Isn't amazing how warm apple pie can bring back so many good memories for the Dutch folk among us? I love welcoming people into our home with the sweet smell of cinnamon and apples wafting through the air. Today I'm looking forward to having a friend, Laura, over for company after church. And yes, the apple pie is in the oven...and it smells good. This reminds me, I need to share a recipe with you. Out of all the apple pie recipes I've ever made, this one wins, hands down. Okay, so maybe I've only tried two apple pie recipes in my whole life, but seriously, I'm Dutch which means I have tasted hundreds of apple pies in my lifetime and I still say this one is the best. I find lots of good recipes here. And at the end of this post I'll share the recipe.
Back to the friend who is visiting tonight… Recently we met Laura through a mutual friend of ours who lives in the States. Laura (name changed for security) is a woman who has been working with children all over the world. Not only has she started orphanages but she also travels to many places and trains the staff working in orphanages. Her story is a powerful testimony of God's provision, I hope it encourages you!
When Laura was only 15 she was already envisioning missions and how God could use her. She was particularly drawn to children and began to dream about starting an orphanage in her city in Mexico. Together with her sister she approached their church with her burden to begin a children's home. Over time and after lots of prayer the church rented a huge home in the city. It was rather run down but it was large and just what they needed. So they had the perfect place, but alas, no kids. So they began to pray for children. Some members of their church did jail ministry. One woman in the jail wanted her little son to go to the home rather than staying in the jail with her. Laura laughs thinking back on this time, "There were so many people looking after one boy. He never had so much attention! And we had this huge house with just one little boy." So they thanked God that they could minister to this one little boy but prayed for more.
In the local jail there were many, many children staying with their parents. Living conditions were horrible and the children were subjected to many different kinds of abuse. The church members approached the social worker and asked if the children could come to the home. The social worker took their card and said she would think about it. That night the police came in the middle of the night and raided the jail. They confiscated guns and loads of drugs. The social worker realized the kids needed to go elsewhere. She packed all of the kids on a bus and sent them to the home. Wow, their prayers had been answered. They now had over 50 kids! The first day was chaotic; they were not prepared for this many kids. Children were crying after being separated from their parents, they had no clothes, no beds, etc.
How were they going to feed all of these kids? Church members began to commit to bringing food each week. One person would bring 3 kilograms of beef, another would bring a box of milk, etc. But still it was not enough, the kids hadn't eaten in so long and could just eat and eat and eat. They prayed to God that He would provide for them and trusted in Him. The church only had 50 members! And as Laura fondly says, "They were the poor helping the poor. They did not have a lot but they gave what they have." Not long after a new baby was brought to the house. Her mother had packed him in a shoe box and left him to die in the dump. A man heard his cry and rescued him although the ants were already crawling all over his body. This story made the papers.
That day they received a phone call from a man who owns a chain of stores in Mexico that are similar to Wal-Mart in North America. He had seen this story in the paper and was so touched. He wondered if he could come immediately and visit the home. When he arrived at the home he instantly began listing off repairs they needed to make and completely furnished the home from top to bottom. Then he gave them a special card and ordered them to go to his stores, any location, and get whatever they needed. And not just one time, no, every week they could go and pile their carts with whatever the home needed and they could just show their card to the cashier and pass on by. They could buy towels, clothes, food, whatever they needed at any time. It almost seemed too good to be true, but it was true. He told them to call him if they ever needed anything and became upset if upon one if his many visits to the home he saw something that needed to be repaired or saw something was lacking.
Today this orphanage is alive and well. It's much bigger today with 10 homes in all now. One house is full of babies, can you imagine?! This powerful story of God's provision has transformed Laura's life. She has seen how the Lord can answer prayer and how He provides. The homes in Mexico were just the beginning. She has also been to Rwanda to set up a children's home and has been in Thailand for the last seven years working with children and those stories are equally amazing. But that's for another night. Click here to see the organization she and her sister founded in Thailand.
Here's the recipe as promised…
Swedish Dutch Apple Pie
10 apples (granny smith are best) peeled and sliced
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups margarine, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 by 13 inch pan with margarine.
Fill the pan with the sliced apples. Pour a bit of lemon juice on top for extra zest. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, mix sugar with the melted margarine. Stir in pecans, flour, egg and salt. Mix well. Spread mixture over the apples.
Bake in preheated oven uncovered for 55 minutes, or until golden brown.