Lloyd and Joyce Heiney are short-term missionaries serving in Mexico. Like many missionaries, they have sentimental experiences that help reinforce their love for those to whom they minister and that leave an indelible mark upon their hearts.
In 2011, Sam Sparks, the owner of the international bridge into Nuevo Progreso, Mexico, passed away. Each time the Heineys cross the bridge now, they fondly remember Sam. Often, he would sit and chat with the tourists, and if he knew you, sometimes he would wave you across the bridge for free.
Each year, Sam gave the Heineys and other missionaries with credentials a free pass to use every time they crossed into Mexico. Not only did the free pass save them $3 a trip, it served as a warm reminder of the generous man who did so much for the people on both sides of the Rio Grande River. Sam’s favorite saying was: “Practice random acts of kindness,” and he set the standard.
Lloyd relates: “We can all practice random acts of kindness in many ways. Acts that are done without expecting something in return; acts that are sometimes done without recognition … some people call this “paying it forward,” but that phrase sounds as if one is expecting a reward for one’s deed. The pattern Mr. Sparks left is simple—once in a while, do something kind for someone without having any reason at all.”
And that’s a good rule for us all to follow!
*When the Heineys stopped at the Nuevo Progreso bridge office to obtain their bridge pass for 2017, they had the opportunity to visit with the next generation of the Sparks family—Bobby. Bobby says there are now four generations to carry the Sparks family values into the future.