Lisa watched the clock while keeping her ears peeled for sounds at her door. Thirty minutes late, so they'd still be considered on time by Ecuadorian standards. She twitched the curtain aside hoping to see someone coming down the walk, but the dog merely lifted his head and whined at her. No one was out there.
“They'll come.” Carl said as he settled in his chair.
“How can you be so sure?”
“None of these kids have ever made Christmas cutout cookies and they love the ones you've been bringing to Bible study. Do you really think they'd miss an opportunity to make some to bring home?”
Lisa chuckled as she tucked yet another mixing bowl back into the cabinet. “I'm just hoping that little trick worked and that they'll come.”
“I talked with Lucía's mother yesterday and she said the girls have been talking about it non-stop and counting down the days.” Carl quirked his head to the side, listening closely and smiling. He checked the clock. “Right on time, O ye of little faith.”
“If I had little faith there'd only be one mixing bowl out, not...” Lisa hesitated and glanced at the bowls remaining on the table, “three.”
Carl pulled open the door to a stream of Spanish. A group of teens squeezed in, all laughing and talking at the same time.
“Señor Carlos, I brought my brother and a friend. I told her she could learn about Christmas cookies and Jesus if she came with me.”
“That's right, Lucía. We'll have a Bible study after the cookies are baked.”
Lucía nervously glanced from the table with cookie ingredients to the door. “Um, I'm not the only one who brought a friend.”
A laugh escaped Carl as he looked at Lisa. “I think you ought to get out those other bowls that you put away.”
Lisa looked around the full room, noting the regular Bible study kids and several new kids as well. “There's only a few that aren't here yet. I'll get them out if we need them.”
Carl shrugged and called out, “Let's make cookies, gang!”
A controlled pandemonium soon settled in.
“Hey, I need flour over here, is that flour?”
“I'll trade ya, sugar for flour.”
“Hold on, it says brown sugar. Is there a difference between sugar and brown sugar?”
Lucía snatched the recipe from her brother's hand. “Of course there is! If you helped in the kitchen at home you'd know that.”
Lisa handed them the brown sugar. “Remember, if you don't help make them, you don't get to eat any.”
“Whoa! Gimme that stuff. I'm seriously addicted to these things and I'm not gonna miss out on 'em.”
“Hey, Señor Carlos, someone's pounding on your door. You want me to let them in?”
Another teen moved the curtain aside and peered out. “Sonya got Monica to come with her! Maybe she finally broke up with that creep. Señora Lisa, I hope you have more mixing bowls.”
Lisa held up her hands in surrender and laughed. “I have plenty more mixing bowls and ingredients. Let's make some more cookies.”
When she turned around with the extra bowls she saw the flour canister wobble as it was passed over the heads of several kids. In the jostling and horsing around it was knocked one too many times and crashed to the floor. A mushroom cloud of flour rose as silence fell around the coughing kids.
Lisa looked through the white cloud. Every pair of dark eyes focused on her. She drew in a deep breath and choked on the flour. “You know, the same thing happened to me. I had made a huge mess of my life, but Jesus cleaned my mess, and now I'm making cookies for Him.”
Lisa laughed and reached for the broom and dust pan that were tucked in a corner. “Come on, let's get this mess cleaned so we can get the cookies made.”
Monica took the broom and started to carefully sweep. “Señora Lisa, when Jesus died on the cross, is that when He cleaned your life?”
“Well, that's part of it. But it was when I asked Him to forgive my sins that He cleaned my life.”
Monica looked up from the flour in the dust pan, understanding lighting her eyes. “I want Him to clean my life, too. I've made a mess of it.”
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