Have you ever felt God calling you to do something greater with your life, yet you felt ill equipped or perhaps even terrified of the task? On our recent trip to Bulgaria (June 12th—30th) we asked one of our team members, Pastor Gilbert Silva (from Calvary Chapel Murrieta), to share the morning devotions for the entire trip. The reason we did this was because we are praying about moving back to Bulgaria and we wanted to hear from God in any manner that we could, whether that was through our daily personal devotions, morning devotions by another, Sunday and mid-week messages or simply walking down a road in a village with our hearts in tune to the Lord.
On the first morning for our team devotions Gilbert shared from Matthew 14 saying: If you want to walk on the water, you’ve got to get out of the boat. In fact, Jesus told Peter:
“Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
I too want to walk on the water. It is as simple as that! But walking on the water requires getting out of the boat—the boat of my comfort zone, the boat of life as I know it, the boat of the status quo. Yet I’m much like the disciples who were terrified when they saw Jesus walking on the water. Let’s pick up the story.
I must say that as Keith and I are praying about giving up all that we have in the States (which God has richly blessed us) and following the Lord to a small village in Bulgaria it is quite terrifying. We are considering taking a huge chunk of an inheritance (which would be a nice nest egg for retirement) and investing it in a small hotel (that is more like a bed and breakfast). Yes, we are hoping that it is door number three for those of you who have been following the story.
But what if we lose it all? What if we buy property and our visas are denied? What if we get there and we hate living in a small village? What if we can never fully learn the language? What if the people don’t want us there? What if . . . ? And the terrifying thoughts continue. Yet listen to what Jesus spoke to His disciples.
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
Take heart! Take heart; it is I! That’s what we need to rest on. If God wants us to purchase this little hotel and move to the village then He will open all the doors. (In fact, He has closed lots of doors along the way—praises to Him.) If the door opens this time we can truly take heart and know that it is God who is doing the work. And if He opens the door we do not need to be afraid for He will go before us.
So with that said, we fell in love with the little hotel. We rented the place for 4 days and invited friends to come with us. During our time there we had a fellowship day with two additional families from a local church. We also got to meet a Christian family who lives in the village. And I was blessed to do one of my favorite things–I discipled a teenager while we were there. So we were already using the little hotel to fulfill the vision the Lord has put on our heart many years ago. When our last day arrived Keith didn’t want to leave. We think it will be a perfect place to hold our small Go in Peace Weekends. In fact, we asked one of our Bulgarian friends about an hour after she arrived what her first impressions were of the place and she said, “It is like a fairy tale.” Just the type of response we were hoping to hear. What a perfect place for a small retreat center.
Therefore, I want to be like Peter who upon hearing Jesus’ words “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” immediately said “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (Matthew 14:28).
You see, because if we don’t get out of the boat we can never walk on the water. So some of the words that Gilbert spoke that morning in our devotions which really ministered to my heart were:
God stories happen when you are out there.
It’s true. All the God stories of our lives have happened when we put our flesh and our fears aside and followed God in what He was calling us to do. I want more God stories in my life. Don’t you? I want to walk on the water and see what God does with my life.
And so, we are moving forward and getting out of the boat. We are choosing to take a chance and possibly walk on the water. Currently our Bulgarian attorney is in negotiations with the owner of the hotel. We would like to purchase it and also an additional parcel of land across the street. The only problem is the price is above what we want to pay.
But this is perfect! If God wants us to purchase the hotel and the land then He will work out the price. That’s how we will know that it is Him who is saying, “Come.”
[Jesus] said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
In view of all this, we covet your prayers. Please join us in prayer that IF this is God’s perfect will that
- He would open all the doors
- He would close any doors that are not from Him
- He would move upon the owner’s heart to accept a lower price
- He would give us wisdom in which way to apply for our visas (there are a couple of options)
- He would grant our visas
- The dollar would be very strong compared to the Euro on the day we purchase the hotel. (This could save us thousands of dollars!)
The best part of all this:
What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
We simply have to be willing to trust Him and He will direct our paths. Thanks for your prayers. We’ll keep you posted. There are some more photos of the place below. We look forward to hearing from you.