November is here! And though I am missing the autumn colors and other fun in Nebraska I still get to count my blessings as we head into this Thanksgiving season.
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It is a time where my family and extended family get together to eat amazing food, enjoy a time of fellowship, and take time to be thankful for what we have. The last several years my mom has brought a new tradition to our family that brings in some of the American roots of the holiday as well as the God-centered reason that we celebrate; it is something we do at the breakfast table before we start the craziness of the day. As we sit down we are each given five kernels of corn. Then we go around the table, from youngest to oldest, saying five things we are thankful for.
The story behind the 5 Kernels of Corn goes like this:
On Nov. 11, 1620, the Mayflower landed on the northern tip of Cape Cod, bringing a group of people searching for religious freedom, also known as the Pilgrims.
It was not easy to settle in a new place… a new world. It was very hard, and the Pilgrims suffered greatly.
Winter set in, it was cold, and food was in short supply.
It is said that during the cold and harsh winter of 1621 that sometimes only 5 kernels of corn were rationed out to eat.
When spring came they were able to plant and thus they had a harvest that fall. In thanks for the food God provided, they gathered together to share and give thanks.
Thus, we take time to give thanks for what we have.
When my turn comes to say what I am thankful for I often find myself stuck, not because I am not thankful but because I do not always know how to put all I am thankful for into words. There is so much to be thankful for, and since I do not get to be home to share this tradition with my immediate family I want to share it with you.
I am thankful for God’s amazing grace.
I recently finished reading and studying the book of Romans. It is a book that I read and then reread another ten times just to try and get my head around what all the apostle Paul was trying to say. When reading it, I told my team leader that my summary of the book was law. We have the law before the law of Moses, we have the law of Moses, and then we have the new covenant through God’s amazing mercy and grace.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God…”
To be able to say we stand in the grace of God thanks to Christ’s sacrifice, that we have access to the Holy Spirit in our daily lives, and that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us leaves me extremely humbled and in complete awe of God. To live a life away from the grace and love of God is a life I cannot imagine. I am so thankful for his daily presence in my life.
The love of family and friends
I was blessed to be raised in a Christian family with parents who love each other and reflect Christ’s love in their lives. I have amazing sisters who I know I can call at a moments notice, who will laugh with me in the times of joy and cry with me when I am hurting. I have the best brothers a girl could ask for who, though they are younger than me, I deeply respect and look up to. I thank God for my niece and nephews who are growing up so very fast. I thank God for my extended family and the many friends He has placed in my life. God has placed so many people in my life that have become family away from family and I thank Him for his constant provision.
The privilege of serving here in Nepal
As many of you know, Nepal was not where I thought I was originally supposed to go. As a girl I was sure that my destiny was Cambodia, Africa 😉 Thanks to a wise father, though, I realized that my Cambodia, Africa, could be many different places. On arrival to Nepal my heart quickly became intrigued by the people here, and the more I spend time with them the more I am learning to love them. I still struggle a lot with the language, but it is something that I believe with God’s help I will conquer. I think the learning process will actually help open up some doors for me as I sit in some of the different shops asking for the shopkeepers to teach me as I practice saying the things I know.
I am still helping with an English class here a day a week and have now recently started a nurses’ group. The nurses’ group meets together twice a month and we educate each other on different health practices and encourage each other in the work we are doing. I have learned a lot from the nurses here and pray that God opens up doors for this ministry. My team and I have done a couple different camp ministries where we have had the privilege of teaching the kids different health things, Bible stories, safety things, and sports. I really do not think there is anything more amazing than watching kids jump for joy in the presence of God. Here in the next month we have a team coming in to help us teach a village multiple things, including: how to preserve food, how to make soap, how to recycle, and provide information on water sanitation. I am very much looking forward to this because it is something that these people can take and use in their daily lives. It will also be something that they can take ownership of and share with others.
As my heart continues to grow for the people and I see different opportunities arise I become overwhelmed. There is so much to do here, and the people here are so hungry. Yes, building trust is very hard and it is a slow process, but it is so worth it. My team leaders have addressed me about extending my time here another year, for a total of 3 years. I have taken time to pray about it and believe this is where God wants me to continue to serve. I pray that you will pray for me in this. I could not do any of this without you and your continued support. Thank you all for all you have done to help me serve in this wonderful country that has stolen my heart.
The ability to get up and run in the mornings to start my day may seem silly, but it is an area that I constantly thank God for. I need the time to clear my head before I start my day and I praise God for Him giving me the ability to workout.
I thank God for helping me control my numerous allergies. Before I came to Nepal I was not sure how my time here would go, but He has proven faithful.
I thank God for my family’s health. As a nurse being so far away from family in the case of an emergency has been hard. I know God is the great physician but sometimes it is nice to be with family in times of need. That said, I thank God for protecting my family and keeping them healthy throughout this past year.
The privilege of being brought up in a Christian home in a free nation.
Living in a country where you do not have the freedom to choose your belief makes me so thankful to have grown up in America. In Nepal your birth certificate says your religion. Your religion is what you are born into and there are consequences if you choose to go away from that religion. We get the privilege of knowing what it is like to be able to choose without much ramification.
On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower landed bringing a group of people searching for religious freedom. It was not easy for them to settle in this new world; they all suffered greatly and many of them died. I do not know if they only had five kernels of corn to eat a day or not during the winter of 1621. However, I am glad that they came and survived and gave thanks for all that God had given them. To me, Thanksgiving is such a rich holiday, a holiday that has become even more meaningful to me as I am now living in such a different world. I ask that you continue to pray for the safety of those who have chosen to believe in Christ as their Lord and Savior. I ask that you pray that God continues to open up doors for us here as we continue to work.
I hope you guys all have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love. I hope you all take time to be thankful for the many things that you have. My prayers are with each of you as you head into the Christmas season!