Hey guys, I know it’s been a while so I’ll consider myself lucky if any of you are still following but I thought I’d follow through with what I said I’d do, and post the few entries I wrote on paper during the trip. As it turns out a trip like this leaves little time to write. Jotting down a few memories here and there might be a reasonable task but as I’m sure you all know, GOOD writing takes time and effort; something which comes rare during a turbulent season like this one. Although I have to say I believe I caught myself at the right times, in the right places, to fabricate an interesting account. It’s broken into three different entries spread throughout the journey, but I try to cover the important elements. A detailed description, considering the amount of ground we covered, makes for boring writing anyway so perhaps some of you will appreciate an abbreviated account anyway. You might agree if you take a look at the list of the cities we visited so far…
Fort Stockton, Texas
Barcelona, Spain (Cataluña)
Burwood Park, England
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Sprang-Capelle, The Netherlands
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Almkerk, The Netherlands
Prague, Czech Republic
As I was saying, It might be a little boring describing every detail so I’m certain it all worked out for the best. I’ll be posting three entries over the next couple days for those of you who are still interested. Otherwise perhaps this will just be good to have written down for myself to read at a later date which is totally fine with me as far as I’m concerned. At any rate, here goes…
12/9/13 (9:30 AM) Basel, Switzerland train to Paris, France
I am writing to you from East France on the Paris Bound Train! Today is the Third country and 6th day of this crazy journey, of which I am convinced, is a blessing far beyond what I deserve. A lot of hard work and sacrifice was put into this trip but it has become increasingly clear that mercy upon mercy have been put into place in order to allow this all to happen. The only way I can explain it is to say that God eventually grants the desires of your heart in his own time, when they match up with the desires of his.
It all started in Texas of all places. We departed from San Antonio on Thanksgiving Day with heavy hearts. I have to say I knew it would be difficult to leave but I was nowhere near prepared for the heartache. The Church my parents planted in Garden Ridge known as Highpoint Church has become a permanent part of us and knowing that we were leaving to pursue another dream was painful, even though we knew that one day this time would come. That whole debacle involving leaving is one thing but watching my parents in the rear view mirror is something else. I think my heart will probably never be the same, but there is something to be said for physically making tracks when you hurt so much that you think you might die. It may have been the vastness of the American Southwest, or the way that night and day blend together in the desert, or the numbers of lonely wonderers with no loved ones of their own that helped, but somewhere in there, something allowed me to see clearly and I was able to choke my sorrow. Perhaps the idea that my Mom and Dad told me that they are happy. After a few days I realized that somewhere deep down I considered myself responsible for them somehow, as if it was my job to make them happy. As if their world somehow revolved around me. Silly right? Well… At any rate I came to the place where you have to let go and let God. After all, who ordains their steps? It certainly isn’t me. God’s got their world and my world in the palm of his hand, and whether I’m down the street or few oceans away, he’ll be taking care of them.
We hit the city limits and we drove. We drove for 24 solid hours with a 2 hour break to sleep somewhere on the outskirts of some mid-desert town.
12,000 miles later we arrived in Carlsbad, California at 7 Am and collapsed into a pile. Over the next few days we prepared for our lives to change. We drove up to Los Angeles to pick up the rest of our stuff which I had shipped from Texas. It’s interesting to think that our lives are now in storage but I guess it comes hand in hand with doing something as insane as this.
We flew out of LAX on 12/3/13 and landed in Istanbul somewhere in time and space. If you think you know what “diversity” is, you should go to Turkey. The United States does not even hold a candle when it comes to melting pots. We then made our way to Vienna, the most westerly city in the western world. It was kind to us.
The Viennese people were patient and helpful to these culture shocked jet-lagged Americans. Although I will say that one of them had a heck of a time trying to figure out what I meant by ordering “Drip Coffee” There’s no such thing as drip coffee here by the way in case you were wondering. Hahaha, There is only espresso, cappuccino’s, latte’s and the closest thing to drip coffee, also known as an Americano. Imagine the light bulb above my head when I realized that it was named after this American invention. Not surprisingly however, these handcrafted beverages you find in Europe are most usually unmatched when it comes to quality. We may have imagined drip coffee, but they practically perfected and re-invented the entire empire of the bean.
