Thanks are rolling in from missionaries the world over for the more than 3000 Thanksgiving cards sent through Operation Thanks-Giving!
“Last year, Edwin Holmvig-Johnson’s first Thanksgiving as a missionary teaching primary school in the UK was also his first away from home. Edwin was a young adult volunteer who said that ‘My homesickness had been fairly stable up until that week,’ he said. ‘The weather was gray and it gets dark here around 4:00 in the afternoon. It was a hard week.’
Then, a package from the ELCA churchwide organization in Chicago arrived.
Edwin opened it expecting to find official forms needing his John Hancock. Instead he found a package filled with handmade cards thanking him for what he was doing and bringing Thanksgiving greetings.
‘There were these fantastic cards and greetings from an ELCA congregation Trinity Lutheran Church in Vale, N.C., that I’d never met on the other side of ‘the Pond.’ It felt wonderful to know that I was being thought of and prayed for and made it easier to keep going,’ Edwin said.” (From Living Lutheran, where you can read more about this story).
Operation Thanks-Giving began last year when Global Mission Support Director Twila Schock was talking to colleague Sue Edison-Swift about how Thanksgiving can be a hard time for missionaries, since by Thanksgiving time the novelty has worn off and the difficulties (language, shopping, being away from family) seem to grow heavier. A Thanksgiving care package she received helped immensely.
Thus was Operation Thanks-Giving born. Congregations, organizations and individuals were asked to send Thanksgiving greetings to ELCA missionaries thanking them for what they are doing. The project has turned into a meaningful exchange for both sender and receiver alike. Thanks for your overwhelming thankfulness!
For more on Operation Thanksgiving, and ideas for next year, see: