I love pastelitos. These amazing baked, flaky Caribbean pastries filled with sweet guava paste make my mouth water. In fact–excuse me for a minute while I search for the nearest bakery. My Cuban-born father, Les Thompson, introduced me to these delectable treats as soon as I could eat solid food. It’s quite possible they were the original manna from Heaven.
Traveling anywhere in Miami with my dad usually included a quick stop at a Cuban bakery. We’d walk up to the takeout window and devour them before we got back into the car. We’d always wash them down with a cafecito (the Cuban version of a highly concentrated espresso) to counteract the languorous effects of the pastelitos.
Dad’s health really started to decline in 2010 until the Lord took him home in August of 2011. He had a lot of trouble with his legs and was relegated to a wheelchair his last couple years. Even so, he tried his best to not miss any family activities and we’d happily wheel him around. Dad especially enjoyed watching my son, David, play baseball.
A small canopy covers the metal stands at the (home) baseball games at Westminster Christian School. While there is an area for wheelchairs, Les wanted to be with all the other parents and grandparents watching the games. That meant we had to lift him up in his wheelchair to get him into the stands. I would always smile when other dads would see us coming and would jump up eager to help Pastor Thompson get into the stands. Many of the parents and grandparents who were also Cuban loved to reminisce about the “good old days” in Cuba with my dad. They also knew he was a pastor and it was not uncommon to see him quietly counseling a friend in need right there in the baseball stands.
One father in particular seemed to care much for Pastor Thompson. When he discovered Les loved pastelitos, he started to bring one in a little bag just for him. It was a simple, yet beautiful (and tasty) gesture of kindness Dad appreciated very much.
Like so many others who knew my father, our high school baseball community grieved as news spread of his passing. They also rejoiced knowing he was finally with his Lord and Savior whom he loved so very much. And if you had gone to a Westminster Christian baseball game the rest of that 2011 season, you probably would have noticed a small pastelito bag placed in the stands where Dad used to sit. Such a kind gesture to honor my dad. Thinking about it gets to me every time.
I suppose we never truly know the impact we may have on someone else’s life. Sometimes the smallest gesture –like a bag of pastelitos– leaves a lasting impact. I thought of those pastelitos when one of our LOGOI family members reported back to us regarding the Guía Pastoral notebook we had sent to him. As it turns out, he had ordered it not for himself, but to encourage a pastor friend who had just lost his wife. After some follow-up messages he humbly asked, “Is it possible that I could have one, too?” He soon received his copy, of course.
You may sometimes wonder if your gestures of kindness and service to others make any difference. Perhaps you also wonder if your “big” or “little” gifts to LOGOI, or to your church, or to others is having an impact. If so, read over Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:3-4 and be reminded that God does see and knows about each and every gift of love and kindness you make –no matter how small or large.
There are also these words from Proverbs 11:25: “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
So let’s do some “refreshing!” Let’s do as Jesus asked and “…let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16).
That includes pastelitos!
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