Thursday, November 22, 2012

“Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”  Jesus

One year ago today I was in Haiti helping transition and care for 40 traumatized diseased children rescued from a horrific orphanage/trafficking situation. I had no turkey and only one sparse and simple meal for the day, but I entitled my Thanksgiving letter:

Thanksgiving is not a holiday here in Haiti, but it is a way of life

Here is an excerpt:

"Tonight, as I sat on some concrete in the dark (no electricity) with 19 orphans surrounding me, each one angling in for the privilege of touch and presence, I marveled at the fact they were singing worship songs at the top of their lungs. I only had one meal today because food is running out and the kids are constantly telling me they're hungry, but in the midst of lack, there is still laughter and joy and thanksgiving. One little girl kept saying, 'Merci Jesus' to everything I said and she meant it."

This year I am not in Haiti, though I honestly long to be. I miss my kids. But for now, my assignment and privilege is to help my parents through some health challenges and to work on a unique grad degree that will allow me to more effectively minister (physically and spiritually) amongst those who have less than $1 a day to live on. (There's opportunity to return to Haiti in December perhaps, but even if I can't physically go there, I have 'ambassadors' on the ground who will minister to my children for us.)

So today I think of Jesus words that seemed so applicable to my Thanksgiving last year:

Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”

What did the answer turn out to be? 
Well it was a profound life lesson that is most often a daily reality for me rather than a theoretical truth. After all, the situation looked overwhelming. The food supply looked insufficient. Yet still, Jesus showed no stress. He knew the Father's provision, and even more, He knew His Father's heart: "I want you to share your food with the hungry...." Isaiah 58:7

The take-home for me is that though I don't have enough money to buy food (or shelter or medical supplies) for all the 'least of these', my part is to see what little bit my friends and Facebook crowd can add to mine, and to then move forward in faith and compassion.  If contributions only turn out to be 2 fish and 5 small pieces of bread, I can still give thanks to my God, just like my Haitian children did last year, despite the seemingly lack of resources.

So, today if you think you can spare some breadcrumbs from your Thanksgiving table to help feed those who do not get feasts, please please please don't hold back because you think it is too little.   Honestly, God takes a bunch of our breadcrumbs and makes it into something bigger and better.  A small contribution in God's hand multiplies.   That is the magnificence of our God: that our mustard seeds, our crumbs...when given to God, can become something beautiful for God.  As Mother Teresa so aptly noted:

"What I can do, you cannot. What you can do, I cannot. But together we can do something beautiful for God."

Together, John 6:1-11 reminds us that we can be a part of providing for the hungry and our little bit can become such an overabundance of provision that there are baskets and baskets of leftovers!

Now how's that for some true Jesus-style Thanksgiving leftovers?!!!! :-)

(If you want to add your breadcrumbs to mine to feed the hungry this Thanksgiving, feel free to contribute through Paypal using and making note it is your Thanksgiving offering. 
If you need a tax-deductible receipt, you can write a check out to Northside Community Church, but be sure to add a note it is for Melinda/David Nelson's ministry. 
Address is: 
NCC, Attn: Kindal Spearin,
1800 N Hoskins St., Newberg, OR 97132)

Does our worship have hands

Does it have feet

Does it stand up in the face of injustice

Does our worship bow down

Does it run deep

Is it more than a song that fades with our voices

Does it fade with our voices?

...After all the songs are sung

And our prayers for kingdom come

...Did we bring honor to the words we sing?

So if we raise our hands high

Let us also reach them out....

From the aptly named album, "Everything Sad is Coming Untrue" by Jason Gray