Music On Mission
I wanted to tell everyone about an event coming up this Friday (4/3/09) at Newby's at 7p.m. It's a fundraiser for the poverty-stricken of Quito, Ecuador. Music On Mission was started by the person who led my first mission trip, Tucker Strickland.
Going to Ecuador on a mission trip began when I started volunteering in our church kitchen in 2004, which eventually led to my teaching cooking classes there as a way to raise money. Tucker was working in the kitchen then too, as well as leading trips to Ecuador to help with the construction of a new school in Carmen Bajo, an extremely poor town just outside of Quito. Jennifer (my boss at the church) and I decided that the Carmen Bajo school would be a perfect place for the cooking class funds.
Tucker and Jennifer were headed on a mission trip to Ecuador, along with almost 80 other people, to start and finish the second floor of the, eventual, 4-story school. I had no intention of going since it was "Christmas"-time (July 4th weekend) for my husband's concrete company. However, God had a different plan for me and it worked out that I was able to go on the trip.
me & kids in Carmen Bajo / ceiling of the 2nd floor of the school
It was the hardest work I've ever done. I was actually making homemade concrete, of all things. No more getting angry at my husband for wanting to take a shower after work, even if we are running late to get somewhere...lesson learned! It was back-breaking, tearful, high-altitude, and some of the most fun I've ever had! I've never been so completely happy being so filthy. I had rocks, dirt, and sand in every possible place: my scalp, nose, eyes, ears, bra, underwear, shoes, socks....everywhere and it was wonderful.
Our lives, including the people of Carmen Bajo, were changed forever. When you see a community living in such poverty and need but with an attitude of happiness just for being alive, you see all of us with hearts renovated, eyes unlocked, gratitude, and a longing for change. Jennifer and I came back to the U.S. with one intention: raise as much money as we possibly could to finish that school.
Thanks to Tucker's prodigious leadership and contagious passion for the people of Ecuador, we came home and started Dinner On Demand one month later. Not only did DOD help to finish the school in 2006, but it also continues to fund international missions and local needs all over Memphis.
I hope everyone will go out this Friday to Newby's and support Tucker's new organization, Music On Mission. Come listen to some good music, chat with friends, and see how God has truly used and blessed Tucker with the ability to help, lead, and guide others into changing the world. Oh, and a donation would be great too! Thanks!
Carmen Bajo Empanadas
For the dough:
2 cups all purpose flour
3.5 oz. butter, softened
1/2 tsp. baking powder (the school kitchen lady called this "boom")
½ cup warm water
½ tsp. salt
1 teaspoon sugar
For the filling:
¼ pound tomatoes, chopped
½ small onion, chopped
½ bell pepper, chopped
½ pound chicken, grilled and shredded
2 Tbsp. butter
Mix all the dough ingredients together and add enough of the warm water, just to combine. The dough should not be tacky or sticking to your fingers. Roll the dough into small balls and roll each ball out like a pizza crust, about 1/8-inch thick. Meanwhile, sauté the vegetables for the filling, season with salt and the turmeric, and drain. Add the chicken to the vegetables and combine. Heat a deep sauté pan with at least 2-3 inches of vegetable oil, to about 375 degrees. Place some of the filling in each round, leaving enough room to fold over and crimp the edges. Fry the empanadas until golden brown. Serve with your favorite salsa.