Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

This time of year I am flooded with memories of the five Thanksgiving feasts we celebrated 10,000 miles away in Zambia.  Each one was unique, each one was spent with a different group of friends, and each is a treasured memory.  To remind me again of the blessings God showered on us in a foreign land, I will re-post them this week.

As our first Thanksgiving in Zambia approached, I posted this on November 23, 2005:

 A few things I am thankful for:

In a land where people go hungry, we have plenty to eat.

In a land where many people are sick and dying, we are in good health (David is still having headaches from his bout with malaria, but we hope those will end soon)

I miss my children more than I can say, but I am thankful that others are ministering to them and caring for their needs.

In a land where many do not know about Jesus, I give thanks for the heritage of faith passed on to me through my parents.

In a land where education is available only to some, I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to go to school.

In a land far from my home, I give thanks for the many ways that the Brentwood Oaks Church of Christ family and our friends minister to us.

In a land where many have only the clothes on their backs, I give thanks for what I have to wear.

In a land where many are needy, I am thankful to be able to share what I have.

Happy Thanksgiving!

And a few days later I described our Thanksgiving spent with other missionaries in Lusaka:

I’ll be honest. As Thanksgiving approached, I dreaded the thought of our first holiday away from our children, our friends, and our former house in Austin. We had so many great memories of Thanksgivings in the past.

This year, however, God provided us with opportunities to make wonderful new memories in our new land. We scheduled a retreat for all the Americans associated with Namwianga Mission and met in Lusaka, the capital city. Brian and Sondra Davis drove down from Solwezi where they are beginning a new work. The rest of us (Sheri and Lois Sears, the Bruingtons, Roy and Kathi Merritt) drove up from Kalomo on Thursday. We stayed in three cottages at a missionary guest house run by the Evangelical Church of Zambia, so we had our own cooking facilities and even television! On Thursday we shopped for groceries and on Friday we cooked our almost authentic American Thanksgiving dinner. We ended up with two small turkeys (both delicious), dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole (with homemade onion rings), jello salad, green salad, corn casserole, rolls, pecan pie, and lots of other yummy desserts. No nshima for Thanksgiving, thank you!

Besides feasting together we also had times for sharing views on missions and for devotionals, prayer sessions, and lots of singing. On Saturday we all went into the main shopping center in Lusaka and did more shopping, especially for Christmas. We had five little ones under nine in the group, so the Bruingtons took all the kids for go-cart rides and a movie. David and I also managed to see the new Zorro movie that afternoon. Ah, civilization again, if only for a few days!

We ended our retreat with a special Sunday morning service together and then headed back to Namwianga rested, refreshed, and ready to take on the challenges that are waiting for us.

I did miss our children terribly. Sara went to Arkansas to be with David’s parents for the weekend. Our wonderful Brentwood Oaks church family made sure John was taken care of. God provided for our needs, and we made new memories. We are blessed.

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