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Secret Place of the Most High, Kingdom
Learned Student, Honest.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Meat Pie - it's all about what's on the inside

An Agnes creation - pre-baked | Aunty Grace recipe
Saturday we made meat pies from scratch!

We = some women from the African Christian Fellowship Young Adults Chicago chapter (Agnes, Vida, Precious and I) and Aunty Grace. Aunty Grace used to cater in Jos, Nigeria before she and her family relocated to Chicago, Illinois. She will be instructing the women as we make various Nigerian delicacies, as well as other homemaking skills, in the upcoming weeks. We don't have a clever name yet but I'll call it 'Tea Time with Aunty Grace' in the meantime.

Honestly, I've never made meat pie before. It's not as easy as the final product looks.

the good stuff: potatoes, carrots, onions, there's more but you'll have to get the recipe for that. :-)
Aunty Grace blessed us with her recipe, consisting of a special formula, bonus ingredients and tricks of the trade which came from several trials over the years. We broke into a discussion regarding meat pie generally and our disapproval of some meat pies as of recent. They don't make them like they used to; with the good filling. Now most meat pies just have meat, but what happened to the potatoes?! Furthermore, I'm turned off from eating some meat pies when the crust is so dry, too thick, or meat pies where the filling resembles something from white castle *cough* Mr. Biggs.

So we started with a lovely prayer, which included praying over the process and the hands used to make the meat pie, the time we would spend together, as well as the final product, and the mouths that will eat it! ;-)

Come to the ACFYA meeting this Sunday at 4pm if you would like to sample what we spent hours making on Saturday morning (into the afternoon). Let us know what you think; tasted good to us! If you missed this tea time, there will be more in the near future.

As we commenced the first step, mixing and kneading the dough, Aunty Grace told us some stories about her mother and how she would pray about everything, throughout the day, and trained Aunty Grace to pray all the time as well. For example, while you're bathing, pray that as your cleansing your exterior, God will enable you to clean your interior, and that it be purified, pleasing and acceptable to Him. This opened my perspective to praying while performing certain routine and seemingly trivial tasks. Regarding, the shower prayer, I never thought about doing that, but it's a very wise prayer for anyone, and most feasible too.

Are you starting to see the symbolism - it all clicked after I left.

Lately, Hillsong's "From the Inside Out" song reccurently plays in my head. As I consider what it means to truly love Him from the inside out, I just imagine how I would look if my (spiritual) body was flipped inside out, or opened up for display. How dirty would it be and what needs cleaning? To get a better understanding of what I mean please read this post. ---> Give me a new heart - Tolu Akande

I bring this post full circle with a metaphor by Dr. Tony Evans, which consisted of  women and turkeys. In short, on Thanksgiving, most of the turkeys look alike, but Dr. Evans prefers the stuffing. In his metaphor, the stuffing is the important part and it will distinguish the well-done turkeys; the Godly women, from the turkeys that merely look good outwardly.

Similarly, each meat pie has a general look to it. Some people are attracted to the meat pie by the dough, whether it's golden and tender enough (or firmly toasted enough - whichever your preference). However, whether you will continue to enjoy the meatpie, once it's passed your first test of approval, will be determined by what's on the inside of the meat pie, which I might add took a longer time to prepare and perfect to our desired taste. Moreover, His approval will only be based on what's on the inside.
“Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Here are some pictures from the day courtesy of Agnes.
Precious cuts to shape, Aunty Grace is filling, Christina is sealing, Vida is flattening
Agnes flatens the dough - to create the shape that Vida has, before the filling
the second to last step: brush with egg yoke

After all that, 50+ meat pies later, good fellowship and learning,
I leave you with this very important principle:

"Never let someone come to your home, and leave hungry." - Aunty Grace

Nigerian Celebrations - The Money Spraying

I went to a 50th birthday party on Saturday of a family friend. The entire ceremony was very well executed; from the venue, staff and decorations, to the food service, live music and dancing after. I just loved the speeches on behalf of the celebrant! A lovely Christ-centered family indeed.

Now in the West African culture, Nigerian specifically, at celebrations, you will see people "spraying" the celebrants. Meaning, they will place several dollar bills on the celebrant, and their family, while they are dancing, usually to the tunes of a live band.
Taken by Sade O. | Tayo's wedding

The younger relatives or friends help collect the money that has fallen to the floor. Meanwhile, a close friend or relative sits near the dance floor to count and change money received from those gathering the money that has been sprayed. Party attendees will bring their larger bills ($20, $50, $100) to change them for 1$ bills so that they can spray the celebrant for a longer duration, as they dance with them. Some prepared party attendees have previously changed their money to one dollar bills in anticipation of this portion of the program.

Taken by Sade O. | Tayo's wedding

At wedding celebrations, the band leader will also call the surnames of families that are also in attendance to celebrate with the couple, one at a time, to the front-center of the dance floor. The family gets sprayed and they also spray money. Moreover, the band also gets sprayed. Anyone in their twenties or younger, has the potential to leave the party in a better financial state than they were in when they arrived just by dancing.

