God (and some of you) know how I enjoy hosting parties, gatherings, etc. for any occasion. We had planned on having a big celebration in a park near our house on Easter Sunday with our entire neighborhood, but I battled a migraine for most of the week and some of the other missionaries battled sick kids all week. I didn't think I'd be able to pull off a big celebration, so I planned just to have a quiet day at home with our little family.
But after the very blessed Holy Thursday and Good Friday, I knew that I needed to celebrate with those that had brought such joy to my life the last few months---the kids of Avinca Village. Thankfully, the stores had reopened Saturday, and I was able to buy food to prepare for our celebration. One of our missionary friends found plastic Easter eggs for me, and I found an actual pork roast to cook!
We got up early Sunday morning to a delicious smelling roast that I had put in a slow cooker the night before. It smelled like home! The kids even said that it smelled like my grandma's kitchen. Then we cleaned up outside and set up the tables and chairs under our carport. Now it looked like home! Then Isaac decided that we needed some Cajun music playing so he set up the iPod with the Backdoor Band playing. Now it looked, smelled, and sounded just like home.
The neighborhood kids watched all morning through the gate as we cleaned and prepared for or celebration. Some of them wanted to come in to help clean and sweep like they do on a regular day for me. I told them today was a special day and that they could not work for us and that we were preparing a surprise for them. Finally, we opened the gates and let them in.
Isaac led us in an opening song. Then Travis read Luke's gospel account of the Resurrection in English and the boys' friend Ian (who likes to stalk my blog looking for himself) read it in their language.
Then we said the blessing and dug into the pork roast, rice and gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, and sweet peas! I think they liked it!
After lunch Travis took all the kids outside of our gate onto the side street so that Emily could hide the Easter eggs. When the moms realized what we were about to do, they excitedly got up to join Emily. They may have had more fun hiding them than the kids had finding them!
The kids kept asking Travis what they were going to do with the bags he gave them. I think they thought I was going to make them pick up trash. Some days I have them scour the neighborhood streets picking up all the candy wrappers that they throw on the ground. We told them that they weren't picking up trash, so they decided to wear them as hats.
Finally all 72 eggs were hidden, and it was time to explain what we were doing! They were so excited. Some of them knew what Easter eggs were from TV or movies, but they had never had one much less "hunted" for them. Travis opened the gates and let them in. They ran around in circles at first not really knowing what to do, but when the first one spotted an egg----That was it!
It took them a few eggs before we made them understand the concept of the bag. Many of them were carrying their eggs in one hand and the bag in the other. Once they had a free hand, there was no stopping them until... someone realized that there was something in his egg!
Travis had filled the eggs with candy that my mom had sent us from the U.S. but ran out before all the eggs were filled. So, he copied good ole Aunt Judy, and started filling them with pesos! The kids' faces were priceless when they discovered the treat inside. And the race was really on to find the most eggs after that discovery!
We did have one who wasn't interested at all in finding the eggs or in the candy. He was content with his cup of mashed potatoes!
After hiding eggs numerous times, the mess was all cleaned and the neighbors had all left. Our family got ready for Easter Mass. We had decided to fore-go the Easter Vigil on Saturday and attend the English Mass on Sunday evening. I sat in the church surrounded by many of the neighborhood kids who had joined us in amazement at my first Easter away from home.
From Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday, God had perfectly planned it all just for me. He knew exactly what I would need to get through our first holiday away from home. He humbled me when I needed humbling, but blessed me when He knew I would need a boost!
I can't imagine what my life or my kids' lives would be like if we had not said "Yes" when God called us to leave behind everything and move to the other side of the world. Missions is truly the BEST life!