From Bellhop to Board Member

It is well known that sometimes a Short Term Missions trip does more to change the person going than the people visited. One rather extreme example is the story of how Jeff Basik came to be a Vision Nationals’ Board Member. He told me his story, and I’ll share it with you here, inserting comments in italics.

“In 2004 I overheard my senior pastor talking with another leader about their upcoming trip to India. I asked him why in the world he would want to go to India, and he answered that he was teaching at a Pastor’s Conference. He invited me to go with him.

At the time I was a “Sunday Christian”. I went to church, but had no real regard for Christ or His mission. I gave some lame excuse about Kathy (his wife) needing me home. Unfortunately, Kathy happened to be next to me at the time and said “I don’t mind if you go, Jeff, it could be great for you.” Great. No excuse. So I had to go.

All the guys going were teaching at the Pastor’s Conference, something I was by no means qualified to do. I literally went to carry my pastor’s bags. I had no other “talent” to offer on that first trip.

Because I had no “tasks” to do all day, I found myself spending lots of time with the kids at Master’s Home. I can’t really explain what that did to me. Here are a hundred kids coming from brokenness and abuse, living in conditions I couldn’t imagine (the dorm was built at this time, but the cafeteria was not, and the kids sat on concrete floors in a tin-roof shed to eat.) And yet they were happy, loved, and so joyful! I felt Christ’s love everywhere on Vision Nationals’ campus.

Old Cafeteria

As the time approached for us to leave, I asked the kids if there was anything I could do for them. One little girl jumped up, ran into a room and brought me back a tiny plastic doll. “Could you bring a few more dolls?” (Jeff was tearing up at this point.) It seems all the girls were sharing that little doll, and the greatest service I could provide in their eyes would be to bring a few more dolls!

I knew I couldn’t just go home without doing something to help these kids. I didn’t know what I could do, but before I left I told Arjuna I was going to do something.

I am a business man, so I returned home, put together a slideshow and started talking to people about Vision Nationals. I raised $40,000 dollars so the cafeteria building could be finished. And I felt satisfied with my contribution.

Until Nolen Rollins, a friend and Vision Nationals’ Board Member, asked me when I was going back. I had no intention to ever go back, but Nolen encouraged me to pray and see what God would have me continue to do for Vision Nationals.

New Cafeteria

It was clear to me from a business perspective that Vision Nationals needed better materials for sharing the ministry. In particular, they had no promotional videos. So in 2005 I put together a team of talented multi-media people. We went to India and shot a ton of film and photos. (Video from that trip can be seen on YouTube here and here.)

After that, Arjuna asked me to be on the board. It’s like, when you step out, God meets you more than halfway.

We’ve come so far since then, but with growth comes more needs. It feels like holding on to a space shuttle, you know? Back in the day we had planted maybe 50 churches. Now we’ve planted over 500. We had a small Bible College, and now we have a Seminary! Laws change, and we need a new dorm so we can continue caring for girls as well as boys.

I am amazingly humbled to think of the small part I have been able to play in Vision Nationals. There’s a lot of stuff I’ve worked on in my life that had little or nothing to do with furthering God’s kingdom. But in God’s eyes, I feel the more time I spend working for and with Vision Nationals…He is pleased.

We are pleased as well that God would bring a reluctant traveler to become one of our Board Members!

Vision Nationals cares for 140 children at Master’s Home for Children. We also host short term teams throughout the year. For more information on Master’s Home, or to sponsor a child for $30 a month for a half-sponsorship or $60 a month for a full-sponsorship, please email Karla. For information on joining a short term missions team read this post.

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