After a near death experience or two in a taxi, we discovered Vienna. This city is amazing in ways I had never imagined. Austria has a proud, sometimes turbulent, and most often illustrious past; and Vienna has been the center of it for ages. We walked where Sigmund Freud, Adolph Hitler, Franz Ferdinand and the Hapsburgs walked. We stood at the steps of the world’s most infamous opera house. We ate hotdogs from the same stands from which they first came. We watched the streets bustle, and strolled down ancient cobble stones. We marveled at the way that the city seemed to live and breathe on its own. But most importantly we immersed ourselves in the sights and sounds of Europe.
We got on the train and took it west to a little town called Wels, where we met up with Adrie’s family who as usual cared for me as their own. One thing that I love about them is the fact that they live life. They live with their hearts accountable to God, allowing the fragrance of love, family and appreciation to surround them. There is so much I have already learned from participating in their daily life. We took the night train to Basel Switzerland where one of my oldest and dearest friends lives with his wife. He now leads worship at a large church in the city which I must say made me proud to see. I was shocked to see our picture on the screen during the service! Ha-ha, Turned out that my friend used our relationship as an example in an illustration, which he had to explain to me because it was in Swiss German lol. I was absolutely blessed by it, and to say the least it was a sweet moment for me. It was difficult to say “see you later” to them but knowing the schedule we had intended to follow, a few days was all we could spend with them.
Which brings me to this point in the journey. We haven’t yet made a whole lot of decisions about the route but we intend on making the biggest circle possible. We plan on heading to Barcelona and sailing to Rome after Paris but who really knows what will happen. If there’s anything I have learned so far, it’s that there is no way to plan for a trip like this. You really have to just allow the road to take you where it goes; otherwise you miss out on the experiences that a “schedule” does not allow for. In other words, it’s impossible to schedule adventure. You just have to position yourself for it and let it hit you. We have met so many incredible people so far. For me thing that is most difficult to deal with is that they are all lost now to the road. Facebook might connect you to them but the experience you have for a moment is something completely different. I’ve learned to just appreciate the time in which our paths intersect and always remember them as I once knew them, happy and free. Fellow friendly feathers, blowing in the wind. I’ll try to write more when I can but for now it’s been difficult finding the time. When you’re doing this it often difficult to distinguish adventure from adventure. Nights blend with days, and lands with lands. Constantly being on the move provides little room for structure, but then again, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hey everyone!!! Guten Täg and Merry Christmas from Wels Austria. Writing on my phone for the moment lol Sorry about the lack of posts. I know it’s really rotten of me to have said that there would be updates and not do them, but I do have a good excuse. The decision was made to leave the laptop behind in order to further its chances of not being stolen. And believe me it would have lol. Anyhow I’m writing all my entries on paper for now and and will be sharing them all ASAP. Countries checked off the list so far include Turkey, Austria, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. Still up ahead are England, Belgium and The Netherlands. Needless to say it’s been a long hard road. But it’s been the most incredible and rewarding journey I could have ever imagined. I really don’t deserve to be able to do this but somehow God worked it out. There are far too many stories to type out on my phone lol so I will just have to say that they are coming soon. Please continue to pray for the upcoming part of the trip that includes the tour we are graciously being allowed to be a part of. I’ll need wisdom and strength now more than ever. Thank you so much for being readers. You have absolutely no idea what it means to me. I promise I’ll have more content very soon. Yours sincerely, Garrett
Well, I’m excited to say that preparations for the tour and move to Sydney are going very well. The 2014 season has divided itself into 3 phases. The first of which, is The Leading Edge International Tour in Europe we were invited to travel with and serve whithin. This phase, which Adrie has been endearingly been calling our “Amazing Race”, has been forming steadily. The tour dates have changed around some, and still require some work but there are opportunities that appear to be arising with promise, and we are working towards them with expectation for a move of the Spirit. Before the craziness begins we are stoked beyond belief to say that we will be able to spend Christmas in Austria! Sometimes I still can’t believe that this is happening but that’s just the kind of God I serve.
