World Vision Canada’s Patrick Rimple persevered in hard times with an illuminating faith
As World Vision Canada's Christian commitment and spiritual formation advisor, Patrick Rimple brings his devotional wisdom to the staff and their families. He spoke with Childview about his upbringing in Trinidad and Tobago, and the challenges he faced before and after migrating to Canada in 1989.
When you were growing up, what was a defining spiritual moment for you?
I needed a place to get away—a place of quiet and solitude to really seek out the Lord. Where I lived in Trinidad, there was an avocado tree. It became my prayer room. I’d stay up there and pray all night long, eight hours a day for seven or eight consecutive years.
How did this change your life?
Growing up as a kid, I never loved myself. I had a very poor and unhealthy self-image. I remember asking the Lord, “Why did you make me so grotesque?” And the Lord spoke back to me: “You are no different from anything else I’ve created ... The only thing that is of any value in you is me.” It was as though I had been in a dark room and someone had turned on 10,000 volts of light. My world illuminated with an under standing of who I really was. The Eternal God had not only revealed himself to me but in me. The revelation of my true identity in him made it possible not only to love myself but to love others as he loves me.
You and your wife encountered many roadblocks coming to Canada, including several denied applications.
Shortly after we felt the leading of the Lord to leave Trinidad with the directive that our journey would be a life of faith, we both lost our jobs. We had no money to migrate and went for months without income. We sold our stuff in faith hoping there would be adequate funds to leave our homeland. The house was empty and we had fallen way short of our financial goal. One day, a friend whom we hadn’t seen in years, out of the blue, found us. He said he was praying and the Lord impressed upon him to give us a gift. He gave us an envelope and quickly left. We opened that envelope and inside ￼there was a cheque of a few thousand dollars. We immediately thanked the Lord and prayed for direction to share the financial blessing. Amazingly, we found another church family who also needed money to migrate to Canada. We shared our gift, which contributed to helping them migrate as well.
You faced discrimination and unkindness when you finally arrived.
A manager at a job interview crumpled up your application and threw it on the floor, saying, “You call this a resumé?” How did you handle that? Using a computer was new to me then. So with my two little fingers, I revised my resumé and typed up a thank- you letter, on a typewriter, to the manager and visited her a few days after. I said to her, “Hi, do you remember me?” I resubmitted my resumé, which she accepted but insisted there were no jobs available. I smiled, pulled out the thank-you letter and gave it to her. I said, “Without you, I wouldn’t have been able to revise my resumé.” Then I left. Before I reached home, there was a message on my answering machine. The same woman had found me a job.
One day, my cousin called me. She said she found out that I had an uncle who lives in Canada and was terminally ill in the hospital. I went to visit. He looked so much like my dad and I was really happy to see him. His wife came into the room and when she saw me, she was shocked. His wife was the same woman who took my resumé, crumpled it up and threw it on the ground—and then gave me a job.
[Laughs.] You never know who the next person you’ll meet is, so always treat people with love and respect—they could be your relative. We are all God’s children, his crowning creation. Therefore, we should value what he values and love others not only as ourselves but also as he loves us.
This article appears in the Winter 2014/2015 issue of Childview.