Saturday, November 29, 2008

Double turkey, double blessings

This past week was a week to give thanks- Thanksgiving! I was blessed to have 2 Thanksgivings this year. The first one was on Thanksgiving day. I was blessed to be able to spend the day with the missionaries from Campus Crusade for Christ here in Maracaibo and all over Venezuela. It was nice meeting other missionaries and hearing about their ministry as well as sharing about mine.
Making hand turkeys and writing what we are thankful for on the feathers.

Posting our turkeys up on the wall

Two turkeys required to feed the 40 missionaries and guests.

The second Thanksgiving dinner I cooked myself. For this dinner, I invited several of my Venezuelan family over. Unfortunately, due to my small apartment, I was not able to invite everyone. There were 6 of us- and I still had to borrow a small table and a few chairs to accomodate us. Earlier this week, Samuel and Michelle had taken me shopping to try to find "American" products or equivalents so I could make the traditional foods. Turkeys here are hard to find and very expensive. The other hard items included sour cream, sweet potatoes, and corn meal for cornbread.

A Happy Turkey!

I spent most of the day today in the kitchen, cooking the feast while listening to Christmas music. (I've been having trouble getting into the Christmas season- which began a few weeks ago here. It doesn't feel like Christmas- it still feels like summer!) Today, I discovered that I do not like my oven. Besides the fact that there is no temperature gauge on it, just MAX and MIN, it is too small- turkey barely fit, and the rack is too small and actually fell twice, knocking the turkey to its side.

A no-so-happy turkey

My friends were supposed to arrive at 5:00pm. Diana arrived at 5... the others didn't arrive until almost 7pm. Diana helped me with final preparations, asking me a ton of questions about everything and having a few taste tests. It was her first Thanksgiving dinner and she wanted to know all about it. I explained to her the history of Thanksgiving and what a typical Thanksgiving day looks like. Its fun to see someone experience Thanksgiving for the first time.

By the time everyone else arrived, everything was ready. I explained to them a little about the idea behind Thanksgiving- how it was a feast dedicated to giving thanks to God for the bountiful harvest and blessings that He had given to the Pilgrims and how they wanted to share this feast with the natives who taught them how to live in their new land. I told them that this is what I was doing as well- Having a time to give thanks to God for the successes and blessings that He has given me this year and sharing this with the natives that helped me learn how to live in this new land. After prayer, we ate- Thanksgiving style- stuffing ourselves until we were as full as the turkey was before we ate it!

Time to eat.

Happy people eating a happy turkey

Guita's first Thanksgiving dinner- she likes turkey!

Everything turned out well- even with having to use Venezuelan substitutes for ingredients in my American recipes. The guys helped with the clean up and we spent the rest of the evening chatting and having fun.

They offered to help- I couldn't deter them.

While I was blessed to have 2 Thanksgivings, I know I am even more blessed by what God has given me and has done for me throughout this year- in both countries. I have been doubly blessed with two countries, two cultures, two languages, two churches, two homes and family and friends in each location who love me and support me while I serve God. Happy Thanksgiving!

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