Autumn is that time of year when North American English teachers in China look at the calendar and ponder what they will do with Thanksgiving. Regardless of your version of the origin of the holiday or whether you’re celebrating in October or November, the name itself opens up the topic of gratitude. How do we express thankfulness to those in our circle? Family, neighbors, students, colleagues, teammates and oh yes, the people back in our home countries. The people who encourage, support, pray, and have probably never been where we are living.
A simple thank you will do but several years ago I wanted to elaborate and I wrote the following Thanksgiving letter. It is specific to my situation and readers but hopefully will encourage and motivate other writers this Thanksgiving.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
Today I want to give the present and say thank you to you. For what, you ask?
For caring about me and asking about my faith, my health, my job, my students, even my stuff—year after year.
For waiting patiently and prayerfully with me through all the unknowns and changes of the last few years.
For faithfully praying for people in other cultures and lands whom you may never meet on this earth.
For generously supporting me in so many ways.
For being inquisitive about new places (like ______ and _______) and sharing with me what you’re learning.
For bringing truth and grace to where you live and work year after year.
For inviting me to share a meal and a thought-provoking conversation.
For being awed, confronted, puzzled, and comforted as students of God’s Word.
For living day after day with health issues (yours and others) that have changed your life and yet still asking me how I’m doing.
For continuing to gather with others of like faith.
For striving to raise children (and influence grown children and grandchildren) to know and honor their Creator in a world that doesn’t even acknowledge his existence.
For exchanging questions and doubts without using labels like critical or weak.
For caring about people who are poor, addicted, ignored, or lonely and may never fully acknowledge your care.
For loving to read and sharing with me your latest discoveries.
For responding to current events with prayer and soul-searching.
For making me laugh.
For rejoicing with the news that opportunities have opened up for me in __________.
Each of the above statements brings faces to mind and yours is among them!
We at ChinaSource also want to express our thanks to you—our readers, partners, and friends. And we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!
Barbara Kindschi has had the privilege and challenge of teaching English in six cities in China and now Myanmar and Laos. Undergrads, professors, hotel employees, monks, and beauty pageant contestants have sat in her classroom. All have been both her students and teachers. View Full Bio
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