“Out on a limb is the best place to be.”

That’s a quote from a friend of mine who has been “out on a limb” for nearly 15 years. She’s Judi Bertels, founder, and CEO of a fabulous ministry to Zambia called African Vision of Hope* (AVOH). Their commitment is to bring immediate and lasting solutions to children and families living in extreme poverty.

Judi says jokingly if she had known then what she was getting into, she would not have taken the first step that led to forming AVOH. She went out on a limb to help some young Zambian boys, then to help their families, then to start a school.

Today, AVOH has five schools with more than 2000 students. They feed the children at least one meal a day, provide room and board for 65 orphans, raise crops for the schools on a farm where they also train pastors and villagers in “Farming God’s Way” to increase production, and empower women and men through training them to sew and make beautiful jewelry and other crafts to support their families. I got to know Judi two years ago when my husband and I were very much out of our comfort zone as we traveled to Zambia to serve these children and families. But we plan to go again this summer.

Even though Judi laughs about it, she admits she is grateful she followed God’s leading and took that first step, and then another. Each step was risky, but God has been faithful. “I’ve been out on a limb so many times, but out on a limb with Jesus is the best place to be,” she said the other day.

AVOH’s motto comes from scripture:

Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world. (James 1:27, GW)

What does it mean to go out on a limb with God? If I believe God is leading me out on that branch, then:

  1. It requires complete trust that God won’t let me fall.
  2. I must protect my heart, through scripture and prayer, from those who would cut off the branch.
  3. It means God is responsible for the outcome, not me.

When was the last time you went “out on a limb” to do something outside of your comfort zone?

*I urge you to visit africanvisionofhope.org to see how this organization is changing lives and changing the future of Zambia, one of the most impoverished countries in the world.

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