Great Lives: Jackie Pullinger

Posted by Craig Borlase on 12 November 2014

Little Acorns

Great works all have to start somewhere...

Jackie Pullinger has worked alongside drug addicts and gang members in Hong Kong's infamous Walled City, putting herself in great danger and seeing God move in miraculous ways. You could be forgiven for thinking that her life is a little different from our own, but turn the clock back and there's a challenge we can all respond to.

Jackie decided that she wanted to become a missionary while she was in Sunday School, despite the fact that she was a little unclear about precisely what a missionary was. As she grew up, however, her childhood ambition took a back seat and she found herself studying at the Royal College of Music.

Then came the dream.

"I saw," says Jackie, "a vision of a woman holding her arms out beseechingly as on a refugee poster. I wondered what she wanted: she looked desperate for something. Then words moved past like a television credit: what can you give us?"

The ambition and passion was back, nagging, prodding and generally refusing to let her settle. Jackie knew that she had to take God's calling seriously and head off. But how?

Rejected by every missionary group she could think of, she turned to church organisations and even the Hong Kong government. All said she lacked too much: age, experience and qualifications.

She was about to give up, when the vicar of a church she helped in told her, against the wisdom of everything else she had heard, to go to Hong Kong anyway. So she did.

What followed were months of difficulty as she struggled to find ways of expressing her faith and matching her passion with the needs of the people around her. To follow the miracles and difficulties that have punctuated the last four decades you need to read her biography 'Chasing The Dragon'. But if you want the short message, here it is: Jackie wasn't called to become 'famous', she was called to be obedient. It's great for us to dream, but what counts is how we respond.

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