Jill and Ian

Serving God through serving the poor and underprivileged

Jill and Ian serve with the LAMB Project in Bangladesh. Here they talk with SWN about their experience.

SWN: How did you get involved in this work in Bangladesh?
Ian:
We wanted to bless others out of the resources of our careers and life experiences. Jill had been a counsellor with Interserve so we contacted them and took their advice. They recommended the LAMB Project in Bangladesh, with which they partner. (LAMB works in health and development in North West Bangladesh.) Interserve seconded us to LAMB.

 

SWN: Why were you surprised that your professional skills transferred well – what are they?
Ian
: I have been an educator – involved in teacher training, and a Maths lecturer at uni.

Jill is a Social worker with a career in counselling.  We had many unanswered questions about how useful we might/might not be, and how we would live in this other culture.

We discovered that the LAMB Project does a lot of training. We have been training teachers and nurses, working with the hospital chaplaincy team and caring pastorally for other Interserve workers. Jill has been training nurses and doctors in grief management, and counselling skills.

SWN: You have been going there since 2005 – how do you manage that?
J
ill: Initially we went for 6 months and now go back annually for 3-4 m/pa; 2012 will be the seventh year. We find the whole experience very draining, and so we negotiated to go in 3-4 month blocks each year. The weather is very hot, the culture is very different and we are very busy.

SWN: When you first went to Dacca in 2005 what were the hurdles you had to jump?
Jill
: Leaving children, grandchildren and elderly parents was the hardest thing [and has got even harder]. Our two year old grandson was very unhappy about our going [still is, now five], one daughter and Jill’s mum were anxious [still are]. Health wise –we felt like a pin cushion with every injection imaginable! Would we be useful? Would we cope in a different culture?

SWN: What fruit have you seen from your involvement?
Ian
: How do you begin to list this? We are still amazed about how God uses our availability, not just our ability. We have been surprised about how well our professional skills were able to transfer, and how well they were received. We are also grateful to God about the way He has used us just by living alongside the people. We have now been six times to Bangladesh. Many Bangladeshis [87% Muslim, 12% Hindu] are now our lifelong friends. We also know what it is to be prayed for daily by many friends here in Australia. We are the faces on the ground of Friends of LAMB in Australia [FOLIA] to continue the support of the LAMB Project.

SWN: What has God done in your own lives as a result of this involvement?
Jill & Ian
: We now have a much bigger picture of the God whom we love and serve. He has taught us much more about what it means to trust Him and His faithfulness. Seeing Him work in another culture has been life changing. These lessons have not been easily learnt, but have forever changed us in our relationship with Him.

SWN: What has been difficult about the experience?
Jill & Ian:
Bangladesh takes us as far away from our comfort zone as one can imagine, not just distance from loved ones, but different/difficult language, living conditions, weather, food, customs etc. It has taken us back to a helplessness that we don’t often experience, which throws us back on Him.

SWN: What has been good?
Jill & Ian:
It has been a privilege to live and work amongst these people. Relationships would have to be the highlight, along with the incredible way that God has blessed us.