Thursday, October 11, 2012

Culture Shock in the Medium Size City

Two Sundays ago was the day before the holiday, Dia del Niño. We celebrated it in the evening service. It would have been a beautiful time to take photos, but I have nothing. I was kind of off that night. This holiday is like a mother's day or a father's day for kids. Schools have parties, businesses have parties, churches have parties... children just run from place to place getting free candy and prizes. It's almost like halloween in the States minus the costumes... at least this is what I realized this year.  

Jimmy prepared a special message directed at kids and we didn't split off that night from the adults. I had made about 30 candy bags as a special treat for the children that faithfully attend our church. Well that night kids starting showing up from everywhere, ones we had never seen before. They came for their candy. This was our first Dia del Niño service in a larger town. I guess we just weren't ready for it. We aren't really comfortable mixing gimmicks and promises of free stuff with church. Outreaches and activities that build relationships are great, but a bribe to attend a service really cheapens it for me. Well there I was with my 30 bags of candy. I felt ridiculous. 

It ended up being a really great service in spite of my awkwardness. After Jimmy's message he presented the plan of Salvation using different colored balloons. He created a large Gospel flower with them. It went over really well with both the kids and the adults. We sang kids songs with motions... even the adults, they loved it all. Jonah and Silas shared a song on the microphone (big deal to them) in English. We celebrated kids! They are very special to God and 3 in particular are extra special to me! Afterwards we all fellowshipped together over some sweet bread and cold pop. AND I passed out my bags of candy. I found all of our regulars first and then let the rest share between their siblings. 

Everyone who came heard Truth, so that is a positive out of it. Two little brothers returned this past Sunday... so what does my awkwardness think about that?! Anyway, so now we know what to expect. I think this was a little culture shock from working for the first time in a big city (pop: 7,000 people). Maybe next year we can host a carnival on the Saturday before the holiday.

This photo is from this past Sunday. We got to experience something we are very familiar with... sweeping water! There was about 2 inches worth of water in our building when we got there. Not sure if there is a leak in the roof or just really hard rains that blow it in from the porch. As you know, tile is very slippery when wet and even after sweeping and mopping we had little kids wipe out a couple times. Jimmy is working on figuring this one out...

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