Friday, November 6, 2009

My Christmas Banquet

Friday, November 6

I love what my friend, Garry said the first time he wrote on his blog: shameless self-promotion. Isn’t that pretty funny? But I guess that pretty much sums up what a BLOG is.

More than this being about me, I would like it to be some sort of connection between you and my ministry. True, my ministry involves my children and grandchildren, since I’m a mother and grandmother. But something very, very dear to my heart, also, is the annual Ladies’ Christmas Banquet our church sponsors. This will be our 11th one, on November 20, and I can truthfully say, they get more and more involved every year. I would like to take you through the next two weeks’ preparations so you can “feel” the excitement we feel…the stresses, the challenges, and finally the reward of all our labors, prayers, time, and money required to put together an event like this.

 At exactly two weeks away from our Banquet date, this is just the “winding things up” time, which is probably why I even have time to sit at my computer. The work began, as always, the day after last year’s banquet.

My son in law, Ulises, and my daughter, “Fizzie” picked me up about 10:00, and took me out for breakfast. They were doing deputation, and wanted me to accompany them on a little “field trip” to survey the nearby town of Tuxtla. We were all pretty exhausted, but enjoyed talking about the events of the past evening.

A few days later, I flew with them to Mexico City, and met Pastor Omar Torres, and his lovely wife Ana. They graciously hosted our over-night stay. We had breakfast in their home the next morning, and then drove to Querétaro, where we would spend a few days, before driving to Chihuahua to spend Thanksgiving with my brother, Lanny, and his family. It was on that drive, having rested for several days after the banquet, that Ulises began to talk with me very openly about this event so dear to my heart. He began to make suggestions that might possibly make the banquet better, and then he said. “One thing I noticed the night of the banquet was that you were a little stressed. It’s all right to get angry, but no one should know it but you. Everyone knew you were upset at the boys for not coming in on cue to sing when they were supposed to. What you need is a banquet administrator, someone who can take the work load off your shoulders, leaving you free to prepare your essays, and organize your program, visit your ladies, etc.” So I chose him. He accepted, and while he hasn’t been able to be here like I would like him to be, he has put in a lot of time organizing and directing. He has made suggestions such as monthly prayer breakfasts the last three months before the banquet; a pre-banquet celebration of sorts. At these prayer breakfasts, we pray for the first lady of our town, and for the wives of former mayors. We even have a former lady mayor attend…the first female mayor in the history of our city.

He also suggested that starting right after last year’s banquet, each lady in the church reserve her ticket…about $18 dollars…with at least $1.50. As the year goes by, she can pay a little each week, until her ticket is paid for. Many of our ladies have already purchased their tickets, and are working on their 2nd and 3rd ones, to give to their lost friends.

It would take volumes to name all the things that go into the banquet preparations, but if you could be here, you would sense, as I do, the atmosphere of wedding preparations. Choice of invitations…Anna is responsible for that…decorations, centerpieces, personal gifts for each lady who attends, and corsages for each special lady…this is Liz’s department. Anna also is in charge of special music rehearsals, organizing the music for each singer, banquet programs. These girls homeschool their two children, and Liz also has a three-month old to care for, not to mention her duties as pastor’s wife.

Last night was the second workshop to prepare decorations, centerpieces, etc., and I’ll try to post a picture of the 20 ladies I had in my dining room last night, crowded around my table.

I have given out packets to the first ladies who are invited every year. These packets contain: corsage, invitation, ticket, and a card with my phone numbers. These have to be given out about three weeks before the banquet.

This year’s banquet will be given at a lovely hotel. We will have access to a large banquet room, complete with a platform. This will make it much easier for our ladies to see the people who will be participating in the program.

A special item on our program this year will be the children’s segment. About 20 children from an orphanage in a nearby town will be coming to sing. My grandchildren, also, have prepared two songs, and my dear friend, Debbie Morris, from Tuxtla will be coming the week of the banquet to teach them to play several Christmas songs with bells. Doesn’t this sound like fun?

My daughter, Anna, came up with the idea of taking an invitation packet to our state capitol, and inviting our governor’s wife. Excellent idea!

Ladies from the Beacon Hill Baptist Church have worked all year long purchasing gifts for our first ladies, and they have arrived, and are safely stored in my closet.

Our guest speaker for this year is the pastor I met last year, Pastor Omar Torres. He and his wife, Ana, and their two little girls will fly in the day before the Banquet, and he will be speaking that evening in Ulises church in Chiapa de Corzo, about 40 minutes away.

Anna is just putting the finishing touches on Debbie’s dress, and I know she will look like a little princess when she sings.

Ulises and Fizzie will be returning Wednesday from a two-week series of speaking engagements…YIPES, MR. ADMINISTRATOR!...just a week and a half before the banquet! But not to worry, everything is in order, and running smoothly, so far.

As in anything which requires cooperation, I always pray for a spirit of unity, and harmony in all we do. We are one big happy family, but even big happy families don’t always see eye-to-eye. So will you please pray for the Lord to keep the important things in mind, and just accept the other things we don’t like?

End of first post! Now if I can just figure out how to get it out of WORD and to you!

Billie Sloan

Nahum 1:7


Jolene said...

Yeah!!! You did it!!! Now I am going to shamelessly self-promote your blog.... on mine!!! So, I hope you are ready for LOTS of readers! I love you and am so proud of you for making this big step of starting a blog.... it is going to be something YOU will enjoy and OTHERS will enjoy as well.

Garry Wesner said...

This is so awesome! Thanks for setting this up as a way to share your ministry with us here at home.

I didn't realize your banquet took so much work; I know God will bless your efforts in ways you could never imagine!