Last night, about 40 people crowded into our home for our annual Thanksgiving party. Last year 62 people came over, so this year we decided to host the party in two locations. So...while we were enjoying some good food and friendship at our place, there were about 40 more people gathered together at another flat in another part of town. It's a good thing we decided to hold the gathering in two locations, because there is no way we could have packed 80+ people into our little flat!
In addition to holding the Thanksgiving party in two locations, there were a couple other things that were new this year. First, the planning team decided to join the two locations via internet video. At the beginning, we all gathered 'round the computer screen to say a prayer of thanksgiving and then we were off to eating, talking and laughing. In addition to that, the planning team thought of another new idea: each location put up large strips of paper on which people could complete the phrase, "I'm thankful for..."
Here is a sampling of what people wrote on the paper at our place:
"I'm thankful for...
...my beautiful wife and my loving family.
...Obama being elected president.
...God's love and mercy.
...my wonderful husband (and chocolate).
..."the vicar" [that's me] and his wife living down the road and keeping me sane in mad moments!
...turkey and OASIS too!
...mis amigos, mi familia, el amor de Dios!
...all the delicious food.
...butterflies and popcorn.
...my parents, my health, my brother and sister, and hope and expectation for a wonderful future.
...milk of magnesia.
...for God's faithfulness in so many ways--an unchanging Rock in a very changing world!
If you were here last year but couldn't be here this year because of distance, please know that you were very much in our thoughts. Each year we do this we remember those we have had the privilege of knowing and those to whom we've ministered. This year, I'm thankful for my wife and kids and for the blessing of pastoring Oasis and so many wonderful people.
Here are some pictures:
Christine and Lisa, and Paul & Kelly came over early to help us set up.
We prepared the house, so folks would feel welcome and comfortable.
We even set up a dining area in our bedroom, so everyone would not be crammed into our living room.
I carved the turkeys (we roasted three of them!), while Meaghan busied herself taking pictures.
Then, the people piled in and we had a grand ol' time!
Finally, before everyone left, we made sure they had a chance to write down what they were thankful for. Here's a sampling...