Before the sun even began to peek its way across the horizon, I was bathing the day in prayer. I was believing the Lord for miracles, and not just the green paper kind. I needed the miracle of good time management, happy children, some extra manpower, and gasoline. Yep, as faith missionaries I cannot even begin to count the many times I have laid my hands on the gas cap believing the Lord to stretch that gasoline just a little farther. He always does.
So began my day. Productivity begins with prayer. I did my part and left the rest to His capable hands. The only thing He required of me was to pray and take the next step in faith.
Nothing went right. The phone rang, I spilled tea everywhere, the dog peed on the kitchen floor. My special needs daughter had a major meltdown, and yet I was committed to get my truck full of toys delivered today or literally 200 children would go without for Christmas. I kept putting it back into the Lord’s hands. “The joy of the Lord is my strength”, I whispered as I rocked my distraught daughter in my arms. She eventually calmed down, the messes got cleaned up, the truck packed, and the gas cap prayed over. With our route mapped out, my teenager and I went on our way.
Productivity begins with prayer
Just before I had left, someone called on the phone needing food and toilet paper. I have no idea how she got my number, and when I asked her she said she did not know either. She asked for funds, and sounded a bit desperate so I told her I would drive by her home if it was on the way to where I needed to drop the boxes of toys. That was all I could promise with the gas I had in the tank. Off we went.
After we dropped the toys to a very grateful pastor right on the border, I felt compelled to go and deliver the food bags. It was as if all of a sudden I was given a special faith for the gas. Mind you, we live 20 miles from town and our dear old vehicle barely gets 12 miles to the gallon. The GPS does not work as well along the border, and it kept saying that horrid phrase, “recalculating route.” I was becoming more and more frustrated and determined to do this. It was as if I was in a contest and I had to win.
We drove all along the border and the further we drove the more destitute the scenery became. Run down homes, broken down cars, more than one drug deal happening right out in the open. Finally, after many wrong turns and “recalculations”, we arrived at the address . I walked up to the front door of a very broken down duplex. After some time an elderly woman came to the door, “¿necesita comida? ¿me llame y pregunte por una dispensa?” I asked her if she needed food, if she was the one who called needing food from the dispensa. The dear, frail, little woman said “no”. I was confused. This was the correct address so I tried to call the number again but it was blocked. The elderly woman explained that there was a home directly behind hers with the same address and gave me the directions. I thanked her with a hug, she was so sweet.
Again, we got into the car and began looking for the house number. We finally found the correct street and it wasn’t directly behind the duplex but a couple of blocks away in a far worse area of town than hers was. Boys were playing ball in the street with broken sticks, a toddler sat in the dirt wearing nothing but a diaper and tee shirt. Four guys in gang colors stood around a car. The home we were looking for was the last one on the cul de sac. Again we ventured to knock on a stranger’s door determined to give a needy family their bags and again we were turned down. This time it was a young mother who told me that she had not called and did not need the food. She proceeded to explain that there was yet another house just a few blocks down the road that with the same address. Three houses with the exact same address, incredible.
Off we went in search of the third home. As we drove back and forth along the old highway, I had noticed an indigent family selling “agua fresca” off the side of the road. Little children ran about barefoot in the dirt near their old car. Things like this always catch my eye. The third time we passed them, I pointed them out to my daughter and we reminisced about our home in Mexico.
After a good 25 minutes of driving back and forth and several attempts to call the blocked number, it became evident that I was never going to find this place. However, I was determined to give this food away. I did not lovingly pack the two large bags of food and toiletries only to bring them back home in defeat. Someone, somewhere was going to get this stuff. There had to be a reason for all of this and there was one other thing…
When I left my home, I had just over a 1/4 of a tank of gas. I was carefully watching the gas gauge the whole of the way and it never moved. Not once. I had been driving all over border town and I still had as much gasoline as when I left the house nearly two hours befpre. This was not the first time the Lord has done this for me, however, it was getting dark and we needed to be geting back home.
My mind wandered to the elderly woman. Maybe we would drop back to her home and give her the food? It was at that moment when we passed by the little family on the side of the road selling the lime water again. Without even thinking I made a sharp u turn and parked the truck as close as I could to where they were packing up their things. Immediately, I was filled with an inexplicable joy. This was the family who was to receive the supplies. It was one of those “God things.”
I could not get my truck over the embankment where their old jalopy was parked and the father seemed a bit frighten as I jumped out of the truck and called him over. He was shy and as he came closer I could see the reason, most of his nose was missing. What remained were two holes and a bit of skin and scarring across where his nose should have been. Not much will keep me from me from doing something when I put my mind to it so looking him directly in the eyes, I greeted the shocked man with a smile and warm handshake.
Excitedly, I explained how I had received a call for help, packed a bag and been driving all over. I am bilingual, so his lack of English was not an issue. I explained that as it was getting late, we must get home and we did not want to take the food bags all the way home if they were needed by someone else. His wife, a sweet-faced, stocky momma hurried to his side and said that they indeed needed food. All of a sudden three precious, dirty, little children came running towards me.
Now I was in my element. I have no idea why these things happen to me, but it seems as if it is a large part of my calling and I love it. I picked up the tiniest of the little girls and it was at that moment that I remembered that we had a bag full of beautiful stuffed bears in the car. I went for the food bags and the sweet parents could hardly believe their eyes. Food, washing powder, shampoo and toilet paper. As we loaded the supplies into their old car, we noticed two more little happy faces in the the back seat. Neither one of them were wearing shoes.
I asked the children if they liked toys. I hold back tears even now as I write this, because I wish you could share the joy that I had at that moment, when those precious dirty faced little angels jumped up and down in excitement and said they did. We went back to the car and pulled out soft, cuddly toys for each one of them. The little boy immediately grabbed his, went off and did a little dance and sweet cuddle with his. It was such a wonderful site to see.
When I saw that sweet momma look at her children with their new toys, we gave her a couple extra for her and her husband who had shyly retreated to the front seat. She held back tears and cuddled the little white and purple bears. I wondered if she ever had one when she was a little girl.
As we went to close the back of the truck we came across a box I did not know was there. I opened it and it was full of blankets! How could we have missed that huge box of blankets and how did it get into the truck? We had enough blankets for each of them, including momma and poppa and we were just so blessed to get hugs and kisses in return.
We soon were on our way back home and it was then that the gas gauge started to go down. It was as if the Lord wanted that family to be blessed and gave us the gasoline for it. Just enough. Always just enough. What a joyful trip home we had, our “tanks” were full and overflowing. So very blessed. We are blessed to be a blessing. All of us are blessed in some special way to be a blessing.
Often in our lives, the relentless drift of events keep us distracted just long enough to miss out on some of life’s most precious moments. I had way too many “extra” things on my long list of “to do’s” for the day. Washing, cleaning, and other things that will always need to be done. Sometimes the important has to give way to the urgent so that God can use us, Heaven touching Earth…the Divine in the mundane.Often in our lives, the relentless drift of events keep us distracted just long enough to miss out on some of life’s most precious moments.
Stasia is mother to six beautiful children and wife to a dedicated, loving husband. They have served as a family together on the mission field on four continents for nearly 29 years. Stasia’s passion is to share in true colors the grace of God in her life. You can read more about her and the ministry of the Women’s Bible Cafe here. Meet Missionary Mom and Ministry Leader Stasia Nielsen If this story has blessed you in any small way, please consider showing your support by clicking subscribe in the upper right corner.