Awed by God’s Ways

He was sitting alone, eating a sandwich when we drove up. I wouldn’t have noticed him, except that I guess something about the little plastic tub of potato salad, pudding, or pimento cheese made me curious about what he was eating. So I took a longer look, while he eagerly sunk his teeth into his generous Reuben sandwich. Typical country person’s lunch—hearty sandwich, big bottle of Gatorade, and that container of mystery food. He looked like a working man, was 30-something, and he looked like he was enjoying his meal.

This took place at Yoder’s—a Mennonite store where we had placed our rescue jar for our mission project. We stop in every so often to collect the funds that have been contributed, and today was the day. Andrew was in charge of the collection today. Just dump the money from the jars inside the store into our collection canister—really just an oatmeal canister that we covered with flyers about our project. It looked like people had been generous these last few weeks, because the jars were full. What a blessing!

As we left the store, Adam didn’t see the hanging plant, and whacked his head on the underside of it. No harm, but I consciously had to avoid looking at that young man who sat there, because I knew he saw it, and might be embarrassed if I caught him chuckling at my boy’s misfortune. We were almost at the car when Andrew tripped and the contents of that collection canister went flying! I immediately assumed he’d been tossing it in the air, and a little reprimand was on my tongue, and I noticed that Austin also had a comment on his tongue, probably not unlike mine! So instead of the chiding I said a quick prayer, and suggested that we help get it picked up.


Money had spilled all around, under the car, behind the car, and beside it. The wind was picking up a few of the bills, so we had to crawl under the car for some, and chase other dollars. Once we’d retrieved all of the spilled money, the boys started putting it back into the container, and started loading up to leave.

Well…remember the sandwich guy? He’d been watching the whole thing. He called Andrew over and asked him what he was saving for. Andrew explained that we were collecting money to rescue girls out of trafficking in India. I was in the car and saw the man hand Andrew a dollar. I thought that was really neat that he wanted to contribute!

When Andrew got into the car, he said, “Mom! Look!” He opened the money that the man had handed him—not a dollar, but a twenty—no—five twenties all folded together!
We were stunned! Gratitude swelled up inside us as we saw the generosity of this stranger.

We immediately wanted to thank him properly, but how? My eyes fell on the one wooden scripture plaque that I’d picked up to give another donor. Our last one that the kids had made! (We’d held those plaques in the Jr room for about two months, and not touched them, but today, I’d picked one up, for “some reason”) I knew we had it for him! I told Andrew to go over and see if he’d accept it as a token of our thanks. He looked at it and did accept it. The verse said “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3. When Andrew got into the car, we just prayed prayer of thankfulness—not even so much for the money itself, but the the spirit of giving that we had been shown, in so unexpected a way! We prayed that somehow in God’s way, that the message on that plaque would touch that man’s heart and speak to him in the way that only God can arrange.

Thank God for using our blunders for His glory!


Gearing up for the bike-a-thon!

I can’t sleep!

Our family has a big day tomorrow, and instead of sleeping like any normal person, I’m wide awake.  I don’t think that I’ve got the jitters, but here I am, unable to turn off my brain.  I’ll pay for this, I know. But hopefully not tomorrow.

Tomorrow, technically later on today, now, is the Bikeathon.  Why does that matter?

For our boys, it means a chance to do what they love–ride, ride, ride! Two hours of uninterrupted bike riding!  It’s perfect for them!  And the fact that they get to do it with other friends makes it even better!  But its not just about them. And I believe that this is why the anticipation has me sleepless.

Roughly a dozen children–not just ours, have made a choice to work hard so that someone else can get the prize. And the more I’ve thought about this, the more proud I’ve become of these kids. They’ve worked hard calling for pledges. It’s not comfortable to call people when you’re a child, especially to request money. But they braved their fears and conquered them. That’s huge already!  One of our boys initially refused to ride when he found out he’d have to call people–that was just too much!  But, after seeing his brothers’ successes, he tried a phone call, and the person answering was nice!    Now, he is brave enough to call people he doesn’t even know too well, and he and his brothers have all done well!

For every mile, each boy has promised money coming, and so maybe that’s why I as a parent feel nervous. I know they’ll do their very best.  Their hearts are totally into it!  And my heart thrills with the hope that for some of these children, this event could spark a flame inside that never dies out. A flame for choosing to help others, even if it means work. A flame for missionary service. That flame inside could change their whole life direction!

I know that’s grand!  But my God is big!  He can do that!

And so, even though I know this could be just a ride, it could be more. It’s a seed planted. God can make it take root and grow.

When I told my boys the other night that by their work, more than one person, several, in fact,  would get a bike, I could see real satisfaction. Happiness comes when we bless others.

These energetic boys and girls are our future!  They have a lot riding on the choices they’re making. They don’t know it. But we do. And so we pray that this ride starts a little seed growing.