We bought or tickets and paid them off recently which officially secures our time with family in northern part of the country. Before flying to London for the start of the tour, we are arranging to meet up with some old dear friends who live in Basel Switzerland, who graciously are allowing us to stay with them. Aside from being excited out of my skin by getting to see them again, I’m also ecstatic because being in Austria and Switzerland puts us in close proximity to Paris, Venice and Rome. (Holding my breath) With our Eurail tickets we are thinking we might be able to see those amazing cities as well. Some details are yet to be determined but we aren’t worried because once you get into Europe, traveling from country to country is much like traveling from state to state in the U.S. The more prepared you are the further you can go. We fully expect that with a little bit of elbow grease we can make some of our fondest dreams become realized. Adrie and I have been dreaming of seeing these places for many years so the idea of being able to do this now makes our hearts race and palms sweat to say the least. And thinking about where we came from when we first got married makes it that much sweeter. Those of you who know us know that when we started our lives together, all we had was a dream and a prayer. In other words we literally had nothing. Hahah, But looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way. We REALLY had to trust God. If there’s anyone wondering how we made it, I’ll tell you right now, We trusted God and we tithed. Tithing is the only financial endeavor that has never failed us. God says to test him in tithes and “see that he will not open the floodgates of heaven”. Let me tell you freinds, it works. But that’s the end of that rabbit trail for now, you can discover that truth for yourself if you haven’t already. We kick off tour at Kinsington Temple, one of Europe’s largest churches, yet another testimony that God knows how to hook it up. The tour will last until January 26th which will bring us to Vienna for our flight to Sydney which begins Phase two.
Our tickets are paid off and our Australian visas have been approved. Which means We have clearance to work and live in the land down under. If you haven’t been reading in the past, our reason for moving to Sydney is that I have a chance to help out in some of the most effective ministries in the world today. After a year of prayer and focus, it became clear that now is the time to go. This of course means that we will not only have to move there, but we will have to find a way to sustain ourselves. As usual the Lord has provided. My amazing brother who lives in Sydney, who moved there with me the first time in 2007 and decided to stay, is hooking me up with a job at the restaurant he manages for some part time income so I can focus on ministry and help support our stay. Not exactly what I imagined myself doing at 26 years of age but I’m not above it, and the bottom line is that this is what I am called to do. Furthermore I am extremely grateful. The fact that God allowed me the resources and family to provide me with the prospect of income before even getting into Australia is simply amazing to me. He is so faithful. During this time I’ll have an opportunity to learn from the best of the best in ministry and be able to support us as well over a period of 4-7 months until we come home to the United States. Its funny how God brings to light the things you thought were fully illuminated. The Bible says that He uses to foolish things of this world to confound the wise. (1 Corrinthians 1:27) Now I’m not saying I’m anywhere close to wise, but what I can say is that for as many times as I have thought I had a “plan”, God has made it happen another way just as may times. I’m starting to figure out that is exactly the way he designed it to work.
Phase three is coming home. What happens then? Well, to add to the list of means, by which God’s faithfulness has proven true, I have recently been recommended for licensed ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God, allowing me to apply to churches looking for a worship pastor. And that’s exactly what I plan to do. I feel the need to stop and mention that for most people, life has its challenges. For me, one of these challenges was getting my credentials. They aren’t needed to be a pastor, but in my line of work they are highly regarded. This is the most confusing part of ministry to me. I realize that the people who are given an opportunity to serve their community and speak into the lives of its people need to be carefully chosen, but I have had an exceptionally difficult time discerning the differences between the business parts of church work, and the parts where God fully takes the reins. Its an extremely fine line. I had to work hard to prove my character which is confusing because in my experience character should prove itself. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who care more about themselves then the people they supposedly pastor, and this is one good way to find them out. So I am fully submitted to the prospect which is why it feels good to say that after 5 years of volunteer ministry and study, I am finally a licensed pastor. It just so happens that I am without a church. Hahaha, but that is in His hands for now. Its here where the fine line in which He takes the reins is found. There is a clear need to find the right church for us in summer 2014, but until then there is some time for preparation and prayer for the season in which I will finally be able to do what I’m called to do full time. And I know that since He is in full control, everything is already taken care of, the battle is already won, and the enemy has already been defeated.
