It’s always most difficult to give thanks when everything you think you know about yourself is being challenged, but that also happens to be the time when a grateful attitude is most critical. So this year, the Thanksgiving holiday reminder fell at perfect time for me.
Thanksgiving is, of course, an American holiday and not observed in Papua New Guinea. School is in session, the store and other departments are still open, and the planes still fly. But because of the large American population living at this center, the celebration does happen—if not Thursday evening, then Saturday afternoon. Often an American family will invite other families, American, Australia, Papua New Guinean, Korean, etc. to share in a traditional (or non-traditional) feast.
In realty, the idea of a thanksgiving feast is not solely American. Papua New Guineans too observe momentous occasions with elaborate meals of chicken, sausages, cooking bananas, sweet potato, greens and pumpkins baked in pit in the ground. My hausmeri (female house helper) told me today that the village across the river celebrated Thanksgiving in August. There had been a large fight between two clans earlier in the year. Most of the houses in the village were burned, but only 4 lives were lost. The Christians in the village were grateful to God for protecting their church and their lives.
That kind of puts things into perspective doesn’t it?
A week has gone buy since my previous desperate post about the food situation here in Ukarumpa. I am extremely thankful to be able to say that meal preparation is becoming easier. I’m grateful for a wonderful evening with friends that included crafts, laughs, and roasted chicken! I thank God for the family he has given me—children so eager for the next great adventure, and a husband who actively pursues God. And I’m even grateful to God for stretching me in a greater likeness of himself.