Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Holidays about Blessings

First there was Easter. Normally, our holidays are great opportunities for us to share culture, traditions, etc. and this past Easter was no exception! We really made the most of this holiday by celebrating with friends, sharing at the community center, and attending many gatherings of celebration. 


Then there was their holiday - Children's Day. On April 23rd, thousands of people head to a nearby island and attempt to make the trek to the top in order to obtain blessings for the coming year. They have many ways of attempting to increase the likelihood that their prayers will be answered, including the following: Unwinding string as you walk up the mountain (if you make it to the top and your string did not break then it helps your prayer); buying colored candles to burn on the wall at the top (each color signifies a different wish: for health, for babies, for a job, etc.); buying little ribbons/pins to leave in the church at the top; tying cloth on the trees at the top; and many more things. If your prayer was answered last year, you are supposed to bring a box of sugar cubes to distribute as you walk up the mountain. I suppose that collecting sugar cubes from these people also helps you. 

Anyways, considering that holidays are a good time to reach out to people, love them, and share with them, many people gathered together to be a part of this event. We had 6 stations along the path up the mountain where we offered free resources, books, and prayers. The best part was that people were so willing to be prayed over to help their wishes! This was such an unforgettable day and I hope that we were used to affect many hearts and lives. 

It is truly amazing how two happy springtime holidays can stand in such stark contrast. I am both thankful and burdened by the fact that, while hundreds of thousands of people celebrate holidays by making wishes and doing things with the hope that their wishes might be fulfilled, we celebrate a promise that was already fulfilled, a hope that is assured, and grace that has been poured out so that we don't have to work anymore. We hope that our language will improve so much during the next year that we can bless and share with people even more next time!