Friday, May 22, 2009

Two Churches in Two Towns

This post is so late, but better late than never! On Sunday, May 17th, my nieces were baptized in Cary, NC. No better reason for Aunt Crazy to make a daytrip down from Richmond!

My brother-in-law's family all flew up from Florida for the occasion (and Kyla's 2nd birthday the day before), so it was a really a family reunion!

The Swartz grandchildren - Dylan, Lauren, Amelia and Kyla

The Swartz grandchildren when AUNT CRAZY tells them to pose!!

Dylan and Kyla hanging out before church ... Dylan is really the greatest cousin of all time. You'll see why in a few photos!

My beautiful, hilarious TWO YEAR OLD niece, Kyla!

The family preparing for the service.

Kyla chose to prepare for the service by coloring on the floor. On a paper on the floor, that is!!

The Swartz girls get baptized! Lauren, Matt, Christie and Kyla
(nevermind that boat behind them ... that was for a Jonah and the Whale skit that came later in the service!)

This cracked me up! Matt's sister Jen stands and dances when this unusual Methodist "sermon" called for it, but her two catholic children were NOT used to this activity at church! They just sat still in amazement as the crazy Protestants all but Hokey Pokey'd during the service. It was pretty funny.

Clapping hands during one of the songs. (Notice Dylan and Amelia are still frozen!)

The newly baptized girls greeted the congregation in a receiving line after the service.

Amelia, Mom Mom and Lauren on the way to Maggiano's for lunch. Mom Mom was a trooper to slide into the 3rd row seat - that's no easy task!

Why are the Swartzs smiling so big?

Because Dylan - best cousin EVER - agreed to put on this costume of Mike Wazowski (from Monsters, Inc., Kyla's favorite movie of the moment.)

Then Mema gave her a stuffed Sulley. That was it - Kyla was in heaven!

Dylan (err, Mike!), Kyla, Sulley, Amelia and Lauren

Kyla just kept pointing at Dylan in the costume and saying "MIKE WAZOWSKI!! MIKE WAZOWSKI!! MONSTER! DYLAN! MIKE WAZOWSKI!" Dylan also attracted more than a little attention from a toddler passerby in the hall, who walked right in our room.

Uncle Mike, Pop Pop and Mom Mom

Kyla, Ashley (Lauren's good friend), Lauren, Amelia and Dylan eating their pasta.

The kids hung out, played with toys and watched movies. It thought it was cute how Dylan put his hand on Kyla's back.

Mom Mom and Amelia chose stickers.

The Swartz family - Working diagonally from the upper left, Lauren, Matt, Pop Pop (Steve), Mom Mom (JoAnn), Dylan, Amelia, Mike, Jen, Christie and Kyla.

The Swartz grandchildren

We got back home and Dylan put the costume on again. Kyla was just as curious the second time around. So cute!

The day before ...

On Saturday, May 16th, I joined the Lual family at a reunion of Sudanese Refugees. It was a lot of fun, and very interesting to see everyone reunite.

Nyabol (another Nyabol, who is friends with the Middle School girls) and Achan

Deng and Duk

Mama Awut

I'm still not 100% sure why there was a stuffed lion above the cabinet in this church, but it seemed appropriate for this gathering of native Africans, actually. The kids thought it was cool, too.

Nyaring and her daughter Adeng

Flossie with Duk and Adeng (and a random baby she acquired at some point in the day!)

Cute picture of Duk and his niece, Adeng (I'm not kidding!)

Yay and Muloh

Muloh and Awut

Deng playing soccer

Hmmm... what do I spy inside this slide?

Ah! It's Nyabol!

Deng and Anger helping Muloh and another little boy with their cozy coupes

Aunt Crazy (with Deng's cap in my pocket!) and Nyabol

Duk, Aunt Crazy, and Anger

Achan working the information booth.

The adults watching a documentary in the sanctuary. As I listened to them laugh in unison at times and maintain solemn expressions at other times, I really wished I spoke Arabic or Denka so that I could understand why. Still, I looked around at these faces in wonder. How many have seen family and friends killed? How many were almost killed themselves? How many were trying to be grateful for the security and the opportunities offered by the United States, but secretly knew they would certainly trade it all for the opportunity to go home?

I am so fantastically lucky that I AM home, living with comfort and ease among my own people, culture, and policies. I have never experienced an existence WITHOUT the security and opportunities of the United States. Incredible, really.

The documentary on a favorite Sudanese leader prior to al-Bashir.

Ayak and Nyaring watching the documentary.

1 comment:

92.9 The Wave's Jennifer Roberts said...

The Lual kids look BEAUTIFUL!!! What a great day for everyone it seems :)
And the Swartz kids, too... so sweet and cute; I love seeing their personality coming out !