I am 100%, totally, completely all about this Operation Thanksgiving thing. I think what excites me most about it is imagining my friends and former colleagues in Slovakia getting a card in their mailbox at school: getting an unexpected boost of joy first thing in the morning, taking it to their English classes, maybe posting it on the bulletin boards. I imagine them feeling connected and supported by us here in the US during what can be a really difficult month for missionaries. And I love the idea of being part of that connection: praying for and supporting other missionaries the way my husband and I were supported during our year of service in Bratislava.
November was a difficult time for us: we thought we were done with culture shock, only to get hit with another, unexpected wave of it. We felt especially far from home. Our community Thanksgiving celebrations were a welcome source of joy–the kind of joy I imagine those first year missionaries will feel when they receive an unexpected turkey card in their mailboxes: someone from the US, remembering them at a most welcome time.
Sean and I recently did an adult forum about our year of service in Slovakia at St. Luke’s in Park Ridge. At the end of our presentation we introduced Operation Thanksgiving and invited everyone to make cards. Here are some of the messages my congregation is sending out—to the individuals who will receive these cards and to all our missionaries:
“God’s richest blessings to you this day.” “We give thanks for the abundance of your ministry!” “When the world gives you a bunch of turkeys … make Thanksgiving!” “Thank you for all you do!”
Thank you for all you do to support ELCA missionaries!
Click here to learn more about how you and your congregation can participate in Operation Thanksgiving.
–Anne Edison-Albright now lives in Park Ridge, Ill.