Courage,  Faith,  Gratitude,  Stress

Mexican Manna: Do You Know What You Need?

In case you’re considering launching a cross-cultural ministry, organic enterprise or local venture, here are two things I wish someone would have told me before our family took off for the great unknown. 

Buckle up—they’re both extremely complex and ridiculously basic:

  1. Humans will disappoint you.
  2. God will provide for you.

On some level, I already knew about these two things because, well… life. But wow. I had no idea how scary true they would prove to be. 

From the beginning, through the middle, and after the end, my husband and I felt the effects of every emotion that came from human disappointment. Friend/family, old/young, poor/rich… didn’t matter. 

But right on the heels of every one of our bugged eyes that accompanied, “What?!” and every hung head coupled with, “Really?” God sent encouragement and financial relief right when we needed it. 

Not the month before, alerting us to bank it, and not the month after, mocking us that it was late. Right when we needed it.

It was like our very own Mexican Manna. 


Shifting Gears

When we sensed God telling us to fold our Gap-Year program but stay in Baja, we decided to take a short furlough to rest and refocus before restarting. 

Since we were staying in ministry, we were pretty positive every supporter would stay on board and pivot with us. Until we heard things like this:

  • “Why aren’t you just coming back to the States?”
  • “We don’t really agree with you taking a furlough.”
  • “You want us to keep sending money so you can swing in a hammock all day? Haha… just kidding, bro.”

We thought it would be a year break. Then we reduced it to six months. In the end we only took three. 

When we figured out what to do next, it came in the form of a business in the wine industry. Our valley boasted over 50 wineries but no wine supply store. Boom. 

Like Paul in the bible, we decided to be tent-makers, creating a business model that brought financial stability, drew people to us, and built relationships with locals. 


We were pretty positive every supporter would stay on board and pivot with us when they read about the new idea. Until we heard things like this:

  • “What does this new business have to do with God?”
  • “We don’t agree with being in the wine industry.”
  • “There are alcoholics in my family so I can’t support this.”


Disappointment ran thick and we watched our finances start to bleed. After losing the first five or six families, my husband made a sad observation. “If we keep going at this pace, we’re gonna be in trouble soon.”

Then the number went up to seven. Then nine. Then twelve.

  • We thought we needed those supporters to stick with us financially.
  • We thought we needed those supporters to stick with us emotionally.

Turns out, God is perfectly capable of filling in the gaps. Duh. 



If you had been one of the Israelites who Moses led through the desert, how do you think you would’ve handled the food situation?

My Enneagram numbers might have snapped into action, setting up multiple shades along the barren route, complete with encouraging mile markers, cucumber water, color-coded maps, and the occasional charcuterie board. 

I mean, who wouldn’t love a modest spread of olives, pita, hummus, grapes, and figs with a side of honey while on a hike?

Instead, when their sack lunches they brought for the journey ran out, God sprinkled manna from the sky, like snow.

Photo by Jessica Fadel on Unsplash

That’s it? Fluff? Flakes? Wafers? 

To top off the desert fun, God specifically told them to only take what they needed and no more. 

Doesn’t seem to matter if we’re talking about biblical times or March of 2020; when a scarcity mentality takes over, hoarding only seems natural. 

This is why basements, garages, and attics get filled to the brim with who-knows-what. Most of us ignore those places but are quick to defend why we need their contents. 

  • “Yeah, I definitely might possibly need that someday in the future.”
  • “It would be a waste of money to get rid of these and then have to buy them again. I’m being a good steward.”
  • “When the next emergency hits, do you think I’m gonna be the idiot without a rainbow of Sharpies, 20 rolls of electrical tape, and four lengths of heavy-duty zippers? I think not.”

So there it all sits—taking up precious garage real estate and making me wonder if my faith is lacking.


The All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

When the Israelites got snowed on, God told them to only take what they needed for the day. But taking a little extra seemed wise.

  • “What if it runs out?”
  • “Back off, Moses. We’re planning ahead!”
  • “Exactly. What if my teenage son needs a second dinner at 10:30?”

The Bible tells us that when they tried to save extra portions of the “fine, flake-like thing,” it turned. Moldy manna? Nope—worms.

In Exodus 16, manna “resembled coriander seed, was white and tasted like wafers made with honey.” Scientists agree: manna was probably only half as sweet as sugar.

God could have kept the manna fresh indefinitely, but he wanted them to obey and learn dependence. He told them He would provide; all they had to do was trust.

Can you hear Him? “Eat as much as you want today, and I’ll provide more tomorrow.”

No take-out boxes. No doggy bags. 

All   they   had   to   do   was   trust. 


When was the last time you had to consciously trust God with a specific fear, provision, or future plan?

Has He provided for you, right when you needed it? Tell me in the comments and let’s encourage each other with stories of faith and trust!


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  • Cynthia Van Laar

    Many times over God has provided exactly what we needed at the right time, not before, not after. Great is His faithfulness.

    • Carrie Talbott

      So cool, Cynthia. Don’t you love being able to say that? Great is His faithfulness indeed!

  • Mary Olson

    I agree with the previous comment – great blog! I love your posts. I also have seen God’s provision in what we have needed over the years, raising 5 kids on a pretty limited salary. I’m always amazed at God’s faithfulness IN SPITE OF how irresponsible we’ve been, dumb decisions we’ve made, straight-up selfish decisions, God still provides and is faithful above and beyond anything we deserve. But in my later years I’m seeing more and more his manna in providing my daily peace with his daily presence. It’s always enough. I can’t store it up for tomorrow because that just becomes worry and I can’t look back and wish I would have done things different because that becomes regret. I have to experience today, sitting at Jesus’ feet. Thank you for writing!

    • Carrie Talbott

      Thanks for your kind words, Mary. Wow–5 kids on a limited salary sounds challenging indeed. Great words about your daily peace; I love your examples of looking ahead and looking back. Thank you for reading!

  • Lavawn Vom Steeg

    Great Blog. God has provided for me in unexpected ways through my life. Yes, TRUST in His provision is the key. He usually acts just at the moment we need it.
    Sending love…????

    • Carrie Talbott

      Thanks, LaVawn. So glad we got to be a part of one of the larger provisions. 🙂 It’s so true that He seems to act right when we need it, keeping our trust at its peak. Thanks for chiming in!