The day started like any other day. I rushed through my morning routine, jumped into my dark blue uniform skirt and white silk blouse, slipped on my high-heeled shoes and ran to the car. In one hand I had my dark blue blazer and in the other my computer and bag. Off I went to work as a Home Healthcare Nurse Manager, where my secretary, as usual, would have already arrived and have my cup of tea prepared.
My first appointment, Nurse Tracy, was waiting. Tracy had been called into the office…again — the third time in just two years.
I knew what I had to do…fire her. I tapped the pen in my hand, but I didn’t sign. It wasn’t as if she was the first person in my life that I had to hire or fire, so why couldn’t I sign? She deserved it, I knew, but for some reason, today was different.
She was a licensed nurse caregiver and valuable asset to my company, however I had a stack of applications from other valuable licensed nurse caregivers sitting right there on my desk. If I fired Tracy, I could easily replace her with another today.
Was it because Tracy was a single mom with two kids? No, that couldn’t be it. My whole staff was comprised of single moms, almost-single moms and people from blended, functional or dysfunctional family structures.
Tracy sat waiting for me to say something. I looked at her and she seemed so child-like. Her eyes were fixed on the paper; then she looked up for a moment and flashed me a quick smile, as if to encourage me. She knew what was coming.
Tap… tap… tap…I had to fire her. She had been stealing from patients. Unacceptable behavior. I had to fire her.
I looked at her. White uniform…wrinkled. White shoes…dirty and worn. Hair… messy. She obviously had not been prepared for our meeting. Perhaps her supervisor hadn’t given her advance notice to avoid the inevitable “sick” day. It’s been known to happen.
I prayed under my breath, “What to do Lord?”
This amazing, nice, lovable young person ensnared by gambling. She was so deep in debt that she had resorted to borrowing money from elderly patients. She had been caught twice before – both times managing to reimburse her clients once the deceit had been discovered.
This time, however, was worse. She hadn’t asked “permission” to borrow from her trusting elderly patient. She “borrowed” the patient’s entire social security check when she went to cash it.
A small voice: “Present her the Gospel.”
A silent discussion ensued.
“Is that you Lord?”
“It will be me sitting in that chair next week if I share the Gospel with her at my workplace today. Shall I invite her to lunch?”
“Now,” said the Lord.
“You sure, Lord? I need this job.”
“Trust Me,” He said.
And just like Peter, I put my foot upon the water.
Then the choice was hers: go to church or go to jail.
She chose church and that very Sunday she and her two children showed up with smiles. She got saved that day — my first spiritual daughter. I felt the need to feed her.
I went through the collection of Bibles in my bag, which I carried to church weekly. Proverbs and Psalms in Spanish. Ecclesiastes and Isaiah in English. The New Testament in Dutch. Which one would I loan her? She commanded neither enough Spanish nor English to understand the Bible. As of this time 1996, on the Island of Curacao in the Caribbean, there was no complete Papiamentu Bible.
I had heard so many times about the new Papiamentu Bible “coming soon,” but where was it? Was it really coming, or was it just another legend? I was beginning to believe it a myth. I needed that Bible for Tracy, and countless others.
To my surprise, I got a phone call the next day that the Papiamentu Bible was ready and for sale! One of our very own island people, living and working in America, with a doctorate in Bible, was hailed as a hero!
I wasn’t able to get any work done that whole day. My office phone rang constantly with people calling – laughing and rejoicing over the good news, and planning how many Bibles to buy. We all agreed that we needed to buy at least two or three, just in case they ran out.
I secretly planned to buy a case of Bibles.
That very Sunday we had a “New-Bible-Celebration” in the church. Service started at ten, but we didn’t stop praising the Lord, worshipping and dancing until four o’clock that afternoon! With a Bible in each hand, I danced around while everyone around me held theirs in the air and shouted “Halleluiah, Praise the Lord!”
We didn’t know Julius Wong Loi Sing personally so we didn’t know the hardships he had faced to be able to translate a Bible for us. We didn’t know how much it had cost or how they had translated it – whether literally or paraphrased. And we didn’t care. But we knew one thing for sure: we had the Bible in our own language and we were going to read it! And that was enough.
I danced over to Tracy. I knew she didn’t have 50 guilders (around 30 dollars) to spend on a Bible after paying back the client, so I handed her a brown, leather-bound Bible – one with a zipper. It was a “fancy” Bible, but more importantly, it was a Bible in a language she could understand. Today, Tracy is honoring God as a minister.
Thank you Moody Bible Institute, and thank you Professor Julius Wong Loi Sing, “Dr J.,” Dr. Wong Loi Sing, Brother Julius, Uncle Julius, or whatever someone would call him. I just call him…my hero.