Thank you Jesus for forgiving my all of my sins, healing all of my diseases, and redeeming my life from the pit and crowning me with your steadfast love and mercy (Psalm 103). Every good and perfect gift comes from you, and you do not change (James 1:17).
Thank you for friends and family, relationships that add to my joy, sharpen my walk following Jesus, and provide the encouragement I need to take another step.
Thank you for your word, which is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword (Heb 4:12). Thank you for your revelation to your creation and your desire to bring us back into a saving relationship with you (2 Peter 3:9).
Thank you for changing my heart and making me a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), clothed with Jesus righteousness (Zechariah 3:3).
Thank you Father for the wife you have gifted me and the children you have bestowed to us. Thank you that I have never gone hungry. That I was raised in a family who loved you and me. That you have given me warmth, health, and shelter. Trucks, houses, land, medical care, safety. There is no place to end. For everything in my life I thank you, the one true God who is sovereign over everything.
Aside from our physical location, our food, our new friends, and new language, Thanksgiving remains the same. It is a time to celebrate what the Lord has done for us, to recognize that he is the ONLY source for good in our lives and thank him deeply for every little (and big) thing in our lives. He is so worthy to be worshipped and followed. The Dinkins in Africa thank him for the chance to follow him to East Africa and for those who love us so well back home.
Tomorrow we will celebrate with new friends (and Granny and Mimi all the way from South Carolina!) and do our best to enjoy American traditions. Benny and I went and found a turkey today form a local farmer - we got to watch them strut around the yard, pick the one we wanted, and tie him up and bring him home! Once we got home I had some help to kill, pluck, and clean him (out of sight of Sarah and the kids) and I just finished getting him prepped for the oven in the morning (with many instructions from my mother).
Our language is going well, though it can still be a little overwhelming. Just when you gain confidence from studying vocab and having a couple of good conversations, you meet someone who talks 100mph and you can't understand anything. We have made progress but have a long way to go.
Rainey and Asa are really hitting their stride in school, meeting friends and finding their place. Tonight after a rugby match Rainey had 8 friends over to "hang out". Sarah quickly whipped up some food for them and they played a few games and laughed a lot. The little ones are doing well to and for the most part we are all healthy and injury free (minus a stomach bug here and there).
Mom and Amelia arrived last Friday and they have been a tremendous blessing for each of us. They will stay until Tuesday, so we are cherishing each day and already planning their next visit. The kids have loved showing off Iringa to them, giving them guided tours of their school, the local markets, and "western" hot spots for coffee.
We hope that you have a blessed day of thanksgiving with your family and that your entire holiday season is full of thanks and reflection on what is most important and what the Lord has in store for you.