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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.

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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 corn.


'No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main...

~ John Dunn

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Celebratory champagne

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