By Vera Entwistle, World Service Corps
My husband and I are volunteers with the World Service Corps in Taipei, Taiwan. We don’t speak Chinese, but many residents understand some English. However, we have become very good at gestures, and the people are very patient.
A 7-Eleven convenience store sits two doors from our church entrance. Every Sunday we stop to pick up milk for the coffee we serve in Bible class. One morning in the store, I noticed a young mother struggling with three small, disruptive children. The frustrated mother was trying, unsuccessfully, to calm the children. As I stood at the counter, I spotted a jar of lollipops. I quickly bought three and gave them to the children.
The mother was startled. In broken English she began to talk to me. I was struggling to understand when I saw one of our bilingual church members, Tina, walking by the store. I called her in and asked her to explain to the woman who I was. As soon as the mother heard “minister,” her eyes lit up. She asked for directions to our church, saying she would come the next week.
The following Sunday she arrived with her three children. She came in time for Bible class and stayed for worship. Our members welcomed her, and she told us what had prompted her to accept our invitation. She said the morning we had met, she had felt overwhelmed by life.
“I just looked up and cried out, asking if there was any place for me where I could find peace,” she said. “The smile on the face of this lady and the gift of the lollipops reminded me there are good people in the world. I love this little church. Already you feel like family.”
Since then she and her children have attended faithfully, bringing other friends. She was present when Apostle Mareva Arnaud Tchong visited Taipei. During worship the mother asked her for a special blessing.
In our pursuit of peace I had not valued lollipops as ministerial tools, but they opened the door to possibilities.
Reblogged from: http://www.cofchrist.org/mission-stories#/189/lollipop-ministry