A Modern-day Feeding of the 5,000

(minus just 4,992 people)

I’m convinced that New Testament-style miracles happen around here from time to time, and today was one of those days.

It started out with my Wycliffe colleague Martin, a Swiss man who works in Mexico, asking if the Scripture Engagement team I’m working with could change a Zoom meeting scheduled for Friday to this morning. Not a problem for me (or for Judy in Germany or Carletta in Minnesota), but with the meeting taking up an hour of homeschool this morning I knew I wouldn’t have time to make lunch. (Lunch is our biggest meal of the day.)

whole ollucos for sale in the market

Ade was gracious enough to be the cook, and he came home from the market with chicken and sliced ollucos, a tuber that is native to the Andes. This is not the boys’ favorite meal, so I didn’t tell them that my menu would have been steak fajitas (a true favorite!) until my re-scheduled Zoom meeting changed the plans. I put my biggest pot on the counter for Ade (a pre-emptive strike so he wouldn’t holler “¿Dónde está la olla?” as soon as he started cooking) and I had just enough time to put the rice on before running back upstairs to our homeschool room. For some reason (unbeknownst to me at the time) I measured exactly twice the amount of rice that our family usually eats and poured it all into my second-largest pot.

While the boys and I studied The Age of Reason, Ade fixed his olluquitos (here’s a recipe, if you’re ever lucky enough to find ollucos), and things were shaping up to be a typical Monday lunch. Then I heard Ade talking on the phone to the daughter of a Quechua pastor who recently had surgery and is in the hospital in Huaraz.

Mike Miller (NT translator), Ade, Pastor Andres, Pastor Shawn Hess (Quechua Bible Dedication 2019)

Our friendship with Pastor Andres, his family, and their church in the village of Copa Chico goes back many years. We have taken several of our mission teams to this village church, and they have always shown us gracious hospitality and have served us lots of good food. Some of you might find yourselves in these pictures from visits to Pastor Andres’ church in Copa Chico.

So back to our Monday morning situation….

I heard Ade on the phone telling Pastor Andres’ daughter that he would come to the hospital to pick her up with her mom, and bring them to our house to have lunch. I hurried to the kitchen to make a fruit salad to go along with the olluquitos, thinking what a good thing it was that I hadn’t made steak fajitas, which would have been a very awkward meal to serve to a Quechua family.

A short time later Ade reappeared at the front door with the pastor’s wife and daughter…

…and another daughter…

…and a son.

(He’s a young man, and we all know how much young men can eat!) I’ll admit that I felt a moment of panic as I wondered how well our lunch for four would stretch to serve four more. But I should have remembered Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount:

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ …For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 

Matthew 6:31-32

I began serving the rice and the ollucos, and somehow our lunch for four turned into exactly enough to be a meal for eight. Our table became a place to share our blessings with a family who was in need, not only of physical nourishment, but also of emotional and spiritual encouragement.

After our unexpected guests were on their way back to their village, I asked Ade how it happened that our lunch for four was able to serve twice that many people. He told me that he didn’t mean to buy so many ollucos, but the Quechua lady who was selling them reminded him of his mother, so he bought all that she had. (This is one of the reasons that I fell in love with him in 23 years ago!) And I recalled filling my measuring cup with twice as much rice as we needed… consciously thinking about the fact that four cups would be way too much for our lunch… and then tossing all of it into the pot. I even thought about the fact that if my Swiss colleague Martin had not rearranged our Zoom meeting, I would have been serving small portions of Mexican fajitas rather than large helpings of Andean ollucos. And while I can see that God had a hand in arranging (or re-arranging) each of these seemingly mundane details, a small part of me also believes that perhaps He kept adding ollucos and rice to our pans until we had served everyone in our family and each one of our guests!

Please join us in praying for Pastor Andres as he recovers from surgery from some sort of intestinal blockage. Ade visited him this afternoon and said he did not look well, but that could be the result of having surgery just two days ago. We hope to continue helping his family as they spend time in Huaraz visiting him in the hospital. 12/13/21

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