The first Thanksgiving was Thursday night for the Italian Church. Kathy basically does the whole thing by herself, with some help here and there. I tried to be as much of a help to her as I could. Thursday I had my language classes, so I could only help her for a few hours in the morning, and then during the meal. Frank put me in charge of decorating the bulletin board, which was really interesting. He asked me if I was creative, and I was like, no not really. I enjoy making scrapbooks, but that’s about the extent of my creativity. And even then, I’m not very creative. So, last week began the project of the decorations…
My friend, Thomas, offered to help me, for which I was so thankful! You see, not only am I not creative, but I don’t have a printer to print things; nor do I have a Wal-Mart to run to in order to get supplies. This really made life interesting! How do you make decorations when you have no supplies and no creative genes in your body?? By the grace of God alone! J Thankfully, Thomas can print out things at his university for a pretty inexpensive price. So we found some Thanksgiving coloring pages online – yes that’s right, coloring pages. What else am I going to do when I can’t draw a turkey?? He printed out several things and he and another girl colored and painted them. I did have one creative thought amidst this – write out “thank you” in each language represented in our church or people who might be at the Thanksgiving dinners, which includes the following: Italian, English, Tagolog, French, Arabic, Spanish, Ukrainian, and German. I was pleased with the way those turned out. I also used pictures on my computer of typical fall, nature scenes and put verses on them. I needed to print these at Thomas’ university. At this point it’s Tuesday – two days before Thanksgiving and one day before we’re supposed to decorate. I went with Thomas to print the things, but I realized when I got on the bus that the pages had fallen out of my bag between the university and the bus. So after retracing all of our steps and missing a few buses and being really late to where I was supposed to be next … I had made no progress. So now I’m without a key part of the decorations and no place to print them. Thomas’ university was closed on Wednesday for a holiday, so what was I going to do. Thankfully, Thomas found a place we could print at near the church on Wednesday … or so we thought. We walked around trying to find some places, asking different stores if they made color copies … no success. Finally, someone tells us there is a Mailboxes Etc. nearby. After searching for it for awhile, we found it and were so excited! Well, then the guy had problems printing our things and it took forever and a year … but we finally had success!! We got the board decorated Wednesday night, with Kathy rewarding us with a piece of apple pie with ice cream when we were finished. J Frank was really pleased with the way the board turned out. Oh, and Lewis thanks, because we did reuse some of your leaves and pumpkins! J
So, why do I tell this long, ridiculous story … as a reminder that life in America is generally easier. If I were home doing these things, I would have had supplies easily accessible. I would have had several stores close to my house at which I could print things. I would have had a stapler that you can staple things right to the wall with (you know, the kind that opens up and goes flat?) instead of having to use push pins and try to cover them. It reminds me of a missionary story I heard once. A missionary in the Czech Republic tried to buy his wife a simple cake for her birthday. This project that would have taken maybe an hour in the States took an entire day for him. Those are the little (but seemingly big in the moment) frustrations of missionary life. J
The dinner went well that night. People seemed to really enjoy the food. There was a time of sharing where the mic was passed around to everyone and they all shared something for which they are thankful. Now, I was told that there was a time of sharing, but I thought it was like Sunday mornings where whoever wants to share something stands up and shares. Well, I didn’t catch on until the mic was a few people away from me that the mic was being passed down the table (apparently I was not paying very close attention). But I thought since I can’t share in Italian, I won’t be asked to … well that was a wrong assumption. I said in Italian that I don’t speak Italian, but Frank wasn’t satisfied with that. He said they could translate. So, I managed to mutter out something. For the next dinner, I was a little more prepared. J
I had invited a few people to come that night, but none of them did. Although, I later found out one of them came, saw the parking lot was full, and left. The other people I invited had other things going on. They were appreciative of my invitation, and I was thankful to at least have the opportunity to invite them. I continue to pray for opportunities build a relationship with them and to speak to these people about the Lord (as much as I can in Italian, anyways).
Here are a few pictures of the evening and the decorations. I will continue with another post about Thanksgiving at a later time, since this turned into a rather long story! J
Time of giving thanks
My little buddy, Simone! He’s the King’s grandson.
My artistic ability … haha!
Taking silly pictures with our decorations J