In my ongoing effort to bring you to places where followers of Jesus are engaging the nations here in America, I offer you another escapade to the mission frontier. This one adds another level of gratitude to our Thanksgiving holiday.
Picture this scene. Two young families, each with two children, sitting around a dinner table in an American home, having enjoyed a full turkey dinner. The hostess had explained each dish as a part of American tradition. Both families are refugees, one from Iran the other from Afghanistan. Sitting around the table are six American Christians.
Now the group enjoys tea and dessert. The host announces that we are going to have a brief story about the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday. A friend has prepared an account of the coming of the pilgrims, the help of native Americans in growing crops, the spread of disease, the harvest and sense of gratitude. He tells of the declaration by Congress of a day for thanking God. The story is appreciated by all.
Then the friend passes around verses from the Bible printed nicely on paper slips and invites each person around the table to read the verse and, if desired, to share something they are thankful for. The refugees are working on their English, so there is some assistance given on more difficult words (like “ceasing,” and “petition”). Since holy scripture is respected, all seem to take the words of the Bible with seriousness.
Surrounding this event ring the laughter of kids and cries of babies. Side conversations develop, brief stories told, geographical and sports questions answered. But as I sit in that place, the wonder of the evening is alight in my heart. Tweet This I am joyful that God is bringing the nations to us, not in dribbles but in droves. The words of the prophet seem true again:
“Look among the nations and watch — be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you. (Habakkuk 1:5)