Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Week 4 in Eufaula: Solving Mysteries, Three D's, and a Skeeter

Muy Buenas Noches a Todos de Eufaula,

See how inculturated I am? hahaha

Amazingly, a month has now passed since my arrival here in Eufaula. It really is a charming town. And the people are even better. I never thought I would be so busy in such a small Southern Catholic parish!

Really if you have a chance to visit you really ought to. And if you do...I have the place for you to stay--The Candlelight Inn.

It is literally about 50 meters from Holy Redeemer where I am living. The owners, George and JoAnn, are parishioners here and the nicest of people. My first week here they kindly invited me down for coffee and muffins and to see their place. I was immediately charmed by their beautiful home...and more so by them. Since then, we have been regularly having coffee in the mornings, sitting on the front of their wrap-around porch. There is no better porch in town..and no better way to come and imbibe all that is Eufaula.

Here is a front shot of their place that I stole from their website.

And here is their website so you can go ahead and plan your trip!!!


It is the only B&B in town and the only place where you will wake up and eat Banana Nut Pancakes while a retired trucker serenades you with your favorite Johnny Cash songs! Remember George strumming his guitar at the Talent Show???

You should hear him in his dining room!

Soooo...other than drinking Coffee with JoAnn and George, last week was largely filled by VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL! It was an intense four days to say the least. But I am sure they will also be some of the most memorable.

Father Shoemaker developed the whole idea and planned the whole thing....which as you will see gives us only more insight into the Creative and UNIQUE mind of this priest. The Teens of the Youth Group showed up every day to help put it on. About 18 kids came...and as best as I could deduce...they had a great time.

The overall theme for the week was “The Great Detective Vacation Bible School: Come and Solve the Mystery.” You can see the flyer Father made below to catch the kids interest.

Father divided his time for the week between two personalities--Father David and Friar Mutt. Friar Mutt served as the Special Agent for the week. He really had a “nose” for the job as he is a third German Shepherd, a third Blood Hound, and a third Chihuahua. Friar Mutt teamed up with the Chief of Police--Big Vic--in an effort to transform the kids into real Detectives, equipped to search through and find answers to the mysteries of the Bible. Thankfully, to take on such a big task, Fr. Mutt and Big Vic were joined by a team of F.B.I. (Faith and Bible Investigators) Agents to help with this whole process.

After taking the official “Detective’s Pledge,” the new recruits were equipped with Detective Badges, Notepads, and Pens with which they would be able to do their Detective Work. Quickly they learned the 5 essential questions any detective must be read to ask: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?

With this in mind, Day 1 was spent discovering WHO are the Friends of Jesus? After much detective work, they became familiar with the names of the 12 apostles as well as Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Also they realized, Jesus wanted THEM to be his friends too!!! Shockingly, they then discovered that Jesus wants EVERYONE to be his friends! Pretty incredible discovery!

Once we had discovered WHO Jesus’ friends were, Day 2 was spent discovering WHAT the friends of Jesus’ do. The kids were shocked again to discover that Jesus’ friends had to love everyone---EVEN the kid who smelled bad in class, EVEN the kid who made fun of them, EVEN the kid who wiped his boogers on their backpack! But don’t worry...Jesus gives us his Spirit so we have the power to do this!

Day 3, we asked WHEN and WHERE Jesus’ friends are called to Love and Serve. Pretty much ANYTIME and ANYWHERE were the answers they found. Also on Day 3, the kids were given a Secret Mission which they first had to decode. Once the kids had decoded their Mission, Father led them down to the Church’s food pantry where they helped prepare food bags to be given out to the poor later on. The kids loved it!

Day 4, the detectives closed the case by asking WHY Jesus’ friends are called to Love and Serve Anytime and Anywhere. The answer seemed almost too simple--Because HE first loved us in this way! Because this is what we are created to do!

Here are some shots from through their week of investigating:

The excitement was pretty much too much to contain from the Get-Go

Everyone knows that Detectives warm up with Dancing

Clapping, Reaching, Running, Praying, and Jumping for Jesus is a great way to start the day
(Father made all of the music videos for the week using his mascot costumes, a video camera, a green screen, and his video editing skills)

The Bliss of singing "Na na na na na na na" during the song "Waves of Mercy"

Thank God for these FBI agents to show the kids how to do the motions to the songs

Big Vic passing out their Decoder Wheels to his new recruits

Big Vic's Morning Overview

Big Vic could only handle the heat created by the trench-coat for so long each day...

