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21 November, 2012

So different and yet still the same (thankfully)…

“Yes, it is very different. Yes, it is hard.” These are our answers when asked about our first Thanksgiving in Uganda. It is not the same as in Kenya. It is not the same as in the U.S. And it won’t ever be the same again, which is hard. It is so different and yet still the same (thankfully).

Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Uganda. It is not a holiday in Kenya. Just like in Kenya the fourth Thursday of November is a regular working day.  Children are in school.  Adults are busy in their jobs and responsibilities. We are used to that.  No difference there.  It’s not hard or wrong. It’s just the way it is and we are used to it after 20+ years of saving our corporate Thanksgiving celebrations for a more convenient time than Thursday lunch.

Still, this year we experience a great difference and yes, it is hard. We will not have any corporate celebration with our children. This is the first Thanksgiving day in the past 24 years we won’t have at least one of our children at the table with us. It is very different. But thankfully it is still the same in so many ways.

We have so much to be thankful for and we have many people with whom we can share the giving of thanks.  We have a friend staying with us for several days, including Thanksgiving. He is a delight to have around and he helps fill the hole that could feel gaping if we looked at it too long. Our mission staff will all gather for a meeting of giving thanks and worship together as we pray and set goals together this weekend.  There will be a mission staff game of American football played on Saturday afternoon. We will also share a “traditional” Thanksgiving meal on Sunday as a mission family.

We see and experience God at work all around us and within us. We know the love of family and have all the happy memories of celebrations with them. We have the great privilege of serving the Lord in Africa, sharing the good news of salvation and freedom in Christ. We have loving friends right where we are who freely join us in giving thanks to the Giver of all good gifts.

We know that if we would ponder too long how different this Thanksgiving is for us we would totally defeat the meaning and purpose of giving thanks.  We choose to focus on what is the same, and to give thanks, freely and generously, in all things. So different and yet still the same….THANKFULLY!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

PS.   We've uploaded some photos from our trip to Kenya.   Click on "Kenya Trip" photos on the left.