We just got home from our first night of "Family Week." This is our third year planning the week's activities and we had the best turnout yet. We'll meet again on Wednesday and Friday night.
Tonight, we started with a game that got everyone mixing. First, they had to meet in pairs and find three things they had in common. Then, in trios, in fours, and so on. With each new group, they had to find what they had in common with more people. It was difficult at first to get the youth to break out of their "young people corner" and share with adults, but the game eventually forced them to interact. Mission accomplished!
After the game, we shared in an opening prayer with lots of singing, a bible reading (Colossians 3: 15-21) and a special ritual. In our ritual, we had a large drawing of an empty table with Jesus at the head. The theme of the week is "San Columbano [the name of our chapel]: A table with room for everyone." It sounds a lot better in Spanish... :) Each family that participated wrote their last name on a cut out person and then pasted their "family" onto the drawing, joining with Jesus around the table.
The youth, along with the two of us, then treated the community to a very poorly acted (and funny) sketch about a family who just can't seem to get along. This gave small groups plenty of topics to discuss - from forgiveness, to family prayer, to giving the family priority, among others. The youngest kids played some games outside while the adults and youth talked and shared.
Finally, we ended the night with "onces," the evening meal of bread and tea, a raffle and prayer. The raffle is probably the reason we had such good turnout. We've been sending out tons of invitations all week, telling people that if they came, and brought their invitation, then this would give them a chance to win a raffle. While some may be opposed to bribes in order to get people to church, we are quite open to the idea. Since we had about 50 people turn out, the promise of a prize seems to have worked. More songs ended a great night of fun and sharing. We're looking forward to Wednesday, with more of the same and a special dinner on Friday to finish off the week.