Friday, December 12, 2014

Family Triditions # 27: Thanksgiving 2014

Each year we start off at the beginning of November creating our Thankful Wall. As part of our night night routine we all put something we are thankful for on our giant chalkboard wall.
The boys are just learning to spell but Silas was determined to write "I love Mama and Dada" on our wall!
Our Christian character trait in school this month is Thankfulness. We are still using that Focus on the Family Canada curriculum. It suggested making thankfulness scarecrows.
They are so funny. We keep them in our desk and whenever we are sad or complain we take them out, hold them up and say something we are thankful for... you know, because thankfulness "scares" away an ungrateful heart.
Thanksgiving Day has kind of become our get together time with some of the missionaries we know all around Petén. I wish I could have invited more, but we wanted to keep it a little simpler this year.
Jimmy brought me some firewood from the farm and he and Silas made candle holders for our tables! I used the little pieces for place cards along with some rosemary from my herb garden.
Jimmy found butternut squash. I had never had it before. Wow, it is delicious!!! Before we consumed it, we used it as decorations. 
I cut out turkey parts with my paper cutting machine (I added that just so you don't think my 5 year olds can cut like that... they are normal) and Jonah, Silas, and Eden helped make candy turkeys for the kids' table.
Jonah really likes drawing. He did most of the eyeballs. The boys requested a 5 on theirs, since they are five... silly boys. 
We counted down the days to Thanksgiving on our calendar. The boys were as excited about everyone coming over as they are for Christmas day!
 Here is our spread of food! Of course we had turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, salads, rolls, pumpkin pie, and apple pie!
And here were the first 2 through the line... just kidding. They just look guilty in this picture! 
 With the help of the namecards we put all the ladies at one table 

  and all the men at the other.
And then nobody moved for hours, haha! I think the conversation and fellowship was good! 
 We had a lovely day.
  We liked it so much we decided to have another "Thanksgiving" with the students a week later. It was kind of our last hurrah before the second year students come in a couple weeks. 

When we said we were having turkey the students were thinking "street turkey in soup... why is that special?" We bought a whole frozen turkey from the store. It is actually cheaper than a street turkey and you get more meat. 

In their culture, men don't usually make their own plates, but we asked if they wanted to, so that I wouldn't give them something they weren't planning on eating. That is what they chose, haha... I understand! They ate everything on their plates though, and even asked to take some cornbread stuffing home. So... either they liked it or they are just really really polite! R and P played Risk after lunch with Jimmy and H played Old Maids with the kiddos!
I am so thankful for the life that God has blessed us with. Life with family, purpose, and friends. A life that includes fellowship with our Creator. It is really hard not to have a grateful heart where we live. There are moment when I get caught up in my first world problems and then I look around me and realize how foolish. Perspective and Thankfulness, a little does of those can change every situation. Let's just keep celebrate all year!
I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Love Story

Today Jimmy traveled with one of the students back to the capital of his area, 3 hours away. He was going home to get married. Here you usually have 2 ceremonies, a legal one and a church one. Today was the legal one and he asked Jimmy to be a witness. 

P is the oldest of the students, he is 27. All of the students came single and boy do they talk about getting married a lot. They are constantly talking to Jimmy about how much money they should save first, should they get married before they graduate, does he think they will ever find a wife, will they be able to support a wife, what is important when looking for a wife. They probably talk about that more than anything else. They know it is a big deal. If you are called to do something, the wrong mate can keep you from fulfilling that purpose.
{P in the blue dress shirt next to his wife in the peach along with their families}
P knew that. He hasn't talked to any girls since he has been at the institute. P had a girl picked out over a year before he came. He chose to get settled first at the institute and save up his money so that he could provide a good home for her. He is so tight. He won't spend as much as one centavo because he is saving it all for his life with his wife.

He chose the house farthest away from the other students, haha! He has been fixing it up. When the students came to the institute they were all given mattresses (not like a mattress you would picture, but a little more rustic). They are not fancy, but evidently they were better than what they were used to. P said that it took a while for his back to get used to it. He was commenting today that they usually just put fabric over the string they weave through the bed frame. He was thinking about making that available to his wife so that she wouldn't be uncomfortable. (That is what some of us gringos don't get. We think that if anyone is presented with "gringo" options or easier, more comfortable options in our minds, that they would obviously choose them. But, many times they don't because those options aren't familiar and in that way they are actually uncomfortable to them.)

When P went to go ask his wife's parents' permission to marry her they thought he was going to just take her to shack up with her then. Sadly that is accepted and more common here than marriage even among Christians. Maybe the thought of paying for 2 weddings is overwhelming. The legal cost is about $40 and the church wedding is about $700 for a bare bone version of what is expected. Well P said for testimony sake, he had no desire to do that. He wants a marriage that God will bless.
{The legal ceremony with the Mayor}
He also told her parents that he wanted to marry her not just because she is pretty, but because she is a faithful worker in the work of God. He was telling Jimmy all about her as they traveled today. He said that he initially saw her in church, she teaches the kids. He noticed that she never missed. Their home church has started a mission that is a 2 hour walk away on foot, one way. She goes every single time to serve there. Well he found what he wanted, a wife that he could share his life with, one that would help him in his calling.

And did I say that he said goodbye to her today in his village. In P's eyes they are not really married until they get married before God a month from now on the 28th. So he returned to the farm alone today, but very happy! Poor guy, he has a lot of teasing to put up with from all of us for the next 27 days... the other students started ribbing him as soon as he got out of the truck! 

I'm so thankful that God provided a good godly wife for P. I pray that He will do the same for the other students and that they will be wise enough to realize it. Prov. 18:22!

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