NNU News

Opening thoughts

January 5, 2018


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Recently, I decided I wanted to make a career change and go in a new direction. I’d spent 10+ years in the world of marketing and advertising but was no longer finding fulfillment in promoting products and promises of improved lifestyles. I wanted something more, and I felt I needed something more—something that would nourish my dry soul and feed my hungry heart. So I began asking myself, “What am I passionate about?” In the midst of exploring the answer to that question, I boarded a plane to India.

For several months, my wife and I had been planning a trip to India. For her it was business, and for me it was an opportunity to see what she does and, hopefully, connect with my heart. To say I wasn’t prepared for the ways my heart would be impacted would be a serious understatement. It happened on day two—the day I visited my first slum.

As we pulled into this slum, my senses were assaulted, and my heart was bruised. We were in what appeared to be a small parcel of leftover real estate, filled with all the same sights, sounds and scents I’d experienced on day one, but in a more concentrated space and in a more concentrated way. We parked in an open section of mud surrounded by trash that was being foraged by wild black pigs of all sizes. I had not expected pigs!

We were in the slum visiting a school my wife’s organization works with, and, in a matter of seconds, I was surrounded by uniformed school children greeting me with outstretched hands, warm greetings, bright eyes and sparkling smiles. Oh, those smiles! In the midst of the harshest conditions I’d ever seen were smiles. I had not expected smiles!

I stood. I watched. I listened. I breathed in the harshness of the air. My mind was racing. My eyes were seeing but not believing. The bruise on my heart was hurting. And then I heard it.

It was coming from behind me. From inside a small, dark room filled shoulder-to-shoulder with those uniformed children. They were singing. In the middle of a slum, they were singing. With pigs roaming the streets and raw sewage flowing across walkways, they were singing.

This is the day
This is the day that the Lord has made
That the Lord has made
I will rejoice
I will rejoice and be glad in it

I was done. No, I was undone! My heart was no longer just bruised, it was broken. Beautifully broken!

In the weeks that followed, I came to realize that in the slum that day a small spark had ignited a new passion in my dry soul. A passion to be tied to a transformational mission. A passion to lead others in trajectory-altering ways. A passion that ultimately led me to NNU.

Here you’ll read similar stories of people on a journey through life, of God using life to ignite passion, of people pursuing that passion and living out the call of God on their lives.

In Continual Pursuit,

Mark Cork

Mark Cork
AVP for Marketing & Public Relations