A lot of very bad things happen in the world every day. One of the ways to keep our hearts from breaking is to know where in the world to look for good things. One such place is Ada Bible Church in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.
Our oldest son, Kyle is the campus pastor of the Cascades Campus (the main campus) of 13,000 member Ada Bible Church near Grand Rapids. Sunday evening watched him baptize about fifteen new believers. Their stories are heartening. Before each baptism the story of the one being baptized is read and from the stories you can see that God is at work for good. Where do you see God at work for good around you?
One night, deep in Mexico, I saw something good. That’s the story this week:
Sweet As Watermelon
Our whole family (except Kyle, who was married) spent the month of May 2006 traveling in Mexico on a bus with about 50 college-aged young people. We sang, told stories, preached, juggled and did skits balloons and chalk art—anything we could to connect with the people. We had conversations and shared food. We visited churches and schools and orphanages.
The village plazas across Mexico fill up with people every night. It is joyful atmosphere of celebration. The setting is perfect and the people are eager for conversation and socializing.
Our trip to Mexico took us to some of the most beautiful places in the country and sometimes involved very beautiful, fancy affairs in large haciendas with manicured grounds and catered meals. Other times we visited places of stark poverty.
One night we had an evening free so we took our bus-load of fifty bright and beautiful young people into a tiny village long the north shore of Lake Chapala. It was a very humble village. The main street was cobblestone. The side streets were dirt.
An old man sold ice-cold bottled Cokes from the half-door of an adobe building.
“Coka?” He asked me.
“Gracias,” I smiled. It was a wam evening and Coke never tasted so good. I stood aside with my Coke and watched the scene in front of me.
When our young people arrived in the village afoot, children poured out of the houses and into the street curious about the fair-skinned visitors from the U.S. We made conversation as much as possible, laughed and gestured. We practiced our Spanish on them and they practiced their English on us. One of our team make balloon animals. They were very popular with the children. Some of the boys juggled tennis balls. One of the skits we employed the use of a watermelon— it was a humorous skit which actually involved destroying a watermelon.
Before the skit started someone alertly said; “Wait, let’s not do the watermelon skit. I have a better idea. Let’s just cut it up and hand it out.”
Someone found a knife and began to slice the watermelon. Quickly the beautiful little barefooted children formed a line and soon every little child was eating his or her own little chunk of cold, sweet melon.
After the melon we played soccer in the streets and talked and laughed until the sun set. When it was time to go I walked back into the village to be sure everyone was on the bus. What I saw that night rests in a sweet place in my heart to this day many years later.
The last of our group to leave were two beautiful, devoted, Christian young ladies. They were standing on the cobblestone street taking turns explaining the gospel to a half-circle of little girls, faces up-turned, eyes bright with admiration.
I prayed and still do that the name of Jesus will always be as sweet as cold watermelon and a warm summer night to those precious little girls.
June 10, 2019