International Dinner Activity

Here are some pictures from our teen activity of last Friday.  We set the stage for next week’s Mission Conference with an International Dinner.  The different rooms were Japan, Mexico, Africa, and Israel.  A friend and I did the Mexico room which was lots of work and also fun.   We really enjoyed seeing the other rooms too, though, and partaking of their different foods!

Our Mexico room was complete with decorations, music, a picture slideshow, and Spanish Bibles.  Oh, and how could I forget our two little senoritas?  They learned the words, “Hola” (Hi) and “Pasale” (Come in) just for the occasion.  (I think their mother was tired of hearing them practice those two words all week!)  For tasty treats, we had chips and salsa, Jarritos Mexican Soda, and birthday cake.  You must know, that in Mexico, after singing Happy Birthday (Feliz, Feliz Cumpleanos!), the Birthday person must take the first bite right out of the cake, and while he does so, his face is pushed into the cake!  So we performed that cultural custom on five unsuspecting individuals Friday evening.  We wanted them to have a real, up-close “taste” of Mexican culture!

We used our final, extra cake on this unknowing church member, who just happened to be in the building for another reason and turned out to be a prime candidate!  After all, his birthday really was right around the corner!

This really should be an advertisement for the UN and World Peace.  We have here two representatives from Mexico, one from the Moslem world, one from Africa, and one from Israel!  Can you pick out which is which?  (Hard, I know.)

Moslem-Mexican relations were strengthened at the summit.

Representatives were a little leery of partaking in the communal bowl refreshments hosted by our friend from Senegal, Africa.  However, it must be admitted, the delicacy was tasty, and there have not been any recorded illnesses as a result, so perhaps, as the saying goes, “All’s well that ends well!”

One striking reminder the night brings to mind, however, is the need every one of these countries, and many others have for the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Not only that, but the Scriptures command, “Go ye…”   They do not say give money to those who go.  They do not say only to pray for those who go.  Nor do they say go when you are older, or when the time is more convenient.  Each of us is commanded to “Go”, and I might add, the tense is present.  Who are you going to with the Gospel?  To your neighbors?  To your relatives?  To the cashier at the grocery store?  To your postman?  To your car mechanic?  To your hair stylist?  To the lost and dying of this world?


Well, here is our little video from our trip to Mexico.  This is the first time I have done anything like this, so bear with me!  Actually, it was a lot of fun putting it together.  Overall, I am happy with how it turned out.  I hope everyone enjoys it!

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The direct link, where you can view this in full screen, is here

I apologize for those of you with dial-up, and some internet filters that may block this.  We are having a few people over for dinner this Friday night, if you would like to come eat and then watch this.  Don’t worry about the driving distance!

Back from the Yucatan Peninsula/ New Jersey/ Washington DC

Yes, we are home, alive, and very well.  We had a vacation that was far better than we could have ever imagined in Mexico.  Right now, I am kind of scripting out our video of the vacation.  We figured it could “capture the moment” we had, without having to post a thousand pictures (that’s about how many we took!) and telling a bunch of stories.  So that is my little project for now…

We got home Thursday evening at about 10:00pm in the evening.  We had a nice American “midnight snack” that night just as we were getting back from Sheetz, a Pennsylvania convenience store chain.  I had a “Dustin Special,” as my wife (or parents) might call it.  Now, please don’t be grossed out by this–its a toasted white bread sub with pepperoni as the main meat; then Buffalo sauce, Parmesan cheese, pickles, salt, pepper, oregano, and lettuce to top it off.  Strange, huh?  At least Andrea and my parents understand me…

I look back at our little goals and am amazed by how many we were able to get accomplished in Tulum:

  • Snorkel in the coral reef ✓

Snorkel we did!  We were out for about an hour 1/4 of a mile out from the shore.  I think we saw a jellyfish too–or at least it looked like one.  We never figured out if it was a plastic grocery bag or jellyfish.  I didn’t really care to find out.

  • Swim in a cenote ✓

This is one of the most fun and interesting things I can remember doing in my life.  The water was SO clear, and it was neat to snorkel and look at all of the stalactites far beneath us.

  • Take more pictures than I can count ✓

To be honest, I can count them–937 to be exact, plus several short videos.

  • Spend a lot of time at the Mayan ruins in Tulum ✓

They were simply amazing to look at.  The backdrop for the ancient ruins is spectacular!

  • Learn more Spanish ✓

I actually learned a lot of new Spanish words, and a few Mayan words too.  About a third of the population of the state of Quintana Roo still speaks Mayan fluently!

  • Learn to like Mexican food more than I do ✓

I have always had a problem with corn tortillas.  I never had a good taste for them.  However, for this trip, I tried to make myself like them more, and believe it or not, I did!  We had tacos from a restaurant on five or so different occasions, and each time I had a corn tortilla and really liked it!  Although the last night or our stay I had something called a gringa, which is a basically a quesadilla with a flour tortilla–one of my favorite foods of the trip!

  • Visit an indigenous Mexican church ✓

Well, we sort of did.  Truthfully there is not even a Baptist church in Tulum, or even anything close.  We saw an LDS temple, the usual Catholic church, and several Pentecostal-type churches.  One evening while we were biking, we came across a literal church built out of sticks (very typical in that part of the country: for houses and buildings to be built out of sticks and a palapa roof).  We gazed in for several minutes into the semi-open air service.  We found out soon that it was a non-denominational church with a Pentecostal flare, unfortunately.  It was interesting to see they are in some sort of church service though.

Until I finish the video within the next several weeks, I thought I might wet the palette a bit with this picture of the Tulum ruins that Andrea took.  It was very hard to take a bad picture here!  We’re actually talking about having this one enlarged to hang on our wall.

You may ask why the title of this post says “Washington DC” in it.  Well, we had a choice of taking a flight to Baltimore (where our car was) or Washington National Airport (about an hour away from our car).  The problem is that I could not fly into Baltimore because that would have put us at home three days later instead of just two.  So, I chose Washington.  The problem was when we got there–the blizzard still had all of the public transportation shut down!  I mean all–no buses, subway, or anything.  So, we had to take a taxi to Baltimore instead.  It was kind of a pain finance wise, but turned out a whole lot better than it could have been.  Someone told us that DC taxis were the cheapest on the East Coast.  Here is what my car looked like when we got to Baltimore:

We dug it out in about 15 minutes, and were home two hours after landing in DC, praise the Lord.  What a memorable adventure just getting home from Mexico!