Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Celebrating Thanksgiving

                              Celebrating Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving Day in 1967, I was completing a year of duty in the US Army in Pyeong Taek, South Korea. The chaplain with whom I worked had developed a relationship with the principal and children at a local elementary school. The chaplain graciously extended the invitation to me, as well.

The special occasion was a recitation performance by the students who were beginning to study English. To our surprise, the recitation selection came from a modernized version of a speech by Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony in 1621. This gathering to hear the speech was considered to be, according to some legends, America’s first Thanksgiving Day.

The principal had been associated with American missionaries and military personnel, and as a result, had learned something about American cultural traditions along with the language. (He also did formal English language study at the university later on.)

Both the principal and students thought it appropriate to do this particular recitation on this day, in respect for their American visitors. Some did exceptionally well with their speeches, while others struggled and were embarrassed. The chaplain and I, of course, were delighted and honored to have been invited to the celebration of our Thanksgiving Day. I remember the happy, smiling faces of the children, teachers and parents as we shared a Korean meal together in the spirit of mutual gratitude.

The Korean people at this program were totally unaware of any historical inaccuracies or myths that had grown into memorialized legends. This was much more about our commonality as human beings and our ability to share in the common experience of true thanksgiving.

Over the years, Shelia and I have had the opportunity of sharing Thanksgivings in many different geographical and cultural settings – various states in the U.S., several cities in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and several countries in Eastern Europe. But regardless of where it happens; if it happens on a different day than the actual Thanksgiving Thursday in America; or if there is no traditional American food such as turkey, sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie, the essential element of our celebration has been this: Sharing her in mutual gratitude.

May we all find a way to do just that when we celebrate Thanksgiving this year,

Thanks for Giving ---

Contributions to the CBF Offering for Global Missions build Christ-centered, collaborative, and holistic ministries around the world and mke it possible for us to be in Macedonia.

Gifts directed to the Kindergarten Educational Project (CBF Project #880548) provide essential support for this ministry among Albanian & Roma families in Skopje, Macedonia.

Please send donations to P.O. Box 101699, Atlanta, GA 30392.


Arville & Shelia Earl

Metodija Mitevski 12:3/9
1000 Skopje
Republic of Macedonia


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Wife

I figured out how to post on our blog -- after numerous tries.  So here is my birthday greeting that I sent to Shelia:

Here's a birthday greeting for you. When I think about you and say your name, these are some of your characteristics that come to mind:

S - Sincere

H- Honorable
E- Energetic
L- Loving
I - Intelligent
A- Adorable

Of course, this is only a representative list. There are many more that are evident and others yet to be revealed, I looking forward to the birthdays ahead and the discoveries still to come.

I Love You.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Elijah's Patriotic Essay Contest Entry

Our grandson, Elijah James Breedlove, wrote this essay for a Patriotic Essay Contest that he entered recently.  We are SO proud of him.  He has wisdom beyond his years -- hecares what happens to other people, stands up for those who are abused/misused, and want to make our world a better place to live.

Here is his essay:

Does Patriotism Still Matter?

By: Elijah Breedlove

When people think of patriotism they may think of war or being faithful to your country. However, you can show patriotism in a different way. This other way may be to stand up for the rights of people or animals and the equality of others. People like Martin Luther King Jr. and Eugene Debs of Terre Haute, Indiana stood up for the rights of men and women like us. Eugene Debs was the young leader of the American Railway Union. Eugene Debs was a patriot because he stood up for the rights of his fellow railroad workers, because they were not paid fair wages to support their families. At the time of his death, Martin Luther King Jr., stood up for city workers who were also not being paid a fair living.

Patriotism like the kind that King and Debs practiced is still important today, because if some people did not practice peace and being anti-war we would be in a blood filled world. Being faithful to your country and standing for peace is still patriotism. If we allowed hatred and war to rage, then many of us would not be here today.

Some day I want to become the kind of patriot that strives to understand, to listen, to be peaceful, loving, and joyful. I want to be around, when we only know about war from history books.

Patriotism that works for you and me is important because bad politics and war are still raging. I hope when I am all grown up I’ll look through the eyes of the world and not see war that goes on but see peace and harmony.

I will become a patriot by standing up for people who are in trouble and by becoming a marine-life conservationist. The world you and I live in has a lot of problems, but if we stop one thing at a time and if we save one thing at a time then that is also patriotism. I think the real question is, do we know enough about patriotism?