25 November 2011

From Peru to You: Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias!

I hope that for you today has been a day full of food, fun, family, and friends. We had a lovely Thanksgiving here in Peru. I started the day watching snippets of the Macy's Parade on the earthcam shot of New York, and via skype with Carolyn and her family. 

Carolyn also sent me a hand turkey that arrived right on time. ;-)

It still doesn't really feel like Thanksgiving without spending hours in the kitchen making our favorite family dishes, but little tastes of home make a big difference. I had prepared my contribution to the potluck dinner yesterday (in case they didn't turn out- you never can be sure in Peru!) so I didn't have to stress today. 

Cream-cheese-filled pumpkin muffins with strudel topping and glaze.

We headed over to the office for the afternoon and enjoyed huge quantities of delicious food and fellowship with 50+ of our closest friends in Peru. 

As you can see, we had all the fixin's, including...(drumroll please).....

I consider that a vital part of a successful Thanksgiving meal since it acts as the sorbet, a "palate cleanser" if you will, for the rest of the heavy flavors. We also had pumpkin and pecan pies and desserts galore! 

As you might guess, many products that are staples of an American Thanksgiving meal are not found in other countries. Down here we don't have canned pumpkin or canned sweet potatoes, Crisco, or chocolate chips. Your choice of canned vegetables is extremely limited and expensive, as is a turkey. Stuffing mix and cream-of-whateveryouwant soups, and pre-made pie crusts don't exist, to my knowledge. And, of course, no cranberry sauce. Granted, many of those things you can work around or make from scratch, but some things have no substitute. Still, we are blessed here in Lima with the variety of things that are available and the ease of preparation relative to the places many of our friends serve. We are also blessed that we have enough personnel who travel back to the states frequently that they were able to bring in some of those things we miss. (Cat brought me an awesome can of pumpkin for my birthday that was vital to the success of the pumpkin muffins! This week was also her birthday so she needs a birthday shout-out for her general awesomeness, and also staying alive for a quarter of a century. Believe me, it's an accomplishment.) 

After dinner, like many a family gathering, we watched football on the big screen, chatted, chased kids, and played games. Although nothing is ever as sweet as spending the time with your family, it was a blessing to sit back and look around the crowded office and see so many friends. Five months ago when we arrived in Peru we knew only a few people, and those not very well. Today I gave thanks for dozens of people who have become our very dear "field family," and praised God that I was blessed to have such a special group with whom to celebrate.

I also gave thanks for modern technology that allowed me to talk to my parents, friends, and extended family across the U.S. today! Today was not my first Thanksgiving separated from loved ones, and odds are, it won't be the last. But I also know I'm not alone in that; there's a much greater number of people far from home tonight than would like to be. Today I am extra thankful for the men and women who spent the day away from home as they defend our country in the military, or strive to take the Gospel to a dark world. I hope wherever you spent the holiday you were able to stop and reflect on the blessings in your life, and thank God from whom all blessings flow. Most of us tend to forget that "every good and perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17), and that we have been blessed beyond measure. Thank goodness God never forgets us!

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations." Psalm 100:4-5

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