Belo Horizonte, MG Brazil
I am in the kitchen with two neighbor girls who came over to help and we are cleaning up after lunch. The kitchen is “sticky-warm;” which means my clothes keep clinging to my body. I am eager to get outside again. It’s a sunny day with a refreshing breeze – much nicer outside than in the warm kitchen
Today is CLOTHES WASING DAY. My trusty wringer washing machine is outside beside the two cement tanks, full of water. I respect this machine’s wringer; making sure my fingers don’t go into it along with the clothes.I have a long extension cord hooked to it, and there are different piles of clothing scattered on the cement. The clothes lines have tree limbs to hold them upright so the clean clothes won’t drag on the ground while they are drying.
Our two-story house is full of sound and people. My husband and I, four of our children (ages 21 to 12), and Rodrigo and Xuxu are all at home today. Lunch around our big circular table outside was noisy and entertaining with the eight of us, plus two unexpected guests for lunch: one a hungry young pastor who “just happened to be driving by our home at lunchtime;” the other a young woman from the YWAM base down the road. By pulling our chairs closer and our elbows in, we managed to all have a plate on the table. I had laughed a lot – one can’t help but laugh when surrounded with such a group.
But now, I am tired and there are still more clothes to wash. I look longingly at my hammock hanging under the shade of the jabuticaba trees, and wonder how long it will take to finish washing those piles of clothes. Suddenly I am aware the two young women in the kitchen are looking at me, waiting for an answer. I pull my mind back to the kitchen as I say: “I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you – what did you say?”
The older one speaks up.
“Dona Voni, are you aware of what is happening to the food here in this house?”
Her face is serious and perplexed. She has my full attention, as I wonder what calamity is going on?
“No. What has been happening?”
Now they both begin talking at once.
“We help you fix a meal…” “and we put all the food on the table….”
I interrupt. “What? You’re supposed to keep food back here in the kitchen for yourselves!” They catch a breath.
“Yes, but so many extra people always come …” “and we’re afraid there won’t be enough food …” “so we put it all on.”
“But listen, Dona Voni, let us tell you what happens…”
I am quiet, listening. Something important is going on.
They now speak slowly and deliberately.
“Every time we put the food on the table for a meal, it does not matter how many people are here, there is always plenty of food left for us.”
They remain quiet, waiting for that to circulate in my mind and register.
I look at them in astonishment!
God is stretching the food! There is no other answer.
As I stand in the sticky-warm kitchen with them, I remember just a few nights earlier when – standing where I am standing now – I told God I would hold no food back when we had meals and guests… but He would have to take care of the food.
He was doing exactly that!
The girls see the look on my face, tell me to go to the hammock and they will finish washing the clothes.
I obey. I’m in shock. As I lay in the hammock, looking at the leaves shimmering in the breeze, I have a long and very serious conversation with God, full of wonder and marvel.
He really is caring for us!
He continued to stretch our food for almost two years, while we had no income we could depend upon. We never went hungry. The food was simple – rarely any meat – but good. He cared for everyone who came into our home to visit or to stay. The money always came in to pay the bills – many times at the last moment.
How and when He stopped stretching the food is another story; I was very aware of it when He did it. (That is for another time.)
May each one of us be aware that the Lord God is always the same: yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 As He cared for the Hebrews, He cares for us.
And so He is with you. Are you aware of those times?
He also told us that if we follow the Lord, we will go through times of suffering. But He will be walking with us.