In other news I just sold our car, which is bittersweet to say the least. If you could drive a car overseas this would be the car that I would drive. It’s a wonderful machine and never gave us any trouble. We saw the United States with this car. I drove it to work everyday for 4 years and blasted a painfully high amount of music out of the speakers. It was surprisingly difficult to see it go. The longer I think about it, the deeper I go into an emotional spiral. Maybe it’s because of what this car stood for… Or maybe its because selling something as important as our car makes the trip seem officially real. Knowing there is no turning back. It’s frightening but necessary for a trip like this. Or maybe its because this car and I took care of each other. Or maybe its because I’m just overly sentimental but either way, its been interesting emotionally. At the end of the day its just a “thing”. And all “things” are part of a world that will eventually have no worth, and cannot be taken with you to eternity. For now, its a means by which God has provided for us and it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that his hand is all over this.
In the next few weeks we will be Saying “see you later” to our friends and family in San Antonio, making a pit stop in Carlsbad California to drop off whats left of our earthly belongings and setting out on the adventure of a lifetime. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think we would be doing something this insane, but here we are, and I’m happy to say that we are thrilled to death about it.
Sorry this post has been mostly informational but I expect as things start getting difficult, and challenges start to arise, there will be more road blocks and difficulties to work through. You can entertain yourself with my anguish then lol. But for now it appears that we are running on all cylinders, and fully in the grace and provision of the one who spoke the stars into existence. Don’t forget that it’s our weakness as humans that makes His power evident, and to remind me of that when I start to whine. Where ever you are right now, whether in the valley or on the mountain top, (I have visited both) His promise to never leave or forsake us is true.
One of the most influential forces on Earth is wind. Wind opens up worlds of endless possibilities. When the first exploratory boats were set in water, it was wind that allowed them to sail. When Meriweather Lewis, William Clark and the Corps. of Discovery became the first Americans to cross North America in 1806, it was wind that aided them by helping to push the Keel boat upstream to the Continental Divide. Wind puts forward legions of energy when captured by the arms of a windmill. When the Mayflower crossed the Great Ocean on its way to the New World, it was wind that got it there. Its wind that causes the beautiful, majestic rock formations in the American West. Its wind that allows navigation across the globe based on patters. It was wind that lifted Oliver and Wilber Wright off the ground, enabling the first human flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17th 1903. It is wind that blows a gentle warm breeze at your back on a barefoot, soft grass, firefly, summer night. Its wind that comforts us by the sweat of our brow when the sun beats down on a day of hard labor. Its wind that, in the beauty of Autumn, brushes your cheek and rustles the fallen leaves, which become caught in the folds of your scarf on a blustery, golden day; And yet… It was Wind that struck fear into Peter causing him to sink as he walked across the waves toward Jesus.
Wind is a powerful and beautiful force of nature but it can also inspire insurmountable fear. Everyone knows that the wind will blow, and right now I am learning to capture it. I’ve learned that when you set sail on any voyage, there will at different times, be different forces of wind. Some may be gentle, and others not so much, but what you do with the wind is the difference between success and failure. When the wind bellows its destructive forces you have your choices. You can be a testimony, or you can blame everyone else for your past and present difficulties. You can hold a grudge, or you can forgive others for their mistakes. You can cry out in terror, or you can sing praises for future success. You can slow everyone around you by kicking and screaming, or you can embrace change. You can exude joy in the fact that a harsh wind can also blow you across the ocean, or you can give up and lay down in the bottom of the boat. You can let the wind sink your ship, or your can capture it in your sails. The choice is now, and will always be up to you.
