More than any other holiday, I feel like I should be with family at Thanksgiving time. Since they live 10,000 miles away, that’s not possible, so we came up with a meaningful alternative. When the Pilgrims were strangers in a strange land, they invited the Indians to dinner out of appreciation for their help. For our Thanksgiving meal, we invite locals who helped us adjust to life in this new country. The Pilgrims were grateful for the Indians’ help, but they also thanked God for His provision and protection. Moving overseas and leaving comfortable props behind, has helped me appreciate God’s sustaining grace in new ways.
Last Thanksgiving, we watched a “Little House on the Prairie” movie. My eyes watered often as I watched the struggles of this pioneer family. When I read the Little House books as a child, it all seemed so glamorous and I wished I had lived during the days of the pioneers. I never noticed the hardships, especially those Ma had.
They left parents and grandparents, never expecting to see them again. They ventured into a harsh environment, where Ma washed clothes in creek water, swept a dirt floor and longed for companionship. They snapped at one another during times of stress. Pa blamed himself for bringing his family out there to face so many difficulties. They encountered wolves, prairie fire and hostile Indians. Except for God’s protection, they could have easily died.
We admire the pioneers for their independence, their self- sufficiency and pride. I realized while watching the movie, that it is the modern American who has become self-sufficient and proud for our fore-fathers had daily reminders of their dependence on God’s grace.
My husband says one of the most difficult things about living here is the lack of control over anything. For me, the lack of meaningful relationships is worse than the lack of control. In either case, we both feel the loss of things we had before coming to the field and we have daily reminders that we must depend on God’s grace. I guess that’s not all bad.
Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful for those who have helped us…and for God who has upheld us.