The holidays are a time with family and friends. It is a time for eating our favorite foods and catching up with news and events that have transpired over the past year in our families and lives of our loved ones.
On Thanksgiving specifically, many of us try to take a moment to reflect and give thanks to God for the blessings of the past year. This year we decided to have a big feast with all of our new family and Haitian friends. We will have about 50 people at the mission for lunch.
We had a ministry give us a free turkey for our family. What a huge blessing that is. Turkeys here are hard to come by and very expensive to buy. So early this morning I put the turkey in the oven and prepared the green beans and corn. We will also bake a cake. Very few Haitians have eaten cake and if so it is for a special occassion. Ovens are very rare and it is hard to cook a cake on a fire with three rocks like they cook their rice and beans.
We are also having rice and beans, fried plantains, haitian beet salad, potato salad, and fresh fruit. It is going to be quite a spread. I am going to explain our American Thanksgiving heritage and give each person a chance to share what they are thankful for. I have heard many Haitians tell me that the reason we have turkey on Thanksgiving is because the first American's did not have anything to eat so they prayed and turkeys started falling out of the sky everywhere. Sounds like a good story to me.
Here are a few things I will be sharing that I am thankful for:
My family that I moved here with 18 months ago- Joy, Jacy, Judah, Josie, and Jaxon
For Luke being able to come and join us here this year
For Justice Kacia and the privilege to adopt her
For all of the kids that we have been able to give a home to- Kobe, Jeanmoi, Adelson, Uvensia, Jean Patrick, Wilna, Naica, and Kimberlie
For Daphne's diabetes getting controlled and doors beginning to open to get her to America for her eye surgery
For others that live and help at the mission like Colleen and her two twins Kristi and Krista, along with Grann- the little widow whose house was washed away in the flood
For our team of guys Dago, Wesner, Paul, Robbins, and Bazaleis and the girls that help us Mirlande, Mireille, Oranie, Joanne, Claredonge, and Dedette
For all our fisherman and the work God is doing in their lives and the changes we are seeing in their village
For all the over 70 kids we got to put in school this year
For the many many friends that God has sent to visit us here from so many places in the US and Brazil
For the people back home that love us and continue to pray for us and let us know they are supportive of what we are doing down here
For God beginning a new work in my life to change me from being so selfish and unloving to beginning to see people the way He sees them- I have a LONG way to go though...but I am thankful for the journey
For brightness of the future and the great opportunities we know lie ahead and the grace we can trust in to help with the difficulties that come
I could go on and on. I have so much to be grateful for here. But we also have our precious older two children Logan and Megan in the US. It is harder to say Thank you Lord for them being there when I want them with me here. But we know God does all things well.
It is hard to say thank you Lord for my parents that are getting older and my dad having complications from diabetes and I am not there to help him. I am not there to just sit and talk to him today on Thanksgiving after we get back from deer hunting like we used to do. I won't have my mom's mashed potatoes or Joy's mom's banana pudding but we still say Thank you Lord because He does all things well.
All of us have to make a choice today- we can choose to focus on the things we DON'T have or have lost this past year or we can allow our minds to meditate on our many blessings and be overwhelmed by the "goodness" of God. I choose the latter. I pray you will too.