On Friday we went to the "Christmas City" celebrations at the "Freeport Gospel Church School". It is associated with a Brethren church here. There were lots of Colourful lights and decorations, games, performances, singing, food etc. It was a fundraiser for the school. You had to buy $1 tickets to use for food and games. I had counted out exactly what the kids would need for a couple of treats. A little girl in one of the line ups asked me for one of our tickets. Noticing that she had some in her hand already I said I didn't have enough (more about this later). Our friend Mia performed in her 2nd grade class. She did a great job.
On Saturday we went to the Holmes Rock Christmas Festival. Our friend Margo took us. Holmes Rock is a small settlement at East end. It was put on by the Ministry of Tourism. People who attended were mostly Bahamians with just a few tourists. Glenn was able to do some one -on -one evangelism. Jacquie and I were dragged up on stage to sing "Oh Canada" for everyone. Glenn was totally relishing this and had the camera ready to videotape us. I told the MC that I needed my husband to help me. Glenn didn't get his coveted recording and he and Ben came up and helped us sing. Tourists from other countries had to sing their anthems too. We saw a rake and scrape performance. One of the instruments was a saw and screw driver. Sometimes a washboard, fishing line etc. is used too. Historically, It shows the ingenuity of people who had little but still wanted to make the music they loved. We also enjoyed the Bahamian Police Marching Band. They wear similar uniforms to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The children danced around the Maypole weaving colourful ribbons in and out as they went. You can really see the British influence in many of the celebrations. They also had a short "Junkanoo" performance. People dress in very ornate costumes with masks and play cow bells and goat skin drums to loud music. It has African origins. On Christmas Eve and New Year's day they have huge "junkanoo" celebrations where there are teams that compete for prizes. Just as our Christmas tree has pagan origins, so do many of their celebrations. They also had a mini museum set up where we learned about the 200 year history of those who first inhabited the settlement. It was really interesting.
On Sunday we went to church. Church goes for about 3 hours here. Then we brought Abigail and Joel (2 of the pastor's children) back to our boat. Joel hadn't seen it yet. We made some pies and then went to their house for lunch. Margo treated us to a great meal. She used a lemon pepper seasoning on the chicken and it was awesome.
I witnessed some lessons on honesty, charity and faith this week. The first was through a local bus driver. Bus drivers here are not hired. It is their own little business to run a bus and collect fares from those who ride it. The buses are actually vans and the fare is $1.25. We were riding the bus one day and Glenn got to spend quite some time talking to the driver. He is a Christian who barely eeks out a living as a driver. While on his bus, Ben dropped his wallet. He had $40 in it that he had received for his birthday from both sets of Grandparents. He was planning on using some of it to buy Christmas presents. Glenn has never seen Ben's wallet. When he saw the driver pick it up off the bus floor it did not clue in to him that it was Ben's. We went shopping and discovered Ben had no wallet. That's when Glenn realised what had happened. It's important to note that the bus driver did not know whose wallet it was either and didn't even know that Glenn had seen him pick it up off the floor. Ben of course was very upset at having lost all his money. We told him Daddy would try to get it back. After several days we began to wonder if that man was supposed to have the money. We knew how badly he needed it. After a few more days Glenn ran into him again. He asked the bus driver if he had found a wallet. (remember Glenn knew he had but the bus driver didn't know he knew.).. He said yes and had been carrying it around the whole time in case someone asked for it. We knew he really needed that money and were surprised it hadn't already been spent. Glenn told him that we had been starting to wonder if the Lord had meant that money for the driver. We took the money back as it belonged to Ben. Glenn handed the driver a $20 bill and said "Well maybe you weren't meant to have the 40 but here's 20." The man raised his arms to the heavens, clenched his fists, and proclaimed "Thank-you Jesus". I am very awed at his honesty, his faithfulness that God would provide for his needs, (that he didn't feel the need to keep something that wasn't his in order to meet his own needs) and his thankfulness to God. He was well aware that the money came from God not from Glenn.
I was also inspired this week by Margo. Her sister had bought a nice lobster meal for her at the Holmes Rock Festival. Margo was carrying the plate across the beach with her when a little boy ran up to her and asked her for some. She cut him a little piece and then began to turn to keep walking. Almost instantly she turned around again and gave the little boy the entire meal. I knew that Margo had been carefully budgeting that whole day and figured she wouldn't be replacing that meal. I can't help but think back to myself, when I had told the little girl the night before, that I didn't have a one dollar ticket for her. I am thankful that I had these 2 experiences to redirect my thinking. Margo is one of those people that you don't have to know very long before you love her.
We're missing you all,
29 November 2008 | Freeport, Bahamas
Canadians and Bahamians eating Mexican food.
