She had come from Mexico in the 1930's and was often seen sitting in the shade of her corrugated steel-covered porch. She always wore her hair in a bun and carried a crooked walking stick with her wherever she went. Her name was Alba Gonzales and everyone considered her Grandma. It was common to see as many as four generations gathered around Grandma Alba to hear stories of Old Mexico.
One morning when Alba went to find her place on the porch she discovered little Felipe waiting for her. “You are up early, little one.”
Felipe looked nervous as he said “I want to be a missionary.”
“You want to go to other countries to tell people about Jesus.” Grandma Alba said this as a statement. There was no question she understood the heart of young Felipe.
“Pastor Guillermo said there are people who need to hear about Jesus,” Felipe said
“Pastor is a very wise man, Felipe,” Grandma Alba responded.
“So, do you think I could be a missionary, Grandma?” Felipe asked.
“Do you love Jesus, Felipe?”
“Do you have a penny?”
“Can I see it?”
“Do you have a friend who needs to know Jesus?”
Felipe hesitates before answering a tentative, “Yes.”
“What’s his name?”
“Then you should be a missionary to Navio.” Grandma Alba said as she looked at the penny.
“I would be scared, Grandma.” Felipe said.
“But you said you wanted to be a missionary.”
“Yes, but when I grow up and when I go to another country.”
“Ah, Felipe I think you misunderstand what a missionary is,” Grandma clucked her tongue sadly.
“What do you mean, Grandma Alba?”
“How can you be sure you would tell someone about Jesus in another country if you won’t tell Navio about Jesus here and now?”
“But Grandma, I would wait until I was big before I would go to be a missionary. I have time before I have to tell people about Jesus.”
“Hmmm,” Grandma got a far away look in her eyes as she rocked in her porch chair. Felipe looked at her and wondered what she was thinking.
Suddenly Grandma got up and began walking down the road in front of her home.
“I’m going to do what I came to America to do, Felipe.”
Felipe was confused as Grandma Alba walked out of sight.
An hour later Grandma Alba returned with Navio. Felipe looked at her and was very uncomfortable. “Grandma,” he said, “I’m not ready.”
“Navio,” Grandma said to the second boy, “What happened to you today?”
“Oh, Felipe, the most wonderful thing has happened.” Navio was excited, “Did you know Jesus was God’s Son.”
“Did you know He came to earth to die for me?”
“Did you know that He fought death and won?”
“Did you know He can give us a home with Him in heaven?”
“You knew all this?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Felipe looked down at the ground in tears. “I thought you would make fun of me.”
“But, Felipe, this is the best news I‘ve ever heard,” Navio put his hand on Felipe’s shoulder, hugged Grandma Alba and walked home.
Felipe buried his head in Grandma Alba’s shoulder as he wept for reasons he didn’t fully understand. After a few minutes Grandma Alba said, “Do you remember the penny you gave me, Felipe?”
“Take a look at it. What does it say on the back - right there.” Grandma pointed to two words.
“That is what we are, Felipe - Penny Missionaries. I am one sent to tell my family, friends, neighbors and strangers about Jesus. I have never had much money, Felipe, but I know that every time I look at a penny God has something more for me to do.”
“Don’t you have to go to school to become a missionary, Grandma?”
“That is a wonderful idea, but it doesn’t stop you from being a Penny Missionary right here - right now. Felipe, you can always tell the people you know about Jesus. If you won’t be a Penny Missionary here, you will have difficulty being a missionary anywhere else.”
Today as Felipe works among the people of Guatemala he will pull out the penny that changed his outlook on missions and remember Grandma Alba.
“I have never had much money, Felipe, but I know that every time I look at a penny God has something more for me to do.”
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.