What Are You Tied Into?

By Rachel Greco

The Motilon people in the jungles of Colombia, didn’t have a word for ‘faith’. Every night, far above the jungle floor, they tied themselves into their hammocks at night so they wouldn’t fall out. Bruce Olson, who had a passion to share the gospel in South America, lived with the Motilon people. He was a bit afraid about being in a hammock that high above the ground. 

When he thought about this, Bruce suddenly realized that the act of tying themselves into their hammocks each night was a picture of faith for the Motilon—they had faith that the ropes would hold them up. By using this illustration, Bruce could explain faith to the Motilon people. When he did, they understood.

The new JAARS CrossVenture|Coastal program, which teaches high-school aged students about boating and missions, uses this story about the Motilon to explain the importance of tying into God’s love. 

After the participants hear the story, they watch a staff member tie a bowline knot and then try to tie their own. “As the participants learn about tying the bowline knot and learn how it’s used to secure a boat, or to secure something to the boat, we also ask them to reflect on what they are tied into,” Tim McIntosh, director of the JAARS Maritime Department, said. He and the other staff also pull in the Ephesians 1 passage about how we, as followers of Christ, are adopted into God’s kingdom. 

Two participants practice tying knots

Throughout the weekend or week-long CrossVenture|Coastal events, the staff use such boating activities to dive into deeper opportunities of reflection. “We want [these events] to be life-changing as [the participants] reflect on who they are in Christ.” Not only that, but Tim wants this event to challenge young people to reflect on what their personal calling is and what steps they need to take to embark on that calling. 

Tim McIntosh and JD Thomas teach participants how to tie knots at CrossVenture Coastal


Participants learn how to tie off the anchor

Paige Williams, who attended a test of the program in August, grew up spending time boating on a lake, but never on coastal waters. She’d always been a passenger, but at the CrossVenture|Coastal event, she enjoyed learning how to be a member of the crew as well as a passenger as she learned how to tie knots, pull anchors, drive the boats, and communicate with the other participants to work as a team. 

But the weekend also made lasting ripples in Paige’s life: “The biggest lesson that I relearned over the weekend is that God is sovereign over all. There was such a [strong] reminder during all of the pieces of CrossVenture|Coastal that we’re going to come against storms and waves and hardships and there’re going to be times where we just don’t feel calm, but God’s got it. It’s all in his hands. He is sovereign in all things.” 

Soon more young people will have the opportunity to experience this unique missions-minded maritime program. A church from North Carolina will be bringing two different groups to the coast at Ft. Caswell in May and June to participate in the week-long program. As a boater who loves anything to do with the water, Tim’s excited to share this passion with others. But he also wants to get young people excited about missions. “And what better way to get people focused on missions, than to tell them about it while they’re enjoying some time on the water?” Tim says. 

A CrossVenture Coastal group at Ft. Caswell

Please pray that God uses these two upcoming week-long events to draw the participants closer to him and to his work around the world. 

If you’re interested in attending a CrossVenture|Coastal event, click here