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Las Fallas and cultivating connections at home and abroad

by Cortney Housman

In our technologically advanced culture, SKYPE has made a way to cultivate connection and community across the world.

Our excited second grade immersion students enjoyed a SKYPE session with their new friends from Spain, Miss Teresa’s sisters. (The classroom was blessed with their presence here in Saint John, Indiana when tey visited early January.) While receiving a SKYPE tour of the neighborhoods and experiencing a taste of the home designs, the students were amazed at the beauty of the buildings and the artistic expressions.

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Ninot–Las Fallas (photo credit, theamblingblog.com)

Teresa’s sisters were joy-filled as they were preparing to travel to the city of Valencia for “Las Fallas.” The pyrotechnic enthusiasts in the classroom were excited hearing about the loud, smoky, high-spirited fiesta where the whole town is set ablaze to celebrate the onset of spring and the planting season. There are a myriad of other activities that transpire during Las Fallas de Valencia including bullfights, parades, beauty pageants, and paella contests.

This picture is incredibly symbolic to our souls being illuminated and propelled to actively engage in a harvest season. John 4:35 encourages us to “raise our eyes and look at the fields and see that they are white for harvest.”

Recently, my son Olyver was fighting a battle against the spreadable Influenza A virus, resulting in his absence at school. Upon his return, a trifecta of girls reacted to a prompting to pray for Olyver that he would experience full healing and regain his strength.

class3-2.jpgThat same day, while driving my children home, Olyver made a point to explain how he was deeply cared for and experienced a sense of peace after receiving those prayers. As a mom, it is a sacred blessing to witness these second graders actively partaking in gospel initiatives.

With an awareness that the poor will never cease to be in the land, the Spanish immersion students recently collected jars of salsa and canned tomatoes to freely give to our brothers and sisters in the community who are in need. It was encouraging to witness these students and their zealous passion to donate as many jars as possible, even sending some of us moms out to the grocery store to meet high quotas.

One lovely madre, Taytum, recently texted me to invite our family to a local Spanish-speaking church, El Pacto de Gracia in Chicago Heights, to immerse Olyver and her son Ethan in the community and encourage them to interact with local hispanic people while hearing the scriptures spoken in Spanish. She also has inspiring plans to make homemade paella with our families and enjoy a Spanish meal in community together. We look forward to embarking on this journey next month and experiencing cultural diversity.

Gwendolyn Brooks once stated “we are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”

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