Monday, June 6, 2011

"When you give a banquet..."

We held our end-of-the-year party with the youth group on Saturday. It was the usual affair: games, singing, dancing, funny skits with Biblical lessons, and the boys lining up to get cake for the girls. What was unusual about it was that the youth group kids were not the guests; they were the hosts.

There's a passage in the gospel of Luke that says "When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." Another passage in Matthew talks about loving your enemies, so we combined the two for a unique celebration of an amazing year. Each youth was given one invitation and told to bring someone who was their enemy or who matched the scripture from Luke. Among the 80+ guests who came I got to meet a drunk who lives in a tent on Delmas 83, a girl with congenital malformation of her hands, 3 little street boys, 2 little old ladies, a boy with mumps, and a brother and sister who live with their parents and 6 siblings in a one room shack with nothing but a decrepit bed for furniture. One of the youth even invited a voodoo priest, but unfortunately, the man got lost and never made it. Still, the connection has now been made and we will be able to include him in our next gathering.

What a day it was! It had been raining for the past 4 days and all morning on the party day. Since Haitians do not go out in the rain, Marc and I were expecting (a bit dejectedly) only a dozen youth to come and even fewer guests. We prayed. At 1:55pm, just as we started walking to the church, the rain stopped and people began to venture out. By 3:30, we had a full house. The party lasted until 6pm and as Marc locked the last door in the church so we could go home, it started to rain again. I do not call that coincidence.

God was apparently taking care of the food for us too. I'd spent 4 hours that morning cooking Creole spaghetti for about 100 people - I didn't have time or money to do more than that. And because Haitians like ketchup on their spaghetti, we'd been given 1 bottle of Heinz. Part way through the serving of dinner, they called me over: "Kez, we've used up all of the plates!" I hunted and found some dessert plates that we could use and they kept serving. When the food ran out, everyone had eaten, even me, and a few kids had got seconds. The ketchup had run dry on the final plate of spaghetti, not a drop before. We had fed nearly 160 people.

Best party we've ever thrown!

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