404 The Day I Flew Across The World By Myself

The Day I Flew Across The World By Myself

My eyes shot open at 5am like I was zapped with a taser. I didn’t know what time it was but I knew I was late, I could just feel it. I wasn’t able to fully sleep all night because I was afraid of this exact thing happening. My alarm was supposed to go off 30 minutes earlier and my ride would be arriving any minute. This definitely wasn’t the way I wanted to start this journey. Five minutes later my phone buzzed, “I’m here” he said. I wiped the sleep out of my eye, grabbed my bags and ran out the door.

Half way to Miami International airport, we hit standstill traffic…at 5:30am. “Are you kidding me?” I said to myself. There was no way I was going to miss this flight; I was ready to get out and walk if I had to. Almost an hour later we pushed through the traffic and made it to the terminal. I’m dropped off at the departures and my heart is beating out of my chest as I wait to check in. I rushed to my gate and I make it just as the flight is boarding. I throw my carry-on in the compartment, lock my belt and sink into my seat as I embark on my 23-hour trip to the other side of the world, all by my lonesome.

How I Got Here

I had just hit 30 and I knew it was time to do something with my life. I didn’t know what it was, but I was tired of living safe and predictably. I realized that I wasn’t living much of a story and it was time to change something.

When I was invited to join a couple of complete strangers on a trip to Southeast Asia to train church indigenous church planters, I said to myself, “Well that would definitely be a change.”

I had serendipitously connected with one of the guy through Twitter who was teaching an online church planting course. I was quite interested in the process of planting a church and so when he invited me to join his weekly webinar, I jumped at the chance.

After a few months of study and discussion, he told me of some friends of his who take trips around the world to train church planters. He said if I wanted to see the process first hand, I was welcome to go with them. One phone call later, I was booking my ticket to Bangkok, Thailand.

Why It Was Worth The Risk

Most people probably thought I was absolutely insane to fly alone around the world to a third-world country, to then meet up with someone I’ve never met. Before I turned 30, I would have agreed with that line of thinking.

What I’ve learned is that until you take a risk, you will never learn what real faith looks like.

If I didn’t take this risk, I would have never had a chance to visit 3 beautiful countries (Thailand, Myanmar, Laos) in Southeast Asia. I would have never seen indigenous men and women spending time to learn how to plant churches in their own villages, towns and cities. I would never have had my entire perspective on foreign missions blown out of the water.

By stepping out in faith (preceded by MUCH prayer), I learned that I AM a risk-taker. I realized that I could overcome my fear of the unknown and trust that God is absolutely present in the things I don’t have in my control.

My first missions experience was absolutely life changing for many reasons. Aside from what God did in my heart in those countries, I learned that I always have a choice. I can either play it safe and grow marginally or worse, stay stagnant. Or I can trust Him when He speaks and step into the unknown. I learned that I would never trust God if I was always in control.

When I was able to trust God and let go of control, I experienced a brand new type of freedom in my life. And I would do it again because it was SO worth the risk.

What’s the craziest risk you’ve ever taken?


  1. Hi Tony,

    Until today, my craziest risk was getting a job in Korea, then staying through the Asian Economic Crisis of 1997. I watched my Canadian equilivant salary drop 60% in the span of a month.

    Today, my job was eliminated. I have a job for about six months. The biggest, craziest risk and journey is ahead of me as I seize this lemon to squeeze it in the making of a lemonade stand.

    Your prayers and the prayers of your readers are appreciated. I’m stepping out in faith to create a better opportunity for me. I’m stepping out in faith to help my colleagues dream some big dreams, and to be better off when all is said and done.
    Douglas recently posted..The prayers of the people

  2. Nicely done, Tony. I visited Paraguay one time for 10 days and 7 months later I was stepping of the plane with my wife and 2 kids in tow to live there. Truly an oversimplification and clearly there was some prayer involved too. We have been here 4 years and taking risk almost on a daily basis. I trust Him at this level and He ups the ante. Right, now we have some things going on that are stretching that faith big time but He is able.
    Ken Hagerman(The Barba) recently posted..Optimist Prime

  3. Great thoughts on risk and how it impacts our relationship with God. That has been my experience too, though I’ve never taken a mission trip quite like that.

    As to my biggest risks, I’ve taken some mission trips into the inner city of Philly and have done prison ministry–though prison ministry is pretty safe in most cases since the environment is so controlled. It felt risky during the first visit and perfectly safe after that.
    ed cyzewski recently posted..My Hazardous Faith Story: The Safe, The Brave

    • The inner city of Philly is no joke! And I also realize that we don’t all need to take some crazy trip around the world. The concept of risk can be relative to each person. Ultimately it’s a trust issue that we build in our relationship with God.

  4. I truly believe that faith and risks are inseparable. Even if you’re not a risk taker by nature, you’ll become one to some degree as faith gets a hold of you. I’ve got to have so many adventures with Him! My wife and I heard God to move to Alaska, had no jobs or housing (thankfully had her parents, but that was it). We said yes and being just out of college, had $0 to our name. God provided everything we needed. I think about our adoptions, the worship albums I’ve made, and so much more. On the surface, it’s crazy, but when we know He’s speaking and calling, we can step out of the boat. I’m so grateful for what I’ve been able to see in Him. Playing safe doesn’t get you that joy and exhilaration! Thanks Tony.
    Jason Stasyszen recently posted..Stupid Excuse Hall of Fame

  5. Better late than never. Nice article Tony. Thanks.

  6. This is a great story Tony. I really dislike safe living. It’s boring. This is why risk is exciting, exhilarating and a great teacher. I’ve taken a few risks in my life. Some good, some bad. All worth it.
    Moe recently posted..The Disciple and God’s Discipline

  7. Tony, wow! I can’t say I’ve ever taken a risk like the one you describe. That is just simply awesome. My first missions trip three years ago to Jamaica was exhilarating. I went with my wife and a group from a church. Next year my wife and me are discussing a possible family missions trip to Costa Rica. We are praying and asking our churches backing. I pray it we can go as a family. Thanks for sharing your amazing, risk-taking story.
    Juan Cruz Jr recently posted..The Purpose of a Christian Leader’s Talents

    • That’s great, man. I can’t wait to take a trip with my wife. She’s never been on a missions trip. I’ve heard Costa Rica is a beautiful country and the people are so nice. Pura Vida!

  8. Mine was very similar. I went on my first trip to Europe (that trip was Poland, Czech and England). I was petrified of flying, used all of my vacation time and went during the worst winter Poland had in 80 years. Buildings were collapsing under the snow. But I went. I preached two times in a small church, connected with people who changed my life and, because of that first trip, I’ve been back every year since. Taking a risk really can change your life.
    Jason Vana recently posted..Playing the Fool

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