So, one week from today is Thanksgiving in the USA. It is not a celebrated holiday here, but I think it is important to think about many things for which to be thankful so in preparation for one week from now I will list some things every one reading this post should be thankful for! Also today marks one month since I left home and this Saturday will be one month since I’ve been here in the Philippines. Quite crazy to think almost 1/6 of my journey is already complete.
The following list of things to be thankful for are both things from this trip and previous trips that always stand out more when outside of the “comforts of home”. For the many comforts of daily life that most people take for granted until they are stripped away: running water, flushing toilets, showers (hot water especially), toilet paper, electricity, etc. For the superior comforts such as air-conditioning or heat, internet, ways to communicate quickly such as phones, windows, and more. For the ease and availability to get products needed/wanted in an organized and fairly timely manner by going to a store that has prices clearly marked most of the time, aisles big enough to maneuver around in, 99% of the time has the product you want or an acceptable alternative, and organized lines for checkout. For the most important thing which is the most often taken for granted – the people you love close enough to hug, spend time with, and remind them how much you love them! There are many people who do not have this opportunity because they have lost loved ones or must be far away from them for one reason or another.
As for what I am thankful for here in the Philippines it has to include meeting a wide variety of people who make me consider not only different perspectives/viewpoints which I may not have considered before, but also challenges me to determine why I make the choices I do to either do or not do something with integrity. I am thankful to volunteers with which I have both good interactions and slightly less desirable ones because both are growing and stretching experiences for me. Also for the opportunity to allow family and friends to love on me when I am having a moment of weakness or need reminding that this is ultimately NOT about me, but rather about what the Lord is doing and ultimately may not have anything to do with me, but rather may be for someone else entirely. No cost is too high for the Lord and although I have a tendency to revert to selfish desires I am thankful for those who are quick to remind me that my discomfort for 6 months or so is certainly worth even just one person receiving what they need to see Jesus and it making a difference in their life forever whether I know or not. I’m thankful God is willing to accept my crazy notions and throw me in a place where everything I try is broken so that I must learn to literally be content in every situation in which I find myself. I am thankful for Paul’s example of how zeal for the wrong thing can be corrected and Christ can put you where He needs you, be patient with you, and continue to guide you with patience completely unfathomable. Paul has long since been the missionary example, but I am very glad the Bible doesn’t paint His life as glorious and awe inspiring because although moments of time are exactly that as a whole the life of a missionary is far from that. I’m very thankful to be in a place where God is again blowing all my expectations and lack of out of my nice boundaries I had unknowingly placed them in. There are so many more that I simply don’t have time to list them all, but I am thankful for each and every time something to be thankful for floats through my mind and makes me smile!
To wrap up this thankful post I want to say I’m very happy that on this my 8th volunteer trip, I will be spending 5 more months wrestling with all the things the Lord wants to show me and am very thankful to have the support team that I do. Those that are praying whether I know it or not I want to thank you personally, I couldn’t do this without lots of prayer! Those who help keep me on the straight and narrow (you know who you are) I am thankful that you understand me, my passion, and want the best for me! I’m thankful to have the best support anyone could ask for and the ability to keep in touch as well as I do here! Most importantly I’m thankful the Lord loves me enough to lead me where I am to be and teach me what I need to learn no matter the cost! His love is truly amazing! So as you prepare for this special celebration in the USA, make it be what it was meant to be – A TIME TO BE THANKFUL IN EVERYTHING! No matter how great or how bad your situation, think of what you do have that someone else does not have even if that is just that you are loved be Jesus and know Him while others do not. 🙂 I’d love to hear your thankful remarks as well since I will be celebrating here without a big meal. 😉