Thursday, November 28, 2013

An Imported Tradition

It seems so long ago that Michelle and I lived in Bolivia.  It's been over six and a half years now but there are some things we will never forget.  One of our favorite memories was "importing" the tradition of Thanksgiving to Bolivia for our staff and our kids.  One year we even had a short-term mission trip literally import Thanksgiving by bringing us all of the dry and canned goods we couldn't purchase in Bolivia.  We brought Kaya our American tradition of our staple Thanksgiving foods and the tradition of stuffing ourselves silly.  After the first year the staff and children even began to come to the dinner in elastic waistband sweat pants! 

It wasn't the food or the fun though that made these days memorable.  It was the immense portion of gratitude we shared that day.  For on that day the struggles of discipline or school would disappear.  As we took time to share what we were grateful for it was never generic answers.  They were always heartfelt answers about people and events that literally changed life.  After the first child would speak tears would already be flowing.  Those expressions of gratitude were things like, "I can only imagine where I would have been without you...", "I've never knew what unconditional love meant..", "I wouldn't be here today without you."  Children literally giving thanks for saving their lives, the gift of family and experiencing grace and forgiveness. Hearing these words, seeing their faces, remembering exactly where they had been made those days uniquely special.

Paul tells us to give thanks in all circumstances.  Our circumstances are better than most, almost all actually.  As we celebrate thanksgiving let's take some time to give God praise and glory and express our gratitude not only for our blessings but above all for the incredible blessing of his grace.

To those of you who have and continue to partner in Kaya's work in Bolivia - Thank You!  We cannot do this work without you and your partnership helps us change lives.