All four of us were waiting for a bus one day about a week ago to go shopping. Our bikes are great but sometimes we want to go places that are too far away. A lady in a car stopped to pick someone else up who was also waiting at the stop. She offered to give us a ride too. Her name is Nichola. Turns out, she is a very bright Christian. She drove us all around town and even brought us to her work. She owns a pet grooming service and a pet store. She took us to her business to pick up one of the little dogs to return it to its owner. While we were there, Glenn had a long chat with the veterinarian. He is a proper Welshman. The vet feels he is too much of a Scientist to accept Christianity. Nicky has been sharing with him about the Lord for a long time and was happy that Glenn could talk to him too. He was a good example to Glenn of the quote by Louis Pasteur, "A little Science estranges man from God but a lot of Science brings him back to God". Not the exact quote but close to it. We are hoping to get an apologetics book to him.
Nicky invited us for American Thanksgiving dinner at her home. Her extended family, friends, and some people from her church came too. There were tons of people and tons of food. We had; turkey, ham, white rice with conch, brown rice with conch, rice and peas (which actually look like beans), sweet potatoes, coleslaw, potato salad, corn pudding, Mac and cheese (which we have found is usually cut out of a pan like you would cut a piece of cake - we had it at a church lunch too), collard greens (spicy and very yummy), meatballs, banana cake, and coconut cake. We really felt like we had a Bahamian Feast! They made loads so everyone could fill plates to take home with them too.
We were the only white people there. The kids kept feeling Jacquie and Ben's hair. When they spoke to us, we could understand them perfectly well but when they spoke to each other, we had trouble. One of the young girls told Jacquie "We don't speak proper". They kept trying to get Jacquie to copy their speech. She was a little embarrassed but had lots of fun. Jacquie wants us to invite Nicky and her family to the boat. Our boat is tiny though and I don't even really know how many people stay at Nicky's house. There were about 15 toothbrushes in the bathroom!
We have met a family at the apartments in front of our marina. They happen to go to the same Baptist Church as Nicky does. We think we may visit their church. Both Nicky and Patrice have offered to drive us wherever we would like to go on the island. Patrice picked Jacquie and me up one day on our way to the bus stop (It's O.K. Dad we already knew her). At the end of the day, she happened to be at the same grocery store we were at and drove us home too. Our kids play with Patrice's children. Michael is 14 and Mia is 7. Ben has gone to Michael's drum practice a few times and really enjoyed it.
Glenn has been doing a lot of one on one street evangelism but no preaching yet. There is something called island time here. Nothing seems to be done very fast. He has made contacts with a few church folk (from the original church we made contact with) who are interested in teaming up but nothing has materialized yet. Sometimes I wonder where my place is in all this. I remember as a very young teenager writing in the back of my bible "Where he sends I will go". I am not a vocal person though and have trouble striking conversations up with people. I am hoping to get some training in "Open Air Campaigners". You draw a huge picture on a canvas and people gather around to watch. As you are drawing, you tell a gospel message. I think this may be a way I can be more involved. It would be especially great to use with kids. My heart is with kids too.
Glenn, Jacquie, Ben, Michael and Mia have just gone off for a ride in the dingy. They have brought a fishing rod with them. So far we have not been very good at catching fish but maybe Michael will do well. Anyway, I don't have much faith so I'm going to start making supper.
Please send comments on the blog. I really enjoy that. If you don't want them to be public, I won't post them. We've had some vile hate comments (because of our Gospel message) so we pre-approve what is posted.
Tour of Seawing
22 November 2008 | Freeport, Bahamas
21 November 2008 | Freeport Bahamas
Hi everybody. I decided it's finally time for me to start blogging. We are all doing well. Glenn is working with a local pastor and his congregation doing street evangelism. The kids are doing about 4 hours of homeschooling per day. I teach Ben all his subjects and Glenn and I share Jacquie. He is handling math and science with her. The kids have a couple of friends at the apartments by the marina. The apartments and marina share an outdoor swimming pool. They play basketball, four square, tug of war etc. on the unused tennis courts. We go for dinghy rides. We swam in the ocean at Bimini but have not here so far. We have bikes for transportation. I use my little laundry cart as a make shift trailer sometimes. The boat is much easier to live on than 4 years ago as we have completely redone it. Our fridge and freezer are new and we are figuring out how to get the temp just right. We also have a washer now and don't have to find a way to get to a laundromat. The kids are experts at hanging laundry on Seawing's lifelines. Grandma Heslop made gorgeous cushions for the interior. Our friend Lisa made us a huge new bed and very cute curtains. Mike did lots of woodwork and installing of stuff and Don worked on our engine and toatally redid all the boat's wiring. Corey painted our bathrooms. Thank-you to all of them! Glenn's parents may visit us soon which would be great! Today I plan to video tape the interior of the boat to show all of you. Friends and family we miss you.