The Power of Candy

The term airbus took on a new meaning for me when my plane departed the runway at Niamey, Niger. It wasn’t so much the chicken being chased down the aisle by the young boy, it was that the whole episode had upset the goat. The airplane carry-on rule was loosely enforced on Ethiopian Airlines back in 1997.  My destination was N’djamena, the capitol city of Chad.

I settled in for the flight seated next to a gentleman who did not speak English. I do not speak French or Arabic. French is the language of commerce in North Africa. The stewardess offered us a cup of water or coffee. I opened my book and sipped the coffee gingerly. I was on my way to encourage our missionaries in Chad and teach Prayer Walking with the leaders of the only Baptist church in town. We hit a little turbulence and some of my hot coffee landed on my seatmate’s thigh. I tried to apologize but I could tell he was not happy with me. I did the only thing I knew to do at the moment. I dug out of my carry-on a fun-sized bag of M&M’s and handed it to him. He smiled, I smiled and everything else went well. Never travel without M&M’s, bubble gum or hard candies. One of the realities of foreign travel is encountering the little children who beg. I carried a roll or two of freshly minted coins for years, but they began to cause luggage screeners to frown; therefore, the switch to candy.  

Our time in Chad was well spent with God’s power being evidenced in new ways for the believers and a new mission point started at the invitation of the leaders of a local village. I sought to encourage the faithful and occasionally gave away some candy. During a Sunday evening prayer meeting that was focused on the persecuted church, our time was interrupted by the news that an Iman fleeing from another country had come asking for refuge in the church. He reported that he had seen a vision of Jesus calling him to faith. He left all he knew and owned to follow Christ. I flew back to Niger, with a full heart and empty pockets, minding my coffee. Never underestimate the power of a little candy. Candy speaks a language of its own. It can thank, reward, apologize and even bring smiles in awkward situations. It is amazing how small, kind acts can bring so much joy to others. Encourage someone today. Use candy, if necessary.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Stay sweet. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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