Loaves and Chili

Patrick told me that the kids in Primary 7 took their exams and he is confident that all of them will get to go on to high school.
But this is going to get very expensive Patrick said.
Yes, so many kids in high school. It is going to get expensive, I said.
Patrick replied, God is a good big God. He has always provided.

I watched him provide on a November Tuesday in Waupun, Wisconsin.
Laura is my cousin and a board member of Beautiful Response. On Sunday morning, she overcame her phobia of public speaking with the help of her daughter. And together they pitched a chili supper on Tuesday night to raise money so that kids in Uganda could keep going to school.
That night, churches from the area came together around the topic of mission and I got to share the story of Raising Up Hope in Uganda. At the end of the night I shook people’s hands and said, see you Tuesday!

At 2:30 Tuesday morning, my uncle Henry woke up and began baking bread. He made 54 loaves.
I got to the church to help make chili at 9:30 Tuesday morning, only 7 hours after Henry had started working. By the time I got there, there were 9 crock pots the size of small cars on the kitchen counters already steaming with what would soon be Dorinne’s secret chili recipe. Dorinne spent 12 hours making and serving chili that day.
My aunt Diane and uncle Dave came out to Waupun to help. My aunt Joanie took her last day of vacation and hauled the 54 loaves of bread out to Waupun. My cousin’s husband’s mother helped out most of the day. People I can’t remember filtered in and out of the kitchen all day long.
The boy’s soccer team from my high school across the parking lot pushed carts of chili, crackers and dishes around.

            There were 9 huge tubs of chili, 54 loaves of bread, 1600 ounces of coffee, and gallons of ice cream with homemade toppings. All of it was given and prepared by people free of charge and expectation. All of it was given because the people of Waupun really do want to see those kids across an ocean keep going to school.
            It started to rain right when the supper was supposed to begin. And I thought that maybe the numbers would be low. But the rain didn’t stop anyone.
            Hundreds of people showed up, and we exceeded our expectations.

            And at the end of the chili supper we had two loaves of bread, one gallon of chili, some homemade chocolate-fudge sauce, and enough money raised for me to call Patrick and tell him that God had indeed provided.