So this is a bit odd. I am writing to document a modern day “Multiplication of loaves and fishes” that I witnessed some years back.
I got saved at Northshore Baptist Church, in Bothell, WA. That was back in 1995. I was a physical, emotional and spiritual wreck when I got saved, but that’s another story. Anyhow, I came into that church through their healing ministry that we used to call LIGHT (Love Is God’s Healing Truth). The woman who ran that ministry wanted to get me plugged in as quickly as possible to some sort of ministry after I got saved, so she asked if I wanted to work with the High School kids.
Very quickly I found myself immersed in an environment I knew nothing about, but the Youth Pastor who had been there for some years very smartly paired me with one young man pretty much and told me “He’s your mission.” So, there I was, I was a newborn Christian, and I had a mission. Baptists are wonderful at plugging folks into ministry quickly so they can learn the ropes, and I did, slowly. And again, that’s another story.
The incident I wanted to detail for you all today happened I believe during the last full school year I was there, that would have been the 1997-1998. I did a lot of activities with the kids that year, in fact you might say, that was the year I sort of “Caught up” with some of those kids in a spiritual sense. I was still a baby Christian, but what I saw happen blew my socks off!
The Youth Pastor got some of the kids together and asked them what they wanted to do as a “Mission Project” for the year. During the prior year our church had become involved with the Government of a small country (former Soviet Union) called Turkmenistan. That too is another story, but let me say that we had doctors going over there to provide consulting and services, as well as to assess the need for medicine and supplies in that nation that formerly had received everything from the communist regime in Moscow. Even back when it was part of the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan probably never was very well supplied with anything resembling modern medicine.
What our kids heard was the need for medical supplies of all kinds, and what we determined to do was purchase a pallet of supplies for them. What amazed me was the level of the commitment among the kids. I watched, and probably contributed too (I really don’t remember) as the basket was passed week after week. I saw pocket change, occasionally ones and five dollar bills go into that collection for those medical supplies. I had no idea how much was being collected in total, or even who was doing the tally each week. I only knew that was our “Mission.”
At the end of the school year, somebody provided the tally: We had collected enough money (around $1,500 if I remember right) to purchase one pallet of medical supplies (through World Vision). At that point, we all realized we had no idea how or when those supplies could be delivered. Now hang on, this is the miraculous part. Our Pastor at Hope Chapel, Zac Nazarian, recently told us “Do the possible” and then hang on while God does the impossible!
Impossible – indeed! Somebody from our Youth Group, one of the leaders, contacted World Vision and told them about our desire to purchase a pallet of medical supplies for Turkmenistan. The person on the other end of the line told us to hang tight, they would get back to us. They called back and said their “Standard procedure” was to contact Boeing (Bothell is a suburb of Seattle where Boeing’s manufacturing is located) and ask if supplies could be delivered on any new aircraft that were being delivered to the area. Turns out, Boeing had two 767 aircraft scheduled to be delivered to Saudi Arabia or someplace like that, so they allowed us to send the pallet with them.
But then, the folks at Boeing also said that they never liked to deliver their aircraft “Empty” so they decided to fill both aircraft with medical supplies to be delivered to Turkmenistan on their way to Saudi Arabia. Did you get that? That’s like 24 pallets of medical supplies! The kids in our Youth Group had been faithful to put their pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters together for a whole year to buy one pallet of medical supplies for Turkmenistan, and God turned it into 24 pallets!
That, my friends, is a modern day multiplication of loaves and fishes – and I saw it with my own eyes, and was completely amazed by how God works through seemingly ordinary means – even today!