My El Crucero journey began in the spring of 2012, when my adult Sunday School class committed to serve in a particularly drug and gang-infested neighborhood a few miles away from our church. Many of the adults in this neighborhood are non-English-speaking Hispanics and most everyone is (by American standards) extremely poor. Our class’s entry into the neighborhood was through what is known as an “Adopt a Block” program. My husband, Cliff, and I, and our 3 children began spending one Saturday morning a month serving breakfast, playing soccer, leading devotionals, and just “hanging out” with members of this neighborhood. Many unchaperoned children would join us on these mornings. Unlike the adults with whom they live, the children speak fluent English since that is what they use in school.
Over the course of that first year, my boys (Curran, then age 6, and Gabriel, then age 9) formed some friendships with the neighborhood boys. Somewhere along the way, Curran decided he wanted these friends to have bibles. About one year into our participation in this “Adopt-a-Block” ministry, my then seven-year-old-Curran, announced that he was starting a bible fund so that he could buy bibles for the neighborhood children. Curran became consumed with this idea, talking about it day and night.
To start the fund, he put in all the money he currently possessed, which was $6. Then he started daydreaming about ways to fundraise. Since at that time I was on the PTO board at his school, and he frequently saw me involved in secular fundraising, his daydreaming quickly turned to trying to brainstorm incentives and prizes for donating. I stopped him, though, and told him that we don’t have to fundraise for God’s work the way the non-Christian world raises money for things. I explained to him that if God had really placed it on his heart and mind to give bibles to the kids on our adopted block, God would be faithful to provide the resources. So, I encouraged him to begin by praying for God’s provision. I also made sure he understood that God wants to be the provider so that we don’t get puffed up and take credit for what has really been done by Him (always a good reminder for myself, too).
I did give him permission to sell little pieces of artwork and to let people know what he planned to do with the money. Otherwise, I stayed completely uninvolved. Little did I know that Curran was handing out “business cards” at school (a public school, mind you) trying to sell his artwork for bible money. I was flabbergasted when he came home one day with a $20 bill in his pocket donated by the PE coach at school. And then some of our family members contributed…..and then we sold one of his toys on Craig’s list…..and suddenly he had enough money to buy 2 cases (12 per case) of children’s bibles online.
We ordered the bibles with an expected arrival of 1-2 weeks, but Curran wanted them to come in time to pass out at our next monthly breakfast which was barely a week later. He began praying they would get here in time. At his weekly after-school Bible club, he raised his hand during the prayer request time to ask for prayers that the bibles would come before Saturday. The bibles actually arrived that same day (only 5 days after we ordered them).
The next day I got a phone message from the bible company telling me that they had accidentally sent our order to 2 different warehouses and we’d be mistakenly receiving a double fulfillment of our order. When I returned the call to confirm with them that I’d reject the 2 extra cases, I had to explain who I was (since the order was placed in Curran’s name). Then I thanked them for how quickly the bibles had arrived and what an answer to prayer that had been and why. About an hour later I received another phone message telling me that the president of the company (Bibles by the Case) had decided that we should keep the extra 24 bibles, free of charge, for Curran to give out at the block party.
And so God turned a 7-year-old’s $6 into $300’s worth of brand-new children’s bibles for the children on our adopted block. It was an exciting answer to prayer, but it was also the start of something much bigger……..