As our regular Friday morning meeting neared its conclusion on March 13th, I was waiting for the moment when Wes would say the words that I had heard him share with a number of my former colleagues: “You can take the man out of BCM, but you can’t take BCM out of the man.”
Among the team this phrase is now expected every time a member of staff departs from BCM. On this occasion, it was my turn. This was my last day of service with BCM before flying to Santiago, Chile, on April 17th, where my fiancée, Karinna, would be waiting. We would marry on May 16th in her home town of Chillán and start our life together. Or so we thought!
Fast forward to today (April 23rd) and here I am, once again very much a member of BCM staff, spending a few days a week in the food bank. Apparently you cannot take the man out of BCM after all.
Naturally, I would be lying if I said that this was where I want to be right now. Being separated from the woman whom God has called me to marry and to love for the rest of my life, for potentially many more months still, with no clarity about when we can be together, is not the situation I expected to be in as 2020 began. None of us anticipated this, and we have all been affected in different ways.
However, Karinna and I are blessed, despite the sadness of not being able to marry or to be together yet. We are keeping our eyes fixed on the Lord and waiting on his timing. We are learning a lot about the providence and sovereignty of God – isn’t it funny how that happens when our abilities are stripped away? And with it comes real contentment, because we know that He is good, working for our good and His glory.
When I announced my intention to leave BCM at our annual day of prayer in January, I expressed my gratitude at having had the opportunity to serve God and to serve this particular organisation for five years. The feeling of gratitude is genuine, because I have been so blessed by my time here – I have gained so much more than I have given, as God has taught me, challenged me and moulded me in ways I could never have expected, as well as giving me countless friends and brothers and sisters in Christ.
So in this time in which my heart is elsewhere – 7,500 miles away to be precise – if I must be here, I am happy to do anything and continue to serve with BCM however I can. I am so grateful to Wes and the team for graciously taking me back in this strange time in all of our lives. When I called Wes to ask about the possibility, he responded affirmatively without hesitation, telling me that I was part of the family. And that is what BCM is – a family.
Jonathan Hackett, City Missionary
EMERGENCY FOOD BANK
Jonathan has been coordinating our emergency food bank service on Wednesdays out of the Resource Centre. From 10am to 12.30pm up to 30 people have been arriving from around the city to receive bags of food. Some have come together in twos and threes from Supported Housing schemes, and others have made lengthy journeys on their own. In these difficult times we have also helped Support Workers provide food for their clients.
It was quite touching last week to watch a man of almost 70 hobble away from our building pulling his trolley behind him, knowing that he was going to travel to an estate on the north of the city, some six miles away. Another man cycled all the way from Handsworth and with the extra weight of his bags, he was going to have to walk all the way back to his accommodation. We have had limited capacity, but when we have been able to, we have delivered food to individuals and families across the city.