Today I was reminded of just how much I have to be thankful for. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day...in America. Originally I was planning to be enjoying my first Thanksgiving in the U.S. in the past four years--turkey, stuffing, smashed potatoes, and my favorite, my wife's green bean casserole. She also makes the best pies in the world. But tomorrow, on Thanksgiving Day, there will be none of that here...but I'll still be thankful. Very thankful!
You know why? Because today, like each day before, we delivered food into the hands of people who are truly hungry. People who've lost nearly everything. Their houses destroyed. Their boats wrecked. Their livelihood--seaweed farms--ruined. And on top of that, they're hungry. These people, on the tiny island of Bandit, were extremely thankful for the one meal that they will get to eat today. A simple meal of rice, sardines and coffee, delivered directly onto their tiny little beach by an R44 helicopter . Because of the thousands of people who've given and prayed and pitched in to make this possible through a multi-mission and local Philippine church effort, these dear people will get to eat a meal today, and for that, they are extremely grateful. Sort of puts things into perspective for the rest of us hugh?
So yes, I have a ton to be thankful for this thanksgiving. First, I'm thankful that I'm able to be here--in a remote corner of the Philippine islands, playing a small part at the spear tip of a multi-mission typhoon relief effort. A small operation by some standards, but a very effective one, and one that I'm convinced will be proven over time to have been a pivotal part in God's big plans for His church in this area. Second, I'm thankful that I have the best family a guy could ever have--the most awesomest wife and kids who are willing to give in so many ways so that others around the world might know and experience the love of Jesus. And finally and most importantly, I'm thankful for Him--Jesus--my Lord and Savior!
I could list a thousand other things that I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving, but in light of what I'm experiencing here now, I'm just thankful for the big things this year. There's nothing wrong with turkey and stuffing and football, believe you me! And the next time I'm in the U.S. over thanksgiving, whenever that is, I'll surly be diving in full-bore! But sometimes it's good to get a reality check, and realize just how much we take for granted. That's what we're getting out here in the typhoon-stricken islands of the Philippines. A reality check and a reminder on what really matters most in life. So that's what I'm thankful for this year!
Here's a few verbatim quotes from people who are thankful for food today:
"We thank you people from the missions, for is willing to help for the people here in Bandit." --Jonatan Ulabitir, smiling from ear to ear, having just helped to unload hundreds of kilos of family food packs to share with his fellow villagers, Bandit Island, Philippines.
"The people here are so very, very happy for all the food things you bring us here!" --Lucilla, grandma to many children and grandchildren on Bandit island that will now get to eat one meal today. One.
Here's a few more pictures from today. Happy Thanksgiving!