Home General News ‘I thought I could start working for a good cause… but I was the one in need’

‘I thought I could start working for a good cause… but I was the one in need’

by ervte

“I had felt a strange attraction to Naples in Italy. I do not know why. Maybe it’s Italy’s poorer, rougher version, and I thought I could help somehow. I grew up in Brisbane in a mission-oriented family, and my faith has always been important. But after I married, we never settled in a church, and my faith didn’t grow. Then my marriage collapsed, and so did I.

I started returning to church and reconnecting with God but still struggled. I had a job at Football Australia at the time. It was 2006 – the first time in 32 years that Australia went to the World Cup. I loved my job but decided to go to Italy after three years. I wanted to find the person I was before my life collapsed. And I wanted to visit Naples.'I thought I could start working for a good cause... but I was the one in need'

I started learning a language in a hilltop town in Tuscany. I visited old churches and took the time to think and pray. Then I got a job on a farm by the sea. I planned to travel up the west coast and work around organic farms. I arrived in Naples in October 2009, booked myself into a small hostel, and set out to explore.

Within 24 hours, I was crossing a street outside the archaeological museum… and a moped hit me. I was thrown in the air and landed on my right side, crushing my right arm. I remember laying on the cobblestones with people around me, and my first thought was, ‘Okay, it’s a bit drastic, but maybe I’m about to get to know Naples.’

They scraped me off the cobblestones and took me to the hospital. There I began to see God’s care for me. I had very little language and didn’t know anyone in the city. But God brought people to me. It started with the nonnas in the ward. They all had bones repaired. Their relatives brought them food and took the time to care for them. They took me and brought me food too. One of the nonnas told her relative to buy me some pajamas. Word got around about the ex-pat who was stuck in the hospital. Then there was a Romanian nurse who did not work in the hospital but had come to see a friend. She spoke a little English. She started to visit me in the afternoon. She washed my hair. She bought me underwear. She fed me.

But I was still very stressed about the surgery on my arm. What if I woke up in recovery and couldn’t explain my needs? Then, the day before the surgery, an American pastor came into my ward, looking for me. He and his wife had been in Naples for several years, and someone had contacted them who knew someone who knew my aunt. He and his wife were like angels to me. They prayed for me and took care of me. The woman was in recovery with me. Awhen I was in Naples, there were many beautiful people – like a constant stream of angels, caring for and praying for me.

Once when they prayed for me, the verses in Matthew 25 came to my mind: “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me. I needed clothes, and you dressed me. I was sick, and you took care of me.” (verses 35-36).

There I was, hungry and thirsty and unwell. I started to cry. GodI could go to Naples and work for a charity. But I was in need—the one who needed to be rescued. God was at work in my life, showing me mercy through beautiful strangers.

It has been a long and winding journey ever since. Regardless of the life we ​​are born into and our faith journey, we are all “early Christians” who must constantly strive to understand how Jesus wants us to live and love. I am constantly reminded to cling to God even when I have doubts, seeking the truth to guide me.”

Jacqueline’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, curated by Naomi Reed. Click here for more faith stories.

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