Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving!

Good morning all!  Bless you all on this day the Lord has made!  This is a special day for most of us especially for those of us who live in Canada.  Unlike our American friends who celebrate Thanksgiving in November, we Canucks have always embraced this tradition a month earlier, which got me to thinking; does anyone know why?  If we understand our history as taught to us in school then we would believe that the tradition of Thanksgiving was a celebration by the people of the land who praised God for a bountiful harvest.  Records dating back before the New World was fully colonized by immigrant pilgrims, that a celebration of thanks was often performed in the Netherlands, home of the Pilgrims, after several cities were rescued by the Dutch Monarch after Spain had tried to capture the Netherlands.  One city in particular had been under siege by Spain for three months, with many people dying of starvation during the siege.  Finally the Dutch navy broke the famous dykes that protected most of Holland so their ships could sail into the country and bring armies and food to save their people from the Spanish siege.  Spain was already out of money because she had spread herself too thin looking for more lands to conquer and wealth to plunder so the armies of Spain fled when they saw the Dutch Navy approaching the cities.  The people celebrated their rescue with the Navy as they were given fresh bread and herring.  Since then the practice of this celebration was conducted in October every year.  When the Pilgrims came to the Americas, they also continued the practice of the celebration at first to thank God for the bountiful harvest, but then in later years when drought had set it and the people were again starving, to thank God for their Native American friends  who had come to the aid of the starving immigrants providing them with seeds and teaching them to fish.  The practice of celebrating Thanksgiving was not regular until after 1660.  As the practice moved with the people year after year it was not long until the people who settled Canada also began to partake of their own celebrations of a bountiful harvest.  Typically the people of a given area had celebrations involving an entire community and although they may have celebrated on different days, it always coincided with the end of harvest crops.  The Canadian Government settled on the October date after the end of World War 1 because Armistice day was November 11, and two holidays in the same week was too much.  In America however, the Holiday was established around whatever day seemed appealing to the President at the time, with the first Thanksgiving on a fixed day in 1863, the last Sunday in November.  President Roosevelt established the American Holiday for the fourth Sunday in November, in order to give the economy a boost at the end on the month.
History in a nutshell I like to call it!  When Thanksgiving first began the people who initiated this tradition were all Christians, given to understanding the basis of why we must give thanks to God for what we have.  Whatever the end result has become the premise for establishing the holiday was given by the people, a celebration to thank God for His bountiful provision; whether from persecution of a conquering country, or for God's provision for a large harvest of food.  Even to the extent of thanking God for new found friends who provided new means of sustenance for people in a harsh New World.  Whatever the case was, or still is today for that matter, we should all be Thankful for God's provision, with everything that we have it is not ours by any means that we have done, for everything belongs to God.  Even after we have given thanks for all that we have gained, all that we have grown in our lands, for all that we have brought into our house, we are commanded to give back a portion of that gain to the Lord.  It is in this act of giving back that we are truly thanking God for all He has done for us, our tithes and offerings are blessed by God and will return to us when we honor His request of us in this;  "...Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat and have plenty left, for the Lord has blessed His people; and what is left is this great abundance."  2 Chron 31:10.
Laura and I are grateful for all that God has done for us, for His blessings upon us are truly great!  Today we celebrate with family and friends from afar, wishing we could be with you all as you celebrate why we have been blessed with all of you in our lives!  Over the past three years many of you have expressed your desire to be involved in our Mission Field here in the D.R.  God  has provided a means for His plans in the Dominican Republic to be known, the fulfillment of His Mission Guest House here on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic is close at hand.  Since our return to Sosua last week we have been busy working closely with our Ministry partners finalizing details for  the land deal upon which we will build the project, the project God is blessing with partners like all of you!  We are launching today our Capital Campaign in order to complete the funding necessary for the project; the goal of which we have been working on now for more than three years.  The attached campaign brochure explains in detail where we are at within the project.  Since we printed the brochure over a month ago even more details about the project have improved, giving promise to the completion of the Mission Guest House within a short time.  We are now moving forward at God's pace, as each door opens we walk through establishing the plans He gave us some time ago.  We want to invite all of you to look over the plans and join us as we continue to venture forward!

Bendiciones!


 

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