American holidays are always a little bit confusing for missionaries. We know that they are being celebrated, yet no one around us is participating in those celebrations. We know that all of our friends in the U.S.A. are off work, yet all of the people that we work with are…well…working.
Despite the slightly confusing cultural piece, today was an AWESOME 4th of July. We celebrated it in missionary style.
First, we started off by heading into Bethania. Bethania is a community in which we are heavily investing as a church and as TEAM. Abdiel and AJ (the two sitting in the picture) are developing our community development initiative in Bethania. This morning AJ had set up a meeting with a local school director. The meeting went WAY better than expected. He all but gave us a green light to do anything that we’d like. The photo below is of us setting up our game plan before the meeting.
Later on that day I (Justin) did some emails and had a few meetings. Mainly, I just worked hard at not eating very much because I knew that we’d have a giant USA-style celebration in the evening…and boy did we!
We had a vision trip here from TEAM, which is people that are coming down to see what God is doing and discover how God wants them to be involved in long-term missions. They were an awesome group to have…and also, the brought BRATS! So, we got to actually grill brats on the 4th of July with a whole crew of other missionaries. We sat around and talked about the joy of being involved in God’s mission, the challenges, the struggles, and the blessings. We ate a lot, and laughed a lot — a great recipe for 4th of July.
Then came time for dessert. We didn’t know it, but our fellow missionaries and the group that was here planned a surprise baby shower. Jenny is in her 38th week of pregnancy, so we were VERY happy to see diapers and other little baby things. We (or just Justin) were really excited about the Chicago Cubs onesie.
In the search for red, white, and blue decorations, all that could be found was a Chicago Cubs banner — I was okay with that.