Friday, November 25, 2016

Twenty Four Thanksgivings

It's hard to believe this was the twenty-fourth Thanksgiving we've celebrated with our Josiah Venture family!

We started this tradition in 1993, just two weeks after Dave and I, Dan and Laura moved into Czech and Poland. It was so fun to have my mom and dad here to celebrate this one with us!

Thanksgiving all those years ago was just the four of us and our two little boys. Back then we found one small turkey deep in the bottom of a grocery store freezer after much searching. Laura and I went on from there to attempt a meal from ingredients we could barely read at the time.

We've come a long way since then!

For this holiday, we had 115 of our teammates and their children at Malenovice, who not only brought incredibly tasty dishes to share with each other, but were served one of six turkeys needed for that many people!

It could not have been a sweeter day, sharing it with people we love and who we have the privilege of serving with on the Josiah Venture team.

Unlike conferences, retreats and training events where there's a schedule to keep, Thanksgiving is one of those special times where we get to linger around the table, just enjoying each other as family and friends.

I love it because there is time to talk, interact, hang out and enjoy everybody.

There is certainly never a shortage of amazing food at our JV Thanksgivings!

Nor a shortage of smiles and joy with dear ones.

Even our littlest ones seem to enjoy all the attention, being oohed and aahed over by adoring aunts and uncles.

I'm thankful that my mom and dad got to be part of this special occasion this year!

After we'd had our fill of good food and conversation all afternoon, we headed downstairs in the evening for the much anticipated highlight of Thanksgiving: JV Kids Talent Show

You can't imagine how much we all look forward to this! There is something so sweet about applauding and cheering on these amazing kids for their vast variety of talent.

From the youngest of our JV kids to oldest, these kids do everything: piano playing, poetry recitation, art exhibits, joke telling, sport videos, cake baking and free-style dancing!

They challenge themselves at English spelling bees (not easy for our kids who go to national schools!)

And sing songs in the languages of the countries where they live.

Cece and Julie are singing in Czech together!

Even families share their talent, like the Hartman's who finished off the evening with a beautiful worship song.

When I came across these four later in the evening, from four different families, I thought to myself, "This is it! The "secret sauce" of a JV Thanksgiving".

It's about being family, enjoying each other, and spending time together with love and thankfulness for what we've been given.

Happy Thanksgiving from the JV Family!

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