This is episode 109 of the Christian Travelers Network. Today, we'll be talking about what makes faith-based travel different with Stephen Liggins. Hey, Christian travelers! I am so glad that you're here. We have an awesome guest all the way from Australia, believe it or not, and despite the significant time difference, thanks to technology, we're able to connect. Our guest, Stephen Liggins, shares a passion for incorporating faith into our travels, and he'll be discussing this topic today.
Stephen is married with two children and resides in the Blue Mountains just outside of Sydney, Australia. He's an Anglican minister, a writer, a semi-regular guest lecturer at the Sydney Missionary and Bible College, and a passionate fan of sports, literature, pop culture, and, of course, traveling.
"The family in which I grew up didn't really prioritize travel. But the idea of traveling to distant cities was an intriguing one. When I was 19 years old, one of my older brothers took a year off and traveled to Europe. Then, when I was 20, I wasn't traveling for leisure, but I did take a year off from university to go to London for cricket."
This adventure opened Stephen's eyes to the world of travel and broadened his horizons. When we travel, we often find ourselves out of our comfort zone, away from our usual support structures. This situation forces us to rely more on our faith. Travel can be a spiritual journey of self-discovery, pushing us to read the Bible more, pray, and rely on God's guidance.
"I realized that not only was I playing cricket, but I was also exploring different cities and living a unique experience. I found myself attending a wonderful church in London that had a profound impact on my life. I got to explore the British Isles and Europe, and it was absolutely amazing. Since then, I've probably been to about 40 countries."
In the Genesis account of creation, we learn that God created a beautiful world and placed humanity in the Garden of Eden to enjoy it. Our travels allow us to appreciate and thank God for His creation. Travel provides us with the opportunity to experience and explore the wonders of God's handiwork. Stephen cherishes his travels in England, a place that holds a special place in his heart.
While traveling, people tend to be more relaxed and open to spiritual discussions. This relaxed environment can lead to profound conversations and connections that may not occur in our daily routines. Traveling as a Christian gives us an opportunity to interact with people who may not share our beliefs and to make a positive impact on their lives.
Traveling as a Christian is an opportunity to explore God's world, deepen our relationship with Him, and connect with people from diverse backgrounds. It's a chance to appreciate the beauty of creation and engage in meaningful spiritual discussions. As Stephen's journey has shown, travel can be a transformative and faith-strengthening experience.
Sarah: I guess here is here all right my view is that we need to think about Christian travel by how we trouble and even whether and how much we trouble. So I think it's helpful to think for why we're traveling, how long we're traveling for, and how much money we spend on traveling, and make sure that we're comfortable with what we're doing as consistent with good Christian stewardship.
Stephen: I agree, and it's crucial to ensure that our travel aligns with our Christian faith. For example, I'd mentioned my desire to travel back when I was pursuing a career in cricket. After that, I needed to decide when and how much to travel before starting my job. I pondered questions like, "What's good Christian stewardship of my time? What's good Christian stewardship of my money?" In the Bible, we're told to seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness. So traveling falls into that. If we look at travel through a Christian lens, it can be a wonderful thing.
Sarah: Indeed, it falls into the motives category, and people are often motivated by Instagram-worthy pictures or escaping their daily routine. But as Christians, we bring a unique perspective.
Stephen: There are good and bad reasons to travel. Traveling for rest, leisure, making new connections, and education are all valid reasons. Traveling can also be a source of learning, whether formally or informally. It's important to examine our motives to ensure we're traveling for good reasons. While some might think that travel will bring the meaning they've lost in their lives, it's essential to travel for positive, meaningful purposes.
Sarah: What sets Christian travelers apart from others?
Stephen: Christian travelers desire to travel with God. They prioritize maintaining a close relationship with God throughout their journey.
Sarah: Indeed, they read the Bible, pray, and seek spiritual growth while traveling. Christian travelers aim to encourage fellow believers and engage in spiritual conversations with non-believers.
Stephen: It's essential for Christian travelers to use their time on the road to grow spiritually and deepen their faith. Viewing the world through the lens of scripture changes our perception of the world's beauty.
Sarah: What's an example of such an encounter?
Stephen: I recall a time in my twenties when I was backpacking through southern Africa. In the span of a few days, I met several people, some of whom were Christians. We had encouraging conversations and even shared our faith.
Sarah: It's amazing how such encounters can happen when you're open to them.
