Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Of Beans and Blessings

The Compassion Advocate and Sponsor Gathering has now past. I will look back at this weekend as a marker point in my education. I've been taught that a wobbly aluminum foil casserole pan cannot contain sloppy hot refried beans. They will sploosh and cover the interior of my van with the slightest turn of the wheel. I've learned that rushing to hold the door for my mother should always be my first priority...especially when she is carrying a pan of sloppy hot refried beans. Otherwise the blasted beans take great delight in covering her from shirt to sneaker, and the doors to the church, and the welcome mat. Welcome to Newberg Friends Church; it looks like a herd of cats just vomited.

Despite the very unwelcome arrival of spilled beans during our Saturday lunch break, this weekend was lesson after lesson on God's great blessings. A bullet point list isn't compelling reading, but perhaps it will provide a way for me to record the joy I experienced.

  • The coffee for the weekend was donated by friends who purchase/produce fair trade, fair wage coffee.
  • I enjoyed a relaxing trip to Costco on Friday morning...I know, that sounds like an oxymoron. Maybe I'm a moron, but I love Costco and I rarely get to go.
  • My friend and fellow pastor, Elizabeth, offered to brew coffee for the Friday night portion of our gathering...then they sponsored another child! Pure happiness!
  • My husband took Friday off and spent the entire weekend Advocating for Compassion by serving as AV/Techy man extraordinaire. I love being in ministry together.
  • There were traveling mercies for all presenters, Compassion staff, and attendees. 
  • A dear friend of mine, Teresa, who also cleans my house, was able to come over Friday and make my house sparkle just in time for our guests to arrive. 
  • The movie that I made of our Honduras Sponsor Tour trip turned out pretty well despite my lack of video editing skills and rush to finish in time for the Gathering. 

  • It turns out that when you're looking for a video from your Philippines Sponsor Tour to play during your intro to the weekend, you should do a search for "Compassion Sunday Video." Crisis averted. 
  • Yummy pizza...lots of yummy pizza thanks to Rick!
  • The cupcakes turned out just right and the blue tongues that resulted from the fondant blue squares on our "Compassion-branded" dessert made the evening extra fun. 
  • Hosting Maria and Paul was a treat. I'm sure they were probably exhausted by the time they left on Sunday, but how can I help it...They r e a l l y liked Bella. Bella learned how to "roll over" this weekend thanks to some late night puppy training by our guests. 
  • Gregg and Marta planned and presented a beautiful opening to our gathering on Saturday. Our last song was "You Have Me." Amen! I felt like God created that moment just for me. God is always faithful, always good. 
  • Every presentation (including Maria sharing her story) was rich with information, interactive, and engaging. Powerful lessons that brought us to tears and inspired us to action. 
  • Watching each advocate, trainer, and person on Compassion's staff use their gifts and share their passions, allowed us to see the body of Christ at work.
  • My mother has a servant's heart and spent her day in acts of service (my love language) by being a one-woman kitchen crew.
  • Brynn loved taking care of Jill's kids during the day. They loved Brynn!
  • Diana takes "let me help you" to another level. She de-beaned my van and joined the kitchen crew for the afternoon. 
  • Jill and Juli played beautiful music during lunch and soothed my nerves after the bean blow-out. 
  • Dinner with our "Compassion Family," as Brynn named them, gave us time to reflect, relax, and be really silly. Dinner was followed by a game of Nertz. 
  • Conversations with Maria and Paul gave me a greater appreciation for how God works and how He weaves lives together. Their love story has God all over it. 
  • Despite six children's ministry workers being out sick on Sunday, I was able to sit through both services and hear Maria with my NFC family. 
  • Gregg's short sermon on justice as evangelism wonderfully and wisely connected Maria's sharing and our upcoming series on the Good News. The service affirmed once again that God is using Compassion and Newberg Friends Church to stand up for the oppressed and to live Isaiah 58. 
  • 16 children were sponsored. Lives were changed! 

You'll just have to trust me that this lengthy list doesn't even come close to painting a complete picture of the blessings given to me and my family this weekend. Some are too private to share in such a public forum while others didn't make the list simply because I had to stop somewhere. By now you're probably seeing spots! 

1 comment:

  1. Michelle,

    Thank you so much for all your hard work in putting together this event. It was a joy to see you, your family and your church. I'm still dreaming about those beans and that lunch - it was fantastic! And my girls loved your girls.
    Could you move a little closer so Brynn could watch them more often? : )