Back in April 2020, when COVID became a harsh reality with government enforced restrictions, I was already in a season without full-time paid employment. I have come to believe that this positioning was part of God’s divine plan for 2020.
2018: The faith challenge
You see, I do Business Analyst work on a contract basis. The seasonality of work means I am constantly looking for my next contract and trusting God will provide. Leaving full-time work behind meant that I gave up 40 days / 8 weeks of unused sick leave. This is significant because a month later, I broke my leg from playing bubble soccer. I took one day off work and fortunately, spent the six-week recovery period working from home. You could say that this down time was preparation for what we all have become accustom to in 2020!
June 2018 was a very rollercoaster journey of emotions and what God was doing. My church journeyed alongside our Senior Pastor as we all dealt with the shock and untimely passing of his wife – from a subarachnoid haemorrhage. You can read all about his experience here.
For myself, a big driver for recovery was that I had proposal plans in flight since my overseas trip, when I had purchased the engagement ring. Rehabilitation was a priority so I could get down on one knee and not be reliant on crutches. Sidenote: My wife and I got married in a big Church ceremony in January 2019, and the giant photo that adorns the lounge room is a daily reminder of that blessing. Flash forward to 2020: wedding experiences during this season of COVID are really different now, right?
My last work contract was a six-month gig which ended at Christmas 2019. After holidaying in New Zealand (South Island) in mid-January, we flew into Melbourne, having escaped the bush fires to hear in the news of a new virus emerging from Wuhan just as Chinese New Year was approaching. We all know what has unfolded since, and the pace at which the virus was found spreading in our local community.
During the first lockdown, I kept myself constantly busy – not just volunteering for my church and live-streaming, but also with website projects such as the new Press Service International one which hopefully can grow to serve our writer community well. Another website project was done for a relative – Daintree Wilderness Lodge, located in northern Queensland. That holiday from October 2019 deserves an article write-up in itself…
An opportunity arose where I started to provide a paid weekly food delivery service. I would manage and submit all orders for the Malaysia hawker dishes, and then deliver to the recipients across South East Melbourne on the Saturday. This service was very timely during the first lockdown since there was an uptake in demand for takeaway food, and it helped me earn something whilst also keeping me busy.
Loving the local community
After starting this initiative up, a short fortnight later, a second opportunity also in the meal delivery space arose – this time helping to establish a meal delivery service with my church. Thus the Love Loud Meal Delivery program came into being. As my own meal delivery service demand reduced in late May, I was able to integrate my route with the church program, and indeed, since I help to coordinated both, the learning from my own efforts directly benefited the way the church program was established.
As of mid-October Love Loud Meal Delivery has completed 25 weeks of deliveries, and whilst we started with meals, provided by a local Malaysian Chinese restaurant, we now deliver every Saturday to 60+ households – fresh bread, eggs and fortnightly frozen pies. The team of volunteer drivers exceeds 30 and we have six routes covering South East Melbourne. Over 2000 meals have blessed international students and local families with crisis needs. The program forms a key platform in my church’s engagement with the local community, and offers us a tangible way to get involved.
This is but one step in a larger move to position my church with our local community aspirations to have a seat at the table of community engagement. God blessed me with full-time employment as a business analyst via the ‘Working for Victoria Program’, and since mid-June I work for my local council – the City of Monash. God has been good in His provision!
I am just one member of the team who coordinate Love Loud initiatives, and the meals are part of the church’s response to COVID. Sow A Seed is the other part to our local community engagement, and collectively, we support Bill Pontikis as he coordinates these programs. Bill served as President of the Clayton Traders Association before serving on the Monash Council (2012-2016) and together, we don’t just read and worship our God through church via Sunday services online, but we daily put our faith into action, connecting with people in need to see how we can represent God to them in practical ways.
If you want to know more or help sponsor a meal, you can email Feed.Me@loveloud.org.au – we would love to partner with you as we provide those in need with practical support, showing God’s love without strings attached.
Nic Lee works by day as a Business Analyst Consultant whilst, outside of business hours, maintains an IT support & website services business. He volunteers with 89.9 LightFM (Christian Community Radio). Nic has served for over twenty years in his local church, in worship, technology consulting, life group leading and event management.