A Thanksgiving Full of Thanksgiving by Karen
In Chapter 1 of Genesis we're told that we've been created in the image and likeness of God. In 1 John 4:16 we read that "God is love." It follows logically that if we were made in the image and likeness of God, who is love, that we were made from love and for love.
1 John 4:16 goes on to say that "whoever remains in love, remains in God, and God in Him." We know that when the love of God consumes our hearts that we're filled with real, authentic joy - joy that is impossible to describe - joy that cannot be duplicated and has no substitute. Without love people often feel empty and miserable.
As Thanksgiving drew near we prayed about what we could do, given the current covid-19 restrictions, to bring God's love to the people here in Aguada who feel unloved and alone. We decided that we didn't want anyone to start off the day feeling hungry, so we prepared a simple meal of egg, ham, and cheese sandwiches and bought some orange juice.
Chris told me that when we arrived he sensed a spiritual coldness. The men were somber and distant.
After wishing them a happy thanksgiving and visiting a bit, we broke open scripture. Chris read psalm 136, which is a hymn of thanksgiving. As he read, Chris told me that he felt like the coldness was being replaced with a gentle warmth. The man in the tan shirt began shouting, "Amen" which made everyone smile for all the right reasons.
In psalm 147 it says, "He sends forth His word and it melts them." This particular verse is referencing the frozen waters, but Chris recalled this psalm later on when we were talking about our Thanksgiving morning, and said that he felt like God's Word was melting the iciness in their hearts.
After we read God's Word we invited each person to share a couple things for which he is thankful.
After finishing with the guys on the corner, we went to another part of town where there is a covered basketball court.
Before coronavirus, this court was full of rowdy kids dribbling and dunking. In the absence of such activity, Alberto decided to make it his new home.
At the far end of the court there is a small public restroom, which has long since had its water shut off. Alberto uses this space to store his belongings and said that he can use the toilet as long as friends bring him water once in a while to flush everything down.
The huge smile on Jose's face reminded us of why it's so important to seek out the lost, lonely and forgotten.
Unlike last year in Kenya where we ate boiled kale and African flat bread for Thanksgiving, we got to have turkey and green bean casserole.
All praise be to God, we had lots of time to relax and have fun with the other missionaries.
We also feel especially thankful for the openness with which the Puerto Ricans have accepted us. We thank God for the love that they've shown us as we've done our best to love them.
When we saw Alberto the next day we had the chance to visit again. As we were leaving, Alberto told Chris, "I love you, man!" at which point Chris said, "I love you too!"
God is love and love is God. When we share God's Word, we share God's love and that love fills our hearts and brings us real joy.
I hope and pray that you had a blessed Thanksgiving and that your heart is overflowing with the joy of God's love! Peace, Karen
or call Family Missions Company at (337) 893 - 6111.
Thank you and may God bless you and your family!