Give Thanks – Week 16

OR, 10 days to go. That’s right folks…in 10 days I will be flying home to Michigan for Christmas! I truly can’t believe that I am almost done with 4 months living in the Dominican. In some ways it doesn’t feel like that long at all. I think one of the reasons is because in His goodness, the Lord saw fit to provide for one of my biggest needs, even though He didn’t have to. God has given me family.

That is one of the biggest things I gave thanks to God for on Thanksgiving, and it was a sentiment that was echoed by many of the 50 people I shared the day with. I recognized that I really wasn’t spending my first Thanksgiving away from family. I was with my family, they just looked a little different than the family I would have shared the day with in the States. I wasn’t with my mom and dad – but I was with other moms and dads, and not only have I witnessed God’s love through their parenting, but through the moments I have felt cared for as a child. I wasn’t with my sisters – but I was surrounded by so many wonderful sisters in Christ, who have encouraged and inspired me by their examples and lives. I have been challenged to read and study the Word, to deepen my faith, to surrender more to the Spirit and God’s will, to continue to have a passion for the Gospel. God didn’t just bless me with community – He went above and beyond to place in my life Godly men and women who reflect Christ’s character. I also want to say how incredibly thankful I am for the family I was born into. Mom, Dad, Courtney, and Kelsey – thank you for loving me, supporting me, teaching me, and for understanding my desire to be in the DR even when it means I’m not with you.

And just to be perfectly clear: GOD deserves ALL the glory for what He has given me. All of my blessings come from Him. I would have nothing if I didn’t have His great love – the love that was big enough to send His Son as the redemption for my sin. That is something I need to give thanks to God EVERY DAY for, not just on Thanksgiving.

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Cooking for Thanksgiving – I made corn casserole and it was a huge hit! There was none left at the end of the meal!

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Gathered to share a meal, devotion, and what we are thankful for.

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Some of the beautiful ladies I get to live life with in the DR.

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And what’s Thanksgiving without a little Just Dance? We played before the meal in preparation and after to work off some of what we had just eaten 🙂

Starting on November 1st and until Thanksgiving, every night I wrote down one thing I was grateful for that day – which kind of turned into what the best part of my day had been. But some of the items on the list included:

  • Watching Spartan football
  • Skyping with Holmes Bible Study
  • Seeing kids from Emanuel House riding the elevator
  • Serving with the 7 women from McLean
  • Sleepover at LH with Lauren, one of the GAP students
  • Celebrating Sarah’s birthday with girls day
  • Frank taking us to Paco Taco for dinner…and telling the fake story of how he and Jo met
  • Hearing I was coming back to the DR in January (January 10th to be exact!)
  • Being encouraged about my Spanish during a weekly LH team meeting
  • Kitchen conversations
  • Feeling loved by the women I live with at LH

It’s been Christmas in the Dominican for quite some time now since they don’t do Thanksgiving, but we just finally set up the Christmas tree at LH. Emily, Yajaida and I had fun putting up the tree and using what ornaments, lights, and decorations we had to make it as festive as possible.

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Adding the first row of branches.

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Still got to decorate a tree the day after Thanksgiving!

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The finished product!

Prayer requests:

  • Pray that I continue to be present in the next 10 days. Pray that I will walk in the Spirit, listen to His prompting, and be attentive to the needs of others.
  • Pray for the conference that Erica is speaking at in the States this coming weekend, that her words would be from the Lord, and would be a challenge and encouragement to the women who will hear them.
  • Pray for safe travels for everyone here who is preparing to go home for Christmas over the next 2 weeks!

I love you all, and hope to see many of you when I am home!

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