Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Canadian BBQ Report

September 6th arrived to grey cloudy skies but we were optimistic that the rain would hold off as we started getting things ready.  We set tables for 85 people (Ernie is the eternal optimist and has LOTS of friends).  The decorations were red and white with flags abundant.  Center pieces are crucial to a Mexican event so out came the mason jars, filled with candies (red/white) with flags stuck in; snacks were 2 types of nuts, chips and fritura. Just before our set time for the party we had everything set up and were ready to receive people.  Thinking that Mexicans are late for everything ... .... we had lots of time.  Never judge ... to our surprise ... .... ....

Eduardo (Lalo) & Carmelina
Our first guests, Lalo and Carmelina, arrived just before 3 p.m.  I told him he was early for a Mexican.  He replied, "you told me 3 and here I am!"  I then told him he would make a good Canadian!  And people continued to arrive after that, to the point I asked Ernie if everyone was finally here, cause we would run out of food.  He calmly said, "no", there were others he had invited...

A Silent Auction table was set out for the adults and one for the kids.  This was new for them but greatly enjoyed and highly competitive. Thanks so much to family and church family for the donations of lovely Canadian prizes. They were a huge hit.
John and Penny
 We had three barbecues going for the hamburgers and hot dogs.  We had great help from our co-workers and some cell group members.  Things got a little smokey but we managed.
The meal was either a hamburger or a hot dog with three salads: cole slaw, potato salad and broccoli salad (the favourite for our Mexican friends).
The dessert table was by far the 'coup de gras' - 3 pans of brownies, 2 of carrot cake, and a huge bowl of trifle.

Rick, Joel and Dallas
We can not begin to express our thanks for our team of helpers.  They greeted our guests, they prepared and served the meal, some sang, and basically were there for whatever needed doing.  We most certainly could not have done it alone.  Each 'helper' wore a Canadian Shirt that we had printed by our friend in Chihuahua. This helped our guests identify our helpers.
Sandra, Rick, and Penélope
Connie, Tara, Sandra and Penélope
The Gang from VIVO 47 (although some had left by the time we got the idea to take a group photo)
So what happened exactly?  Why this big event?  Why all the work?  We moved to Guadalajara and we knew only our co-workers.  We slowly met our neighbours but needed to find 'our place', but unsure of how or where.  Our next-door-neighbors, Mario and Alejandra, invited us to join them at the gym.  We decided to become members. Slowly but surely we began to meet people and build friendships.  In a very short time we felt we had found a place to belong.  So we threw a party!  Ernie gave a speech at the party to explain things to our guests.  He told them that he knew that part of the Mexican culture was their high value of family. He told them that by accepting our invitation they had agreed to adopt us and when they signed the book upon arrival that was the documentation, they had no choice - we were family. To that he got a round of applause.  

As you can tell from the pictures these people know each other and enjoy begin together.  This group of people see each other at the gym every day, as we all choose the same schedule to go to the gym.  There was an intermingling of people, a socialising that spoke of camaraderie.  

After the organised part of the party was coming to a close one of the guests gave a short speech on behalf of the group.  It was quite a speech.  I was touched and there was a sense of agreement amongst the guests.

As people began to leave and say their good-byes to us I was once again blessed.  The 'thank yous' were very touching and personal.  They over and over stated that this party was a 10 and it counted for life.  Although they did say I could do it again next week!  They commented on how well organised it was, how detailed everything was, what a great group of people I had helping.  Everything was wonderful.

We have found 'family' away from home.  We have found community.  We feel accepted and that we belong.

We are here with the desire to share Jesus with others, we did not know who those others would be when we arrived.  Guadalajara is predominantly Catholic.  Some, upon hearing we are Christians, have a fear we are here to "change their religion".  We are not here to try to change anyone's religion.  We are here to help others grow in their relationship with Christ.  Catholics and Christians have many things in common, we both believe in Jesus, we believe in the Cross and its purpose, we share the same Scriptures.  We long to help those we meet, meet the Jesus of the Bible and grow in their spiritual lives.  Pray for the people of GDL and us.  His Kingdom Come.

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