The Adams’ Family
(San Antonio, Texas, circa 1973)
It was the fall of 1973. The year before dad had left the pastoral ministry and moved our family to San Antonio, Texas. He became part of an evangelistic ministry founded by evangelist Sammy Tippit called God’s Love in Action. They did street ministry and smuggled Bibles into communist countries. To say the job didn’t pay well would be misleading; it didn’t pay at all. We lived by faith and times were lean. Novembers are hard to spot in San Antonio. The desert Mesquite trees don’t produce beautiful foliage. In fact, I only remember two seasons: eleven months of summer and one month of rain.
It was Thanksgiving Eve and I remember mom had been crying all day. After Wednesday church, mom grimly announced the Thanksgiving menu with tears in her eyes. We were having Spam, potatoes, green beans and perhaps a glass of tea for everyone. No turkey, no dressing, no pumpkin pie. We awakened slightly less than thankful; my thoughts could not help but drift back to Illinois where our cousins would be gathering in Sunfield for a feast. Somehow the scent of Spam heating in the oven does not fill my heart with sentimentality.
The phone rang. It was the Adams family from church. I don’t remember much about them except they had a girl about my age named Noel. They said they had more food than they could possibly eat and wondered if we might be free to share Thanksgiving with them. Would we? Shouts of joy echoed throughout our home. God had not forgotten us! Mom put the cans of Spam, green beans and the jar of tea back in the nearly bare cupboard. The potatoes we would eat another day. I saw that a spontaneous act of love by one family could change the orbit of another. I saw the church at its best that day. Not organized, programmed and slick but genuine, authentic and love infested. One family acted upon their impulse and grace fell upon another.
Something wonderful happened that day between the Adams and Bishop families. We were two families who needed each other! They had too many empty chairs around a bulging table and we had too little food. Love is a powerful thing. It is powerful to give love and it is powerful to receive love. I learned this when I spent Thanksgiving with the Adams family.
-From “Exactly As I Remember It” by Rev. Shane L. Bishop