Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
For years, since we started the initial phases of the Global Bag Project in 2008, I’ve heard the name Barbara Harrison, a business gal from Canada who had trained some of the HIV/AIDS widows in Kibera Slums how to put a business plan together (selling swaths of fabric, dried fish—small enterprises). Through the years since, I’ve heard Barbara this, Barbara that; you know, the Barbara from Canada.
This time David and I got to meet Barbara Harrison, in the flesh. Barbara had actually given the money for the first two sewing machines before the Global Bag Project was even started. We invited her to come sit in our room and get acquainted. A midlife working woman, single, one of ten children herself (number eight), Barbara filled the room with her energy—truly she was one people dub “a force-of-nature”.
She’d bought eight acres of land outside of Nairobi and helped a local pastor start an orphanage for 30 children. They employ 10 workers and she had just built a hen house for laying hens, teaching the helpers to lay bricks.
“Well, how did you learn to lay bricks?” I wanted to know.
Turns out that Barbara is a steel worker and worked in the steel foundry driving a forklift for the early part of her career. “Aw I did that stuff all the time. Got so hot in there, we’d have to tear a wall down and build it again.”
Barbara uses her vacation time to come to Africa, bringing in $15,000 (Canadian I’m supposing) from a recent fund-raiser. “Yeah, I helped put up that greenhouse.” She pointed to the white canvas frame sitting beside the garden path. We could see it outside our window; it had appeared during my visit two years ago.
Determined that the orphanage would become self-sustaining, a garden and a greenhouse not to mention the hen house had gone up there as well. A contract had been obtained from the government to knit school sweaters and two looms had been constructed to fulfill that obligation. (I could hardly write fast enough to capture all this amazing women mentioned in our brief conversation.)
As far as Barbara was concerned, there was no braggadocio in all this; she was simply recounting facts in answer to my questions. A phrase kept coming up, however, one she mentioned scornfully time and again: “There’s money in poverty, you know.”
This is true. For instance, big banks that once wouldn’t consider giving a $75 loan to an impoverished signee for a micro-enterprise startup have discovered that since there are so many poor people (millions), even with small loans and small interest rates, they can make money. Lots of people make big money on the backs of the wretched of the earth.
“Oh, yes, and I’ve gone into the movie business!” Barbara continued. She has been a longtime collector of antique garments. The basement, I gather, is filled with stuff. A movie company’s costume supplier fell through and someone said, “Talk with Barbara Harrison.” Sure enough. Barbara made $4,000 (Canadian again) renting her collection out to the filmmakers.
When I meet people like this—a steelworker from Sault Ste. Marie—I’m often forced to consider: What makes people do what they do? Why does a woman like this go plunging into the needy hotspots of the world, shamelessly go home and raise funds from people who would never take such a dive? And why do so many people do next to nothing with their lives? What, apart from a rare combination of indeterminate genes, makes the difference?
Frankly, I don’t know. But I’m glad I met Barbara Harrison—Barbara this and Barbara that, Barbara from Canada. I’m thinking of taking a trip up to the locks, of visiting nearby Macintosh Island. But the biggest attraction, really, is visiting Barbara Harrison.
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.