Sunday, November 25

Just Enough Faith

What is faith and how important is it in our life?

One can simply say faith is faith in ourselves or it can be faith in the spiritual sense; a faith that underwrites our autonomy. Although we attribute great scientific discoveries to the minds of geniuses, asrophohsicist John Gribbin contends most discoveries arise from the painstaking work of ordinary people engaged in research who build on the prior work of previous generations and whose faith and curiosity create for us those great new discoveries without thought of personal glory.

Faith is the very essence of life; that vital ingredient that gives us our conviction and confidence. I was reminded recently of the dire consequences of losing ones faith by Jeff Gambin at a luncheon where he was the guest speaker. Jeff Gambin founded “Just Enough Faith” to help homeless people regain enough faith in themselves to lift them out of homelessness, and to offer a hand up to all those in danger of becoming homeless.

His story begins at University where he studied entomology (study of bugs) rather than medicine; contrary to a stern father’s wishes who consequently refused to financially support him. Jeff learnt cooking and became an expert chef to support his studies. After graduation he became a very successful Crop Duster, and later Restaurateur and Entrepreneur.

One winters night after experiencing a continuation of a conflict with his business partner he sat alone on a park bench to contemplate his future.
A homeless man offered him a blanket.
‘It’s cold out there mate. Better take my blanket.’
Jeff replied ‘I am okay’. ‘Just thinking.’
The Homeless man left but returned to repeat his offer ‘its cold out there mate, better take my blanket.’
Jeff was becoming annoyed, ‘You obviously think I’m homeless, but I happen to like my own company; I’m okay!’
The homeless man walked off leaving him with his blanket and commented ‘I have heard all of that before, you better keep warm tonight; it’s cold out there.’

This experience changed Jeff’s life. He spent weeks searching for the homeless man to thank and eventually found him. This man, who previously was a farmer had walked of the land during a prolonged drought and being unable to find work in the city, too proud to ask for assistance, had instead turned in solace to alcoholism and homelessness. Jeff wanted to help but found the homeless sceptical about his offer of help. Consequently with $4.50 in his pocket and only the clothes he was wearing he decided to become the equivalent of a homeless man, by staying in shelters, visiting welfare agencies and intermingling with other homeless people in his quest to discover why people became homeless and how he might best help them.

After many weeks the insight came to him; homelessness arises because people lose faith in themselves. How much faith do they need? Just enough to lift them up and out of that mindset.

Since forming Just Enough Faith(JEF), Jeff has amassed thousands of regular volunteers: dentists, doctors and helpers who each night deliver restaurant quality meals and other services to his clients and the homeless. Many thousands of homeless people have re-entered society directly as consequence of his efforts and those of the ever growing army of volunteers. He has continued with his own successful business which largely funds ‘Just Enough Faith’.

You can visit his website and read about his inspirational work by clicking here.

6 comments:

Gary said...

Lindsay, this is very inspiring. I visited Jeff's site and looked around also.

I have to admit, the word faith conjures religion up in my mind. I prefer the word hope when describing the flame inside that keeps one here and able to thrive in all circumstances. But that's just words...

'The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.'

- Barbara Kingsolver (American writer)

Gary said...

I hope all is well Lindsay. I can't find your email and wanted to send a message. Mine is ockenden@netidea.com

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Gary
Will email you shortly
Best wishes

Miss Eagle said...

Thanks for the update on Jef. I was living in Sydney when Jef started up and used to give to Just Enough. Last I heard he was using some land which was in Sister Bernadine's estate ( a sister of mercy). Men were going out there and market gardening. I have often wondered how it all panned out.

Blessings and bliss

grannyfiddler said...

it's a very wiggly world, but i firmly believe there's more good in it than bad... and here you are proving that's true.

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Gary, Miss Eagle & GrannyF
A heart warming true story indeed, that helps to restore our faith, our common hope to help one another.

Best wishes