One of the pawn shops we frequented in central Texas was managed by a woman in her mid to late twenties. She was always “all business” and came across sometimes as distant and cold, viewing all customers with a detachment that is common in that occupation. We tried to break through the ice on several occasions, but without much success. We had been frequenting that shop for over a year when we found out that the manager was expecting.
When she was nearing the end of her pregnancy, we put together a baby basket with a receiving blanket, onesies, booties, etc. We included a New Testament for the mother and a Billy Graham evangelism track about making peace with God (my wife added that as a last minute item on a whim). When we dropped into the store, the manager was already away on maternity leave. We left the basket with one of the other clerks we knew and asked him to tell the manager that we were thinking about her and hoped all was well with her and the baby. We really didn’t know anything about this lady except for her first name and occupation. We went on our way and didn’t return to this store for nearly three months. In the months following, we were very busy and had basically forgotten about the baby basket.
When we walked in after approximately three months, she came running out of the manager’s office and said, “It was ya’ll, wasn’t it?” We said, “What?” She said, “The baby basket! I asked who left it, but I couldn’t place who he was saying. But it was ya’ll, wasn’t it?” We said, “Yes.” She said, “It changed my life. You showed me how to find God.” Her whole demeanor had changed. She showed us pictures of her baby, and she went on to tell us that her husband was in the Army and stationed in Afghanistan. He would be returning in only nineteen days. She showed us pictures of him and told us more about her life. Then, she stated that she wanted to share God with her husband as soon as he came home. She realized how important it was now and the difference it could make.
In reality, we didn’t know if she had even gotten the basket, or if she had gotten it and tossed it, or had even given a second thought to its origin. We didn’t know if anything would come of it at all; we only knew that God had put on our hearts to do it. We left the rest up to Him. For as long as she was at that pawn shop, she would go out of her way if she saw us walk in to show us pictures of her family and update us on her life. A pretty good return for a few items given in a baby basket to a relative stranger.