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Little is Much – Jose Pablo

15 Mar

Never underestimate the power of little.

We watched through the window as the nine 3 and 4-year olds and their caregivers, also known as “mamas,” marched around the building to our door. This was a rare treat for them – an opportunity to be little chefs. Most of the children live at Eagle’s Nest, an orphanage nestled high in the hills overlooking Lake Atitlan in western Guatemala. The children’s home currently has 22 little residents, ranging in age from newborn to 13. At Eagle’s Nest, they are are provided more than food and shelter – the kids are given a good education, lots of love, and a strong foundation of faith. The children are reminded of their worth and value daily.  It is evident in their eyes.

Our “GuateMission” team from Austin Christian Fellowship had transformed the apartment below the orphanage into a makeshift cooking school for our special guests. The recipe was a simple one – some cookie mix we had brought from the United States, a few eggs, and sticks of butter. One by one, the children took turns stirring the eggs and butter together, and brave volunteers carefully poured the mix into the bowls. They waited patiently as the grown-ups then made sure the dough was blended, and each little chef took their turn with the scoops to transform that dough into perfectly round circles of sugary goodness.

Every child, that is, except one. Jose Pablo.

Making the perfect cookie.

Jose Pablo is only small in stature. Inside the bright, talkative 4-year old is a powerhouse of personality. He was the first to raise his hand to help make the cookie dough, and he was the first in line to scoop that dough onto the cookie sheets. And scoop he did – with no help from any of the grownups. His little face was intense as his little hands gripped the scoop with all his might. He first tackled the walnut chocolate chip dough. A smile and two lovely cookies later, he was ready to move on.

Sugar cookies meant more than simply scooping out dough onto a sheet. It also meant getting to decorate with stars and jimmies and colored sugars. Each child sprinkled and sprinkled and sprinkled.

Every child, that is, except one. Jose Pablo.

The little chefs design their special cookies.

When it came to decorating his sugar cookie, he made sure his would be noticed. Those little hands selected a purple star and three yellow jimmies to create a design that would be different from all the others. He giggled as the cookies were served, knowing there would be no mistaking his sweet masterpiece.

Delicious.

When the little chefs finally got to enjoy their creations, Jose Pablo relished his. When the children said their “thank you’s,” Jose Pablo’s was just a little louder. And this evening, when we said our goodnights to the sweet kids at Eagle’s Nest, Jose Pablo’s hug was big and strong.

Today, the power of little invaded my heart.  As I find myself once again wondering what good can come of the little things I can offer in this life, I am given a mop-topped reminder that even the smallest things – like baking cookies with an orphan – have the potential to make hearts grow. And that same mop-topped little chef reminds me to live big, even when life feels small. May I be willing to go first, unafraid to be different, eager to say thanks, and always ready to give big hugs.

Little is indeed much when God’s in it.

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