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Thursday, November 14, 2013

November Newsletter


Giving Thanks



Palm before the storm, Belize City, Belize, Central America.

Thanksgiving is almost upon us in the United States. But, pilgrims and turkeys do not exist as iconic symbols in other parts of the world. In Belize and Tanzania, Thanksgiving Day itself does not even exist, but it is a cultural holiday for us. On the other hand, in the U.S. we do not nationally celebrate holidays such as Garifuna Settlement Day on November 19 (Belize) or Independence Day on December 9 (Tanzania).

When we celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S., around the world U.S. expatriates in various countries gather together in small huddles to observe what appears to be a curious holiday to most people in other countries, celebrating on a day when the vast majority of the local culture is having a regular workday. For the expats, however, it is a moment to touch base again with our home culture, even if the temperature is in the 80s in some places, the humidity is 90%, and there are not any turkeys or pumpkins to be seen.

Palm before the storm, Belize City, Belize, Central America.

In the background are dark clouds that foretold of a pending storm, in hurricane season.

Photo provided by Fr. Shaw Mudge.

Yet, wherever we are, we citizens of the U.S. gather to give thanks. We have a lot to thank God for, at least I hope we do. If not, then that is my prayer for you, that you may be blessed by God in some way this Thanksgiving.

In the field, particularly in Belize, I give thanks for: just being alive sometimes, my hosts, the companionship of my brothers and sisters in Christ, good food and Belizean hot sauce, the people who help me move from place to place, the students in our program, the people in the ordination process, jets that land right-side up, Bishop Philip, and those who serve in the diocesan office.

And, there are special moments that I give thanks for, such as the fact that the bridge we needed to cross when returning from the Cursillo weekend did not get washed out. But most of all, I give thanks for salvation through Jesus Christ and for my family, friends, supporters like you, and SAMS. 

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