Monday, April 25, 2011

The Longest Weekend in History

Hey I'm back! I know that it's been eons since I've written on this blog. There's lots of excuses I could give. The most ironic would be that the moments I was most inspired to write on my blog were when my computer hard drive was on the blitz and I did NOT have a computer...oops...

Well, I had such a crazy Easter weekend that I thought I'd share it all with you. It's interesting because that first Easter weekend probably did feel like the longest for Jesus' disciples after all that happened and Saturday probably the longest day of the whole thing. It was a weekend that changed the course of human history forever!

My weekend didn't change history forever but it was jammed packed full of interesting experiences here in Cusco, Peru. I'm sure you'd all love to hear about it! So let me break it down day by day: 

Thursday was a big day for club CORASON as we had two outreach Easter events planned. The Peruvian coordinator Liz and I were in charge of planning these events and let me say it was SO stressful and felt extremely last minute! It even stressed out Liz who is Peruvian and should be used to last minute planning! It was really the first time either of us planned an event like this and trying to work together on it required some grace and patience.

But in the end it turned out to be a beautiful day. In the morning we went to Huillcapay and with the help of the Presbyterians (team & VW bus) and the Mennonites (sound system) and Nazarenes (puppet stage) we put on an event for this community that CORASON volunteers visit once a week. We did face painting and balloon sculpting and put on a program that included songs, puppets, clown, a large guinea pig and barney and wrapped up with a gospel presentation. We also gave out a snack and had a clothing distribution.

Then in the afternoon we did it all over again at club CORASON and invited the kids of the community for a similar program but this time with an egg hunt included. I was afraid that I would never find enough eggs since you can't buy them here. But once again the missionary community came to the rescue and lent me theirs and we were all good. It was a very tiring day especially since I was one of the ones in charge. I think I prefer helping instead of planning but it went well in any case!

On Good Friday I participated in the Peruvian tradition of the "12 Platos" or the twelve dishes. These dishes are eaten in memory of the twelve disciples and can be eaten either on Thursday night (in memory of the traditional Passover meal) or on Friday. The family that we ate with were friends of friends and even though many don't do all 12 dishes anymore this family had exactly the right amount.

Here's the twelve dishes that they served: 1. empenada - a poptart looking sweet pastry with sprinkles  2. a thick bread 3. a sweet bread  4. friday soup (a fishy soup complete with fish eggs and other friends from the sea) 5. rice with seafood  6. fried fish  7. rice and milk dessert  8. wine  9. mazamora - a thick soupy-like pudding dessert, this one made from flour  10. cooked peaches in a syrupy sauce 11. jello 12. chocolate ice cream 

I could only eat nine of them and with that I was very full. Since we were eating with people we didn't really know I felt compelled to eat it all and that was a lot. The funnest part was trying to figure out which food could represent which disciple. Peter surely would be the fried fish, John the rice and milk, Thomas the jello and Judas Iscariot the wine (because if you make him too much your friend he'll betray you). Too bad this doesn't really apply since every family has different traditions as to what 12 dishes they'll eat.

Saturday was a day of prepping for another big day on Sunday. We prepared chicken, potatoes an salad to give away to 200 people. That meant washing everything, seasoning it and putting it in large buckets for the night. And all without running water since the water went off in the apartment where we were having our prep work.

We also had kids' club as normal and I did the resurrection egg story. The kids had fun collecting the eggs but I'm not sure how good I did with presenting the gospel! Thankfully, we've got more weeks to share with them in the future.

Saturday ended with a bunch of the girls who come to the English church watching a movie until midnight in my house. My house guest and I were smart and went to bed with our faithful earplugs!

It all started bright and early with The Meeting Place church sunrise service. The whole thing was my suggestion and I can't believe that they agreed to it! I love sunrise services on Easter morning. It's just the symbolism of what happened early that Sunday morning long ago that inspires me. We had about 30 people for a service out in the plaza. While the pigeons danced and the sun rose we sang praise to God and celebrated the new day filled with a living hope. At the very end as we were singing "Victory in Jesus" the bells of the San Blas Catholic church started ringing. What beautiful symbolism! Too bad they are not very beautifully sounding bells! After service we had a waffle breakfast with everyone in the cafe. I brought a breakfast casserole and we had fruit and coffee. yum....

Then I helped take the chicken and potatoes to the community oven. This was a definite cultural experience! We didn't get any pictures so you'll have to imagine it with me. We were in a big back room where the community oven was and had to lay out our chicken and potatoes on black metal trays (very black). Thankfully we put a layer of brown paper between the food and the tray. We also had to season the potatoes on the tray. There was extra seasoning with the chicken and at one point I took up a chicken leg and started basting the potatoes with the extra sauce. We had to leave the room once because of all the smoke but in the end all 12 of our trays were laid out on the ground and ready to be baked. We picked up the chicken and potatoes later, shoved them in sacks and off we went to the cafe.

At 1:30 pm at the cafe we started to do face painting and balloons and prepare the plates to give away to the people. We had passed out tickets to the families of the kids who come to the club, to street vendors and people whom we always see around the cafe but we still had extra plates. I was of course doing the balloons and it was so warm out in the sun that I got to wear my flip-flops! The pastor (connected to CORASON) came with a group from his church to do background music and preaching. Yes, background preaching...I don't know how else to describe it. Most importantly they passed out invites to their Peruvian church not too far from San Blas.

We passed out plates of food to all the people who had tickets and then went to bring more people. Hippies who hang out in the plaza, homeless people and the police who don't do anything were among the blessed that day. A friend who used to own a restaurant above the cafe said that some of those people had NOT eaten anything in a while like the guy who lived on vodka. We gave it away, gave it away and gave it away till pretty much everything was gone.

What a beautiful way to spend an Easter afternoon! Blessing others on the day that we received the greatest blessing! May God be glorified! I don't think plaza San Blas has every seen so much activity in a long time. I'm so glad that the Meeting Place cafe/church can be a light in this community.

Sunday ended with a delicious Easter dinner with all the CORASON volunteers. We had roast lamb which was my first time ever making it. The buying of it from the butcher lady and prepping it (including cutting off its tail) was a bit much but it turned out lovely and we all enjoyed every part of our meal. The end was a dutch apple pie (layered applesauce, pears and apples) that a Dutch volunteer taught me how to make. DELICIOUS!!

What an amazing long weekend! We celebrated God's work and victory by sharing the truth of the gospel and by showing God's love in practical ways. Aren't you tired after reading all that? Ha! I was so tired after doing it!

No comments: