of Travel the Road and been able to encourage a new generation for missions. We have seen and witnessed what few have ever seen and it wasn’t because of our own ability, it was because we decided to risk it all on God. Looking back now, we couldn’t imagine life if we didn’t take those initial risks to start. What would have been if we never risked taking a risk?  

If you are tired of the same old same old, we encourage you to take a risk on your calling. At Travel the Road we desire to see God’s people raised up and effecting a change in the world. Your calling is too important to neglect!

As we minister in Africa, we ask that you would pray and financially support the work ahead. There are some difficult expeditions we will undertake, but with God all things are possible. We know and believe every opportunity to share the Word will yield great results and we are expectant that many will come to know Christ Jesus as their Lord and savior. There are three ways you can be involved in missions: Give, Go and Pray. You might not be able to do all three, but every person can do at least one. Partner with Travel the Road and let’s bring the gospel to all mankind! Peace be with you.

In Him,

       Tim and Will