by Bob Gerow
Allow me to reflect on a picture of Dr. Zodhiates, with a child, which I pass every morning on the way to my office.
Dr. Zodhiates' smile is unavoidable. It reflects whole-hearted engagement as well as great delight in the work to which God has called him. It is full of the energy and purpose that defines how he works for the Lord.
The photo, taken on a visit to India, is a "tight shot"—two framed faces. Even that speaks to what AMG has become under "Dr. Z's" leadership: Individuals matter. We are not afraid to get really close to the issues and get our hands dirty. And it's not just about "over there." In the 30 years since I first met Dr. Z, I have seen the ministry reach out to staff and to others in our own community with compassion, love, and generosity beyond the call of duty.
The expression on the small boy's face suggests he is not at all sure what this moment is all about. Like so many others AMG has touched, this child was probably unaware of the full measure of God's grace being poured upon him. When their relief comes, the children barely grasp that someone in a faraway country made it possible. Some are unaware of the connection between a meal or a pair of shoes and some "God" about whom they had previously never heard. Even so, thousands of children—students, refugees, displaced orphans, or war victims—have been graced through the energy and commitment of one man willing to try anything in the service of his God.
The photo also is a foretaste of Dr. Zodhiates' legacy. For him, AMG was never an end in itself but a vehicle through which his calling found expression. It distills down to a simple concept: when God puts something on your heart, pour all your might and resources into it and trust the outcome to God. That's how Dr. Z has lived.
Little did I realize that a first meeting with him in 1973 would be the doorway to a globe-spanning vista. One year later I was on staff and the journey was underway. As assistant to the president, I was privileged to be close enough to get a sense of the man at the helm. In 1984 God called me elsewhere. Twenty-one years and two jobs later, I am back.
The world is a different place nowadays. We communicate with the field via e-mail and we are more sensitive to political realities. It does not take much rhetoric to inflame passions or to be misunderstood. After 9/11, the donor public thinks rather differently about generosity and charitable giving.
Some things have not changed. AMG is still driven to provide everyone at least one opportunity to understand and respond to the gospel. All our varied ministries are intended to serve that larger mission. AMG remains flexible and attentive to God's direction so we can respond promptly and appropriately to human need.
The further we travel the way of faith, the further the horizon recedes. I am astounded at the tremendous opportunities open to AMG. For the work that lies ahead we look to God for continued direction, insight and supply for His work through AMG. Our courage is bolstered as we also look back over six decades of ministry and the example and pace Dr. Zodhiates has set in the walk of faith.