By Rodney Kirkpatrick
September 1, 2019
Hebrews 13:10-14 NASB
We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.  For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp.  Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.  So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.  For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.
The Early Church faced quite a dilemma as they tried to walk out their new found faith. On the one hand they had encountered the true Messiah, Jesus, & learned that faith in Him connected them in an intimate & personal way to the awesome, reverence inspiring God they were told of on Mt. Sinai. On the other hand, not everyone wanted to accept Christ & they saw His manner and administration as a real threat to their way of life. So sharp was the division, that the question New Christians faced was, “Is it worth the reproach of my family and friends, in some cases the rejection of my entire community, to walk the path that Jesus wants?” A very uncomfortable position to be in, to say the least.
Trina and I made the decision 13 years ago to leave the USA and live on a permanent basis in South Africa. It was an exciting time, but this quickly gave way to challenges that were far greater than we initially anticipated. Finances were very tight and it was stressful to consistently struggle for each month’s provision. While I spent a good deal of time travelling and meeting with the pastors that we came to serve, Trina and Bridget, our youngest daughter, had a difficult time adapting socially and felt very lonely. It was at times excruciating to sense their despair and not have any immediate means to change our circumstances.
Throughout all the difficulty during that first year, it was amazing that there wasn’t really any serious consideration to abandon what we were doing. What kept us on track was a vision for something beyond our immediate circumstances, a clear sense of “the city which is to come” spoken of in Hebrews 13. Having prayed for years prior to leaving our life in America, we knew that The Lord had told us to enter this challenge and that He didn’t say that it would always be easy.
As our time in South Africa has progressed, we have seen God establish our life and ministry beyond anything we could have hoped. Please understand at the beginning of exploring these experiences, that the dichotomy of faith and fleshly comfort has presented itself throughout our work in Africa. Almost every time we have seen The Lord do significant things, it was preceded by a choice to step toward what He was saying through some form of natural resistance. The tendency for Christians to “camp” in a familiar place will often come at the expense of His purpose to reach the world and we ALL must be mindful of this trap!
Recently, Trina and I have been confronted with the same dilemma on a larger scale than an ordinary ministry venture. We believe that The Lord has asked us to leave our residence in Durban, South Africa and plan to base our work from the UK. There is no aspect to this decision that is easy for us, but God has proven to be utterly faithful in situations like this in the past. Hopefully, if you follow this testimony on the new website, it will encourage your faith walk and give you an outline to pray for us in our transition!