That One Time I Swam With Piranhas…

For some that may not know – I recently moved to Abilene, Texas to Pastor YouthChurch. It was a crazy process getting to Abilene, and you can read the whole story of that here.

My life the past two years have just been one giant leap of faith after another. From leaving Dallas, Youth Pastoring my home church, God providing for missions trips that I couldn’t afford, and now moving (again) to Abilene to Youth Pastor. It seems my life is in constant change. Being someone that generally loves change, its all been amazing! But the past few years have completely pushed me in every area of my life – especially 2014!

But looking back on the craziness that was 2014 – there is one moment that sticks out to me.

I was in Argentina for the second time that year. I went with a Pastor friend of mine from Oklahoma, and we went to some of the most remote villages in North Argentina. It was so far back from any town or city that we actually had to take a 6 hour military escort in the back of a garbage truck just to get there. It was so far north in Argentina that we actually walked to Paraguay and camped across the river from Bolivia.

When we got to the villages (finally), we would have services each night and then during the day walk to some of the neighboring villages and pass out food and invite people to the services.

But on one of our free days everyone went to the river to swim. I was with an american friend of mine, Spencer, and we wanted to swim across the river and go to Bolivia! Really the only reason was just to say that we went to Bolivia! So we asked one of our translators to ask the locals if it was possible to swim across this river.

Now, this wasn’t like a small river – this mug was pretty dang far! And the current was especially string that day!

Here’s a picture of the same river, although it’s not where we were went to swim, and it this picture was taken on a different day – but it can give you an idea.


So we start asking every villager we see if it’s even possible to cross this river.

Every single person we asked said no.

Their actual words were – “No, you’ll die!”

But I thought, “Ehh.. it can’t be that bad..” So we asked a few more people.

“No,” they said. “There are piranhas and baby alligators in this river! They will eat you! It is not possible to cross this river today!”

But I still thought, “there’s no way it’s that bad – we gotta at least try!” So I tell my buddy, Spencer, “let’s just get in and see how the water is. I don’t think it’s as bad as they’re saying it is.” (Which, I’ll admit, I was being pretty foolish. I mean, what does some idiot, american, white boy know about their river?!)

So me and Spencer jumped in … and dear God was it COLD!

It was freezing – and the water was way over my head – and the current was so strong!

So we get out and asked one more person, “Where is it possible to do this?!”

And guess what… same response… “No! It is not possible today! The current is too strong!”

So at this point I’m getting mad. I really wanted to be able to say, “I swam to Bolivia!” But it wasn’t looking good for us.

So I’m frustrated, mad, realizing my dream is unattainable.

In a last chance effort, I look to my friend and told him, “we gotta at least try! We’ve come this far! I can’t not try!”

We decided – against all common sense – against all advice from the locals – to do the seemingly stupid thing and swim across this piranha infested, baby alligator infested, current-too-strong, over my head, freezing water, river!

We jumped in and start swimming as hard as we could!

The current was making it hard to swim straight, forcing us to swim kinda at an angle to keep from getting too far down stream.

And just as I thought this was the stupidest thing I’d ever done, maybe like 15 yards in – the most unexpected thing happened.

There was… ground.

All of a sudden the water was only up to my ankles! There was ground beneath my feet!

You couldn’t see it from the bank because the current was so strong!

But I literally walked across the rest of the river to Bolivia!

It was one of the most surreal moments of my life! It was amazing!

I immediately wanted to go back to the camp to get everyone to come cross the river with me! Because there was no danger like everyone said! It was just a short walk!



You may be at a place in your life that crossing the river in front of you seems impossible! Everyone around you – your friends – your family – they’re all telling you it’s impossible! That you can’t cross it! You can’t walk in the supernatural! You can’t receive your healing! You can’t get out of debit! You can’t break that addiction! You can’t cross this river! And don’t try cause you’ll probably die!

But let me tell you – if you are willing enough, or possibly even stupid enough, to take a chance, to jump in the river and start swimming – God will put ground beneath your feet and you’ll walk your way to victory! 

You may jump in and the water is cold! The current is strong! You may be so over your head! But I promise if you keep going – if you refuse to give up – no matter what people tell you – no matter how you feel – The Lord will put ground beneath your feet!

I’m in a season right now… That I’m in over my head…

But I know the Lord has called and equipped me! And if the God that has been so faithful to lead me here – He will be faithful to finish what He started!

What’s your river?

Are you willing to jump in?

Are you willing to try and cross it?

Maybe you feel like you’ve been swimming in the same spot for years, but I promise you, if you continue to pursue, in faith, God will put ground beneath your feet and you’ll walk your way to victory.

You will see the desires of your heart come to fruition.

2015 is the year of promise, and it comes from – by faith – jumping in the river.

It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to doubt. That’s just not what we put our stock in.

Faith is not the absence of doubt, but the presence of belief.

So… Take a chance this year. Cross your river.

I’m crossing mine!


Cheers to Adventure!


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