God worked out our stories SO perfectly. I hadn’t planned it or looked at a calendar, but when our last day to teach before Christmas came about, we “happened” to be on the story of the birth of Christ.
God is good.
I had wanted to take all the ladies something, but I knew it would cost a lot if I was buying for 65. They all wanted shoes made out of tires or they wanted new dresses. I tried gathering hand-me-down dresses from expats here, but the number only reached 15.
My next thought was food.
Alice went to the market for me and bought corn kernels and raw peanuts. She cleaned them all and picked out the leaves and sticks, and then, over two days, she made popcorn and roasted peanuts.
I bought little plastic sacks and I packed 75 bags of popcorn and nuts for every women, child, and guard.
I went through Caleb’s old matchbox cars and toys, and bagged up two cars plus some other small trinkets for the kids. I also bought bananas on the way to the prison for the kids.
I say, “for me,” because any national (including 5 year olds), could have stacked all that load on their head in a heartbeat and never dropped a bit.
|This is the girls walking with Florence one day in December. The prison chain link fence is to the left. It's not maximum security like the men's. But I'm not allowed to take pictures while I'm inside.|
The Christmas story was as beautiful as it always is, and the giving of popcorn, nuts, bananas, and toys afterward was so much fun.
When I get a treat, I tend to hold on to it, save it for a special moment, but these ladies, by nature, have to live moment-to moment.
All of them were eating within minutes of getting their bag, and they were all visiting, having a good time, looking at the kids toys, and making sure everyone got food.
What I didn’t know before I handed out bags to every person there (including children), is that 15 new prisoners had arrived the Friday before.
I ran out.
I didn’t have enough for the guards or all the women.
The women understood the problem without me saying anything, and they took the initiative.
Mothers with tiny, tiny babies, that I was trying to bless, simply gave up their bags for the new people. And mothers with children who could eat the treats, starting taking half out of their bags and creating whole bags with other mothers.
So, somehow, there was enough for the new 15 people AND the guards. The ladies even saved some back for all the ladies who were at court that day.
It reminded me of the 5 loaves and 2 fish story, and how God ALWAYS provides!