I was embarrased. I had been nearly 4 weeks back in our Manaus home and I had not seen a dear neighbor yet. I had given her a modern translation of the Bible on our last day in Brazil back in 2008. Paying for her, these past 16 months, had been a special burden since I knew she would be reading it alone in her Catholic home. Since our return to Manaus I had gone to her house 3 different times to try to catch someone at home. Although it appeared that someone was there, my knocking produced no answer. I began to wonder if the devil was trying to discourage me. I can be intimidated easily at times.
I had spoken to her mom, several times as she passed me on the street, and learned that Doris* was struggling with some of the issues I knew about when we left for the U.S. This worked to conjure up huge scenarios in my mind about what I might encounter on a visit. Just the thing the devil likes to do. So I prayed for an open door.
Sunday afternoon is usually when I enjoy an afternoon nap but on this Sunday I was prompted to bake some chocolate chip cookies by the longing look in my 15 year old son’s eyes. If he would chop up the chocolate bar I would mix up a batch, I promised him. With the promise just out of my mouth I realized that I was out of butter. The local bread store would be opening in a few minutes, after an afternoon siesta, so I started on my way. En route I met some other neighbors whom I also had not seen yet. They had had a huge birthday party the night before so I asked about it. It was the special first year birthday party for their granddaughter.
On my way again I remembered that this family had really enjoyed the chocolate chip cookies I had made one Christmas many years ago. Why don’t I double the batch, I thought, and take them some? Even though the ingredients would be double or triple the price at this bread store I figured it was going to be a worthy investment. I smiled to myself knowing Tom would applaud my efforts and not be chagrinned at the expense.
Once in my kitchen I set to work. Doris came to mind again. Oh, of course I could take a plate of cookies and try once more to see her.
With cookies cooling I gathered a few other little gifts which I had loaded up with at the Dollar Store before I left the States. I found some cute little Minnie Mouse socks that I could bestow on the birthday girl and some other goodies to share. When delivering the cookies to the “party” house I met yet another neighbor I wished to renew contact with! Isn’t God good?! As I was leaving I asked what the theme was for the birthday party. I laughed when she told me it was “Minnie Mouse”.
Reinforced with another plate of cookies I went to Doris’ home. There she was, outside, visiting with friends, having just returned from being out. It was an easy, casual way to reconnect and reopen our friendship.
Armed with prayer, a plate of cookies, and Dollar Store gifts can be mighty tools to build bridges and share His love.
*not her real name
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