Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 1, 2011

Mountains of the Moon

The mystery of the source of the Nile River motivated explorers through the centuries to go beyond the charted lines on their respective maps into uncharted territory in search of answers. The earliest explorers believed that the Nile flowed from the Mountains of the Moon — a snow-capped mountain range known today as the Ruwenzori Mountains. European explorers James Grant and John Speke believed that the source of the Nile was not primarily in the mountains but rather in the African Great Lakes located in the Rift Valley. Henry Morton Stanley later found what he believed to be the mountains fitting the earliest descriptions of the Mountains of the Moon. These intrepid explorers and many others devoted years of their lives in search of the source of the Nile. That’s the nature of exploration and discovery — a willingness to go off the map and to venture to the places where few, if any, have ever been.

My first experience with the Nile River was in 2005 in Khartoum, Sudan. The White Nile and the Blue Nile converge at Khartoum to form the Nile River that flows north through Egypt into the Mediterranean Sea. Seeing and stepping into the waters of the Nile stirred something within me — a sense of the great history associated with this river. A couple of years later I visited the source of the Nile at Jinja, Uganda and baptized several new believers there, making the Nile an important part of my own history. Last year I returned to Murchison Falls where the Nile squeezes through a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley escarpment and plunges violently to the valley below. It is an amazing, dangerous, and frightening vista. Park officials have posted a sign at the top of the falls warning of danger: Please Do Not Go Beyond This Point. That’s not bad advice considering that there are no barriers to keep the curious at a safe distance from the slippery edges of the falls.

The sign at Murchison Falls got me to thinking about what it means to “go beyond” since that is the theme of my blog. The falls were discovered by Sir Samuel Baker who named them after Scottish geologist Sir Roderick Murchison. But, Baker had to go beyond in order to make his discovery. He had to leave the comforts and security of home in order to take his first steps to the blank places on the map. It seems that at every turn there are signs, many of our own making, that tell us to not go beyond a certain point, to keep a safe distance away, to stay on our side of the line, and to forsake risk for safety. However, great discoveries about places and people require that we go beyond, that we venture to where we have never been.

I hope that the new year will find you going beyond the boundary line on your personal map that marks the farthest you’ve ever been and the most you’ve ever done for God and His purposes. Determine to live adventurously for God this year. Remember that there will be no big surprises, no daunting challenges, and no discoveries if you play it safe this year. Crossing that boundary line will require a commitment to venture to places you’ve never been and the willingness to engage people you’ve never met. Only those with the courage to overcome their fears and who have the determination to persevere will dare to cross that line. All others will keep a safe distance away from it. Don’t do that. Go beyond, instead. Step boldly across the line in order to advance the interests of God’s kingdom in our world. Place yourself in a context where you will see God work in and through you in new and exciting ways, in ways you never imagined. Go beyond in 2011.

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