It was our outreach event for the year. We would hold a Fiesta. We had a variety of people in our community, but we really wanted to do something to reach out to our large Hispanic population. We already had some of them come to some of our ministries at the church. It seemed like a natural thing to do. One of the people on our team was of Mexican background and she had a lot of energy for the event. We hired a Mariachi band and even had a piñata for the kids.
We expected people to come. We asked some of our own church community to be there and welcome our guests. We knew people would come, but just how many?
We had never held this event before. It was new for us. We had ministered to our Hispanic friends before but in different settings. We wanted to invite them, along with their family members and friends.
There would be food. Of course, there would be food. We can’t hold an event without food. Food was a big deal in our culture. Every event involved food, so it seemed. It helped that we had someone who used to be a chef. He knew how to plan food and cook for large groups. We never had trouble finding the volunteers we needed to help out.
I decided we would plan for 500 people. I don’t know how I came up with the number. We had done other events that size, but usually we knew how many people could expect, or at least a rough estimation. This time we had no idea. Would anybody come?
It seemed like a good number.
As it was, the event came and went. Many people showed up, both from the community and from our church community. It wasn’t quite 500. It was probably closer to 430. We knew because we handed out raffle tickets to every person that came. Some people enjoyed the food so much they came back for seconds. In the end, almost all the food was gone with almost nothing left over.
“How did you know how many people to prepare food for?” someone asked me in amazement when it was all done. I was surprised by the question. It came from someone who is very administratively minded. I hadn’t thought about it much. It just seemed like a good number. You could call it a calculated guess, although this wasn’t really the case.
The Lord knew. He helped us in our planning. Although I had no idea how many people would actually come, I felt confident about the number for which we were planning. I didn’t lose sleep over it. I wish I could tell you that we had only planned for 50 people and that the Lord took the lunch my son Andrew brought that day and multiplied it to feed 500 people with twelve bowls of food leftover. That would have made everyone’s faith rise to another level. Supernatural abundance.
It didn’t happen that way. The Lord dropped a number in my mind and we went with that. The prophetic can be like that. Sometimes we don’t know it’s the Lord.
By Ralph Veenstra