By Jeff Goins and Stephanie Fisk
Stephanie Fisk just returned from an 11-month trip around the world called the World Race. She visited over a dozen countries, sharing the love of Christ with the poorest of the poor.
In the context of traveling to various cultures and living in close community, she found herself. Here is her story…
Why did you feel like you needed to embark on this year-long pilgrimage around the world?
To test the waters. To see if missions is in my future. To see where and to whom I felt called. To serve and share. To grow in my relationship with God. Not necessarily bad reasons quite honorable for most, but I now see how I was searching for milk, while the Lord wanted to give (and gave anyways) meat and wine.
I now see why my reasons were just missing the mark above all, this pilgrimage is needed because Jesus is real and because my soul and millions of others are on the line. My heart and spirit needed this pilgrimage in order to save me from a life of complacency.
This pilgrimage is needed to instill compassion and passion fraternal twins that keeps my soul alive. This pilgrimage is needed to break me of myself. To realize my true identity in Christ. And, finally, what I went searching for at the beginning my role in the kingdom.
What did you hope to gain?
Man, any answer I give will reek of my self-interest… something I was hoping to lose! So, ironically, from the beginning Ive been hoping to lose myself my worldly ambitions, perspectives, control as I go in search of a real, living Jesus. Leave it to God to have this all perfectly planned out. The greater my intimacy grew with Him, the more I was stripped. It was in my nakedness that I saw the true Stephanie. And it wasnt all pretty.
I also wanted to gain a way of living that reflected the simple love of Jesus. A mind, heart, attitude a lifestyle really that would reflect that of one who has been with Jesus. Passionate intimacy that makes others question and seek.
I wanted simplicity which is only gained through losing (void of action on my part) or abandonment (ex going on the World Race… this requires action on my part). Losing those things, wants, and needs that clutter my relationship with Christ.
How has God surprised you this year?
By actually being the God I read about in the Bible The God who provides, the God who heals, the God who hears, the God who protectsI now have a personal story testifying to each of these “I AMs.”
Have you seen any miracles?
Truthfully, how about us “Racers” finishing the Race still wanting to talk to each other after living together 24-7 for the past year! Gods miracle of grace cannot be overlooked. In fact, many of us will be lifelong friends, sisters, brothers.
Physically the blind can see, the deaf can hear, the lame can walk. You know, we were blessed to witness thousands all over Central and South America, Africa and Asia come to know their Creator for the first time, but the thing I am beginning to realize is that even if only one came to know Jesus, that would be a miracle worth celebrating.
Chantear, Eloisa, the Mohicans, June and Cindy each miracles in and of themselves because they taught me about the love of Jesus. The miracle that love can bridge cultures – be it American, Cambodian, Nicaraguan or Chinesethe tears that are in my eyes right now as I remember specific conversation and interactions with these individuals are each precious miracles of love transcending boundaries.
How have you “come alive” this year?
After this pilgrimage, I feel like I am able to answer this question in context better than before. If this trip or pilgrimage is only about me coming fully alive, I struggle with that. In fact, it was a huge struggle for me for the first half of the trip. How, if I am trying to get the focus off myself, can I or should I focus on me and my journey? Then, in Thailand 8 months into the journey things clicked. This is where and when a key shift took place: the focus moves from me to Him and the Kingdom.
Yes, it is about me, but me coming alive is not the ends (as I viewed it before). It is the means of allowing God to be here on earth tangibly. For me to become the true me that God created me to be is the greatest gift that I can give God. But it is not the end it is the means to bless others and serve the kingdom while Im on earth.
It unlocks Gods power to dwell more fully here on earth. He chooses to use you and me. If I do not walk the walk God created me to walk, I am robbing Him and the kingdom. If I am called to fight for justice or more specifically fight to end human trafficking in SouthEast Asia and I do not walk in my destiny, it will affect others ironically, those that will suffer most are the individuals or issues that I was created to serve.
This pilgrimage, or initiation, is a means for God to release even more of his power and love here on earth, to advance the kingdom and to point the glory back to where it belongs to Him alone.
How will this experience impact your future ministry and walk with God?
My faith has evolved from a mind-set to a way of life. It is intertwined with my DNA. I cannot be separated from it. It is who I am. I am a child of God and I have a desire to come to know my Father and inherit the promise land.Everybody is a minister and everyone a mission field. Ministry is who I am. Prayer is who I am. It is no longer about the things I do, but the Person I am reflecting and becoming.
This journey takes a turn onto a path less trodden; a path called faith whose nickname is “reckless abandon”; a path where innate dreams, passions and desires are met by a loving, living, intimate Creator. A Bridegroom who delights in each step taken on this pilgrimage to “fully alive.”
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Stephanie Fisk is from Iowa. She has a heart to call the least and the deserted to a great wedding feast. After graduating from college, she founded Latreia, a US-based servant ministry. This past year, she traveled on the World Race, seeing over 11 different countries in 11 months. You can visit her blog here: Intimacy Unto Harvest.