The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone but it was a much different experience for me this year. As it always seems, I was traveling during the holidays and working in my role as BGR Executive Director.
I spent Thanksgiving this year in the Horn of Africa. On a holiday that we in the USA traditionally gather with friends and family and enjoy some of our favorite festive foods, I was visiting work with our BGR partners who were unselfishly ministering to the poor and needy of the Horn. Many were coming for food; they were refugees from Somalia looking for relief from the terrible drought that plagues their country and a safe refuge from the armed conflict going on.
One morning, during my quiet time, I was reflecting on the differences between where I was and my home in Nashville, Tennessee. Here are some of the contrasts that I jotted down...
Thanksgiving in the Horn of Africa -
* Missing my family but being with the extended family of God that is serving in a difficult area of the world
* Missing turkey and the trimmings but helping to feed the hungry people of the Horn
* Not watching the traditional football games on TV but getting to see first-hand the amazing movement of God among some unreached people groups
* Not a citizen of this country but in truth, not a citizen of this world
As we were working with feeding stations and some health care clinics, one of the local workers made the following statement...
"We are learning day by day how to be a friend of the poor."
Jesus is a friend of sinners. He is also a friend of the poor. I am thankful that in His abundant grace and mercy, He reached out to me in my sin and in my poverty.
I am thankful that He allowed me to re-experience Thanksgiving in a whole new light.
Did I forget to say, "thank You, Lord"?