Well, Its been two weeks since I experienced a dramatic shift of focus. I have known my whole life that this would eventually become my full time occupation but just never thought it would be now. Yet here I am on the cusp of my future in ministry. Drawn by the spirit to live on the edge of my comfort zone and preparing to take the leap into the great abyss. Believe it or not, I’m actually not afraid. Towards the beginning of Discovering Dimes, I was quite timid and shaky, but there is a big difference when you know something is in capable hands. When we risk our lively-hood for dreams of our own, of course its terrifying because our lives are in our own hands. But when we risk the same for dreams not of this world there is peace knowing that our lives are in the hands of the one who sent us, made us, and takes care of us.
My favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” I loved this verse when I was younger and I love it now. How comforting to know that we can be taken care of. Yet as I have discovered, its also extremely difficult to swallow sometimes. You do have to give up your selfish dreams. You must forfeit “acknowledging” yourself, in favor of acknowledging Him. It may be the most difficult thing for one to do; But the longer I live, the more I’m figuring out that I don’t want things to be completely in my own hands, on my own path, in my own time. My humanity is just too flawed. That’s why God invented the idea of human mistakes, for us to know who exactly to trust.
Much to my amazement, the plan is beginning to form. In short we will be moving to Sydney Australia to be a part of Leading Edge International. To begin with, we will be spending December in Austria with family, which is something we have been talking about doing since we got married and are ridiculously ecstatic about! Then, We have an opportunity to serve as a part of Leading Edge on a worship conference tour which starts on December 28th in London. Throughout January we will travel through England, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and possibly Germany. We will be traveling to churches and putting on seminars designed to teach on worship, and leadership. We’ll be holding worship concerts and other events. Throughout our days we will be rehearsing and preparing for these events in which these pastors allow us to speak into the lives of their churches as a team. Ultimately we hope to be a resource to the body of Christ in which we can be used to empower other believers to reach their full potential and therefore help to further the Kingdom.
At the end of the tour we will return to Sydney. We will be working and traveling under the leadership of Pastor Dave Reidy, who is one of my heroes in the ministry. He is a worship leader based in Australia who, in the days of Frank Houston, worked with other worship leaders in the early days of the amazing church we know today as Hillsong. He was the Worship Pastor for seven years and was instrumental in the founding of “Youth Alive”. Needless to say, I have my humility close by, these days. Whats intriguing to me is that he talks like he’s blessed to have us come help this ministry and I don’t doubt that, but it’s actually the other way around. We are the ones who are blessed to be getting the opportunity to serve in this powerful ministry. I don’t see that he feels like he’s a BIG DEAL, even though he is. But even though he’s highly influential, he doesn’t view himself as this great person, or Gods gift for mankind; Just a real leader that recognizes his humanity as equal to mine, but lives a life of extraordinary significance in which he is called. A Godly person who is empowered by the Holy Spirit to do incredible things.
We have our work cut out for us that’s for sure. This will be far from a leisure trip. It will be a lot of hard work and will require great sacrifice. It requires us to give what we have to the cause, but In the end isn’t that what we are supposed to do? Jesus died in our stead and paid the ultimate price for our security in Him, so is it that much to ask that we drop our simple nets, as the disciples did, to follow Him? As far as our day to day life in Sydney, we don’t have many details nailed down; However, one thing we know for sure is that the one who knows when each sparrow falls, is guiding and directing our every step, and that is enough detail for me.
Look forward to more updates if you are interested in following along on this journey, and please click the follow button to get an email upon each post. I’m planing on updating as much as possible with the things God does on the tour and in ministry. And thanks again for being a support. You really don’t know what it means to me. Until next time, Be blessed!