Friar Mutt and Cynthia act out the Good Samaritan Parable

Friar Mutt was getting tired, so Father subbed in for awhile....

One morning, one of our detectives showed up in a frenzy screaming, "I have a raccoon in my pants!!!!!" HAHAHAHA! After Big Vic explained that all wild animals had to be removed from detectives' undergarments so that they could concentrate on their investigating, this detective immediately shifted gears by going into his patented "Friar-Mutt-is-Coming-Frenzy!"

Hard at work....A blissfully calm moment for Big Vic, Friar Mutt, and the FBIs

Father's back...

One day we were honored with a visit from Sister Terry and Mrs Grayson. Sister Terry is a Trinitarian Sister who has been serving the Mobile Diocese in so many ways for many years. Recently she has been place in charge of all Religious Education for the 6 parishes in this region. Mrs. Grayson has been a Youth Minister in Montgomery for several years. In fact, she was one of those who helped Big Vic go through his Detective Work when he was just a "new recruit." Amazing what effects time, love, and grace can have on a life!

Gettin' fired up

Most days concluded with dodgeball in the backyard. After a long day of Detective work...you build up a lot of steam to blow off...

When Friar Mutt gets the ball...

You're All in BIG Trouble! hahaha

And how do you reward Detectives for their hard work in the Mysteries of faith in Christ??? Naturally, with an 18th foot inflatable Water Slide!!!!


After sliding, I heard this detective exclaim verbatim, "This is the most funnest thing I have done in my life!" Mission Accomplished :)


Can every week be VBS week?

This kind of high could only be thwarted by Moms' arriving in their minivans! Talk about "wailing and gnashing of teeth!" hahahaha... Simultaneously a taste of Heaven and a gentle reminder that it is still yet to come.

Thankfully for Big Vic and the FBI's, Father had rented the Slide until 4PM. Seeing that the last Detective left around 1PM...this was quite a treat. And just in case BJ and Victor may be reading this...know that I am...and always will be....the "King of the Slide!" :)

So that took us through Thursday afternoon!

SKEETER and the DADDY's Visit

Friday was my day off. Father also gave me permission to take Saturday off to spend some time with two of my best friends from my days at Furman--John (aka Skeeter) and Walker (aka The Daddy). These guys have a knack for nicknames I have never seen matched. They especially love assigning themselves names...John chose "Skeeter" our Sophomore year...borrowing from his Dad. Walker has been "The Daddy" even since I have known him. Nobody really understands it. But he seems to. And is always sure to remind you..."The Daddy's here...3 Ds...not 2...but 3"

What a blast to get together with these guys! Friends like these give us such insight into Christ's love for us. They help us to begin to fathom what Christ means when he says, "I no longer call you servants [but] friends" (John 15:15).

Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to come down and visit! And a special thanks to their wives--Katie and Shannon--for letting them off the hook for the weekend. It means so much. Much love to you both.

John drove down from Charleston, SC on Thursday and picked up Walker in Atlanta who had flown in from Dallas. They spent the night at my Mom's on Thursday Night and I met them Friday morning after Mass in Eufaula. We enjoyed one another in Montgomery until Saturday evening when we made our way down to Eufaula. I put John and Walker up at the Candlelight Inn...which was perfect. Thanks again to George and JoAnn for being such great hosts!

They came to Mass on Sunday morning and then took off...back to the grind. But not before we captured this moment together with Friat Mu....I mean Father David.

And with that concluded another week in Eufaula.


CANDLELIGHT INN: Seriously, go ahead and book your room. The rooms are so nice. There is not a dull square inch in the whole house. It is a slice of Americana you don't want to miss out on. And if you come before August 15th...we can share a cup of Coffee together on the front porch :)

Keep the Faith.Org: A buddy of mine sent me this link earlier this week. It is a site where you can get a lot of great talks, songs, and conferences for free. I esp. recommend checking out some of Archbishop Fulton Sheen's talks. He is one of the most famous American Preachers in the past century. Take some time and listen to one of his talks...you won't regret it.


Luke 11:1-13

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
"Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples."
He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test."

And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,'
and he says in reply from within,
'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.'
I tell you,
if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"


As always, a pleasure to share with you.

May God give us the eyes of FAITH...so that we may DISCOVER him more richly this week.

Let's pray for one another.

And as always. Feel free to shoot me an email with a specific intention:


Peace, Prayers, Love, Joy, and 3 D's

No comments:

Post a Comment