So Much to be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is over. By now you may be feeling a little lighter, and most of the leftovers have been reinvented as casseroles, sandwiches and soup. The house is back in order (and maybe it is already decorated for Christmas) and if you are among the courageous, the fruit of your pre-dawn Black Friday foraging are waiting to be wrapped.

Thanksgiving in Brazil is very different – basically Thursday, Nov. 22nd was just another day.  No turkey, no big family gatherings and no football. But there is so much to be thankful for, and even as I miss one of my favorite holidays, the heart of it is very present – remembering the incredible ways God pours our His grace and favor!

Sometimes His blessings come in big ways. Like Cleberson finding a family of his own. This sweet seven year old has been with us for almost a year now, and made his way into our hearts in just days. This precious little boy was so completely abandoned, and when a Free Lutheran Family in Curitiba met Cleberson, it was love at first sight. Seeing Cleberson bond with Juliano and Claudineia; seeing a real family being formed is amazing! And worthy of great thanks!

Sometimes the blessings come in little ways, like Lucy. I have always loved dogs, as a child I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have one. I really miss having a pup of my own. Here, in Campo Mourao, we have big property that houses the AFLC Bible School and the Miriam Infant Home. We have two dogs that belong to ministry, but they are guard dogs, on chains and definitely are not “pets”. We also have a steady stream of dogs that appear, hang around for awhile and then are gone again. Then Lucy arrived. Like the rest of the strays, we don’t know where she came from, but we know she had a family, because she already knew some tricks. It just took days for us all to fall in love with her, in two weeks she had a name, she had visited the vet and received shots and treatments for little friends inside and out. Within a month she had a new owner (the caretakers of the AFLC retreat center nearby will take her to live there the beginning of the year. And I have, for a little while, a pet again. I share her with the rest of the family (that is what you do with family), but every day, when I leave the office Lucy is waiting for me – she knows my schedule), and where ever she is on the property, I never have to call her name more than twice before she comes sprinting across the yard (yes, it is because she knows I have a treat – I’m a push over for those happy puppy kisses you get after a few scraps).

A pet, even a temporary one, is not a big deal, in the big scheme of things. That God knows how this dog blesses my heart IS a big deal. One of the things I am most thankful for is that the Father knows my heart and cares for me day by day!