Almost on a daily basis someone curiously inquires why we live in Campobello, SC. It’s apparently obvious to everybody around here that we are outsiders, having just arrived in the SE after spending the majority of my life in the interior of Alaska. After the first couple dozen people popped the question and I stumbled around trying to tell a long story short, I realized we needed to compose a succinct answer. We are here for community.
In 2012 my husband and I were in our twentieth year of fulfilling careers when we felt a strong urge to lay aside our “normal” life and pursue dreams from our youth. We quit our jobs, sold our home, left two our two oldest sons who were attending college in Alaska and joined the Science and Technology department of Youth With a Mission in August 2012 , along with our three younger teenagers. We committed financial suicide and experienced invigorating life. Serving in community development projects focusing on primary health care, natural farming and appropriate technology, our worlds opened up to developing communities and amazing people all over the globe.
By 2015 we had dwelled in dozens of settings ranging from a 400-year-old castle in France to a converted school room in West Africa. It had been an incredible journey, but we were all craving “home”. As we considered where to land, our main requirement was community. After returning to the states, we spent a couple months traveling around and visiting three possible communities (a university, a relief ministry and an inner healing ministry) and we all agreed that the community of people we found amongst the folk in the Greenville, SC area felt like home. August 2015 we bought seven acres of wild blackberry thorns next door to Tom and Donna Cole who birthed Hope Grows Restoration center.
Our desire was to support a couple ministries in the SE while keeping connection with several villages overseas, along with building community right here in our neighborhood. Within days of moving onto our property, unexpected guests began to arrive and we hosted over sixty people before our first year concluded. Some stay for weeks or months, most just for days; all of them come for love and connection. Without advertisement or even a plan, our home immediately became a refuge.
As usual, life hasn’t rolled out according to expectation. I am learning to embrace the unexpected surprises in life as “built in adventure”. Within a year of settling, both local ministries we located ourselves here to serve experienced major changes. As our roles dissolved away, we bewilderedly petitioned God to show us our purpose for being in Campobello. It appears to be simple; love the people He brings to us. Why here? I don’t exactly know, but I’m happy to be living at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains amongst a Jesus loving community who whole heartily pursue the kingdom of God and encourage us on this mystifying pilgrimage called life.