I am 73 days into my journey as a Lumos Traveller. It’s beginning to sink in that this isn’t just an extended vacation, but a 183 day commitment that is hands down the most difficult thing I have ever done.
3 months ago, I graduated from Belmont University. I had such a fulfilling college experience. I worked in the music industry, had endless community, lived on music row, had challenging spiritual mentors, a great education and what would be considered a very blessed life. So, why go to South Africa? The call of God on my life was so clear and evident that I had to respond. Though it may not make sense to the world, it’s the will for my life and being obedient to that call determines if I am truly living or merely existing.
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.-1 Peter 1:7
Living on base in South Africa is a challenging, yet fulfilling endeavor. Let me give you a vision of where I am at. I live on a gated property, South Africans would refer to typically as a large estate, about 45 minutes from the Central Business District. This property is surrounded by tall brick walls and fencing. The township communities are within walking distance of the base, but you mustn’t leave base on foot for safety purposes. Sometimes when we drive off the property, once we get passed the cows, you will see random patches of grass aflame. Just another day in the life, my friends.
There are employees and their families living on the base as well. The children on base are the light of my life. They come to me after work and on the weekends to check in on me and bring utmost joy to my days. Other days, they manage to hide in my bathtub without me knowing they are in my home when I am home. I have been blessed to share meals and fellowship time with families on base during some of my evenings. Other evenings, I eat what I have, usually avocados, because I can not always get a lift to the shops. A new intern arrived from Zimbabwe and her and I have developed a lovely friendship as we can relate to being single ladies without cars living on base. Sometimes we sit on my stoop and have challenging, faith based conversations. Other days, I miss sitting on the front porch of my house in Nashville with my best friend and roommate, Melissa, having similar conversations.
I think when people hear you are in South Africa on a travel scholarship, it seems very glamorous. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here and I am growing in ways that only God could orchestrate for my life. I am truly learning that His vision is far bigger than mine. However, the waves are sometimes big and feel like gnarly wipe outs. Somedays, I am ready to get off my board and head back to shore. This Oswald Chambers quote encouraged me and I hope it does the same for you.
Huge waves that would frighten an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. Let’s apply that to our own circumstances. The things we try to avoid and fight against— tribulation, suffering, and persecution— are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. “We are more than conquerors through Him” “in all these things”; not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. A saint doesn’t know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it. Paul said, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4).