Over the summer months, the noise of loud voices seemed to increase. I learned the names of the two neighbor boys because I heard their names yelled repeatedly by their mother or father. Then I realized that I no longer heard the mother calling the names of her children. She had left.
The two boys started riding their bikes by our house. Since we live on a very busy street, I stopped to talk with the boys about their safety. Over the course of several months, my husband and I addressed our concerns on what seemed to be an almost regular basis. In addition, their pet dog would escape—visiting the neighborhood.
One morning before leaving for work, I heard the doorbell ring. Our neighbor heard that I worked at a crisis center, and he wanted to donate the clothing his sons no longer needed. I thanked him and placed the bags in my car.
Things in the neighborhood seemed to be more peaceful; perhaps quiet is a better description. But on occasion we would see the boys riding their bikes. The dog also remained a faithful visitor.
LAST NIGHT DADDY SAID WE COULD ASK JESUS FOR POTATOES.
In the course of various conversations, the dad shared some of the challenges he was facing. As a young believer, his faith was being tested—at times his struggles seemed overwhelming. He was faithfully attending a local church. My husband and I both had opportunity to speak encouragement from God's Word.
One morning as I was praying for this troubled family, I felt God impress me to gather some groceries and take over to them. As I gathered items from my pantry, I asked God what items to include—since it was His idea in the first place and not mine. I took laundry and dish detergent, toilet paper, trash bags, a bag of potatoes, and various other food items. As I walked around the corner, I saw the oldest boy just outside the door getting on his bike to take a ride before walking to school.
Running towards me, he asked me what I had in the box. When he saw the bag of potatoes, his eyes got as big as saucers. "Potatoes! You brought us potatoes? Last night Daddy said we could ask Jesus for potatoes. I was hungry for potatoes and Daddy said that when we pray before going to bed we should tell Jesus and He could bring us potatoes."
The boy ran to the door, "Daddy, Daddy, Jesus brought us potatoes. Do you see, Daddy?" As I handed the items to the father, his eyes filled with tears. "These items were on my list—but I had no money. Laundry detergent—I have wash to do. Thank you, Jesus. What an answer to prayer. THANK YOU. God bless you."
As I left for work, I realized that when God first spoke to me about gathering groceries, I had a choice. I could have rationalized, "Lord, I do ministry on a daily basis at work, and I'm very active at my church. Do I need to take on more?" While reflecting on this very special event, I am reminded that ministry takes place not only in a building or from 9 am to 5 pm but also when God speaks to us and we obey—making the most of every opportunity.