Actually, it was a Missions Night --"Tastes of Africa." Kathy Heisinger and her young helper, Catelyn Claytor, prepared several authentic African recipes and my 15 Trail Blazers (3rd and 4th graders) served them into 50 little cups so that all the Christian Life Club members and teachers could taste them. Kathy admonished them to not say "I don't like it --ychh!" and to say, instead, "It's different!" if they couldn't say they liked it.
I found all the dishes quite tasty, actually. And I was proud of how neatly the kids dished up the tasting cups, even carrying trays of ginger ale (they have that in Africa!) to the tables without spilling or getting tripped. Kathy told them to wash their hands, first thing, and then gave them each one plastic glove to wear. My assistant Bea laughed at the nose picking and hair smoothing she saw with the gloved hand. O well. What I don't see doesn't bother me!
The TABLES! BEAUTIFULLY adorned with Cotton fabric in bright African prints by Sue Conklin. She pulled the church's artificial plants and trees into the large foyer where she set up the tables --for an elegant African theme -with carved giraffes and elephants on the tables.
The teachers donned attire that demonstrated the different roles of our missionaries in Africa: nurses, doctors, teachers, ministers, builders, mechanics.
AFter that we retired to our classrooms where I had one half hour to help them make paper plate baskets. At each place setting I had baggies with 16 peel and stick foam hearts of different sizes and colors, and 2 red styrofoam plates, and a pre-cut sparkly ribbon. Treats were set up on a different table with a gospel booklet titled, "The Way to God." They took large red plastic cups, filled them with one each of the various kinds of candy, gum, hot chocolate packet, and a large heart lollipop. These they placed between the plates which they stapled half-way around. I punched a hole for the ribbon and they tied a handle for their paper plate gift basket, which they decorated with the pink, white and red hearts.
They were told to take these home and give them to someone and share the gospel booklet by reading it to their friend, preferably a neighbor and someone not in our church or the club. This was to fulfill two badge requirements --being kind to someone, preferably a neighbor, with a gift --and sharing Christ with them with the Gospel booklets.
Two girls brought treats to share, lollipop and cookie for each, knowing it was a Valentine Party.
They also got to fill a snack baggie with candies for themselves --and ended the evening with Dairy Queen ice cream bars. We got done in the nick of time ---and concluded in the chapel with the others, singing an African Christian song from the Wototo Choir kids from Uganda --who came to our church the year before to do a concert. "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," African style. "Ju ju ju ju ju" --"higher higher higher " --"Lift up Jesus HIgher!" and then "Chini chini chini chini chini" which means "lower, lower, lower--lower Satan lower."
That good old dualism! I sure do know it exists --as we see kids wrestling with temptation to do evil instead of good --to be selfish or not --to be mean or to be kind! CLC --is on the good side of The Force!
"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible