Sunday, 24 April 2016

For three answered prayers and for four...

My brother Mac from Bangladesh
A month has passed since I started working for International Needs Canada as a Donor Development Officer and the learning curve is no less curved! Have you ever been on a roller coaster that loops several times in a row and then repeats the loops but only in reverse? That's what it feels like having spent 25 or so years in the horticultural field...and when I say 'field' I literally mean 'field'... and then moving to the world of non-profit, no 'jeans allowed', small office environment! To be fair, the staff have been very welcoming, cordial, and patient. Oh, and did I say patient? The more I learn is just an affirmation of how much I really don't know about the world! And the more I learn about my new job, the more I hear God whispering the words from Proverbs 3:5 not "to lean on my own understanding".

I forgot...did I say patient?

So, aside from all the patience rendered my way, God answered one of my prayers in a very dramatic way, which is making my transition 'slightly' easier. Let me explain. I have shared with my colleagues, friends, and family that one of my concerns starting at International Needs Canada was my inexperience and the sense of detachment I feel as it relates to the needs of the developing world. Frankly, I've never experienced wanton hunger, abject poverty, and religious persecution. Sure, I've been hungry when dinner is late, upset that I can't afford to travel abroad, and slightly irritated that Christmas has become so commercial, but...really? My lifestyle is far from being on the top needs list of the United Nations. Nevertheless, part of my job is to effectively relay the needs of the poorest of the poor to those with monetary means here in Canada, and ultimately secure financial support without having stepped foot into a third world nation. And that's what I prayed - that God would help me genuinely appreciate those needs.

It's funny. But I'm usually the last one to see how God answers prayer! It took me a few weeks to figure out that God gave me just what I needed. I was only two weeks on the job and I was assigned to travel through southwestern Ontario with Mac Adhikary, a colleague from Bangladesh, and visit supporters of his ministry. Unbeknownst to me, having Mac sit beside me for hours at a time was an answer to my prayer. Since he was my 'captive' passenger, I was able to listen to Mac's story - and through his story I've come to know one of the most humble, God fearing, witness for Jesus that I've ever met.

Amid our travels and during visits with supporters, I listened to Mac as he shared stories of hope that he and his staff have brought to the orphans and street children of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Mac's gentle demeanor drew his listeners in closely and together we 'wiped the tears, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, bathed the unclean all in the name Jesus Christ. Unwavering in mission, Mac and his team are quite literally the hands and feet of Jesus...and God provided me a 'captive' passenger so I could experience the same and speak of His grace and love as if I've personally walked the streets of Dhaka.

As a further testament to his passion for the children he serves, when Mac was about to leave for the next leg of his journey, he didn't tell me to keep raising funds for his ministry or give me any other advice on development work. He only had this to say to me, "Brother Henry, keep serving our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ and His work will be accomplished." I smiled. God answers our prayers in ways we can't imagine. That was another answer to prayer...it's not up to me to do it alone.

Thank you Brother Mac. Safe travels.

Until we meet again.