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.
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Arville & Shelia Earl
Metodija Mitevski 12:3/9
Republic of Macedonia