Barley loaves and fishes

Late in the summer of 2005, I opened a letter from ADRA. It said that 25 cents would feed one child for one day in Bangladesh. I had just finished paying bills and didn’t really have any extra that month. I prayed, “Lord, I really do want to give, but I can’t this month.”  I was just getting ready to put it back with the bills for the next month when our daughter Missy came in and asked  me to read the card to her. I read it to her. 

With all the enthusiasm of a 7 year old, she announced, “I have some money!” She ran to get all her money. It didn’t even add up to a dollar.  I was not about to discourage a child from giving, but was it even worth a stamp to send it?  Okay, two or three meals is better than none. I was looking for an extra $25, not extra quarters. I could have come up with some change… 

Our 11 year old, Daniel, came in and asked what we were doing. He too went to get his money. Our 13 year old, Joshua, brought his money as well. One of them suggested looking everywhere in the house to see if we could find any more. They even brought the state quarters they had been saving. My parents had given them each a cool display board with the United States on it. Each state had a place to put that state’s quarter. They had been faithfully collecting them.

I remembered money I had hidden away. After everyone’s search we came up with $78. We counted up how many children that would feed for a week.  We counted up how many weeks it would feed one child. We all caught Missy’s excitement!

In my search I saw the coin proof sets my mother had brought to me on her last visit. My grandparents had given them to me when I was a little child. Mom had  kept them in a safe place until I was old enough to really know the value of them. I called my mom and asked permission to sell them and donate the money. She said my brother wanted them and not to sell them yet. So I held onto them. Okay, I could just donate the money when it came in. I put them away and forgot about it.

Around Thanksgiving a family friend brought a check from my brother for $200 and I gave her the proof sets to take back to Michigan for my brother. Almost simultaneously a letter came from ADRA telling us that with matching grants $1=$7. That $200 just became $1400!  I was awed at how God had used Missy’s little quarters to bring more than $1400 to ADRA’s Food Survival Program!

I felt compelled to share what had happened with the church during praise time on Sabbath. That week we also told Missy’s Adventure club. One of the moms took it to the church board and asked for the children’s offerings to go to ADRA. The church board voted  to give the children’s offering for the following three Sabbaths to ADRA. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas the Adventures brought their change for ADRA, and their parents brought their checks. When the money was all tallied up, including the money for the proof sets, there was about $6200. With matching grants that makes about $43,400! All from less than a dollar given joyfully from a child’s heart! I think it was providential that in Missy’s Sabbath School they were studying about barley loaves and fishes. I will always think of Missy’s quarters whenever I hear that story. God still multiplies our gifts given from the heart!

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