Mission-fest weekend

This week our church participated in Mission-fest. This is a local event put on by a few of the community churches in Penticton, Kaleden and OK Falls.

This year’s fest kicked off with a Rwandan-style dinner and African drumming at First Baptist in Penticton. The dinner was really good. There was like a vinaigrette, coleslaw style salad that was very good. The lady in charge of the dinner said she would be posting the recipe soon. Drumming was done by a local group out of Penticton. They were very good and the performance also had some African dancing. It also has sparked my interest in drumming. There is something cool about spanking dead cow skin a few times a week. We also heard a speaker who talked about his mission work in Indonesia. He was teaching in the area when the tsunami hit. He went to some of the worst hit areas and helped the rebuild homes, churches and schools. It was a very real presentation with him showing us a picture of someone and saying his sister died or their neighbour’s home was wiped away. I still feel like I only have 1/100th the sense of what kind of disaster occurred there.

The next day we were up bright an early to head to breakfast at our own Kaleden Community Church. Breakfast was African-esk. We had oatmeal with many fixing. One of them was non-African but very tasty: ice-cream. It is really good. Next time you have oatmeal try it with some vanilla ice-cream.  It will not disappoint.

After breakfast we went on down to Oliver to check out the Gleaners. The Gleaners is an organization who takes produce that would normally just be thrown out and turns it into dried soup mix. After the tour Tamara and I processed potatoes. They have a peeling machine but because these potatoes are seconds some of them have bad spots that need to be cut out. Then the potatoes are diced by a slicing machine, blanched to remove extra starch and dried in a huge dryer. The Gleaners started producing soup about 14 years ago. The first year they produced just over 100,000 cups of soup. Last year they produced over 6.5 million cups. They are also looking to expand their operations and are in the process of acquiring more land. The entire operation is run on donations and volunteer service. It is truly amazing. It is a very cool feeling to touch and process food that may end up in the belly of a starving child. I found it moving and hope to go back some day.

After the Gleaners we headed to the OK Falls Community church for a soup and sandwich lunch. After lunch we heard another speaker who talked about spreading peace and justice in areas like Cambodia. She does mission work that revolves around working on peace planning in developing counties recovering from armed conflict. She brought up interesting point about how armed conflict has lasting effect on the country that most people don’t really think about. These include increased corruption and injustice fuelled by poverty and strife.

Tamara and I did not attend the afternoon speakers because we had some errands to run but we did head back to First Baptists in Penticton for dinner. During dinner there were a few booths set up about some local and abroad missions. Pastor Les Clarke had a booth set up showcasing the upcoming Mexico missions trip I spoke about in an earlier post. The other booth that caught my eye was the Habitat for Humanity booth. I think this would be a cool thing to do because it not only helps someone but also provides me with training in home construction. I think that is a useful skill to have. Anyway it is something I might look into.

The evening ended for us with some praise and worship. The rest of the attendees watched the movie Hotel Rwanda but as I own the move we decided to go home and let the dogs run around. All in all it was a busy weekend that lacked our normal Saturday sleep in but I think it was well worth it. I had fun, got some good information and praised the Lord. Please leave your comments about any mission work you have done or want to do.  God bless.

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Wrap your noodle around this

This Saturday we attended the annual Kaleden Spaghetti dinner.  This dinner is put on by the Kaleden Community Church Youth Group in support of their Mexico Mission trip.  This annual trip takes a group of young people from the South Okanagan down to poor region of Mexico to build a house.  These are very basic one room homes but they are sturdy and a great improvement over the standard pieces of sheet metal and boards most of the town’s residents live under.  This year over 250 people turned up for the event.  This is an amazing number.  That represents over 10% of Kaleden’s population.  Try running any charity event and getting that kind of response.

 

Being a member of the Church’s congregation we get to listen to the teens when they return.  They speak about what they did and how it affected them.  That feedback is really important to me.  It really helps me connect with the donations I have made.  I may not be able to attend in person and experience it first hand but at least I can see how the trip improved lives there and back home.  I think the trip is important for both the needy families in Mexico and the youth that traveled there.  It gives them much needed perspective on what we have to be so thankful for.

 

I also like this dinner because it is just another excuse to get everyone together for some fun.  My wife’s family has lived in the area for many years.  Everyone comes over to the table, shakes hands and catches up.  Most of the regulars know me and have kind of adopted me as their own.  I have only been with my wife for 3 years now and already I am hunted down specifically for hugs and handshakes.  Things are pretty friendly on the west side of the lake.

 

I also want to mention that they have a live band at this event playing dinner jazz music.  I am not sure who these kids were but man could they play.  There were three of them: drummer, lead guitar and bass.  They all did an amazing job.  My attempts to play guitar have really helped me appreciate good guitar and bass work.  These young men were fantastic.