Back the third week of August, our church hosted its annual Missions Conference. This conference is an incredible weekend of focusing on blessing and encouraging the half a dozen missionary families that we host as a church, and also of hearing stirring messages on the subject of missions.
I know y'all are probably wondering what the above picture has to do with this, so I will explain. Along with the conference every year, our church family pitches in together to host an international dinner. The original idea behind this was to be a blessing to the missionaries. But it has ended up being a huge blessing to those of US involved! Like the Christmas Play, this event bonds our church and our small group/bible fellowship classes, and greatly deepens our already dear friendships, as we focus on coming together for a common cause.
I could write for a loooong time to properly explain this, but I will stick with sharing a few pictures and telling enough details to give you the general idea. The lighting for the dinner was very dim, and I was in charge of the food for my teams' continent, so there weren't very many good pictures taken. Here are a few that I got on my phone and that I received from one of our church photographers. I also only have pictures of two continents, and those are the two that our family was involved with. My parents/younger sibilings' small group class was in charge of Team America. They choose five different "areas" of the USA and then dressed in costume and made food from those areas. Hence the diversity in their costumes. =) They had a "deep south" Louisiana theme, which involved Civil War era clothing and food. Then they had a "Pennsylvania Amish" theme, which my parents + little sibilings did. (they were AMAZING) There was a ritzy California theme, and also a Texan chuckwagon and Indian theme.
Cheesecake makin' for Italy!
Chicken alfredo lasagna, anyone?
The FOOD. While I was up to my ears planning menus and assigning foods for various cooks on our team to make in salads, skewers, and tzatziki (Greece), lasagna + artisan breads (Italy) strudels + apples (Germany), and more (Holland).....
....Mother and her team of the five youngest were cooking and delegating other people with making shoefly pies, poor mans steak, noodles, homemade bread, apple butter and amish peanut butter, and all things Lancaster Amish of that nature.
There were many willing testers of the products. =)
I'm guessing you didn't know this, but occasionally Amish families travel in their own bus! =)
Dad was so legit. He greeted people in Pennyslvania Dutch and EVERYTHING.
When you are a Greek woman and your parents are Amish. =) =)
Hashtag cultures colide. =)
Denver, aka "Uncle Sam", handing out plates and greeting people as they entered the America booth. He looked pretty great too!
Our class leader and his wife served the delectable desserts in our German dessert shoppe. Think Apple Strudel, German Chocolate Cake, German Chocolate Pie, Apple Carmel Cake....and things of that sort.
Here is the other side of that booth, with our class leaders' wife. She sewed her own German costume!
Food from Italy was served by four of our team members, dressed in black and white and wearing these stellar chef hats.
Cute little Amish kids, finished serving and finally getting to eat themselves!
Windmill entrance to our Holland area.
Italy! Complete with a beautiful pergola, lights, and ivy.
The little Amish family in their little Amish home that they helped create/decorate, complete with a gas lantern, quilts, canned foods, etc.
Good looking Grecian crew members!
Team America! In First place! It made it a little bit easier for us (Mitch, Carson, Josh, Allison, + myself) to be in second place knowing that the rest of our family was in first. =)
A fuzzy photo of our "Team Europe" class.
There was also Team Africa, Team Asia, + Team South America. (not pictured)
The conference was a wonderful time and God spoke to our hearts in so many ways. We loved the opportunities to interact with the various missionaries who were there.
One of the main points I took away from the conference was from a message given on the second night, about the boy in the Bible who gave Jesus his loaves + fishes. It was a great reminder that God isn't looking for great or mighty people to do His work. He is simply looking for those who are available, willing, and prepared. So good!
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.