OK, where to begin.

Let me introduce myself. I am John, also known as Daddio. I am the patriarch of this expedition. I guess we should start by telling you what it is we are doing.

The Votaw family is preparing to embark on a great adventure. We are selling or giving away almost everything we own and are going to buy a sailboat and spend a year cruising the oceans of the world. By sailboat I don’t mean a little Sunfish or a Hobie Cat. I mean a fifty foot long boat weighing 30 or 40 thousand pounds. Why, you may ask, would we do a thing like that. I suppose that it has been an idea that has floated around in our (mine and Shirley’s) heads for several years.

I was raised around the salt water. I grew up along the Texas gulf coast and spent lots of time messing around down along the bays of south Texas. We always had some sort of sailboat when I was growing up and I developed a real love for the sea as I spent time with my dad sailing and exploring the beaches and barrier islands on the lower Texas coast. When it was time for college, I chose to attend the Texas Maritime Academy at Texas A&M at Galveston. After graduation I began shipping out as licensed deck officer in the merchant marine.

But why now? Why with three school age kids, two of which are teenagers? Well that is the rest of the story. For the last seven years, I have been serving as a pastor. During that time, I have had a dream of someday using my maritime background to be a blessing to missionaries by starting a ministry designed to provide marine transportation and supplies. This ministry will funnel the massive surplus of material resources that exists in the US to the mission field where it is needed. This vision, while persistent, has never seemed quite ripe or ready to come to pass…until now.

So are we planning on using our big sailboat to take supplies to missionaries? Well, that depends on the boat. With the right boat, we would be able to begin immediately taking some supplies to missionaries. Like God said to Moses, “What’s in your hand?” But we won’t be able to really get things going ’till we get a ship. But in order to get this process started, we need to:

    Get access to our assets. ie – sell our house.
    Get my USCG license renewed. 1600 Ton Masters license, Unlimited Chief Mate license.
    Create a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.

Since we have to live somewhere and it will need to be on the coast, we may as well live on a boat. This will also provide us with the opportunity to visit the places we will be shipping things to and educate ourselves on the connections and facilities that are available. I also believe that it will result in some business and ministry relationships that will provide a network that will help the ministry get started. But as a family we are also going to have a great adventure. I know we will become more unified and connected; and as a parent, I believe that this experience will be priceless to my kids as they grow up.

So there you have it. That is the tip of the iceberg. We will be providing ongoing information and adding features to the website including blogs for the kids as the adventure unfolds.

Stay tuned!

5 Responses to “The Adventure Begins”
  1. stevvot says:

    I’m so excited for you guys, and it’s great that you will be blogging your adventure!

  2. Teresa says:

    Hi Shirley,

    What a chance of a life time!!! If you go to Maine I want to go!! Jerry is from the east coast and we LOVE Maine! I’ll be waiting for any updates…..

    I’ll be praying that every need that you have will be meet in a remarkable time frame… Ahoy girl!!!

    Take care and be blessed!

  3. Johnsmom says:

    Hi, I’m Sue votaw, John’s mom. People keep asking me how I feel about John and Shirley leaving OKC and embarking on this adventure. Especially so, since we moved up here from Texas three years ago so our family could all be together.

    Well, once I got over the shock, God gave me some reassuring scriptures. I trust God and want His will for all my children. Many mothers have been called to give their children up to the mission field. I consider it an honor. Also, I am excited to see what God will do. Actually, this venture is no more risky than when Mark and Jennifer came to OKC to start a church.

  4. Mom n Dad says:

    “Ready about” is the command issued to begin the process of tacking a sailboat and changing course across the face of the wind. It seems appropriate to use here when your course is about to change and you may face some wind before you assume the new heading. I’m looking forward to when you issue the command, “hard alee”, shove the helm over, and leave the shore behind. I wish I could go.


  5. melisaz says:

    Hey Shirley & John,

    I am totally thrilled to be able to enjoy the adventures you are about to take. What a wonderful idea to have this page. You always have been and will continue to be a great inspiration for all of us who have what the world would think of as “pipe dreams”. The good news is that God’s way of doing things is not worlds ways. So I say live big, dream big and have a wonderful adventure. Always remember God is WAY bigger than anything our brains can think of. So have a John 10:10 adventure.


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