This week, our daughter, Lauren sent a photo via text message. The caption read: “Just found this. No telling what’s inside. We are now carrying a mason jar full of cash, which is in the car for the homeless men at the stoplights.” I had to zoom in on the photo to read fully the message written on the side of a white 5-gallon bucket with a sealed lid, in purple marker. Our now, seven-year-old granddaughter, Kiersten, had obviously written it with great care, “for the orphans”. Kiersten has felt the need to give to orphans and the hungry ever since a baby chick entered her life on a beautiful Easter Sunday when I stepped out on a limb as a grandparent. On a whim, I decided to give our two grandchildren baby chicks for a fun Easter surprise.
Lauren and her husband, Neil along with our grandchildren, Kiersten and Gatlin lived in an urban subdivision where farm animals are not allowed. Being found out by one of the rule-abiding neighbors would surely mean a ticket from animal control and probably an appearance in the city court before the judge. However, worse than my fear of those particular consequences, was the fear of my son-in-law who was raised in the same type neighborhood environment and did not fully understand or appreciate the connection that our family has with farm animals. He was surely going to be less than tolerant of my decision to present two live chicks to his children without his consent.
As severe as the possible outcome could be, I made the decision to go forward without the prior knowledge of Neil or Lauren. I decided I would simply ask for forgiveness after the camera caught both of my precious grandchildren’s smiles of delight when they opened the Chinese take-out boxes containing colored plastic grass and peeping, yellow, fuzzy balls of wonder. There is nothing more joyful to me than watching their faces light up over something that I do for them. Kiersten was 5 at the time and Gatlin was 2. This could be the perfect plan or the perfect storm and only after giving them their gifts would the plan or storm be revealed.
I handed the children each, a small box and made sure that the talented photographer, Pappy was ready to capture the moment – a joyous occasion, or “Murder on Tenth Street”. As Kiersten and Gatlin opened the white folded boxes, little did any of us know what would be in store in the future. After all, I was only giving them chicks to bring myself pleasure at the sight of their excitement but God had a plan to use this moment in a way that none of us could have ever imagined.
Neil embraced the Easter chicks with skepticism but jumped right in to support his children by building a chicken coop decked out with laying boxes, warmer lights and heavy duty lumber for protection from neighborhood dogs and cats. The chicks grew, as did my chicks, Kiersten and Gat. With all of the growth taking place, Lauren and Neil decided to move to a larger house with acreage where the chicken operation continued to expand from two chicks to ten fat, fluffy laying hens.
The job of feeding, watering, and gathering eggs is the responsibility of Kiersten and Gat. They take their chicken care very seriously. Kiersten believes that her chickens are “the happiest chickens in the world” and that her chicken’s eggs are “better than medicine”. The hens produce four to five eggs per day. The egg production has developed into many cash paying customers who enjoy the range-free, golden yolked eggs that are hand delivered to their door with love. Having exposure to orphan care and the homeless due to their Pappy’s work with orphans in Bogota, Colombia, and their parent’s instruction of scripture, Kiersten’s and Gatlin’s hearts grow daily with the love of Christ and His love for orphaned children and others in need. As they receive payment for their deliveries, Kiersten and Gatlin give all but the amount that it takes to buy replacement chicken feed to orphan care and feeding the homeless.
Next week, fifty orphans will receive school supplies in Bogota. The orphans will be unaware that God used two baby chicks and two small children in Magnolia, Texas who were willing to cast their bread on water by selling eggs door to door to bless them with much needed educational tools. While the 5-gallon bucket remains sealed, I am certain that the inside contains gifts to orphans from children in America who began to listen to the voice of God when they set their eyes on baby chicks in Chinese take-out boxes on Easter Sunday two years ago.