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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Fruits of the Sea

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I enjoy eating all sort of seafoods especially when they are fresh out of the sea.

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During my recent camping trip, an especially fun and thrilling highlight was when our group had to get our hands and feet dirty to gather some of those fruits of the sea.

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Feet were soaked in the mud and it was pretty invigorating when we dug out clams after clams from the muddy seashore.

After carefully spraying away the dirt from the shells, we pleasurably enjoyed the fruits of our labor.

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We hopped from rock to rock along the white shell beach to hunt for fresh oysters for our seafood pasta.

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Harvesting the masculine orange-brown red rock crabs was always the highlight of the camping trip.

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We steamed the whole crabs and fried some with spicy hot chilly; and these finger licking good dishes were often reserved for our late night snack.

Gnawing away the chunky and juicy meaty crabs over a glass of white wine was simply crab-o-licious!

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A bunch of kelp drifted by the water; we pulled it out, sliced it, blanched them with boiling water: the leafy part we used for savory seafood seaweed soup, and we pickled the kelp stem for an appetizer dish.

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I can’t wait until next year… for another plateau de fruits de mer camping trip.

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Traditional Food of Medellin

IMG_1778The above  delicacy is a 6-inch  pizza adorned with  chunky chicharrón (Colombia-style fried pork belly), sausage, beans and guacamole, it is deliciously tasty.  

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Our team had tried many delicious meals in Medellin  and two of my favorite dishes were Sancocho and Bandeja paisa which happened to be the traditional meals of Medellin.

On our last day at the church, one family prepared this hearty traditional soup dish, sancocho, for our lunch.

The steaming clear bowl of savory soup was aromatic and flavorful and it is cooked with some meat stock and vegetable roots.

It consists of a big chunk of beef brisket, plantains, maize, potatoes and yucca, and is eaten with a side dish of rice and avocado.

This delicious soup tastes best when garnished chopped cilantro and lemon juice.

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Another of my favorite is Bandeja Paisa, the national dish of Colombia.

Bandeja means “platter or tray”; and Paisa refers to “the people from the region in northwest Colombia”.

The “platter of paisa”, a sumptuous meal, is served on a plate with rice, chorizo sausage, fried egg, plantain, ground roast beef, corn bread, salad, avocado, and a long stripe of deep fried pork belly called  chicharrón.  The dish also comes with a bowl of mixed beans and potato soup.

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The most appetizing part of this dish is definitely the chicharrón (the long cracking, crispy, chunky strip of 1-inch thick bacon).

Whenever we had this dish, one strip of the thick fried, fatty and oily pork belly was not enough for me, but my team members loved to share their portions with me as they were not into this super fatty deep fried delicacy!

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At the leadership retreat by the country side, I had the first hand experience to observe how this national dish was prepared.

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It was an extremely time consuming dish to prepare for the belly!!

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roast beef ready to be shredded

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silken and creamy avocado

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delicious deep-fried platain

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Let’s dig in!

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Buen provecho!

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Another sweet treat  of Colombia is the crispy oblea and arequipe spread.

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Obleas – are thin slices of circular wafers;
Arequipe – dulce de leche, creamy caramel cooked from condense milk & sugar.
Our host was able to order 20 packets of freshly baked Obleas and packaged Arequipe for me to bring home to share with friends and family, and my Sunday School Children!
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This traditional treat can often be purchased at a street vendor.
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Gingerbread Gospel

Gingerbread Village at the Grouse Mountain!

It is well known that the concept of the gingerbread house originated from the sugar candy cottage in the Hansel and Gretel fable.

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However, I had never heard about the Gingerbread Gospel until I was asked to be the judge for the best gingerbread decorating contest in one of the Sunday School classes.

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When the children were decorating their fantasy dream snow cottage with lots of icing and candies, their teachers led them to reflect on the special homes of King Jesus:

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Heaven: Jesus’s first home, and what a perfect home.
Hut: Jesus’s earthly home in the stable.
Heart: Jesus longs to dwell in our hearts & to have a personal relationship with us.

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What a delightful and creative  approach to decorate the sugar candy cottage and be reminded of  the assurance of heaven and spending eternity with Jesus.

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Let’s celebrate!

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Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay;
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care;
And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there.

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A friend of mine was preaching the past Sunday and illustrated on the sweet family time together building the gingerbread house… reflecting on how our Heavenly Father intends to have a relationship with us in everything we do, although we claim that we are the ones that are doing the work, in fact it’s Father God who does it.

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Later, his friend used the picture and sketched the following cute picture of daddy & his two dolls decorating the sugar candy cottage!!

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“The Cake Master”

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I have a girl friend that is extremely passionate about baking and decorating cakes.

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The other day she baked a cake for special someone and decorated it with LTC.

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I wonder whose cake that could be for..

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Oh, they said it’s for me, oh really? Oh creamy cream!

