ELCA missionary Charity Hall works with the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church. She teaches English and Bible classes and serves as a lay church worker through English language ministries. This post is drawn from one of Charity’s sponsor e-mails.–Sue
Greetings from Tokyo!
Another Thanksgiving season has come and gone with much to be thankful for. Like last year, I asked my students to draw their own hand-print turkeys and write five things they are thankful for on each “feather.” This year “food” and “friends and family” were at the top of their “thankful feathers” list.*
Food. Though I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving with pizza this year as my family in the States often does, I did enjoy two more-traditional turkey dinners. With such an abundance, it’s easy to take food for granted. Jesus calls his followers not simply to give thanks, but to live compassionately by clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry. I pray I can continue to grow into this calling throughout my life.
Family and friends. My own family in the States has been a strong support for me personally, as have friends both here and abroad. Sometimes, however, I find love and support in the most unexpected of people. When two co-workers and I visited the wonderful city of Hatogaya, we had a surprise reunion with favorite fruit seller, whose kindness and generosity I consider unmatched. To love and to receive love…what a wonderful gift!
After classes finish in December, I’ll have just three months remaining with my contract in Japan. As I begin to think more seriously about my future upon returning to the States, I must remember to give thanks to God for the most important thing of all in my life, Jesus. Jesus is the best gift I could ever hope to receive!
*Students were also thankful for their respective schools, teachers, and spouses in addition to nature, music and peace. October was full of all of these for me (minus the spouse part) as I celebrated university festivals with friends, continue to study Japanese with my dear sensei, enjoyed the vibrant fall colors of red and gold, and attended a classical concert with students from the dorm.
What might you list for your five “thankful feathers?”
With love, Charity Hall