A Harvest of Thanksgiving?
As I read through the following paragraph from a recent Tearfund email, it made me question, do I stop and consider, with gratitude, the year past and give God the glory for all He has done for me?
We spend much of the year working in many ways – in our jobs, families, relationships and churches. Harvest is a time for us to take stock of the year that has passed. It is the culmination of our labour as we gather our produce and (hopefully) yield a fruitful crop. And then, the most important part, we acknowledge God as the giver of all good gifts. We offer a portion of our harvest as thanksgiving for God’s provision.
It is very easy to take so much of what we have for granted – Healthcare, Clean Water, Easy Travel, Education, Available Food to name but a few. Let me share with you a few inspirational stories from Tearfund’s Prayer Diary and let me invite you to take time, thankfully think of and pray for our church family around the world:
It used to be extremely hazardous for primary school pupils in one village in Angola to travel across a creek to the nearest school. So the community decided to build a school in the neighbourhood. Adelaide Tomas Manuel, a 59-year-old grandmother established the Dondi Missionary School. Community leaders constructed the school building in just five months. Give thanks for their determination.
Angola is a country where many face food insecurity. So when the local community came together to build the Dondi Missionary School they decided to use the new facilities to teach skills to overcome hunger. Their classes included gardening and nutrition which taught students the skills required to grow food essential for survival. Praise the Lord for their innovation.
Growing up as a teenager in Honduras is a challenge in a country ridden with gang violence and drug related crime. By partnering with local colleges Tearfund runs programmes to support teenagers to be free from drug addiction and crime. Give thanks for these life-giving programmes.
Maria has six children and her three boys, aged 10, 11 and 13 all adore football. She dreams of providing the best for them but fears the influence that violence and drugs might have on them. Tearfund, through a local church partner in Honduras, is protecting against this by providing football coaching alongside Bible studies with positive Christian role models. Praise God that He is providing hope for Maria’s boy’s futures.
In Ivory Coast Tearfund’s partners are focusing on access to water and basic sanitation. Praise God that, ‘School attendance has increased and diseases related to dirty hands have decreased,’ says the village chief Yalo. ‘Children’s health has improved and so have their marks in class.’
As I read and write out the above examples of how God is working through my sisters and brothers in Christ my mind goes back to similar projects I have had the privilege of visiting with Tearfund and give thanks:
In South Africa I visited a group being trained to care for those in their community who were HIV positive. In addition to practical care training they were being instructed how they could use some spare land in the village to grow vegetables that would improve their diets and increase, for those taking them, the effectiveness of the anti-retroviral drugs.
In San Pedro Sula, Honduras, I remember the curious children in the shanty settlement along the river’s floodplain being fascinated by our cameras: But also being told not to give them any gifts because it would endanger them if they approached strangers with ‘dishonest motives’.
Add to these my most recent visit to Uganda where I participated in a project building latrines in a school: A harvest of memories for which I can give wholehearted thanks. For more information see www.Tearfund.org Mandy McIntosh