They told me there was a surprise in the cake and wanted me to cut the cake and guess what is inside!

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I heard a crunch as I cut through the cake. Judging by the crunch I knew the special cake must be made out of Roca Butter Crunch Toffee. After several attempts, I gave up guessing what’s inside that mystery cake. Finally the “cake master” decided to reveal a slice of the creamy icing cake to all.

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To my delightful surprise.. it was a.. WATERMELON CAKE!
The sound of the crunch was from the sweet and juicy watermelon..

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absolutely delicious and refreshing, what a healthy cake, MMM MMM MMMMMMmm..

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Oh mind, this “cake master” outdid herself again, this is one of her latest craze that blown me into the far-away frozen wonderland!

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On this Good Friday, we contemplated once again on Jesus sacrificial love for us on the cross.

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Our contemplation was based on the Seven Sayings of Jesus on the cross.
(Three sayings from the gospel of Luke;
Three from the gospel of John;
and one from both the gospel of Matthew and Mark.)

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Since pretzel is one of the food for lent. We started our session by listening to the captivating story of how the tradition of pretzel came about…. of how the monks in the monastery used their left-over dough from the bread baking… of how they thought of the idea to knead the dough into the shape of prayer posture of crossed arm over the shoulder, hence the famous pretzel snack.

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It was also said that monks rewarded children with pretzels when the young ones memorized their prayers. Pretzel comes from the word Pretiola — in Italian meaning little reward. After the interesting pretzel story, we prayed with our arms crossed over our shoulders in the form of “pretzel” and enjoyed this “lenten” pretzels.

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Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
Luke 23:34

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Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.
Luke 23:43

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Here’s your son, here’s your mother
John 19:26-27

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Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
=My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34

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In this “darkest”station, we pondered how it felt like to be forsaken.

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I am thirsty.
John 19:28

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It is finished.
John 19:29-30

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Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.
Luke 23:46

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The children were intrigued by the old testament sacrificial ritual and had a better understanding of Jesus’ sacrificial love for us on the cross.

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After journeying through the Seven sayings, children paused to reflect on which saying of Jesus meant most to them.

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Children reflecting on family (yellow table represents warmth)
and “I am thirsty” (blue represents water).

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Of course, purple represents God’s kingdom.

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Children writing down their names and believing in Jesus promise of paradise!

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*The Bridge by William Ressler

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Crèche

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A crèche is similar to the setting of a preschool and a daycare center.

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The children at the Crèche loved to learn and love to sing. They were great singers and their singing were electrifying. Their voices were more than angelic; they sounded just like a refreshing bubbling brook, soothing and pleasing to ears and soul. Those kids were born to sing!

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The first creche building in Khayelitsha was sponsored by the Consulate of Canada in South Africa through the initiation by missionary Pastor Young Ohm.

For the past fifteen years or so, Pastor Ohm had helped raised money from overseas to build the twenty-three Creches throughout the township of Khayelitsha.

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When enough fund was made available, Pastor Ohm would go to a particular community and asked if they would like to have a creche center for free to create jobs for the community and to bless the families in the communities.

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If the leaders welcomed the idea, they would carve out a piece of land for African Leadership to help build the center; and the construction of the creche was usually done through the partnership between the local hired builders and the short term mission team.

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Once the creche was set up, the missionary would present the Center to the community leaders.

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The latter would operate the Center on its own by hiring their own teachers and recruiting children from their own particular community.

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To networking and equipping the teachers with effective teaching, LOVE-a (Lily of the Valley Educare Association) program under African Leadership, sponsors a monthly on-going teachers enriching and fun training for all the teaching team from the twenty-three creche centers.

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On a weekly basis, African Leadership also provides nutritious hot meal program to some centers. Due to limited funding, only eleven out of the twenty-three centers received such meal program.

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Each week the missionary in charge of food distribution purchases a-week-long grocery supplies for the Preschool Center. The food usually includes rice, milk, chicken, sugar, canned fish, spices, potatoes, juice, fruits and vegetables.

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Since our organization has an on-going financial support towards the creche’s ministry, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see how various ministries are being carried out.

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Sweets from Heaven

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This store reminded me of a conversation I had with someone recently who is a Sunday School Superintendent. We were reminiscing that when we were younger, one of the reasons we were attracted to Sunday School was to get free candy or a decorated pencil. We teased that because of the sweets we received from the local church, we were led to become Children leaders. Aaah, those candies must be sweets from heaven!

On my recent trip, our team brought some donated candies so we could share them with the children in South Africa. The candies were like five loaves and two fish — the more we gave, the more candies we had to give away. Just for sheer fun, I counted the people we had given to and figured that we had handed out almost 3,000 pieces of sweet treats away!

In our regular Sunday School setting, we also give out treats to children; we not only give them regular sweets but also the Word of God, which is sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

Psalm 19:7-11

The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.

The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.

By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

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To have a taste of Africa, I also brought back some treats for our children to enjoy.

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