Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy early Thanksgiving

Since I don't know if I will access the internet before Thursday, I wanted to take the opportunity to wish all of you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. 

I am thankful for your support of my Rwandan mission, either through the prayers many of you offer for me and the people I work with, your financial contributions to Fidesco, the packages and letters you send me, or all of the above.  I remarked to my roommate recently that I receive more cards, packages, and emails from my family and friends while I am in Rwanda than I ever have and I am grateful to you for the love and care you show me (and the students with your books and craft items).  As I said in my fundraising letter, I really do want you to share in the mission with me and many of you are doing that by supporting me.

I want you to know that your lives, needs, and concerns aren't forgotten by me either.  I might not know what they are, but many times a week I am praying for your intentions.  I've taken up the habit of praying the rosary while I walk around town and one of my five regular intentions (one intention for each mystery of Jesus' life) is for "the family and friends I left back home and the intentions of my benefactors."  Since I walk into town often, that means I'm praying for your intentions regularly, just as you pray for me.

As for what my Thanksgiving will look like, it definitely won't be like home.  I plan to spend the morning in Kibeho, which is 30 km (18 miles) away and is the place where Mary appeared to some high school girls in the 1980s.  Thursday is the 32nd anniversary of her first appearance, exactly one year before I was born, so I will join thousands of other pilgrims at the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho to celebrate her feast day, my birthday, and Thanksgiving.  In the afternoon I'll return to Butare and will have dinner with the Fidesco volunteers in town, as well as the Fidesco director and his wife who are visiting the country.  If we go out to eat, I'll make a sweet potato dessert of some sort to have the Thanksgiving-themed dish.  If we eat at the French family's house, I will prepare some traditional dishes, such as mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and perhaps stuffing.  No turkey, though.  I haven't seen any in the country.
Celebrating with the MN Emmanuel Community in 2011

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