Chuckstr Photography | Nigerian (Yoruba-Igbo) wedding - Amarachi & Segun

The more you dance the more you get sprayed, by your aunty's and uncles. (refer to a previous post -- almost everyone is an aunty, uncle, or big mommy, and so forth)

However, at this party in particular, the emcee was told to announce at the end of the program, yet prior to dancing, that "the celebrants have asked that we do not spray them."

My grandmother gave a Nigerian fist pump followed by an "enh-hehn." She was very pleased with this announcement, as she is not an advocate of this practice of the culture. My mother is also not a fan of the money spraying based on some of our conversations. My grandmother noted the next day that soon after the announcement was made, the pastors then proceeded to dance with the celebrants. I gather this is generally not the case in the event that money is being sprayed.

So, I want to know your thoughts: 
how do you feel about "the money spraying" at celebrations?

Chuckstr Photography | Nigerian (Rivers State - Ikwerre) graduation party - Judith & Jessica  

Chuckstr Photography | Nigerian (Rivers State - Ikwerre) graduation party - Judith & Jessica

Chuckstr Photography | Nigerian (Yoruba-Igbo) wedding - Amarachi & Segun

Chuckstr Photography | Nigerian (Yoruba-Igbo) wedding - Amarachi & Segun

Monday, March 14, 2011

Catch my drift

This train of thought started on March 6, and began to paint a picture this past Wednesday. Alex and Auntie Tade are leading our group in the study of Galatians during Digging Deep.

Pastor Isoken is in our group and everything she said was hitting points. She gave a real example and concluded by saying:
"may we all make Heaven."
*thinking* {wow, and I'm not even a Pastor or Deaconess etc., don't be so sure that everything you're doing will guarantee your name in that Book - The Lamb's book of eternal life. I would like to think so, but I know I could be a better Kingdom steward.}

Later that night I see Daniel's facebook status: 
"They told me Christ was comin back and I was scared of that, but ever since I got saved I'm prepared for that."

So I commented: 
is that right? go 'head DaCypha! wooot wooot!

#lowkey not sure if we're all prepared for that just yet. #letsgotowork!

The next morning Henry sends his devotion text: 
Our prayers have stains in them, our faith is mixed with unbelief, our repentance is not so tender as it should be, our communion is distant and interrupted. We cannot pray without sinning, and there is filth even in our tears. And yet He still loves us and wants us to live with Him forever. What an awesome God! Devotion folks!
That morning, on my way to the city, I heard Dietrick Haddon's 'Well Done' on the radio. I heard it first when Jonathan posted it on Buzz.

"I just want to make it to Heaven, I just want to make it in. I want to cross that river, I want to be free from sin. I want my name written in the Lamb's book of Life"
{Okay message. Not fully, He is still painting.}

The next day: Japan.
 Japan "hundred times worse than Haiti" - @cnn - via Tolu

Later that day, I see a tweet from Jerry:  
These pics from Japan I'm seeing look like something out of some end times movie.

Meanwhile, at our leadership conference, Pastor Omolehin was explaining  how many Christians are focused on the Kingdom aspect of the phrase "Kingdom Stewardship." Yet, there is a lack of the stewardship message amongst end-times-pastors.

{it's officially official}
Then . . .

Catch my drift? Painted.

Let Your Kingdom come, Let Your will be done.

Celebrating the Life of a Gem

My tribute excerpt from the Service of Songs program:

My grandfather-

I remember the first time I met my grandfather about 20 years ago in Lagos in 1991. Later that year he came to Chicago. I was in first grade, living on the north side of Chicago at the time and my school was on the other side of the city so I rode the school bus. My school bus stop was at Lawrence and Sheridan. And every morning he would walk me to my bus stop rain, shine, or snow. And I never missed my bus or a day of class that year. Every evening he would be waiting there, with his newspaper, to pick me up, every single day, even when my bus came late.

He also helped me to learn Yoruba. He drew several different pictures and put the Yoruba word next to it to help me remember. He was also my personal tailor whenever I needed a quick wardrobe hem or mending.

He eventually went back to Lagos and came back to Chicago 10 years later. One important thing is that he was very dependable. I remember calling my mom over the weekend to tell her about an issue at school and Monday morning my mom and grandparents drove down to Champaign on my behalf.

I never saw him get angry. He was a peaceful man that loved my grandma dearly. He even switched churches for her. Back home he was a Deeper Life attendee, however here he decided to become a Redeemed member because he knew how much my grandma loved Jesus House.

I’m thankful that he is no longer in pain. I’m thankful that God gave me a chance to say good bye. I’m thankful that he had a relationship with the Lord and for that I am thankful because I know we will meet again.

Happy home going grandfather. We love you.

Pa May Mofolurunsho Oladipo Ogunnaike
(Pa Gospel)
May 19, 1931  - January 30, 2011
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