It was Thanksgiving 2015. We had 38 people attend, which included 3 families of relatives, 4 Redeemer families, 2 neighbor families and 1 ex-Stroller Strides family. My challenge was keeping food and people warm as this size of dinner could not be in our condo and the high was in the low 60's. After 7 trips to various stores over a 2-day period (twice to Lowes, twice to Costco, twice to Smart & Final and once to Ralphs), we were finally prepared for the day. I think the most encouraging things about the dinner were the following:
- The Lord blessed Lynsey and I with a fair amount of peace as we prepared for and hosted the dinner, despite all the unknowns of how many people would come, what side items they would bring and how to manage it all when we're not used to hosting parties;
- We had a great mix of guests that demonstrated how God is using us in our various touchpoints;
- We had 1 neighbor family (that just moved in last week and we had never met) RSVP by email almost an hour after the party started - we now know their names, a little bit of their story and they feel more engaged in their new neighborhood;
- The after dinner kickball game was fun for kids as young as 3 all the way through adults as old as me (and no injuries); and
- The last minute propane powered firepit that I bought the day before ended up being a great gathering place for the adults to warm their hands as it started to get dark as well as for the kids to get creative and find some sticks in the park and utilize the mini marshmallows at the hot chocolate table for some fire roasted mini marshmallows.
We're actually encouraged enough to try it again!
Shawn Monterastelli Central County Parish Chairman