Thursday, November 24, 2011

Not A Typical Thanksgiving

This year we did not celebrate Thanksgiving as usual.  Far from it.  There was no watching the Macy’s Day parade, cooking all morning and running around at the last minute getting every thing ready for family, watching football all afternoon, napping and eating again.  No, this was not our typical Thanksgiving.  Most Thanksgivings I am more concerned with getting to wherever we’re supposed to be on time or making sure the pie turns out just right.  But today…

I looked into the eyes of a 20-something Muslim woman that is paralyzed from the waist down and listened to her story.  She was eight years old when her parents were murdered in front of her eyes and when she was raped, shot and left for dead in Somalia.  As I hugged her I wanted nothing more than to take her pain away, past and present, and prayed that she will one day understand that there is hope in the One that came to save her.

I shook hands with a boy that arrived just two days ago from Sudan and I wondered what he must be thinking about his new home.

I knelt on the ground and rubbed the back of a woman from a small country that borders Nepal as I tried to understand what she was saying.  In the end, I think she was overwhelmed and eventually calmed down as she got used to all of the activity.  Later I smiled as I watched her making a necklace and taking extra plates of food back to her room…something I’m sure she was never able to do during her 20 years in the refugee camp in her home country.

I spent time with a Muslim family in their living room.  They fled Somalia not long ago.

I was on the verge of tears when during a prayer a woman we were serving walked over, grabbed my hand and bowed her head to pray with us.

I was reminded of the simplicity of the Gospel.

And tonight I am praying for each and every one that we served, those that I was fortunate to meet and those that I did not.

We spent the day with others from our church serving at a local refugee community that houses refugees from ten countries.  Some are Christians, but the majority are Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and other religions.   We played games and did crafts with the children, served lunch, distributed food and necessity bags and shared the love of Jesus in words and action.

In the end, as we prayed, I couldn’t help but look around at those that had come to serve and the Christian refugees that had joined us, hand in hand, in prayer and thought…this is what heaven must look like.  In heaven, it won’t matter what country you were born in, the language you spoke, the color of your skin.  A huge circle of brothers and sisters from literally all over the world joined hands today to give thanks to Him.  We saw just a glimpse of heaven today.

Everyone that knows me knows that my heart is in international missions, but my passion for missions started right here in this country when I was child serving wherever and however I could.  Today I got the best of both worlds.  This was the best Thanksgiving I have ever had.


Heather said...

Can't wait to hear about it tomorrow.

kim said...

Tears of joy are streaming down my face. I don't know if I can have a "normal" thanksgiving after yesterday. I was more thankful that those sweet souls made it to this country than I have ever been for anything on thanksgiving day. I am also thankful for your gift of writing. Your blog post made me sit still and truly reflect on yesterday - to revisit those precious faces. Without it, I don't think I would have allowed myself to admit it's true effects on me. You are gifted and loved.

kim said...

Tears of joy stream down my face as I read this post. I don't think I can have a "normal" thanksgiving after yesterday. I was so thankful that those sweet souls made it to this country. Never have I been that thankful for anything on thanksgiving day. Your gift of expression through words has caused me to sit still this morning and truly reflect on yesterday's events - to revisit those precious faces in my mind. I'm truly thankful for that, without which I would not have taken the time to admit it's true effects on me. Thank you. You are gifted and loved.