Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Never Just One Thing

What's next?
Since my last entry, I was on vacation with my family.  Upon my return we have finished two weeks of Summer Fiesta with two groups of volunteers, had a Bingo Night Social, sponsored 19th Century Kids Games at the Tomato Festival and currently are hosting a joint Bible School with the Methodist Church featuring three volunteers from Maryland.  In the mission field, it is never just one thing at a time.

This buzz of summer activities all accomplish various missionary goals in a variety of ways.  Sometimes managing these events and the various people associated with them feels like the announcer of a three ring circus and it has the same thrills and spills. Yet, that is what brings life to this ministry.

Spills and thrills
At the trailer park in Central Point, we served about 35 kids with our bible school and an average of 25 with the next two weeks of Summer Fiesta.  Summer Fiesta was possible because of two volunteer groups, one from New Jersey and the other from Pennsylvania.  Also one publishing company and another individual supplied us with educational books and art supplies.  This allowed us to help the children improve math and reading skills.  It also provided a positive community experience for many of the kids in the park. 
PA volunteers from Summer Fiesta

Look at all those prizes!!
The Bingo Night was part of the monthly social at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in Maynardville.  We have a desire to be one faith community even through we have Mass in English and Spanish.  Therefore, we are trying to hold once a month a bilingual Mass, social and games.  Bingo works across cultures well.  The joy and laughter combined with the various foods really makes for sense of family and language does not become a barrier.

The Tomato Festival just celebrated its 20th year in Grainger County.  It features an art show, produce vendors, food, and the famous tomato wars.  Our church was asked to fill in a gap.  The group that has done 19th Century Games for kids was not able to come.  Therefore we were in the heritage area with the civil war canon, the gospel tent and the blacksmith.  It was our first time to participate and since neither Br. Craig nor I had been there before, it was not so easy to know what to expect.  Overall it went well with the kids enjoying the various table games, ring toss, nine pins and the ol' time races.  Our goal was to be a positive influence for families and to support the local organizing committee.  That was achieved.

Tire Roll
Some of our volunteers working the games
Now this week we are on day two of Bible School in Maynardville.  We are blessed with three volunteers from Maryland who brought with them the arts and crafts supplies for our week.  This is a joint Bible School with the Methodist Church.  They only have about five children so together we are stronger.  Also, this is the church that first allowed us to have Mass in their building while we got started.  Thus, it is a joy to do this exciting program together.
Together we can do anything!!

In the midst of this buzz, the normal activity of daily Mass, paying bills, and visiting the homebound and those in the hospital continues.  So at least in these missions, it is never just one thing!!!

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