BING! My phone chimes. My food has been delivered. I grab it and set up the small table in my tiny apartment in Korea, where I am a student missionary. Usually, after work, I would be in my kitchen cooking dinner and staring out the window at the gorgeous night views, amazed by the lights and towering buildings across the valley, and thinking about all the people occupying those thousands of apartments and what their lives are like here in Busan. Tonight, however, is different; I stay out of the kitchen and keep my window shut tight.
It’s Thanksgiving, my absolute favorite holiday! Yet, sitting alone in my apartment, eating mediocre Italian delivery, I miss my uncle’s amazing mashed potatoes, my nana’s roast, and my mom’s candied yams. I miss catching up with everyone, playing board games, and cracking jokes with my cousins. No, tonight is not the night I will gaze out my window, imagining other families sitting around the dinner table, enjoying time with one another.
I sit in the silence of my room, eating pasta and letting my mind wander. Rather than thoughts of woe and self-pity, a passage from the Spirit of Prophecy wriggles its way into my frontal lobe:
“Express gratitude for the blessings you have; show appreciation for the attentions you receive. Keep the heart full of the precious promises of God, that you may bring forth from this treasure, words that will be a comfort and strength to others. This will surround you with an atmosphere that will be helpful and uplifting. Let it be your aim to bless those around you” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 257-8).
Was I expressing gratitude for what I have? Would my mood bring comfort and strength to others? Thanksgiving may be very different this year, but I still have things for which to be grateful.
I am thankful that while I may not have a plate full of all the delicious foods in my usual Thanksgiving meal, I still have food when so many people go without.
I am thankful that although my family may not surround me right now, I have technology that allows me to communicate with them thousands of miles away.
Most importantly, I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Who loves and cares for me. He, too, went through a period of separation from His own Father so that I could join Him one day. For that, I am truly thankful.
I set my fork down and walk to the window. Below are the clinics, restaurants, and markets I have become familiar with as a student missionary. Farther away, I see the school where I teach and the many rows of apartments where my students live.
How many of these people know the good news of Jesus? How many still need a loving Savior? This time, when I look at all the lit apartments, rather than feeling sorry for myself, I see people in need, people desperate for someone to come and share the gospel, someone who will lead them to Jesus. That someone is me. That someone is you.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so you, too, can lead others to Jesus. You will be thankful.