Telling stories of Brethren stewards

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Stories of Brethren stewards * December 4, 2014

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The final stop on the Brethren Volunter Service
"Coast to coast" bike trip at Cannon Beach, Ore.

Photo from Chelsea Goss

God’s hands
By Chelsea Goss

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the rain fall soft upon your field.
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of God’s hands.

This blessing shared at the end of each Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) orientation scrolled through my head almost every day this summer as I rode my bike from the coast of Virginia to Cannon Beach, Ore. with my companion Rebekah. We covered a total of 5,200 miles visiting churches, conferences, and BVS sites, and often experienced incredible beauty alongside discomfort and fear.

Imagine the taste of fresh air, the smell of evergreens, the sound of birds singing as they fly beside you, and the sight of vibrant colored wildflowers swaying in the breeze.… But then you remember: your legs are tired, you’re hungry again, and you’ve been biking up a mountain for two hours.

The Sarpiyas opened their
home to Chelsea and Rebekah
on their trip.

Photo from Chelsea Goss
I found myself in this situation more than once on our trek. The BVS blessing came to mind often—not for the irony that the wind was never at our backs, or because the rain was usually a harsh thunderstorm—but because of the last line: “May God hold you in the palm of God’s hands.”

I held onto this phrase whenever I was scared about riding conditions—when cars were driving too close and the wind was strong enough to blow us off the road. “May God hold us in the palm of God’s hands…” There were always risks and things to worry about, but we kept going, trusting that things would turn out because we were in God’s hands.

And you know what? When storms came, we found shelter quickly. When we didn’t think we could climb another Pennsylvania mountain, someone told us about a path that wove around them. And when we didn’t know where we would stay the night, someone would offer their home. Exactly what we needed at just the right time.

What an amazing experience it was to take in the beauty of creation and the kindness of strangers, and to each day trust that we were going to be alright. What a blessing it was to feel the strength and comfort of the palm of God’s hands.

Chelsea Goss served as a volunteer for the office of Brethren Volunteer Service. To learn more about this ministry or support it today, visit .


Advent offering prayer

Open our ears today, Saving God, that we would not miss your call. Expand our imaginations so that your dreams for how we are to live might be conceived in us. Enable us to give birth to hope and courage that are not defined by the expectations of those around us, but are responsive to your will.

And when we hear your voice,
may we leap for joy. Amen.

This prayer is one of several worship resources written by Tim Harvey for the Advent Offering on Dec. 14.
Find them all at

“Jesus was all about inviting everyone into the circle.
The Samaritan. The Gentile. You name it, Jesus was out
there on the Mount, as it were, with open arms.”

—Randy Miller in “Do You Speak Brethren?”
from the November issue
of Messenger magazine.



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Watch for our next issue on
December 18, 2014

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