Hi Folks! I know its been a while since I have last written, Let me explain… at the beginning of July I realized that I had been writing for the wrong reasons. I started feeling that things had changed. I had embarked on a perilous journey down the road of the unknown. If you don’t live near San Antonio you would not have seen it unless you were following online, but I had seen many things start to happen. I was utterly amazed that the course of things had taken me and my music to places I never dreamed possible. I accomplished some awesome things if I do say so myself! But as amazing as all that was, one fact was equally amazing to me… I didn’t feel satisfied… I felt more empty than full… I just didn’t experience the bliss I had expected. No matter how many successes I saw, now matter how boldly the light of what I thought were the realities of my dreams shone through, I felt like something was missing. I killed my self night and day for months trying to figure it out. In the end it finally became clear… The desires of my heart unbelievably AFTER ALL THESE YEARS were still very unknown to me.
Matthew 6:19-21, Says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Here is a verse I had ignored. My life is but a vapor, and here I was trying to make it more vapor-y…. Why? It says in Gods word that “He has placed eternity in our hearts”, so of course it makes sense that my heart was not satisfied. I needed even more of Him more than ever. In a time when I seemed to have everything I could ever want, I didn’t have what I needed most…. His heart. And I had only been giving the easy parts of mine, to Him. God does desire for us to be satisfied but I what I found out through Discovering Dimes that we can only do so much of that on our own. He is the only one who can really give us a cup that overflows.
Through a series of recent events, I have found out that my life is about to change drastically. I was given the privilege of getting an invitation to spend a lot of time on the road in Europe and Australia being a part of a worship ministry with one of my heroes. Adrie and I will be traveling through country after country with a team who’s heart is to empower people and edify the church. Lets have a moment of honesty shall we? One of the things that I’ve dreamed of my entire life was traveling and playing music. And I have lots of friends that do it for a living. Am I happy for them? Yes. But it was difficult sometimes for me because it just seemed like it was so close I could taste it, feel it, just barely reach it….. But it never happened, not to the extent I had wanted. After a number of years of asking why it never seemed to be my turn, I had become resentful, jealous, and numb. Why wasn’t it me? When was it going to be my turn? I have talent don’t I? I paid my dues didn’t I? I put in the work! Why is it that my number is just never called?? The answer was that God had something better than that for me. My gifts were not meant for me. They were meant for Him. There’s nothing wrong with being in a band and playing music. In fact I know a number of people who do just that. But I found that unless your goal is to establish something everlasting, you will always fall short of your own expectations. You might have fun riding the wave of success for a while but eventually it all must end. When that day comes for me, I don’t want my treasures to be here.
Discovering Dimes Is still part of my heart but in the light of what I know I’m called to do, I’m feeling a change is necessary. I will continue to write music and produce it, but ultimately the failures or successes of my project no longer mean what they used to. And as far as this account goes, I have decided to tell the story of my journey. Now I know that there are hundreds of you who have signed on with me in interest of me choosing to follow my heart. If you end up deciding to stop reading I will understand. In return, I hope you will understand that while I believe deeply in following your heart, I believe its more important to follow His.
Ill be doing my darndest to write about once per week as I go though the ups and downs of ministry life. Ill write about the experiences I have being a part of many other cultures. This is not expected to be an easy journey, but that’s why its so rewarding. Ill need your help to get though it. Please feel free to write me and be a part of my story. As a great person once said, “We’re all in this together!” You may have noticed that The “likes” are disabled. That’s because I don’t like how they effect my writing. It tends to really distract me from my goal. I give way to much thought to how many people like what I say, and that’s not what writing is about. Its about getting the truth out, un-hindered. Its about the expression of honesty, and I intend on contributing the right way, not based on how many people press the like button. Please comment though and I promise I’ll write back to you. Also feel free to keep an eye on my other project “A Picture A Day Keeps Forgetting Away”, where I am committed to taking at least one picture per day for 5 years. Its available on the top of the page. Thank you so much for reading and coming along with me! You have no idea how much I appreciate all of you! Much love and I’ll see you next week! Be Blessed!