The Gambles, from Calgary, on thinking outside the box and opening their pantries to friends who are re-establishing their lives in the city.
Eldon and Ruth Gamble are serving with
, seeking to create community and foster spiritual conversations with Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists in North America. Eldon grew up in India, fluent in a few languages, including Bengali. After their service of twelve years in Bangladesh, Eldon and Ruth came back to Canada and continued their work with the Bangladeshi diaspora in Calgary.
Asking them about their day to day experience, Eldon shares the following:
“There’s never a dull moment..Life is pretty exciting. I think a lot of Canadians miss out [by not] opening their homes to people from other countries. It important to just get past that fear factor.
New Canadians were just as afraid to come into our home as we were to have them. Once that connection was made, we could all relax; we entered a place of mutual blessing. Canadians are blessed by learning more about other cultures, other people and even other faiths. It’s opening up your whole life to a new dimension of excitement, I think. It just shows you how great God is.
That God can make people so differently, and countries so different and yet He can bring them all together.
I think that the Church should really be at the forefront of having people in their homes, reaching out to these people no matter what they are doing in the community.
Starting with food banks is always great but it should get past that – from the food banks into our own pantries, our own kitchen tables, our own basements and dens.
We can open up our lives to them.
They can learn so much from us. In fact they learn more from being in a Canadian home in a week than they would at any ESL class or cultural class."
Their experience ranges from exploring the Bible together, Easter egg hunts, preparing meals collaboratively, helping friends secure work, having their basement full of furniture in the midst of moves, and grocery runs in the time of Covid-19. Through it all, Ruth points to a few important reflections.
“You just have to think a little bit outside the church walls…I’m not an extrovert by nature so it doesn’t matter your personality. Any personality can do this. If you just see this as a way you can bring Jesus into the lives of other people and serve the Lord.
It helps to recruit, either another couple to do this with you. If you’re afraid to do this yourself talk a friend into doing this with you. [It helps] reduce the fear. You have a sidekick you can pull in if you need to, if you need some help or need reassurance.”
They share an encouragement to us all as members of our local expressions of churches and broader community.
“I do think churches need to work together…That’s a really good testimony for the refugees and immigrant [communities]. Because they value the coming together of their people a lot. If they could see churches coming together, somehow visibly, caring for one another and those in their neighbourhoods, I think that would speak volumes.”