In late June 2006, I walked into an empty office on the 3rd level of the QB building. Luckily, I managed to scrounge some furniture from the friendly locals.
Here I was the first Baptist World Aid State Rep in QLD. And the question was, “what do I do now?”
I rang my friends and asked if I could speak in their churches. What started with, “How do I fill my time?” quickly became, “How do I fit all this stuff into my day?”
Baptist World Aid has changed a lot over these past 11 years. When I started, the head office was a converted house in Frenchs Forest. And some of my colleagues were teenagers back then, still in school!
During this time, we have weathered failures of a couple of our partners, the Global Financial Crisis, as well as all the normal challenges that can face growing organisations. Yet, God has been faithful.
Today Baptist World Aid is an organisation made up of more around 60 staff and as many volunteers. As we’ve grown, we’ve learned. And as a result, more people are being helped and we are having a greater impact as we seek to be love and end poverty.
Over the years, I have often thought I have the best job in the world. I have had the privilege of seeing God at work all over Queensland and northern NSW; from Cooktown to Tamworth, Mount Isa and Longreach, suburban and city, small and large.
I have been humbled by the welcome I have received in all of your churches, and I’ve been equally humbled by your generosity, my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I still recall one of the most special gifts I received during my time as your State Representative. It was $2 in loose change, given by a lovely pensioner who lived in an aged care facility. She didn’t have spare cash, so, this was a big sacrifice.
I remember telling this story in a church and someone came up to me and said that he wanted to multiply that gift. He gave $200.
But more than this, I have been blessed to witness (in person) God at work in the Philippines, East Timor, Cambodia, and Nepal. I love seeing our Christian partners leave the four walls of their church buildings, to be the love of Christ in communities where there are no Christians.
Now for a confession, I’ve been given a lot of credit for things that have happened here in Queensland when, actually, it was God… just dropping things in my lap! The amount of times miracles happened, completely out of left field, has been amazing.
And so, the time has come to hand the baton to Brent van Mourik. I want to be clear, I have only good thoughts about this. I am sure that he will do some things differently (and most likely better) than me. I know Brent will do a great job serving you as your new Queensland State Representative.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the support I have received from our QB Office. They have welcomed me as one of their own team, even though they didn’t need to do so. (Of course, me supplying some coffee helped!) I will miss sharing devotions together. I will miss the morning teas and celebrations. Although, I might be able to lose some weight now.
I am leaving this much-loved position, to care for my wife, Julie, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Please don’t feel sorry for me. I’m comfortable on the journey God is taking me on. Of course, there will be challenges. But I am still a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s just the form that has changed.