Sunday, January 23, 2011

Just Like the Hams

I'm still processing some of the things I learned through the recent food packaging event where we packaged 40,000 meals for the Children of the Nations and also collected donations for the local food banks. When you take on a God sized challenge (and believe me a small volunteer team coming up with over $10,000 and getting over 200 people on board in less than a month was a God sized problem) it is a great chance to see God show up and do His thing. In fact, we've had quite a few opportunities like this with Missio Lux. Again, this time, I keep thinking "it is just like the Easter hams."

You see, when we were going to host our first Easter banquet with the poor and disenfranchised in Occidental Square of downtown Seattle, we only had two past experiences to go on. The first time we were there we planned to serve about 250 meals off our BBQs, but the line of hungry people kept getting longer. We ended up running back to various stores for more and more food until we had provided 1,000 meals!

So needless to say, when we didn't know what to expect for the first Easter, a couple of us (namely Rosemary and me) were a little concerned that we made sure we had enough food. I will never forget the night in Pastor Tamara's living room when Rosemary was asking, "How many hams do we need?" I was doing the math in my head: if a ham serves 20 people then for 1,000 people we would need about 50 hams. The questions started: "Do we buy them?" "How many hams will each person actually bring?" "Will we have enough?" But I remember Tamara was getting more and more frustrated with the level of detail the conversation was taking and she put an end to it when she said very frankly, "God will provide the ham" and moved on to the next topic.

At the time I thought she was more than just being a little irresponsible, I thought she was a little bit nuts. I must admit I fretted over the ham. I made sure I bought two to bring and someone else dropped one off at my house. However, the morning of the event my family was busy packing up balloons, tables, signs, and other items, but no one even thought about the ham. Guess what? We had SO MUCH ham! It was as if the ham was multiplying right in the warmers. At the end people were going home with extra ham and food was taken to the local shelters. When I got home, opened our refrigerator and saw those three big fat hams it was as if God was saying, "Do you trust me now to provide what is needed?"

Well at our food packaging event it was clear that God provided. First the money needed rolled right in ahead of schedule as people's hearts were stirred and many missio communities committed their funds as well as individuals making generous donations. As the day approached it became very apparent that we had no control over two things in particular, the weather and the number of people who would come to package meals.

For days before the event the weather was forecasting snow on our big day, then lots and lots of snow. In Seattle when it snows a few flakes the whole city shuts down. We were nervous the morning of the event when it was snowing. Tamara and I prayed (as I'm sure lots of other people did too)and it stopped. Later it started again, and we prayed, the sun came out. Then just a couple hours before we were supposed to start it really came down in big fluffy flakes. So we prayed again and low and behold it stopped. We were so thankful the snow storm didn't start until the next day! I would not have believed it if I didn't see it myself.

The best part was that even with the threat of snow, many people were faithful to come and volunteer and also invite friends and neighbors. In fact, we had EXACTLY the number of people we needed to pack those meals. A few more would have been too many extra people. A few less and we would have had a hard time finishing the job in the allotted time. The participants were amazingly enthusiastic and it was an amazing time!

What God sized challenge are you faced with? Are you trusting that there will be enough ham?

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