A BUCKET OF CORN
27 June 2003
As the story was told to us, a man presented himself to a minister and his wife. He
stood there, in the hot Oaxaxa sun, his face shielded by a big sombrero. At his side,
holding his hand, was a small child. In his other hand was a bucket of corn. He told the
minister that he would give him his corn if the minister would take care of his child.
The minister and his wife took the child in. He was the first of many children they
would assist throughout the years of their ministry.
Recently, the minister, now 88, and his wife, now blind, traveled back to Mexico with
our friends, with whom we were having dinner this evening. On their trip they met a 60
year old doctor.
"Remember me?" the doctor asked.
He was the little boy they had taken in in exchange for a bucket of corn.
Throughout the evening, our friends told us of other such encounters they had while on
this recent trip. We marveled at the lives that had been changed by this one couple in the
course of their ministry.
It was appropriate that we hear this story this evening. We were sitting in one of
Sacramento's newest restaurant's, Isabella.
Isabella is the second restaurant owned and operated by our Mexican daughter, Marie
("Marie Isabella," is it happens). She and her husband own another restaurant
which is a pizza parlor/Mexican restaurant in Elk Grove, a few miles south of Sacramento.
Marie came to us through the intercession of the minister and his wife, and the friends
with whom we were eating this evening. Our friends had gone to Mexico to do volunteer work
(David is a doctor). While there the minister asked if they could help him find an
American family willing to host one of his most promising students so she could study in
the United States.
At that time I was finding homes for foreign students, so they asked if I could help
them find a home. Somehow I volunteered to take Marie ourselves. She moved in and spent
the senior year in high school living with us.
She was at first shy and spent most of her time by herself, reading, until I finally
insisted that she get out and learn more about the town. She ended up getting a job
working in a creperie, following which she enrolled in and graduated from Sacramento State
College, with a degree in business. After an internship in international business, she
returned to Sacramento, met the man who became her husband and now they have been running
one retaurant for at least five years (it has won several local awards) and now have this
second place in a prime location in downtown Sacramento.
Another of the major impacts that the minister and his wife have had on the life of one
of the young people in their congregation.
The lesson is that we never have any idea how far reaching are the impacts of simple
acts on the lives of those around us.
On the ride home, they told us about an article someone was researching for a local
newspaper, about students who had gone on to greater fame in the arts. One certain woman
had suffered a disfiguring accident as a child and suffered much teasing at the hands of
her fellow students.
A sensitive teacher told her that she wanted the girl to join him every day at lunch in
the art room. The girl had previously had no interest in art, but through her luncheons
with this kindly teacher, she began to learn more about it. She was recently honored as
one of California's outstanding artists.
We make miracles in the lives of those around us, when we take that extra step, extend
ourselves that extra little bit. We may never have any idea of the impact we have.
But how sad if we pass up the chance to change a life when someone offers us a bucket of