Two things came up this week that made me think about how I prepare for things. Mostly, I don't as thoroughly as I should.
The first came as I was airing up balloons for VBS (vacation Bible school) this week, which I volunteered to help with active games.
Yes, you did read that correctly, VBS is this week, but this is Guatemala. Unlike the U.S., when the big school break lasts from sometime in late May (or early June) until sometime in August, school has been out of session about a month and will be so until the second week of January.
So, I have come up with a few activities for three groups of kids: small, medium and large. I do have some experience with active games with kids. About 10 years, I helped on Friday nights at my old church with Family Fun Night. We (the Rouse family, the Fitterling/Eckhardt clan, and Jill Cameron Michel) fed and played with a wide variety of kids for several years.
One thing I did learn, besides patience, is that all the preparation in the world will not help if you aren't a little bit flexible and willing to have some fun. Also inviting Jesus in to guide us always is helpful. I plan on starting each session with prayer requests and prayer, something I learned years ago and hope the kids pick up as well.
I do look forward to working with some Guatemalan young men. Angel met with me last week to lay out some plans. He's 17 and helped out last year, so he has the right amount of experience and youthful energy to keep things running smoothly. I have seen him at many of our Thursday night cell group meeting to know he is part of the next generation to move the Kingdom of God forward.
The other thing that got me thinking about preparation was meeting Andrew, the chef who comes to help prepare Thanksgiving with Eddy and Michelle Gomez, who started PROVEE and are our neighbors.
You may ask if there's Thanksgiving in Guatemala, and I would say unofficially yes. There's enough ex-pats here that I believe it's catching on. After all, who doesn't like turkey and the trimmings. Eddy and Michelle serve about 200 people at their Thanksgiving dinner, which is about 20 times bigger than any I have attended. My contribution: homemade cranberry sauce (yes they have fresh cranberrries here).
I met Andrew a week ago at the Provee staff Christmas party (I know it was before Thanksgiving but our executive director heads back to the States tomorrow). He's quiet with a nice smile and gentile disposition.
He said something to me later in the week that describes him. His namesake Apostle, when faced with feeding 5,000, gave Jesus two fish and five loaves of bread then left. He said he does all he can then steps back. It's also another instance of letting Jesus in and do what only He can do.
Unfortunately, Andrew got sick on Thanksgiving, so he wasn't around to enjoy what he helped create. Also, I couldn't get a photo with him.
Whenever I cook, I often forget to get all the ingredients gathered first (mise en place as the fancy chefs call it), which often leads to me improvising when I don't have one item (not a good idea) or dropping something in the bowl that doesn't go in there (or knocking the bowl to floor).
I equate the mise en place with leading activities with prayer. Things go easier when you invite Jesus in at the start.