Sometimes it’s a pleasant surprise. In the midst of writing and heading to speaking engagements, God whispers a call to a different task. Mine was a mission trip to Bolivia and Peru. A special visit in many ways for me as Bolivia happens to be my birthplace.

The weather was beautiful. A shower of blessing upon blessing poured upon me. And the folks whom I ministered to shined joy into my days. But in the middle of doing good work, a bad glitch appeared.

My birth certificate and my passport had two different names. The birthdate was the same. But my original name was Janneth Corina Perez Arenas. And my passport read, “Janet Eckles.”

Bolivia’s laws now require that in order to leave the country, those born in Bolivia need a mandatory ID. To obtain said ID, I had to change my birth certificate. And while in Bolivia, this was a cumbersome legal process, one for which I had no time or money to spend.

So I did what a good-sensed, logical, faith-filled chica would do—nothing, but pray. I prayed for the person at the immigration counter who would be reviewing my documents. And thus, would make the call to let me out of the country, or pay for a visa, or keep me there.

I resisted the temptation to be like Peter. When a storm came while he was on the boat, he saw Jesus. “’Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ (Matthew 14:22-31).”

Peter became afraid when he saw the wind. Did you ever see the wind? I never did (even when I had eyesight). What he saw in his mind was the potential damage the wind could cause. Have you been there? Afraid that no book contract might come your way? Or dreading the time that speaking engagements would dry up? Or what if readers dwindle?

Peter was afraid of what might happen. I learned from him. I’d not fear what tomorrow might or might not hold. I’d just hold on to God’s faithfulness. When the moment came for me to exit the country, the immigration official reviewed both of my documents. Then after a long silence, he said, “Go on through ma’am.” No questions. No fees. No threats.

Father, when I keep my eyes on You, peace filters through. When I trust in Your resolution, calmness surrounds me. And when my eyes are focused on Your power, the results leave me in awe. Thank You for calling me to walk on the water of trust. I pray You will never say to me, “Why did you doubt?” In Jesus’ name, amen.



Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons, and share their outcome.


Author #1 bestselling book, Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta

2 thoughts on “Filled with Fear or Firm in Faith?

Diane Stortz

August 25, 2014 - 09 : 00 : 42

Love this! Want to live this way . . . not always easy to learn.


Janet Perez Eckles

August 25, 2014 - 14 : 49 : 40

OOPS, another automatic reply. I am in Mexico right now and will reply to you on Tue. 26. Till then, enjoy this 7-minute video of my adventures in Bolivia and Peru:


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