As I fly out of Lafayette and launch into the unknown that living abroad will be, I began to ponder all that God has taught me in this journey. A few months back I began to evaluate the possibility of taking a year off from school and living in South Africa to be a part of a local church. Today I left the place I called home for the past four years, and began journeying toward my new home in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
As you might expect this was a pretty big decision for me and my family. There have been multiple things that the Lord has taught me throughout this one decision. As I reflected I began to think about one thought specifically that the Lord deposited in me.
The Lord brought me to a passage in Joshua chapter 19.
After all the land was divided among the tribes, the Israelites gave a piece of land to Joshua as his allocation. 50 For the Lord had said he could have any town he wanted. He chose Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. He rebuilt the town and lived there.
Previously, Joshua had been Moses’ successor and the one who God selected to actually lead the Israelites into the land they had been promised and journeyed toward for 40 years. He had been walking and leading these people into the very place that the Lord has destined for them to live. As the Israelites arrived Joshua was in charge of a-lotting each of the 12 tribes the land of which they would call home.
After he had divided up all of the land the Lord allowed him the opportunity to choose which place he would reside. He had free rein to select whichever place he wanted to call home. If you think about it Joshua had just accomplished something that his predecessor, Moses, was never able to accomplish. He took the Israelites out of slavery, journeyed with them for 40 years in the wilderness, dealt with their unfaithfulness to God, and finally delivered them to the land they were promised. This was a huge feat. Logically, when you just conquer something great you tend to take some time off and kick your feet up. Joshua had every right to pick the most luxurious place, the place with the best scenery or landscape and call that home. Joshua was given liberty directly from God to choose what lifestyle he would live while in the promised land.
Joshua was a great man of faith. I love what the Bible says. Verse 50, “He rebuilt the town and lived there.” Joshua REBUILT an entire town and resided there. Why would he have chosen a place that was destroyed and in need of help? Why would Joshua deliberately choose a place that needed to be worked on and invested in? Why would Joshua choose a place that was challenging and demanding of him? These were all questions that flooded my mind while reading this, then I felt the Holy Spirit download something so profound.
Joshua chose Timnath- Serah because it was going to be difficult. Joshua chose to live in a place that demanded faith every single day. He chose to live in a place that required him to rely on the Lord. He went to the very place that was broken, in a state of need to add value to that place. Joshua never sought a place of comfort but rather a place that would be fulfilling.
I planned to go back to Texas and go to school where my older brother goes at a great university. But it would have been easy. It would not of required much faith on my part. It would have been comfortable. I get sick to my stomach to think that I was about to spend 4 years of my life in a place that required little faith. I want to be in the most challenging and difficult place because I know that’s where I’ll have to rely on the Lord. I desire to live in a place that forces me to become dependent upon my Heavenly Father.
South Africa is the town that I need to rebuild. It is the very place where God has called me. A place far from home, away from all that I know, and on a completely different continent. God called me to South Africa because that is a place that will require much faith. It will be challenging and extremely difficult to live in another country alone without family or friends. I’m not expecting it to be easy; however, I know that it will be far more rewarding and far more fulfilling than what would be comfortable.
I desire this not because it makes my ego feel good, but because I know that the place in need of rebuilding will be far more rewarding than the place of comfort. I desire to live in a place that demands something of me each and every day. Not what’s easy or what’s convenient – but what’s fulfilling.
Now for me that was Africa. God doesn’t need every believer to move to Africa. God wants you to be in a place that requires faith. Where is that place for you? What shifts and changes do you need to make in your life so that you will be in a place that requires faith every day? I want you to experience the satisfaction and fulfillment of the Lord that comes with living in a challenging place.
If you would like to play a role in my time in South Africa you can be praying for provision, protection, community, and real change. Prayer will be the only way that South Africa will experience all that God desires for that region!
Finally, if you would like to partner with me financially throughout this year I will be using CashApp to manage my funds. My username is $ethancampbell