Crystal: a story of God's amazing provision!
So there we were taking Crystal across town to UPS. I ended up exchanging phone numbers with her and Noah asked if she'd be interested in visiting a church. Crystal was thrilled to be invited and told us "You're my first American friends" WOW!
Her English is conversational, but we figured it would be best to bring her to the second service at our church as it has the service translated in Mandarin Chinese. (How awesome is that?) We much prefer the first service, mostly because it works far better with Ellie's schedule as she is ready for a nap by the time second service starts, but we knew that was minor in the scheme of things.
Awesome provision from God #1- Ellie slept in until 9 am on Sunday morning. That has NEVER happened before!
On our way to church, I got a text from Crystal. Maybe it's because we're used to American college students, and getting up "early" isn't their preference, my first guess was she'd be telling me she had overslept and wouldn't be coming. Instead she said she was afraid she would be late, so she had arrived early (25 minutes early!)
Awesome provision from God #2- We are NEVER 20 minutes early for church, but we were this week!
We dropped Ellie off at the nursery, picked up a headset (for the mandarin translation) and got a seat. Crystal has absolutely no religious background and has never been to any sort of a church. I was grateful for the time to explain things like a prelude, a worship band, a message, etc. She seemed to really enjoy the service.
After the service I look over and another Asian woman is talking to Crystal- it happened to be the girl that was sitting on the end of our row- who happened to be from China and at TCBC for the FIRST TIME! The two of them seemed to hit it off right away! The other woman had a Mandarin/English dual translation of the Bible and she said she had picked it up on her way into church. (I didn't know we had them?!) As I was on my way to go find them,
Awesome provision from God #3 - a friend of ours was already on his way over to us carrying TWO of them as he saw I was with two Chinese students.
Feeling in a hurry, I knew I needed to go pick up Ellie from the nursery but didn't want to leave the girls alone... I told them I would be right back when
Awesome provision from God #4 - another friend of ours was on her way over to introduce herself. She exchanged numbers with them, and offered to meet them at church in future weeks (as she typically goes to the second service).
We invited them all to lunch, but they weren't able to come. They had to get to the library to resume their studies.
Awesome provision from God #5- as we were on our way home, we ended up driving past the two Chinese girls walking together to the library-- how awesome is that?!
We were very humbled as we felt like we didn't have much to offer Crystal- our plates are very full and it had taken a few weeks for us to even be available enough to invite her to church... but all we had to do was invite her and God just showed up! We shouldn't be surprised that He works in such amazing ways as He wants us to depend on Him!
In fact, this very point is what Pastor Allen introduced his sermon with. "When we hear Jesus' call to care for the needs of our world, it is very apparent that we don't have the resources. In this story (of feeding the 5,000) Jesus is forcing the disciples to see the same thing! The question is, Am I willing to bring the little I have [even though I know it isn't much] and give it to Jesus?"
We are grateful for this (and many other) opportunities to bring the little that we have and give it to Jesus, and then be amazed as He makes it work!