We had thanksgiving dinner with Kat, Maureen and all her kids, Enock and his wife and son and Perjuite. His wife and daughter could not make it. Thanksgiving Day here is not celebrated, obviously, so life goes on as normal. Ian had end of term exams in the morning, and for most everyone else the day was a regular working day.
Kat and I doubled the efforts and planned and cooked Thanksgiving Dinner together. She made the Turkeys which gets a kudos in itself. They smelled good and turned out well. It was her first time making one.
The day before I started making the pies, and some of the other things we were going to eat for the meal. Since marrying a southerner I have really enjoyed sweet potato casserole with the crunchy nutty brown sugar topping.
I looked for sweet potatoes at several different stores and realized they were not in season right now. We have enjoyed them before but I have not seen them in a few months. The last store Shoprite, that was available to check had a few bags of sweet potatoes. However they did not look like the regular sweet potatoes but I bought them anyway so we could give it a try.
They also were the only place with turkeys for sale, so Kat bought one and I bought one.
When I got them home and started peeling the potatoes, they were white inside. I asked Maureen about it and she said they still tasted like the other ones. So I cooked them and mashed them and started to add the other ingredients. Everything was mixed up but it was a grayish color not orange. So I ran to the grocery store to buy yellow food coloring to add to the red and make the sweet potatoes orange! I wanted it to look like the regular casserole and I couldn't picture me serving up and eating a grey casserole. I asked Kat what she thought and she said why not? So I mixed it in and got my orange sweet potatoes. After Thanksgiving dinner I told James the story and he laughed and said he didn't even notice. Though I wonder what Maureen thought since she knew they were white-grey!!
(yellow and red make orange. Had to double check on that)
(before the color was added)
Everything turned out great!
Turkey, stuffing, gravy, corn, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potato casserole, pecan glazed carrots, salad with cranberries and poppy seed dressing, jello, rolls and for dessert apple and cherry pie with whipped topping ( sent from home and made from a dry mix. That stuff is great!)
(Perjuite, Enock's wife, Enock)
After dinner the kids along with Maureens kids did a play of the 1st Thanksgiving. With props and lines that they practiced and everything.
Normally the kids skits are thrown together, laughing, embarrassed wait lets start over, and very long.
SO when they asked to do one I said it needed to be planned and brief. They delivered. It was great and had elements of humor and ended with them quoting a scripture verse.
After that Emma, Richard and Mwansa read the list of things they had written down in school that they were thankful for. So then we all were sitting around the living room and James said that we normally say what we are thankful for as well and so he started thanking the Lord for His gifts and blessings to us and for Grace.
Then he gave others an opportunity to say anything if they wanted. Many of the kids did as well as Maureen, Enock and Perjuite.
The things that they said blessed me so much just to hear them was worth all the effort and time and money spent into serving thanksgiving dinner and sharing it with them.
After we decided to give them the day off and then invite all their families to come and have dinner with us, I began to have second thoughts. "They don't even understand why we are celebrating thanksgiving or what it is about",
This is normally a family holiday when we get together with all our families. Last time it was thanksgiving I said goodbye to my family.
But they were quite excited about coming and James reminded me of the passage in scripture that speaks about when you give a feast invite those to come that can not repay you. And share in the feast with them.
I am so thankful they came.
Quotes from the day:
"You have made my dreams come true!" - Maureen thanking God that her prayers have been answered and that we have plans to employ her full time in the orphan ministry work. She said she often prayed that God would bless her and then she would have to give to the orphans. Now she is being used by God to minister to the orphans.
"I will be dreaming about this food tonight - Enock
"I don't remember when I have been this full". - Maureen
Other comments on the food and that it is very nice. --which coming from Zambians who I noticed don't tend to comment much on food, this was a huge compliment.
…whispered to Kat, "I am not afraid of Mrs. and Mr. Williamson anymore" - Mwansa after having spent the day with us in our home, eating at our table and watching a movie in the evening with our family. (She used to say she was afraid, I think mainly because we are her mom's boss.
"We are Like family"- Maureen of Perjuite and Enock and the workers relationship they have had with each other.
Don't have to come into the yard thinking where will I hid and do my work - (as he did with previously employers) - Enock being thankful that he is working for Employers who know God and fear Him and treat them well.
"I am thankful for mosquitos nets" - Emma reading her list of things she was thankful for.
"I am thankful for Grace"- James, me, and all the kids
When the day started I read a few emails from friends telling us that they were thinking of us on this day. It was all encouraging, though one in particular I cried at.
Pastor Elliot ( a Scotsman) sent a note just saying he was thinking of us. It made me cry that he was thinking of us, and especially being from Scotland they don't celebrate Thanksgiving. But then he made a few comments about the crazy kids and eating turkey and nshima which made me laugh. ( Thanks Robert!)
Kind of like when I smelled the turkey cooking in the kitchen first thing this morning and it also brought tears to my eyes, made me think of my dad and family, but then by the time the food was being set out on the table and I realized this feast was being shared with our friends and it is one unlike any they have ever had, and then when I realized all the food turned out and tasted delicious, I was happy and thankful we all spent the day together! Happy Thanksgiving!
Our evening ended with a skype call to James's family. His immediate family was all gathered we we got to talk with them and see them too. Then they said to call back in 30 minutes and we could see everyone at his grandmother's house that gathers for the annual Thanksgiving meal. When skype turned on, the laptop was sitting at the end of the dinner table and we could look down to the other end and see all his family sitting around. That was a blessing!
At the end of the day James wanted to take a picture of me. I stood where I was which happened to be the wall in the dining room that has this verse written on it. I just realized now, how fitting this is.
I never would have dreamed God's plan for me and His future for me included a thanksgiving celebration in Africa.
I am thankful He plans and directs us every step of the way!