Kindness & Compassion

Breakfast ministry

For the past year, I’ve gone to a restaurant where I eat bacon and eggs and teach English to Maria on place mats. We started with simple words and phrases and graduated to talking about the pluses and minuses of signing up for her employer’s health insurance plan.

This is my breakfast ministry.

I majored in Spanish for one year in college and used it daily when I worked with Mexican-Americans as a VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) in the 1960s in Nebraska. My Spanish got rusty—until Maria entered my life.

She’s about 35, has a young daughter and a husband, all of them from Mexico trying to carve out a life in Southern Indiana. She busses tables at the restaurant, and her English is elementary.

Teaching Maria has become part of my early-morning routine. I did not expect others at the restaurant to take note, but Fay the cashier did and my breakfast ministry doubled.

Fay was fond of Maria and wanted to speak with her in her native tongue. So I began to teach her Spanish. I taught her the word for “pretty” (“bonita”) so she could pay a compliment to Maria. I also told her how to say goodbye, hello and see you later. Fay was tickled to death. I’m pleased, too.

I didn’t dream I’d be ministering to someone in this way. But you never know when a wonderfully rich opportunity will arise. Just be ready. It could come between your first and second cups of coffee!

–Ron Cooper

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