November 25, 2011

How We Spent Thanksgiving

(SIDENOTE:  Here, the American holiday of Thanksgiving is called Dia de Accion de Gracias, which means Day of the Action of Thanks.  I like that.)

We had the privilege of being invited to a missionary lunch with other Americans (and mixed families) in Asuncion.  We met at an outdoor pool nearby the school where several of those missionaries work, and everyone brought potluck dishes.  We ate chicken (turkey's pretty hard to come by here), homemade stuffing, homemade baked beans and coleslaw, a slew of desserts, and well, you get it.  It was WAY yummy!

Even better than the food we've come to look for at Thanksgiving, was the time spent sharing with others.  The day before, we'd had the opportunity to do this at the Bowens' home, as well, and it really meant a lot to us to be able to be encouraged by others in our "line of work," and to hear what God's up to in other ministries and cities.  The girls were thrilled to spend some time with other missionary kids, and excited about spending the day in the cold pool.

Afterward, one of the families spent the night at our home, which meant we had leftovers for dinner.  I explained to Saul that the Thanksgiving lunch isn't as much what makes us feel like we're keeping with tradition, but that it's really those leftovers that make it feel like home.  :)

We noticed on the way home that it's that time of year again--for a couple of weeks every spring, this certain kind of bug (kind of like a dragonfly) comes out in droves, swarming any light source.  Every time we drove under streetlights, they were pelting the windshield.  Those giant toads were in heaven, though, eating their Thanksgiving meal right under the lights.

I tell you the bug story so that this next part makes sense.  When those two weeks come about, we close the house up as tightly as we can. The bugs still get in, but much less than if we left the doors and windows open as we normally do.  Even so, we were squishing them and swatting them and there were bugs and guts their little wispy wings all over the floor and flitting around the lights.  Unavoidable.  We ate in the dark and left one light in the house on, then all (well, not me) ran to that area and squished everything possible.

About the time we settled down, the mission team from next-door dropped by.  It's a team of 10 Brazilian and 2 Paraguayan young adults who are attending a YWAM training school, and they are here for two weeks.  We all sat around with a few guitars, some congas, a metal bottle with bb's inside, and a tambourine, and sang praise songs in Spanish, English, and Portuguese.  It was spectacular, despite the bugs and the fact that 20 of us were crammed in here with musical instruments and the inability to open a door or window to help let the sound out.  Thank the Lord that it was a mild night, and we weren't sweating up a storm in here.

All in all, we had a great day remembering how much we have to be thankful for.  Thankful to be alive, to spend another year celebrating this day, to be living out a dream that many will think of but never be able to experience, to be part of God's plan for His kingdom, to have been born in a great country.  For family, for friends, for prayer supporters, for financial supporters.  For God's provision, for His direction, for His wisdom, for His faithfulness.  All that and so much more.  Hope you had a great day, too!

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