Spending life on others
Inward focus turned into outward love for welfare centre worker
Veteran welfare worker Jan Warrander
The experience of poverty and plenty from 1960s London, and an idyllic Sydney lifestyle beside the beach, taught Jan Warrander that money and material goods improved her comfort. However, there was a sense that something was missing in her life.
Living in Dee Why on Sydney's northern beaches, Jan confesses, "I was a materialistic office manager and was inward looking only at my family and friends".
"My husband Richard and I both had good jobs, so money wasn't a problem; but I wasn't satisfied with my life. I knew there was something missing."
On her daily route to work she recalls passing a church and felt "a big pull to go to a meeting". Richard thought she had lost her mind, but she remained determined to attend the Sunday evening service.
"The message seemed solely directed at me – had the speaker read my thoughts?" Jan recalls asking herself
For some months they attended services, asked questions and read the Bible, before Jan remembers, "I surrendered by heart to Jesus," which means she trusted Jesus had forgiven her of her sins and made her clean in God's sight.
Within a year, Jan says her former inward focus was changed by God into outward action.
"Jesus changed the direction of my life," Jan says. "I began volunteering in a Dee Why welfare centre."
Jan was soon employed full-time in Sydney, "working to reach out to the community, including a street van, drop-in centre and English conversation groups."
Following 10 years as head of community services and outreach in Auburn, Jan and her husband Richard moved to north Brisbane five years ago, where she found part-time work in a Community Services Welfare Centre.
Jan puts the persistence of her community efforts down to God providing her with daily strength.
"I cannot do the things God asks those who trust in Him in my own strength – it is only possible by depending on Jesus Christ. After I surrendered my life to Him, God gave me a strength and a freedom that leads to hope and transformation."
She has also experienced God's help through prayer and other's prayers during a difficult illness.
"In the power of Jesus Christ, I have seen miraculous answers to prayers, health restored, women who couldn't fall pregnant have children, drug addicts overcome their addictions and people finding hope.
"I need God's strength every day. He is my hope, for now and for what's to come. God has given me a freedom I could not have imagined 25 years ago and has transformed my life."