A man made his way out of the car and began to walk toward the old, cement building that was positioned near the side of the road. He felt the warm sun beat down on the back of his neck, as he took a deep breath and slowly proceeded to the top of the stairs. Waiting for him near the entrance of the building was the pastor who had miraculously brought the old structure back to life a number of years ago. Within seconds, his contagious smile would soon embrace the man like a warm summer’s night.
The pastor extended his hand out to the man as the common thread they shared would quickly convert their initial handshake into a warm, bear-hug. Although both men were together on this day because of their love for Jesus, their pathway had originated from worlds that were many miles apart. The pastor led the man inside the building, which opened up to a packed auditorium. “Come inside, Sir. Everyone is waiting for you.”
The man shook his head in disbelief as he walked through the open doors that led to the gathering that waited inside. Sitting in the auditorium were close to 150 students who had come together for his arrival, and the man felt a lump in his throat develop while he gazed out at one of the most breathtaking sights he had ever seen in his life. Every student in the auditorium was not only wearing their finest clothes for his arrival, but their smiles made him feel like he had been there before.
Turning to the pastor, he whispered, “I’ve never seen such a beautiful group of kids in my life. How old are they?” The pastor smiled and replied, “The kids in our school range from the age of six to fifteen. With the exception of a few kids who come from the families of our staff members, these children have no mom or dad. This school has become their home, and as you can tell from their reaction here today, they don’t get a lot of visitors. They’ve been waiting to meet you.”
The man sat back in his chair and looked out over the crowd, doing all he could to somehow regain his composure. Leaning back toward the pastor, he mouthed the words that had been stirring his heart, “I can’t believe these kids are here to see me today. I’m sure this room is filled with stories that truly put things in perspective for all of us. I can’t even imagine what some of these kids have gone through in their lives.” With that, the pastor motioned for the man to move closer as he began to respond in a low voice. The man needed to know just how far some of these kids had truly come to get there today.
“Do you see those two girls in the front row?” asked the pastor, as he signaled toward the audience. The man nodded his head up and down as he glanced out toward the two girls who had to be no more than ten years old. “The girl on the left has only been here a couple of days. She was brought to us, along with her brother, because they had nowhere else to go. Her brother is a couple years older than her, and he is in the back of the auditorium today as well. After a night of heavy drinking, their father came home and shot their mother right in front of them. He was whisked away by the authorities, and they were quickly all alone. Within minutes, their mother was dead, their dad would never be seen again, and their only family resided here in this place. Yet, through it all, have you ever seen a more beautiful smile?” The man’s eyes became fixated on the young girl, as he felt his heart begin to break in two.
Tears slowly rolled down the side of his face, as he stared out at the kids who continued to smile back his way. Never again would he look at life the same way. He didn’t have the gifts to be a pastor and he certainly wasn’t a missionary, so what could he possibly do for the Kingdom? The man closed his eyes and God immediately spoke into his heart. Thinking back on Colossians 3:23, the man thought through the words that were directed at him on this hot, summer day in Southeast Asia, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” The man’s purpose began to take focus in the back of his mind, and it became obvious to him that he was meant to be there on that day. Without a doubt, God had prepared him for this special season of life.
The man depicted in this story was me, and I still have a picture of that young girl in my office. Her smile greets me each morning because I never want to forget her beautiful, innocent face. She epitomizes why we do what we do here at IBEC Ventures. Each one of us comes from a different background; however, our desire to change lives through the creation of jobs is what gets us up in the morning. As we gear up for another impactful year in 2020, may we always stay focused on our Lord and Savior. May our passion burn for Him, and may we never take this opportunity to serve Him for granted.
For those of you who are interested in joining our team, please check out our website by clicking here. We are just a phone call or an email away. Remember…Business as Mission is about creating jobs, saving lives, and transforming communities. At the end of the day…the life you save may, in fact, be your own.
Robert Bush, Managing Director, IBEC Ventures