Georgine glanced at the fund transfer for 100,000 rupees she was about to hand over to this Adventist college administration. It was not a huge amount when converted to dollars, but a princely sum in the local economy. She was overjoyed to have facilitated this donation, and her mind went back to the event that made this possible.
The president of our denominational college had called her into his office and outlined his dream of a food industry. This industry should make it possible for poor students to earn a living while they were at college, and perhaps earn enough to make a contribution to the college as well. She was officially appointed to be in charge.
"But I have no background in running an industry!" Georgine protested.
The president looked surprised. Missionary wives were supposed to be able to do anything.
Georgine could see it was no use arguing. "What about the money to start this dream going?"
"Talk with the finance people, they will arrange for finance," said the president with a smile. He was smiling because Georgine's husband was in charge of finance.
So with a prayer for help, Georgine commenced operations in her kitchen, borrowing 3000 rupees from family savings to get things going. There was no money in the college bank accounts that could be spared for a new and untried industry.
Students took the kitchen-produced food products on their bicycles and sold them to shopkeepers around the city on commission. To Georgine's surprise orders poured in and soon the college had to assign a room, and later a building, to care for the orders. A small army of students with bicycles materialised to service orders pouring in for the new products. Many of them would earn their college fees from this daily activity. The president's goal to have an industry that benefited students had been reached in a surprisingly short time.
At the end of the first year of operation, Georgine was able to fulfil the president's second goal with a substantial donation to college operations. The personal funds had also been repaid.
Efforts to develop a purchasing and marketing strategy had paid off. Hours in searching for scrapped industrial ovens and other discarded equipment had been well spent. The bone tiredness of dawn starts and late-night closing had not been in vain. She had proved that missionary wives lived up to their reputation.
The discarded equipment from the rubbish heap had been made to work for the Lord under protest, a home kitchen had started what was to become a major industry for the college, and a humble missionary wife who did not know her real potential had been the facilitator of it all. These were the instruments God used to fulfil the dream of the president, but more importantly, the achievement of His purposes for this Adventist college.
God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 1 Corinthians 1:27.
Ian E Grice spent many years as a missionary in Asia with his wife, Georgine, who established a confectionary industry at Spicer Memorial College, India. They live in Little Mountain, Queensland.