Stephen: Yes, when you approach travel with the mindset of looking for opportunities to connect with others and share your faith, incredible things can happen.
Sarah: Thanks for sharing that. We can truly make a difference in the lives of fellow travelers when we embrace these opportunities.
Stephen: Having said that, you know it doesn't always work as smoothly as that, but more often than not, God can use us if we're available and willing. It's crazy how God can work in so many ways. As you kind of said towards the beginning when we're traveling, you found that when you were in England, you were relying on God more, praying more. It really does put us into that mindset of we can't rely on ourselves when we're outside of our team and outside of that comfort zone.
Sarah: That's right, and I've spoken to a number of other people in my part of Australia, and a number of people have said, yes, I did rely more on God when they were traveling. But, as you said, it's not automatic that just because we're close to God when we're in our hometown doesn't mean we'll be close to God when we're away. So, I think we need to consciously make a point of doing that. Many people do, and many people need to be encouraged to do that as well, I think.
Stephen: Yes, definitely. A lot of intentionality is needed.
Sarah: All right, you wrote a book called "Traveling the World as Citizens of Heaven." What inspired this book?
Stephen: Well, a number of things inspired it. I love watching and traveling. I absolutely love God, and I think I should really. Travel is a widely practiced activity among people, not just 20-year-olds, but families, retirees, everyone. But, there's very little assistance given to people in trouble Christian-like. And I actually gave the example of a very positive experience for this girl from my church. I talked to one of the younger guys in my church who had gone traveling to other cities going to white and apparently Christians and coming back not Christians, apparently. God knows the truth about it. So I sort of thought, "Well, what can I do?" I wrote a book about troubling in a Christian way.
Sarah: I think that's wonderful. It's an important resource for Christian travelers who need guidance and encouragement.
Stephen: Thank you. I also wanted to encourage people to connect with Christians, but also to think about how we deal with the issues and challenges we encounter during our travels. The book covers various aspects, including how to approach travel spiritually, maintain your faith, connect with fellow Christians and non-believers, and grapple with the realities of the world we encounter while traveling.
Sarah: It's crucial for travelers to have resources and guidance for these aspects of their journeys.
Stephen: Absolutely, and my hope is that this book can be a helpful guide for those embarking on Christian journeys. Remember to keep reading the Bible and praying. And the second thing is that we should pray that God would give us opportunities to be a good example, encouragement, or a good witness. And I guess the third thing, outside of the travel industry, is if you're going to be in any location for an extended period of time, try to find out about meeting with Christians.
Stephen: Absolutely, and such a blessing with electronics nowadays. It can help find those resources a little bit easier. Sometimes you can research ahead of time, you know, good churches or good Christian groups in the place you might be traveling to. And then obviously, I guess I mentioned your network as well. People who have good knowledge of good churches and Christian groups and camps and things like that that people can link up with.
Stephen: I think it's good to be inspired and take those experiences and use them to help others. For me, it's become a good motive for travel and a good way to reflect when you come home.
Sarah: Well, Stephen, one of the questions that I always ask our guests is, "What has been the biggest 'God moment' in all of your travels?"
Stephen: Probably the most influential "God moment" was just when I went out to the States as a 20-year-old. I joined this church in London with an international fellowship group. It was like a mini foretaste of heaven.
Sarah: That's wonderful. It's beautiful to hear about those moments of connection and community while traveling. Thank you so much for sharing. Well, Stephen, we really enjoyed having you on the podcast today. How can our listeners connect with you outside of this episode?
Stephen: If someone wanted to contact me, I'm sure someone can send a message to Mass Media in the US, and they'll connect with me in that way.
Key Point: Stephen provides information on how to contact him through Mass Media in the US.
Sarah: Sam, it has been a pleasure talking with you and being encouraged and reminded as we hopefully start traveling again soon, what to be focusing on in that is Christ and all of our travels.
Stephen: I'm just really pleased that you and others are involved in that industry. Thank you so much.
Sarah: Well, Christian travelers, I hope that you really enjoyed this conversation with Stephen. He has hit on some really important and encouraging points. As you hopefully look your upcoming travels, you can be reflecting on these things as you head back out there. Until next time, safe travels and God bless.
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We'd also like to mention that this blog post was graciously transcribed by our AI assistant, a testament to how technology can enhance our sharing of valuable insights.