For the last three years my wife and our three sons have lived in Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory. Life in the centre of Australia is not without its challenges, but it is been part of a calling I have had since I was 15.
As a 15 year old I listened to the strains of the great Aussie band Midnight Oil and was captured by the sights, sounds and places described in many of their songs from the album Diesel and Dust. Something was birthed in my spirit as I listened to those songs and my advocacy for aboriginal rights began to take hold.
At the end of my Grade 12 year, something weird, strange, exciting happened to me. I got down on my knees one night at this thing called a "youth rally" and gave my life to God. I went on to major in Australian Studies at University, furthering my knowledge of indigenous issues, but also continuing to have thoughts and passions stir within me.
Some people see our journey to Alice Springs as me "dragging" my family along there while others see it as something I need "to get out of my system". Often I have criticised people for not understanding the mission of this trip and seeing this as part of my family's calling by God - to work with indigenous youth IN Australia.
While people/churches often raise up and praise those who leave their home and family and move overseas on a mission, there are times when I wanted to be one of those raised up and praised in front of people for what I am doing and putting my family through.
What a very selfish man I was. I have friends of mine, ex-students and know of incredible people with incredible testimonies serving overseas and doing it much tougher than I am, but are faithfully serving the Lord and following the calling God has placed on their life.
But what about those who don't even do what I am doing? Are they not following God by not leaving family and friends and going on a mission? I am now teaching at a 24 hour, 7 days a week boarding school in Alice Springs for remote community indigenous youth and am now entering my fourth year at the school.
It took 19 years for God to help me fulfil a dream of working full time with indigenous youth. Places sung about by Midnight Oil I have now seen. I have a wife and family who have supported me every step of the way and enjoyed their interactions with both indigenous and non indigenous people. Does it really matter where I serve the Lord? Of course not.
Where you are right now is where God wants you. He knows the plans He has for you. He knows the plans He has for your friends, family, work colleagues, classmates and neighbours. The recent floods in my home town of Brisbane have shown the church and the community how easy (despite the tragedy) it is to serve and take Jesus to the community, rather than try and attract the community to a church building.
Each step I took to get where I am today was part of the wonderful journey God was creating for me. It continues whenever I hear God's call to move, wherever He places me and with whomever I am called to serve.
"You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.
"You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. And you can be that servant." - Martin Luther King Jr.