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Monday, December 31, 2012

Celebrating The Real Reason For The Season

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor" - Romans 12:10

Thursday night was long and damp. We could have dropped our scheduled BS for a last dance practice. But no, the topic certainly entailed a no-nonsense dare-to-miss-and-wail-later moments that you didn't want it to end. Once he is sat at his fave spot in a circle of lounging and slumping listeners, Brother Sancho never lets go of the anointing and sees to it everyone gets challenged...and hopefully changed. 

Quietly, most of us had our minds fixed on a late night final practice. We were set to perform at the joint fellowship at A so our minds were urging on our BS teacher to conclude the session rather earlier. Bad thing, our choreographer  Kuya CJ had a bout with colds and tonsillitis. I suspect the virus became more potent when the previous night we still messed up with our steps he thought so simple for even autistic kids to master in a jiffy. And partly I take the blame and pass it to my progenitor for the absence of dance DNA in me. Buoyed by an audio upgrade and sheer determination to do well, we pulled off our last practice sans our choreographer. 

It's almost dawn break and we were still scrambling to find a bigger kettle, really big kettle  (imagine the beeline at every GMA's Kapuso Foundation soup kitchen). We were six members in a group assigned to cook one of the main courses. Obviously I've got no talent on the dance floor and so I might compensate its lack in the kitchen. I could have easily egg-scrambled a dozen trays but I doubted whether it makes sense to be in a lunch table. Hello it's a Christmas party!

Aside from excelling at a karaoke and being good at surviving a mouth stab, Kuya Pepe can cook too. He thought Callos would be perfect (we'll see later how it fares once served). 

Okay. Modest guess-timate for Friday's worship service is sixty. The transport ministry is expected to be plowing back and forth Jeddah roads come early morning. If one wonders how on earth a tiny Suzuki Alto can ferry all shapes and sizes to and from the church, well that is a God matter, and yes even sometimes it feels like you're being toasted inside. Kuya Pepe can still give you a lift anywhere as long as you show up. Aware that one invitee of Kuya George had to be fetched at eight, the rush to get a couple of hours sleep was paramount than anything else. 

We were excited to bring new souls for the Lord, we're optimistic that is.  We almost forgot Christmas parties are celebrated in ubiquity. George's sms  had preempted the alarm set at seven saying that his invitee will be a no show-up, probably some heads already spun around in merriment that night. Wisdom learned: when confronted with this spoiler, don't wail over ruined sleep, though five minutes of deep sleep matter. 

With an hour to spare before the supposed start of the worship service, we proceeded to fetch Neil with the Callos-brimming kettle in tow. Thank God even our Alto's A/C is acting up, our dish settled well in heat and reached our destination still edible notwithstanding the thick tomato paste.

As I was busy recording (sorry folks, the video of him belting out "Still" will not figure here), this picture of the day's coordinator will suffice.

Forget about swelling midsection! This is our moment, and it's our thanksgiving day too! Looks like cliche on the menu table but once confronted with the sight and smell, better be well-stuffed than sorry :) Right Kuya Phallus Maximus?

Gotcha Roy! It's a welcome news that you've officially renounced  your quasi-emaciated frame to join the race for thicker belly! Yes, the irresistibly yummy purple yam cake will certainly help your cause. Bon appetit!

"Don't look at me like that! And don't say I have jumped on the bandwagon of "take-out-club". I am just thinking of my flock at B. They would be happy if they get to taste this trophy purple yam cake", rationalizes Ate Malou.

To say that everyone was overjoyed is an understatement, well, except for Kuya Celso who barged in late and envied Phallus' spot. Take solace from me Kuya Cels: I didn't figure in any of those group pics as I made myself busy  scooping up the residue for a week's fuel, ha ha! And hey, Pepe's Callos seems to have been largely ignored? Not exactly, it soon found its final destiny across another fence. In fairness to Kuya Pepe, his Callos was served late so that it didn't attract much attention (who wants to make him feel bad by the way?:)

"Amid the noise and haste (as borrowed from Desiderata), I won't let go of my caldereta", says Ate Florence. "And I'm still the handsomest of all sans my white locks", adds Kuya Orayan. "Wait, though I fall short in that department I am still in the running for the most photogenic plum", argues Kuya Jonie. "How did I get in this trouble dear Lord? I have long abandoned my job as a bouncer and here I am in the midst of this commotion", laments Kuya Noli.

I really wanted to pick any of those Guess boxes. "If I could only rig the numbers to my favor", says my old self. But yeah, that's not quite possible and none of us would want to do the same, it's a sin folks! I hate to do that. Okay, I would be appeased later, as those were just Guess boxes; inside were some candles which are best used when there's power outage! Oh by the way, brown out here happens only if you failed to settle your electric bills.

Phallus beams with pride for winning, err, taking elekta iron for his gift (though he muttered he would prefer a rather well-known brand :). Pastor Raul on the other hand cannot contain his joy with his two gifts that he clasped them tightly, lest somebody else would offer a swap.  And Pepe whispered, "whatever, as long as I look good in the picture, my gift doesn't mean a thing. By the way, he had planned already that his gift will go to a worthy recipient: our building watchman.

Who says I came up short of documenting real action as to whose talent emerges relevant amid economic crisis? Roy, had you not slipped this ultra-big bowlful of "take-outs" into your bag, well, probably for a "week's meal" as Ate Malou had estimated, I would have not been convinced you're in for the most-improved waistline contest. George too, of course didn't want to be outdone with an empty  rice cooker he had flipped for easy stacking, well, also for a week's supply maybe? (Joke only mga Kuyas:)

At the joint fellowship later that night, we're glad Kuya CJ could not come with us, otherwise he would not be talking to us anymore given our actual performance. And naturally, a plethora of reasons were to blame for such a botched performance. One, space is too small compounded by an elevated platform on the back steps that hinders our smooth execution. Two, we couldn't hear each other's counting that each one was on his own. And that was really gross. We resolve though that next time we will do better, maybe minus this fellow here, ha ha!!

If there is one deserving of all thanksgiving, it is the Lord Jesus Christ who stripped himself of his divinity, was born in a manger full of humility, died for our sins in the most painful and humiliating way so that we have hope in this life and for eternity. He is the real reason for the season and in Him is real hope.

Have a blessed and Christ-filled new year!


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Silay City, Negros Occidental, The Philippines

Some of the photos above courtesy of Arnaldo Arnáiz Díaz

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