We had a busy few days this weekend.
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,