A Sweet Way to Serve

by Michael Mendoza

First, Brent saw the hands. They were worn as an old catcher’s mitt. Then he saw the sign between the hands: “Homeless. Please help.” Brent looked closer. The man behind the sign seemed tired and hungry.

Brent turned to his mother as they drove through downtown Kansas City. “Mom, do you think anyone ever does anything for those guys?”

“I don’t know. That’s a good question.”

Brent turned the question to himself. What can I do?

Let the Baking Begin
As an idea formed in Brent’s mind, the phone calls began. Soon Brent’s family and other middle school students’ families began baking . . . and baking . . . and baking, until they had 500 mouth-watering cookies ready for the men at City Union Mission in Kansas City, Missouri. When the young bakers delivered the cookies, their eyes opened to a new reality.

“Men slept on floors and bunk beds,” Brent says. “Others huddled in blankets. It was so . . . so . . . I can’t even put it into words.”

The mission called for more cookies at Easter. By that time, Brent’s bakers had visited several times, and people began to notice.

“We became the unofficial baking crew,” Brent says. “Now we’re pretty much official.”

A Just Reward
In March 2008, City Union Mission awarded Brent and his friends with a plaque, thanking them for their service. The mission recognized them as God’s local church doing ministry work. Pretty cool, since no one from their actual church even knew what they’d been doing the past two years. The students never considered their baking a ministry. But for so many men at the shelter, it was.

“We weren’t trying to be recognized,” Brent says. “We saw a need and did something about it.”

Lingering Question
A cardboard sign. A thoughtful question. Five hundred cookies. Simple, right? Ask the men at the rescue mission, and they’ll say anything but. There’s nothing simple about making a difference.

“Don’t be afraid to do anything for God,” Brent says, “even if it doesn’t make sense. I like to think it wasn’t me who asked, but God who stirred the question in me.”

And, as Brent shows, age doesn’t matter. God can use anyone to make an impact, including you. Yes, you can make a difference right now wherever you are.

Next Step
If you want God to use you to make an impact, ask Him to open your eyes to see the needs of people around you. Then ask yourself, What can I do? Does someone nearby need a word of encouragement or a helping hand? Maybe you can bake, rake watch a child or walk a dog. Let God’s strength and love shine through you as you make someone’s life better today.

This story first appeared in the November 2009 issue of Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2009 by Michael Mendoza. Photo © StarsApart/Flickr.com; used under Creative Commons license.