You never know what you can do

During a nine-year ministry in Eagle Pass, Texas, my wife and I became acquainted with a Mexican American named Anastacio Anaya. He was at first our banker. Later, he worked at a retail store and then bought his own restaurant. We frequently ate there and heard him tell the story I now share with you about his father.

In 1943, when the story takes place, Senor Anaya, Sr. was employed in a well-known restaurant in Piedras Negras, the Mexican city in the state of Coahuila directly across the border from the U.S. town of Eagle Pass.

A group of American officers’ wives from Fort Duncan decided to conclude a shopping trip to Mexico with dinner at that very restaurant but arrived after the establishment had closed for the day. However, Senor Anaya was present and they prevailed upon him to cook for them a “special dish” of whatever he had left in the kitchen.

He had tortillas and cheese. He cut the tortillas into wedges and fried them. Next, he covered them with shredded cheddar cheese and reheated them in the oven to melt the cheese. He garnished each wedge with a slice of jalapeno pepper and served them to the ladies. They were delighted and asked what he called his new dish. He gave it his own name. (“Nacho” is the nickname for “Anastacio.”) Thus was born the delectable Mexican treat that now outsells hot dogs and popcorn at some stadium events in the U.S. and Canada as well as in Mexico.

Nacho Anaya changed the eating habits of three nations with just “what he had left in the kitchen.” He died in 1975, and our friend, Nacho, Jr., passed away in 2010.

Here’s a powerful lesson for us Christians: your gifts and opportunities may be meager, but do the best you can with what you have because you never know just how far your influence may go.

Jesus said it like this: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl… Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 NIV.


Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Pastor Charles Salmon, a retired minister living in Lock Haven.