Darrel and Gail Voth

Directors of Mobilization, Beautiful Feet Missionary Training and Sending, Choctaw, Oklahoma

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February: Strategy & Community

Mobi values, vision, mission

We’re beginning to lead the mobilization team through a strategic planning process. We began with identifying values and vision this month. We’ll need to finalize those two statements and begin working on mission. Once that’s completed, we’ll establish goals and a plan to help make those goals a reality. It’s not an easy process, but it is rewarding. Everyone has a full schedule—especially Gail and I—but we’ll keep chipping away at this a half day at a time.

Our desire is to help root these things in us as individual team members, but also for this department and its place in serving the vision and mission of Beautiful Feet.

Tulsa Mission Movement

A group of churches have joined forces and committed together to reach 100 unreached people groups by the year 2040. Each month, they have a luncheon for area people to gather and hear a story or new developments. Myself and two others staff members made the two-hour drive up there to hear from some people doing organic disciple-making movement work right here in Oklahoma City. I think I’ll return next month to hear more and to announce our upcoming retreat in April. I’m really proud of what we made together as a team with this retreat. Visit our webpage about Mountain Feet Weekend and consider joining us, would you, please?

Convergence Community

After the founders of Beautiful Feet resigned in January of 2016, we continued attending the church gathering there at Joe’s Addiction on Sundays. We’d already begun to reduce our time commitments there, but as the year went on, I gradually realized that I was living with my two feet in two different canoes and I needed to chose one. Our call has always been to unreached people groups, so while the choice of canoes was obvious, it didn’t make it any easier.

I stopped attending church at Joe’s in January of 2017 and we spent much 2017 without a church home, visiting places here and there occasionally and relied on our prayer groups, retreats and Christian community to see us through this strange new space. We’ve never gone so long without a church to call our own. Now we’ve begun attending what is a little difficult to define, but is fitting us well it seems. It’s not exactly a house church, but it’s not exactly a church-church. It has some qualities of a small group, but is certainly more than that. There is a pastor, but the format is more conversational. It’s inclusive, Christ-centered, community-oriented and contemplative. God has really been using what we discuss there on Sunday evenings during Lent to help carry me through the week. Authentic, healthy community is so vital and we’re so thankful for what we have. Thanks for being a part of it!


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It was nearly five years ago. We were in Beautiful Feet Boot Camp having just quit my job, sold our home and moved away from our friends and family. As the brand new directors of mobilization for Beautiful Feet, we’d gotten a call from a family who wanted to tour campus. They had a son in high school who was convinced he was going to be a missionary as soon as he graduated. It was summer and he’d just completed his sophomore year.

We waited in the office for them to arrive, greeted them, showed them around, listened to the young man’s dreams, gave them some advice and encouragement and then sent them on their way.

I put that young man on a plane to the other side of the world last night. So much has happened since our first meeting. In addition to his love of Christ and passion for the kingdom, he’s grown in humility, honed his patience and his ability to listen to the Spirit of God. I’ve gotten to know his good qualities and his not-as-good aspects. And I’ve grown to love him.

Five years of walking alongside this man as an encourager, advisor and friend and I’m looking forward to seeing what this journey holds inPe the next five.

Godspeed, my friend.

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Ashes to ashes stardust to stardust…

The Lenten season isn’t something I was taught about and consequently, I’ve always looked on from the outside. I would see people giving up something they really enjoy for 40 days, then fail or cheat and explain it away. I heard about repentance and the bankrupt human condition. I heard sorrow, tears, anguish, defeat, shame. You can see how my viewpoint never really encouraged me into the practice!

Last year, during this time, I was going through The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and was encouraged to go through the season, with special focus on Holy Week, and to just be with Christ in his journey.

That focal shift was the key. Get my eyes off me and onto Christ. Christ’s lenten journey is full of love. Are there tears, disappointment, agony? Yes to all, but even so, it’s not about defeat and shame—love shines through it all.

So this year, I was really feeling drawn into the season in a fresh way and I began looking for an Ash Wednesday service to attend. I’ve received the ashes before, so when I approached this time, I was surprised by the words, “Ashes to ashes, stardust to stardust, you belong to God.”

Seemed weird, a bit hokey and I didn’t know what it meant… but it was all part of a bigger communication from God for me that day. The following poem by Jan Richardson called, “Blessing the Dust” was in the program that night:

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—

did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.

This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.

This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.

So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are

but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.

Did you see this part? “This is the hour we are marked by what has made it through the burning.” That’s what God pointed out to me. The process of burning is harsh but purifying. Again, my focus had been off. The process is for good. The result is not in the ashes but in what’s made it through the burning. I found myself embracing the burning, asking for more, yearning for the junk to be burned away and the treasure to be revealed. I went to bed that night with those thoughts in my heart and the ashes still on my forehead.

When I got up in the morning and faced the bathroom mirror, I was again surprised. There it was, there in the ashes, a tiny but brilliant blue shimmer… they’d mixed a shimmer compound in with the ashes. I felt loved, special and valued by my Creator. This is Lent: amidst the pain and all the ups and downs, we have Love. Promise. Presence.

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January update

Christmas in January

Christmas season was extra busy this year with Lily playing the part of Scrooge’s sister, Fan, in Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma’s production of A Christmas Carol. Noah also worked the show as a crew member, filling in on spotlights as needed. Darrel’s family was able to come down and spend a couple days here at Beautiful Feet. Our family lives simply in a small space, but we also have guestrooms, a large kitchen, dining hall and other community space available for us to host friends and family when they visit. We made a weekend trip to Kansas this month and enjoyed a holiday gathering with Gail’s family. Even though we live far from our family, we’re so lucky to be close enough to drive up for a visit.

