Global Lutheran Outreach Missionary

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Walking on Water

One of my favorite singers is Garth Brooks and his most popular songs is about dreams entitled “The River.” It goes, “You know a dream is like a river, ever changing as it flows, and a dreamer’s just a vessel that must follow where it goes.” I think that Garth was onto to something when he compared a dream to a river, but I think that dreams are much bigger than that. I believe that a dream is more like an ocean and to truly be a dreamer you must walk on that water, not just sit on the boat. When you conquer your dreams, you are stepping out into the unknown and with every step you are not just accomplishing your dreams but you are truly fulfilling the purpose God has written you for. As the devil sees this, though, he becomes the storms and will try to scare you into staying on the boat or sinking into the water. That is where the faith comes in, for if you want to live out your dreams you must walk on water with faith in Jesus with your eyes steady on Him.

This is something I truly have believed since I was a kid. When I was 10 years old, my dreams were what every 10 year old dreams about. I wanted to be in the NFL, be a famous actor, or even just become successful and wealthy with my own business. These are all great dreams but I could feel God called me for more. Then I took my first national mission trip. Everything in my life changed from that moment on. For the first time, I felt what it means to step out of the boat and onto the water. I didn’t know anyone my age on that trip and was terrified the whole week before we left. But I ended up loving the people, the travel, helping those in need, and pushing my faith and my spirituality to a whole new limit. After that, I knew in my heart that I had three dreams that I wanted more than anything in the world: to be a missionary, to be a husband to an amazing woman, and to be a father one day. A year past and on my second mission trip I met Amber and 6 months later I started dating her, the girl of my dreams. Later my mentor approached me to tell me about a month long internship in Haiti and that I should do it if I was serious about missions. At that point I had never even been out of the country yet spend a whole month away. I knew what I was called to do; this was the moment where I had to step out onto the water. The night before I left I told Amber that I believed with all my heart that God wanted me to move there. I fell in love with the people, the kids, and with the organization. As the trip ended, the founder of the organization asked me if I would move here for a year. I told him, “In a heartbeat.” Six months later, I moved to Haiti to work with visiting teams and to help the orphanage in any way I could. After three months there, we had a little boy, named Jacob, brought to us one Sunday. I held him for hours loving on him and singing him the songs my mom sang to me as a child. I later found out that he was abandoned and was coming to our orphanage. During that moment, I fulfilled another one of my dreams by being a father to this fatherless child. Even if it was just for a second, I knew that in that moment God had called me to be a father to many abandoned children. Yet near the end of my time there, I felt incomplete. I felt that there was one thing left that God wanted me to do. Amber and I made it through high school, my jobs after I graduated, her moving to Austin for college, and me moving to another country. We made it through 5 years! I knew that it was time to make it official by proposing. I counted down every day until the big day came. On August 19th 2016, I achieved another dream and married Amber; it was truly the best day of my life. Since then, we have accepted the call to become missionaries and move to Tanzania, Africa to help children and teens with albinism. We arranged a vision trip last month to meet the people there, see the programs, and see what life is like there. The trip was amazing and we immediately fell in love. We came back ready to move there and help in any way we can.

As we sat in Doha, Qatar fixing to board our last flight home from the vision trip, while holding my wife’s hand staring at the plane that I realized I was sitting on the edge of my boat ready to step out on the water with Jesus once again. But this time I truly get live out all three of my dreams: to be a missionary with my wife and to be a father to the fatherless in Tanzania. You would think that I am scared. The waves are huge and the water seems so scary yet my heart is truly at peace. I am ready to follow my God as he leads me with Amber and am so excited to see the ways that God will move in Tanzania. I tell you all of this because I want you to join me! Sail your boat wherever God is calling you but the second that He calls you off the boat step out on the water to join Him. Do it. Just step right out and soon you will be walking on water.

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4 Responses to Walking on Water

  1. Cindy Wooldridge says:

    Oh Austin, this is beautifully written. I am so happy for you and Amber. I think of you both everyday. What a calling you give to others on stepping out of the boat. Love it and hope many will listen. I don’t make a lot of money anymore but would like to help your mission a little bit. All I can afford is $20 a month, if that will help. Let me know. Love you both,
    Aunt Cindy.

  2. Connie freeman says:

    So happy for both of you,such a moving testimony, I will be praying for you both live you lits

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