Okay, so this is the story:
Friday a week ago Brother Quintin called and asked if we could meet and talk. We did and he shared, in a long, drawn out story, that he had lost the keys to the church building, the church van, Frank and Vicky’s house and truck keys, along with about 10 other church-related keys. He had been looking for the whole week and could not find them, and did not know what to do.
Frank and Vicky are in the States for three weeks (this is their final week away) and had left the keys with Quintin to open up the building on Sundays, and pick up the folks for classes. The first Sunday Quintin’s car broke down, so he was flustered as he walked about two miles to get to the van, then he picked everyone up and after services we took him to his car, and helped him get it to a mechanic. The car could not be fixed until Monday, which meant that Quintin had to go down to his house (over an hour away) by bus and return by bus the next day. He did. He picked up his car and went by to drop some things off at the church building then went back to work. That was Monday. That was the last time the keys were seen. He spent the rest of the week looking for the keys. In the mean-time he got sick – a stomach thing, and he had to haul hundreds of gallons of water to his house because the water lines are down and they have about 20 pigs they are raising who need water along with the household needing water to drink and bathe. Then his wife got sick and the car broke again. No wonder he didn’t have his mind on the keys!
So, back to Friday. He told us the story, smiling the whole time. He did not have a clue how it would all work out, but knew that it would, so he smiled. Constantly. Lynn and I were amazed and impressed with his demeanor.
Well, to ‘fix’ the situation, we offered our home for the church meetings, and we used three different vehicles to pick up the folks for classes. It was like old times. We had classes in the front and back porches, in the living room and in the ‘big room’ where the bunkbeds are for mission teams. We had to share songbooks and Bibles, but it was a great service and time of fellowship. There are about 15 members of the church who travel over an hour to come to worship, and normally Vicky (a great cook) fixes them lunch before they head back home, so I thought I should as well. We had 10 can soup – a recipe my Dad sent me (but we used 20 cans for the large group). All went well.
Now, I am preparing for a second week with classes and worship here at our house because the keys still have not been found, and Frank and Vicky are still not home. Yari and Lynn helped get the house ready, and then Yari and I began preparing the food. Okay, I know you are bored, so I will try to get to the point. I wanted to really show off my Panamanian culinary skills, so I am making Arroz con Pollo, a traditional (and time consuming) food along with 3 Color Salad and Tuti Fruti punch. It doesn’t get more Panamanian than that!
So, the problem is I have never made the salad before. I have eaten it and know everything that goes into it; Potatoes, carrots, beets, eggs, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Yari peeled away for a couple of hours today, and then I diced and cooked the veggies. All together. I asked Yari if it was okay to do so and she said she did not know but thought so. Well, the name of the salad is THREE COLOR Salad. That’s because it has three colors – white potatoes, orange carrots and red beets, right? Nope! Not my salad! Not when you cook them all together. It is RED SALAD. I am so embarrassed! So much for being a Panamanian culinary wiz! When I add the boiled eggs tomorrow it might be a two color salad, but that is the best I can hope for! I also opted to leave out the food coloring in the Arroz con Pollo, so it doesn’t look quite right either. I haven’t fixed the Tuti Fruti punch yet – wonder how I can mess that up?
So I am sitting here thinking of Quintin, and how he just kept on smiling even though he was embarrassed and frustrated- even though he did not know how things could or would work out. He just smiled- and it was a true smile. The smile that says I know that God is in control, and it will all be good, somehow. I am working on my smile as I write. Maybe I will have it down by tomorrow morning. If not, I think I will just fake it!
How ‘bout you? Things not going too good? Have you messed up yet again? Try smiling! If you can’t muster it, just fake it for awhile and it will come to you! God has it all under control!