Friday, September 15, 2006

Chasing the Dragon

Fr. Geoffrey suggested that I read "Chasing the Dragon" by Jackie Pullinger because he said I would be inspired by the life and work of this British missionary. He outlined some similarities that he noticed between my dreams and her realities.

I started my chase, or search, for "Chasing the Dragon". I went to the bookstore he recommended but they ran out of copies. I tried calling every branch of "Books for Less" but they had never heard of that book. On our third session, I came empty-handed and that was when Fr. Geoff suggested that I try the internet. Now why didn't we think of that before? I shook my head in disbelief and promised I would look it up the minute I got home. I then found her story, without having to buy the book. Isn't that grand?

I think God must be telling me something about what He has done through Jackie, who left Britain in 1966 on a one-way ticket to Hong Kong, and against all odds built one of the most successful drug rehabilitation centers in the world, the St. Stephen's Society. I learned that "chasing the dragon" referred to opium and and heroin abuse, which the area she was drawn to in Hong Kong was infamous for.

Did she know what she was doing when she followed her heart to go on mission? Not a bit. Did she get formal training prior to leaving? Not at all. In fact, she graduated as an oboe student from the Royal College of Music. Now there are books and documentaries about her and the fruits of her mission, which rescues hundreds of young people from a life of misery on the streets. All these because one courageous and faithful woman said yes to God, and sent off without knowing for sure where it was He was leading her.

I texted Fr. Geoff that I finally found Jackie. He replied that he hopes her story would inspire me.

I hope so too.

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