Sunday, November 20, 2011
You are approaching Thanksgiving, a holiday that is not observed here (or anywhere else execpt Canada in October). That doesn't keep us from thinking about all for which we are thankful. It was always my favorite holiday because it meant family, good food, and not having to go into debt to get presents that many didn't want or need. It was just a gathering of the clan made all the more special because the clans don't gather much in modern American society. I've seen many, many films about how horrible it can be because all families don't get along--still they are family. We had relatives we'd have wished stayed away from our Thanksgiving dinners, but it wouldn't have been the same without that crazy cousin or obnoxious uncle. Our family here is very isolated from all of my extended family and there are quite a lot of them. One aunt and uncle had twelve children, all grown now with children and grandchildren of their own. I have a mother, two wonderful brothers, a truly fabulous sister, a sister-in-law, a niece, a nephew, three sons, two daughters-in-law, two grandchildren, and on my wife's side, a brother and sister-in-law and a nephew, and I truly enjoy the company of all of them (really), but this Thanksgiving it will be (as it has for the last seven years) , just my wife and one son, yet the three of us--thanks to the internet--will be in touch with as many of our family as we can. Leaving family is the hardest part of being a missionary. We've only been back twice in seven years and that was just for a total of two months and we didn't get to see everyone. We can only pray that our family understands that we are where we have to be and that we are blessedly happy here. Of the sixteen in our immediate family only three have managed to come here to visit and we are very grateful for that. This Thanksgiving we are especially thankful for all our family--how they have touched us, shaped us, and helped make us who we are. We pray that know we would be there if we could and are there in spirit--all the time. We pray God's blessings on each and every one of them. We thank God they are in our lives. We love them.