Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | September 28, 2008

Travelers

   My heroes have always been travelers. Simply defined, a traveler is someone who goes beyond. I come from a family of travelers — from the 16th century, when my ancestors traveled from Spain to the New World, to the present generation. Travel is in my DNA. As a kid, I loved the nights when my Dad would set up his slide projector to show us his black and white slides of places he’d visited and people he’d met. I loved hearing his stories of traveling light and of visiting places I would later read about in school books. But, best of all, I loved his stories of the connections he’d made with people. The people in his photos gave context and meaning to the places he’d visited and were always more interesting to me than buildings and things.

   I still recall how my heart would beat with anticipation when Mom would announce the arrival of a package from overseas sent by one of my traveling uncles. It was Christmas all over again. I would hold the package and examine every detail before opening it — the stamps, the handwriting, the weight. And then, with measured restraint, I would open the package. These gifts gave me the edge at show-and-tell: a leather wallet from Egypt, a small lapis-lazuli stone from Asia, a Chinese box, and even a vial of water from Antarctica.

   As a kid, my imagination was stirred by the stories I would hear around the family table and at family gatherings. My grandparents’ large home was the depository for treasures collected from years of travel. I’ve often told friends I was raised in a museum. And, I was. I especially loved to peruse the photos kept in old shoeboxes, the old timey kind with serrated edges and those first Kodak color photos, now faded, with the date stamped on the edges. I was fascinated. The best part was looking at the people, those who lived beyond my small South Texas town.

   As an adult, I am the beneficiary of my family’s legacy of travel. However, as a follower of Jesus Christ I am especially fortunate to travel with a purpose. My passion for going beyond is fueled by the last command of Christ. I love making connections with the people at the other end of the Great Commission. I have discovered that the greatest adventures await those who go beyond, those who go to the farthest edge of everything they know and then take an additional step. The rewards of new friendships are found on the other side of risk and await those who are willing to lose sight of the shore.

   Travel has undoubtedly enriched my life. But meeting people and making friends around the world have made the greatest difference. Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness — all foes to real understanding. Likewise, tolerance, or broad, wholesome charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in our little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Jesus calls us to be travelers. He said to His disciples, “…as the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). So, become a traveler. Take those first steps that will move you across the room or across the globe to make meaningful connections with others for the sake of His kingdom.


Responses

  1. I enjoyed your story of how your family is a caravan of travelers. I never actually thought of how Christ commanded us to be “travelers.” But you are right, we are to go, and Go Beyond!

  2. Hello Traveler,

    I was deeply moved by your story. I also find it interesting that during my childhood I found myself moved by the idea that the world was becoming flat again. I found myself wanting to see the world from my own front pourch.

    I remember when Houston Independent School District became desegregated. I was attending an all African American Elementary School during that time and we were asked if we would like to attend the all AA Middle School after graduation from the 6th grade or attend the school across the track, which was an Hispanic and Anglo school. My heart was led to go to the school that was diverse. Only 6 students out of 200 choose to take that step. This began my travel. Even today my decisions on minstry has been reflective of my travel. Since becoming a traveler for the Christ I have participated in the Great Commission on five continents. Thanks for reminding us of God’s plans for us yet while we were in our mother’s womb.

    Blessings
    The Traveler
    Rickie Bradshaw

  3. Rickie…

    Thanks for your comment and for taking the road less traveled. That decision has made all the difference. I appreciate all that you do through Union Baptist Association to help the people of our churches to make meaningful connections with others throughout our community. I am blessed by your friendship and example.

    Omar~


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