This morning I finished unpacking my books from my move. This meant that I got to put books into my office that would not fit on my bookshelf that I bought for my house. After I finished that, I sat down in my office chair and fired up the ol’ laptop. I dove in guns a blaze to sort through the onslaught of emails, but did not get far. The secretary came in and let me know that it was reported to her that the kitchen counters and floor needed to be cleaned. See this past Sunday, my youth sponsored a meal and program for those persons who had donated money to help with the expense of going to the Heifer Ranch.
The meal and program were fantastic. The Sunday before, August 5th, I reported to the kids that they were doing all of the planning for the meal. I was only there in an advisory capacity, basically I made sure that they stayed on task with the planning. The kids put together a special program. For the meal they wanted to stockholders (sponsors) to experience what we ate at the Ranch. So they made a meal plan of homemade tortillas and salsa, two kinds of soup (one with chicken and another without), and then dessert (this was a treat since we did not get dessert during our Global Village Experience at Heifer). Sandwiched around the lunch was testimonials from the students about their experience. Of course after that was a slideshow that I had put together. The kids even thought of having a Q&A session! I honestly would not have thought of that. I offered to do the closing and prayer and the planning was done.
I got to the church bright and early at 8 to drop off the supplies and set up the speakers, projector, and microphone. The youth started showing up between 9 and 10, so we (by we I mean mostly them. I was just supervising so they wouldn’t kill themselves in the kitchen) got to work making this meal. The cooking took up the entire morning, most of the youth couldn’t even go to the worship service because they were too busy making sure there was going to be enough food for everyone. I had to leave around 12:30 to provide the service with a communion meditation, which I used a quote from the early Stone-Campbell movement leader Robert Richardson to talk about why we have communion as the central part of worship, but by the time I got back no one had fallen into a pot or burned their hand off.
When the program itself got started, it was wonderful to hear how the trip had effected the youth. They had gained an understanding of why poverty is one of, if not the, major problems in the world and why it is mostly humans’ fault. The kids reflected on the Village Experience and how living just one night in poverty had changed their perceptions of what it was like to live in the U.S. I heard many stories of how sleeping was a problem, but they felt blessed because they had a nice bed to go back to when most of the world does not. It was heartwarming to see these kids truly changed by the trip. The meal was then served.
(Katie cooking the soup at the Ranch)
Most of the people were skeptical of homemade tortillas, but by the time they got a bite they were surprised by how good they were. Then I was surprised by how good the soup was. The kids had turned very little ingredients: onion, potatoes, winter squash, and in one of the pots chicken; into a fantastic soup. Needless to say, it was a little bit better than the soup we ate at the Global Village. Another round of testimonials, including my reflection on how the trip effected the youth, the slideshow, the rousing Q&A (which was my second favorite part next to the testimonials), and my closing prayer, and we were done. Commence clean-up.
(Cooking the tortillas at the Ranch)
Fast forward to today and needless to say I was surprised to hear that the kitchen needed to be cleaned. I had spent about an hour helping/supervising (love that word) the kids and a sponsor clean the kitchen. The sponsor was even a board member, so when she declared the kitchen clean I believed her! So this morning I got out the broom and rag to clean the floors and counters. It only took me about 15 minutes, but I think I know the next service project, teaching the youth how to really clean (thank you to my Sanford blood for that knowledge).
This week I plan on introducing the idea of critically thinking about movies with a theological, or Gospel, outlook. It should be a good introduction to the faith/fim curriculum we are starting on the 26th.