A visit from friends

Another visit we’d been really looking forward to was from some friends who’ve moved to Cambodia. We try and talk regularly with them via FaceTime, but there’s just no substitute for being together in person. If you have a real interest in international orphan care, we’d love to introduce you to this couple along with some friends who in Liberia. We are so grateful to know and work with such amazing people.

Perspectives on the World Christian Movement

One last thing to mention from January is that Gail has begun serving with the OKC Perspectives coordinating team as a grader. This class is a great on-ramp into missions thinking and involvement. It provides a solid foundation, a broad view and ways for anyone to begin to personally orient their lives toward the growing kingdom of God in all creation.

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The Unusual Tale of Mary & Joseph’s Baby

My Christmas present was dinner and a show with my wife tonight. following is my review of the show and my musing on what I heard in this re-imagined telling of such a familiar story. We’re so used to a sanitized and gentrified Christmas story, but this was human and real, where even a life of faith gets messy and confusing.



We began our evening with the always-delicious food at Thai Kitchen, followed by a smooth and tasty latte from Junction Coffee because we got to the Civic Center early, and finally the reason we were out at all tonight after such a busy day: to experience the musical, “The Unusual Tale of Mary & Joseph’s Baby.”

River & Rail Theatre Company out of Knoxville brought this little gem of a show to the quaint Freede Little Theatre in OKC. The creative director, Joshua Peterson, who introduced the show, and the writers, Don Chaffer of Waterdeep and Chris Cragin-Day are all Oklahoma Baptist University alumni.

The cast of four (Drew Drake as Joseph, Ellen Nikbakht as Mary, Hannah Jones as Elizabeth/ensemble and Brady Moldrup as Benjamin/ensemble) and the five accompanying musicians (Rachel Parton, music director and player of more instruments than I can name or recognize; Wade Jenkins, percussion; Cameron Mizell, guitar; Travetta Johnson, keys; Xzavian Wrushen, bass) did a remarkable job performing the entire show on stage, no curtains, all just right out there in the open.

Drake and Nikbakht worked wonderfully together, Jones was fantastic in the supporting roles she played and Moldrup was brilliantly comedic. The set was simple and flexible, no extras, just the story. And what a story!

The characters of Mary and Joseph had actual personality. You know, like quirks and flaws and such—things we almost never allow them. There were actually several elements you wouldn’t expect at a Christmas show: silliness, some light cursing, a marriage relationship in the holy family that includes sexuality and strife, and a God who’s there, but somehow doesn’t quite seem like he is. But all the unexpectedness didn’t derail the show’s purpose, it kept it right on track, making the incarnation more accessible, more…incarnational.

The relationship between Joseph and Mary was very relatable: their power struggle; their faith and failures; their learning how to work together while listening to God and trying to figure out how to respond; how they would repeatedly get up on their pedestal, only to be humbled again and thus enabled to take their next steps together.

The other element of this show that really grabbed me was the reality of paradox in living a life of faith:

  • God’s messages are so clear; so why can’t we agree on our response?
  • Even after God shows up, we’re left asking, “What are we supposed to do now?”
  • Our great deliverance won’t be coming through great power—not power as we’ve ever understood it before.
  • God seems so distant—even when he’s right there with us.

But in all the paradox, we’re not left in confusion. we’re left with the clear message, “Fear not!”

There was so much of this telling of the Christmas story that was imagined, yet so much truth.

Tickets (Nov. 30–Dec. 3)

From identity, to freedom, to humility


Because Jesus knew who he was, where he was from and where he was going, he was able to humble himself and serve his friends. Jn13:3–4

FUMC of Edmond - Good Shepherd Transfiguration

This stained glass art of Jesus as The Good Shepherd is inside the First United Methodist Church of Edmond. As I was there for a friend’s wedding rehearsal, it really captured my attention and I couldn’t shake it from my mind. As religious art is supposed to do, it invited me into contemplation. If you look more closely, you’ll see Moses and Elijah on either side, meaning this is actually a depiction of the transfiguration. The artist has hit some deep meaning here… while the transfiguration revealed the glory of Jesus’ deity, the incarnation revealed the character of his deity.

Because Jesus was secure in his identity, he had complete freedom not to overwhelm us with his power but to humble himself and show us pure, selfless love.

As Jesus’ disciples and apostles, our transformation into his likeness will always result in greater humility of self and deeper love for other.

May it be so.

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But the greatest of these…

The U.S. presidential election has caused quite a stir in the American community and in the global community even. It seems that the world is undergoing some significant growing pains. I maintain the optimism that the political and social unrest we have been experiencing is a sign of growth and a push for justice.

It’s clear though that we have differing views on not only what the problem is, but what justice even is.

Many look around and see their discomfort and try to find who or what to blame. The solution is to figure out who’s who, who stands for what, punish the wrongdoers, separate into our respective camps and protect our way of life.

Many others look around and see the injustice in the world and seek to discover how this came to be—what systems are in place which tear at the fabric of humanity? The solution is to band together, regardless of who or where you are and to work together to right the wrongs, forgiving as we go, listening to each other’s pains and perspectives, learning from each other and growing together, growing into a unified, diverse community.

Both sides tend to back up their views with their respective religious beliefs (or non-religious beliefs), even those professing to know and follow the same God, the same Scriptures. Faith becomes another dividing point, another battle line.


I’m convinced love is our only hope. The only Source of true healing. The only transcendent Truth. God is Love. God is Jesus. Let us love as Jesus did.

Love in your family.

Love on your social media.

Love in your community.

Love your enemy.

Love the Creator who gave himself to humanity.