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The other day Pastor Julio asked another favor or me. As usual I rolled my eyes and said “Gracias Dios por la bendicion.” Thank you God for the blessing. When I first arrived in Llama and he would say “Stephanie, can we talk?” or “Stephanie – a favor?” I would shudder knowing that he was going to ask me to do something out of my comfort zone or something that was needed to complete a task or project. Most often I cringed because the requests were last minute and it would be a race to pull it all together.

It was okay because in my spirit I really knew who was asking me to complete the task, project or fill a request. But the phrase I uttered aloud was always, “Thank you Lord for the blessing.” And sometimes it was what I needed to remind me of the reason I am here! The phrase has caught on and now sometimes he will say it before asking something of me! Even the kids are saying it which makes me smile. People are learning……..
Sometimes I receive God’s favor that’s required teaching Sunday school with just a couple of minutes notice!

It’s one thing to teach in English and quite another to teach in Spanish! Other times it was to provide the resources for a meal, again last minute or organize Vacation Bible School with my friend, Martha Skaggs. We never knew ahead of time the magnitude of what was being asked and the resources, time, money and effort it would take for the 2 of us to pull it off. God was there every minute of it though and He showed up and showed off!

Sometimes Pastor Julio would need help “interviewing” the kids of the Compassion program and so – “Gracias Dios por la bendicion” I would conduct an “interview” of sorts in Spanish. To this day I don’t know if it was correct or not. I like to think it was!

So when Pastor Julio said, “Oh wait Stephanie, before you leave church I have a favor to ask!” No surprise there! And no surprise when out loud, at the same time, we both said, “Gracias Dios por la bendicion.”

This request involved a chicken! It seems that he had loaned a man money for some medicine and in return the man had given him a chicken to sell at the market to repay the loan. Well…no one bought the chicken so Julio asked me to keep the chicken in the yard where I am staying! What????? I have never raised a chicken. My friend Maria gave me a bag of corn and told me when to feed the chicken. We untied her legs, clipped her wings so she couldn’t fly away and then I walked home, down the street, holding the chicken by the feet upside down. Normal. I fit right in! It was sort of surreal. Walking down the street, on either side bricks of adobe drying, donkeys tied to wood stakes, nothing out of the normal – or the “new normal!”
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Now the chicken comes running when she hears the rustle of the plastic bag that holds the corn. She drinks water from a cup and flaps her wings in the morning when I open the back door. The thought was that she would get fattened up and then she would become dinner. But now…she is part of my life and I can’t think of her as dinner.

So I have a chicken…… !!!

Raising chickens in His Mighty Grip,